Spoon Butter

Spoon Butter Recipe

I have a good number of wood cutting boards, wood-handled knives, and wooden spoons in my kitchen, as I'm sure most of you do. One of the things that bothers me most about caring for them is nearly all the products related to this task are mineral oil based. For example, spoon butter. It's typically a blend of beeswax and mineral oil. You rub it into cutting boards and spoons to moisturize them, prevent cracking, and repel water. The wood soaks it up beautifully. I've been thinking, for years, that there must be an alternative to the mineral oil based spoon butter. It's a by-product of petroleum production, and not something I want to ingest.
Beeswax to Use in Spoon ButterBeeswax to use in Spoon Butter

Thinking Through an Alternative

So, the way spoon butter works is quite simple. You rub it all over your wood-based spoons, handles, tools, and food preparation surfaces as a moisturizer and conditioner of sorts. Figuring out an alternative solution is a bit tricky. You need something to cut the beeswax, which is solid, snappy, and dense. Mineral oil brings a fluidity to the blend, and it allows you to slather. Swapping in another oil is the logical thing to do, but it's not that simple because a lot of those oils go rancid quickly. Lately, I've been making a spoon butter with a blend of organic beeswax and extra-virgin coconut oil, and I like it! The coconut oil is quite stable, and won't go bad quickly, and the wood laps it up. A coconut scent lingers, just a hint - actually quite nice.How to Make Spoon Butter

Buying Beeswax

You can typically buy beeswax in bars, or little pearls. The pearls are great because they melt quickly. The bars (above) are rough to cut. I typically cut partially through, and then snap a break on the cut line. That seems to be easiest.
How to Make Spoon ButterSpoon Butter

Before & After Spoon Butter

Here's the before and after - parched spoons on top. And then below, just a few minutes later, after applying the spoon butter. Because, like beeswax, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, getting the ratio of oil to beeswax right is important. If you have too much beeswax, it's impossible to get the spoon butter out of the jar. Coconut oil melts at 76F degrees, so with a high ratio of it, you scoop a chunk onto the surface your working on, and it quickly becomes spreadable.

Alternative Ideas: Let me know if you have other ideas on this topic - I'm all ears. A friend, who makes beautiful all-natural body products recommended I try broccoli seed oil. And as I was poking around, I noticed watermelon seed oil as well. Also, a number of people in the comments have enthusiastic suggestions, including a number for walnut oil. In the meantime, I'm pretty happy with this version & hope some of you give it a try! xo -h

 

Spoon Butter

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I've found, roughly speaking, that a ratio of one part beeswax to ~three parts extra virgin coconut oil makes a nice, spreadable spoon butter.

Ingredients
  • 3.5 ounces / 100 grams extra virgin coconut oil
  • ~1 ounce / 35 grams beeswax, cut into small chunks
Instructions
  1. To make the spoon butter: Place the coconut oil in a mason jar and top with the beeswax. Fill a thick-bottomed saucepan with an inch or so of water, and set over gentle (low-medium) heat. Set the beeswax jar in the water. The water should come up the sides a bit. Allow the water to come barely to a simmer, and allow the mixture to melt, stirring occasionally, until all the beeswax is fluid. Turn off the heat, and allow to set. The oil is hot, so I allow it to cool and set in the pan, instead of moving it at this point. When cool, cover and keep in a dark place until ready to use.
  2. To treat cutting boards, wooden spoons, etc: Start by making sure your wood surface is scrubbed very clean and is completely dry. Use your hands (or a cloth) to slather a generous amount of the spoon butter across the wood, working across the entire surface. Let sit over night. You can then use a smooth cloth to buff off all residual oil at this point. You should have a nice, satiny surface, not at all greasy. Reapply any time you sense your wood utensils and boards seem at all dry.
Serves
10
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • Love this idea. We bought a bunch of olive wood in Greece, time for some buttah!

    Francesca
  • I may make this for Christmas presents!

    Erin
  • You can purchase pure coconut oil that does not have the scent or flavor of the coconut. It is done by processing with heat, I think... nothing bad added... I use that for deep frying and a few dainty things you don't want coconut inside... try it, you'll like it.

    norma
  • thank you. Very easy, and natural. I will use that for my gardening tools too. Very good end of year present!!

    chloe
  • Some of my wooden spoons are looking a little ragged--thanks for the reminder that they can benefit from a little TLC too!

    Catherine @ Chocolate & Vegetables
  • I love this idea! I'll have to try this on my boards and utensils!

    amy
  • Fantastic idea. I treasure my wooden spoons...

    nell
  • heidi - this is awesome! any idea how long this will last?

    erin
  • I have so many wooden spoons and boardes, so I am happy to use your recipe.

    Marta@What should I eat for breakfast today
  • Confession: my wooden utensils go into the dishwasher to disinfect! They do dry out more quickly but I always thought of it as a trade-off for the privilege of cooking with natural wood products! Heidi, can you recommend a source that charts what the shelf-life of plant-based oils should be? Maybe that would help with the decisions of what oil to mix with the beeswax. And how would one know that the oil used to protect a wooden utensil had gone rancid? Thanks

    HS: Not one I believe to be accurate....I think there is a lot of misinformation in this realm cycling around unfortunately. For example, it has been my personal experience that nut oils like hazelnut, walnut, almond go bad quickly - I keep those in my refrigerator in fact! Coconut, seems to keep much, much longer. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever had a jar go bad on me....

    Primordial Soup
  • This is perfectly timed! We just made some wooden kitchen utensils and realized we were all out of beeswax. What we did have left was a mixture of beeswax and coconut oil (made as a dry skin balm) and it worked perfectly! Happy to hear we're not alone in trying this!! As a recommendation - tung oil. We've used it on a few cutting boards before, harder to apply but keeps the wood looking better longer.

    shalon
  • i believe coconut oil has some anti-viral / anti-bacterial qualities.

    j.
  • I'd be tempted to eat that butter, it's so pretty.

    Bev @ Bev Cooks
  • Raw linseed oil.Pressed from flax seeds. Not to be confused with boiled linseed, which contains metallic driers. Listed as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Very long curing time, good looks, low water-resistance, frequent reapplication

    Bella
  • Am I the only person in the world who did not know you were supposed to oil your spoons and cutting boards? Thanks for the enlightenment. I have to go massage my parched spoons now.

    Jenn
  • This is brilliant--but I've always wondered about the beeswax: what is it's purpose? Sealant? I've always just used the mineral oil, and I suppose my not using the beeswax is why my wooden wonders dry out so quickly? Insight? And, do you have a favorite source for the wax?

    Amanda
  • This is great! I also have a lot of wooden boards and spoons and other utensils and keeping them looking good and in great shape is difficult and like you, I don't like the mineral oils either. I am going to make this instead. Thanks for sharing a great alternative.

    Joanne Craven
  • I read about tung oil and walnut oil, they were recommended by a woodworker from Britain.

    heleen
  • Where does one buy organic beeswax? Will definitely try this if I can get it. Always have organic Coconut Oil in the house(get it @TJ'S) great for making popcorn. Thanks for the tip.

    Sunny Drohan
  • Oh wow. I'm going to seek out beeswax when I'm at the market next.

    Shaheen
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