Is Belgian Butter the New Irish Butter?

Give us all the European butter!

Belgian Butter
Photo: iGourmet/Allrecipes

We here at Allrecipes absolutely love Irish butter, so when we heard there was another European-style butter taking over the Internet we were immediately intrigued.

Irish butter is the standard for European-style butter in the U.S. because it's so easy to find—Kerrygold is the second biggest butter brand in the country, and many stores have private label versions now, too. However, recently, a viral TikTok introduced us to Belgian butter, which is popping up in American stores.

So what exactly is Belgian butter and how is it different than our tried-and-true Irish butter?

What Is Belgian Butter?

Belgian butter is a European-style butter that's produced in Belgium. Like Irish butter, Belgian butter has more butterfat content than American butter—because Europe has a higher standard for butterfat percentage. So, Belgian butter has 82% butterfat content, while most American butter only has 80% (the U.S. national standard).

Butterfat is what gives the butter its flavor and creamy texture—so more butterfat means the butter was churned for longer and thus produces a richer product. Sure, a 2% difference doesn't seem like it would impact the butter that much, but if you've ever had European butter before, then you know that it does.

European versions have a reputation for having a higher-quality taste compared to American butter—and they're creamier, so they make for easier spreading.

Belgian Butter vs. Irish Butter

Not all European butter is created equally. Besides the fact that the Belgian cows are feeding on Belgian grass and the Irish cows are grazing on the lush, green Irish fields, each European region makes its butter a little differently.

Because Belgium butts up to France, the Belgian variety is actually more comparable to French butter—meaning it's not as yellow as Irish butter and it tends to be creamier. Additionally, the most sought-after Belgian butter, Les Pres Sales, actually contains ingredients from the French region.

Les Pres Sales butter, also known as Butter with Camargue Sea Salt, is a butter that contains sea salt flakes harvested off the French coast. Camargue sea salt, also called Fleur de Sel, has been referred to as the "caviar" of salts and has a crunchy texture and a pure, delicate flavor.

Not only is Les Pres Sales butter ultra-creamy and flavorful from the butterfat content, but it also has a nice crunchy bite and salty flavor from the special sea salt flakes.

How to Use Belgian Butter

The one-of-a-kind butter melts in your mouth and is the perfect butter for spreading on bread, topping meats and seafood, piling on waffles and pancakes, or using in any other recipe where you want to add a decadent butter flavor. Based on the premium price though, you'll want to feature it in those recipes where you can really taste it. Or save it for your next butter board. In other words, maybe skip baking with it.

How to Buy Belgian Butter

Unfortunately, Belgian butter isn't as widely available as Irish butter, or some other European butter.

Your best bet for finding Les Pres Sales butter is likely at an international market or online retailer. Some grocery stores, like H-E-B and Albertsons (plus the other grocery stores they own), may also carry the butter at certain locations.

If you can find Belgian butter near you, you really should try it to truly understand the Internet's hype.

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