How Much Salt is in Salted Butter?

For many bakers (myself included), salted butter is the secret weapon behind melt-in-your-mouth cookies and other tasty treats. That’s all thanks to the 8 grams of sodium per gram of butter. 

Hello! My name is Michelle, and I have been baking for over ten years. I started with cookies and have continued to perfect my skills to create a wide range, from soft to crispy, and everything in-between. I know the importance of salted butter, but I also love knowing how much!

If you’re curious how much salt is in salted butter, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you will find out everything you need to know about the sodium content in butter.

Let’s get buttered up!

How Much Salt is in Salted Butter?

If you are anything like me, then you may have an affinity towards butter. There’s nothing quite like a slab of butter on top of piping hot toast or baked potato. It’s also a must-have for making juicy, moist, and succulent baked goods.

But I understand that knowing how much salt is in salted butter is important. After all, some people may be on strict diets where they need to limit their sodium intake. For health reasons, this answer is imperative.

It is also a baking question. If the recipe calls for salted butter and you only have unsalted butter on hand, then you will need to know how much sodium is necessary to add.

Well, it’s pretty simple: on average, you will find 8 mg of sodium per one gram of butter. However, this number can vary greatly depending on the brand. For example, Land O’ Lakes has 95 mg per tablespoon while Horizon has 115 mg per tablespoon.

That said, the best way to find out how much salt is in salted butter is to check with the ingredients of your stick of butter.

How to Substitute Unsalted Butter for Salted Butter

The nice thing about using salted butter while baking is you don’t have to worry about skipping the dash of salt in your tasty recipe. It also lasts longer in the fridge thanks to the preservation properties of salt.

On the other hand, using unsalted butter gives you full control of the sodium content, and some recipes taste better than others with additional/less salt.

If you have found yourself only having unsalted butter on hand, you need to know how to substitute the salt content properly. The general rule of thumb is this: add ¼ teaspoon of salt for ½ cup or stick of butter. 

This is a great amount to start with. You may find that your particular recipe fares well with more salt. The best thing to do is to play around with your flavors. Always partake in multiple taste tests when mixing and blending. 

FAQs

Questions regarding how much salt is in salted butter? Then keep reading! Below, you will find a few commonly asked questions you will want to know the answer to.

How much salt is in a stick of salted butter?

While the amount of salt per stick of butter will vary by brand, the general answer is that one stick of salted butter contains ⅓ teaspoon of salt total.

Is it OK to use salted butter instead of unsalted?

In most recipes, using salted butter instead of unsalted is fine. Just make sure not to add any additional sodium. Otherwise, you may end up with an overly salty final product.

How much salt do I add to homemade butter?

Making butter yourself? The best recipe to follow is per every 2 cups of cream, add ¼ teaspoon of salt for lightly salted butter and ½ for a saltier result.

Final Thoughts

Butter is an essential ingredient, especially in many baking recipes. Butter adds the necessary moisture, fat, and sometimes leavening agent. There are roughly 8 grams of sodium per gram of butter or ⅓ teaspoon per stick.

Do you prefer to bake with salted or unsalted butter?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Sue

    Hi Michelle,
    There is a typo in your first paragraph. It states, “That’s all thanks to the 8 grams of sodium per gram of butter.” I’m pretty sure you mean 8 mg of sodium per gram of butter. I also see that this has been mentioned before. You might want to correct it.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      Hi Sue!
      Yes, I meant to put 8mg instead of g. Thank you for pointing it out.
      Happy baking,
      Michelle

      Reply
  • Linda

    Thank you for sharing your extensive knowledge on this subject. You have a new follower!
    I prefer to use unsalted butter, after I learned from a chef when I was in my 20’s, that there is a lot more impurities in salted butter. This can be seen while comparing making clarified butter

    Reply
    • Michelle

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks so much! Happy to hear you’re following. I, too, prefer to use unsalted butter.
      Happy baking,
      Michelle

      Reply
  • Nick W.

    Hi Michelle!

    JT is correct. There is a typo in the second sentence of the first paragraph. It should be 8 mg and not 8 g.

    @JT:

    All dietary sodium on food labels is just the mass that is sodium atoms alone. It does not count the chlorine mass in salt because salt is not the only source of sodium in foods. Some foods also get sodium from sodium bicarbonate, or nitrate, or other sodium compounds. The FDA requires total sodium to be listed, so the sodium mass has to be separated from that of other atoms in these contributing compounds to get a combined total quantity.

    Since sodium is 39% of the mass of sodium chloride, and since salted butter has none of the other sodium sources (AFAIK), you would multiply the butter’s listed sodium content by 2.542 to get the salt weight added to it. How much volume that salt would have will vary with the type of salt. A solid single sodium chloride crystal has a density of 2.17 g/cm³, while fine granular salt has an average density of 1.378 g/cm³, and flake salt has a density about 7% lower at an average of 1.282 g/cm³. For this reason, commercial bakers typically weigh their salt rather than use a volumetric measure.

    So, if your salted butter has 114 mg/T, the salt weight is 2.542 × 0.114 = 0.2898 g/T or, × 8T/stick = 2.318 g/stick. Assuming fine granulated salt, that is 2.318 g/stick / 1.378 g/cm³ = 1.6823 cm³/stick. Our standard teaspoon is 4.929 cm³, so that is 0.34 t, or, as Michelle said, about ⅓ t.

    As an aside, most cooks know a fluid ounce of cold water weighs about 1.0432 ounces, making it 4.32% heavier than an actual ounce of weight. This is because a fluid ounce is the volume of an ounce of water at its sea-level boiling point, where heat has expanded it to 1.0432 g/cm³, or by 4.32%. Butter turns out to have a density of 0.95947 g/cm³ or 4.22% lower than water has at its minimum volume temperature (about 4.0°C or 39.2°F, or about the temperature inside your refrigerator). This means the density of butter is very close to exactly as much lighter than water as a fluid ounce of cold water is heavier than a weighed ounce of that same cold water. As a result, 4 ounces of butter (one stick) is just about exactly 4 fluid ounces in volume (the error is -0.088%). This is why a 4-ounce stick of butter is just about exactly ½ Cup or 8 tablespoons.

    Reply
    • Michelle

      Hi Nick!
      Yes, JT was correct in pointing out my typo. It should say 8mg.
      Also, thank you for all of the added information. It is very helpful to me and fellow readers.
      Happy baking,
      Michelle

      Reply
  • John Termine

    Hi,

    Thanks for your article. I found it very helpful. Some feedback/questions:

    Sentence 2 at the top reads, “That’s all thanks to the 8 grams of sodium per gram of butter.” That should be 8 mg, not 8 grams, right?

    Perhaps it is worth clarifying whether you are talking specifically about 8 mg of Sodium (Na) vs Salt (NaCl) as the latter is approximately 40% sodium and 60% chloride by weight.

    Thanks,
    JT

    Reply
    • Michelle

      Hi JT,
      Thank you so much for pointing that out! Yes, I meant to say 8 mg.
      Happy baking,
      Michelle

      Reply