A popular butter manufacturer has settled the debate surrounding how long it can be left unrefrigerated while sitting out on the counter.

How Long Can You Leave Butter On The Counter?

AllRecipes.com recently wrote about families who believed it was safe to leave butter outside of the fridge on a regular basis. Sadly, those families were only increasing the chances of ending up with rancid butter.

"While butter is safe to consume at room temperature, you don't always want to," the website reports. "Leaving butter out can cause it to go bad and become rancid, which can significantly impact the flavor."

Guess we know why grandma's butter always tasted odd during family dinners.

Stick of unwrapped butter on blue cloth

Of course, you can still pull butter out of the refrigerator to soften for baking. A representative from Land O'Lakes told AllRecipes.com butter should not sit at room temperature for more than 4 hours.

"Always return any unused butter to the refrigerator and be aware that butter left outside refrigeration may become darker in color and have the flavor affected," AllRecipes was told my Land O'Lakes.

The Butter That Can Be Left Out Longer Than Others

The safety of butter left at room temperature may also depend on the type you butter.

TheKitchn.com recently shared 4 Mistakes To Avoid When Leaving Butter Out At Room Temperature. Topping the list was "leaving the wrong type of butter out."

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"It's fine to leave unsalted butter out on the counter for a few hours if you're planning to bake with it, but if you're going to leave butter out at room temperature for an extended period of time, make it salted," the website recommends.

TheKitchn.com says the salt in the butter helps keep you safe by adding "extra protection against any sort of bacterial growth."

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