Butter Knives Are Special. Spread the news!

Butter Knives Are Special. Spread the news!

May 01, 2024Anita MacKenzie

I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life.
They may taste kind of funny,
but it keeps them on my knife.


If you’ve never stopped to think about the differences between a dinner or table knife and a butter knife, you may be surprised. The fact is, there are quite a few differences between a set of butter knives and dinner knives. In this blog post, we’ll spread some butter knife knowledge.

What is a butter knife?

First, let’s talk about what a butter knife is. Generally, a butter knife is about 6 inches long and has a dull edge and rounded point. There are also different types of butter knives. The master butter knife or table butter knife belongs to everyone at the table and is passed around with the butter. Guests use it to transfer a slice of butter to the bread plate. In the Victorian era, these knives were quite ornate and usually made of silver.

In addition, there are butter spreaders, which are individual utensils for each guest to use to spread butter on their bread. In a formal place setting, the bread plate is on the left of the fork and will usually include a butter spreader.

Master butter knife (top) and butter spreader  Photo: kaylaprice.com

Should you have a set of butter knives?

These small rounded utensils are not only a practical tool for spreading butter, but they often appear on charcuterie boards and party trays where they can be used for soft cheese, pates, and spreads.

Before we list all the reasons to have butter spreaders, let’s just say nobody needs a set of butter knives. But, if you’re like us, and they make you happy and you’ll enjoy using them, then you should get some.

Here’s why we think every kitchen should have butter knives or a cheese spreader set:

Potluck dinners. If you’re hosting a potluck, someone is likely to bring some delicious dinner buns or artisan bread to enjoy. Sure, dinner guests can use their dinner knife to butter their bread, but chances are they’ve used their dinner knife for other things, so there is the risk of other tastes mixing in, compromising the purity of the bun and butter. Plus, unlike dinner knives, spreaders are smooth, and designed to spread butter without tearing the bread.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Bread etiquette: Use the BBE pattern to enjoy your dinner roll or bread. That is, use your fingers to break off a piece of bread. Use your butter spreader to spread butter on a single piece, just before eating it. For each piece, repeat the pattern of breaking, buttering, and eating.

Photo by: Pantry To Table blog 

You’ll never have a shortage of dinner knives. In a family of breakfast eaters with everyone wanting to butter toast or spread cream cheese on a bagel, by the time dinner rolls around, you’ve used up a lot of knives. Having a set of butter knives will solve that problem, leaving the dinner knives cleanly stored away in the flatware drawer.

Jason Ratoncito Cheese Spreader/Knife Set 

Must-haves for grazing tables. We’ve all seen those grazing tables on Instagram, packed with an assortment of cheeses, fruit, nuts, pickles, and bread. Guests need tools like tongs, butter/cheese spreaders, cheese knives, and serving forks. Tools they won’t need? Dinner knives.

Jason Butter Knife/Spreader Set 

They make thoughtful housewarming gifts. Last but certainly not least, we happen to think that a unique, handcrafted set of butter knives or a cheese spreader set is probably the perfect gift for any occasion, don’t you?






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