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My favorite summertime snack as a child was admittedly unconventional but by no means anything less than delicious. Sure, like any typical kid, I enjoyed my fair share of ice cream sundaes and Goldfish crackers, but when I visited my great aunt’s house in warmer months, there was one snack that, above all, I devoured at a speedy rate: white toast slathered with perfectly softened butter.

Toast at home simply wasn’t the same, and it all came down to a single factor. My great aunt’s tiny rounded butter knives with baby blue handles made the act of spreading butter nearly effortless, leaving the subsequently buttered toast perfectly covered.

I made my snack (sometimes breakfast) in a precise routine: I would drop two slices of bread in the toaster and return to my TV show as it browned and crisped, knowing that the butter—which was removed from the fridge in the early morning to make for easy spreading by 9 am or 10 am—would be perfectly soft when it came time. Hearing the soft clatter of my toast popping up, newly tanned, I’d return to the kitchen and equip myself with a knife. Its rounded edges ensured an even spread of salted butter, without the jagged tears that can come from a heavy-handed serrated knife or the crumbs that sometimes result from a larger, more unwieldy butter knife.


The beauty of buttered toast is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything highbrow but rather exists purely in its lack of complexity, offering an irresistible combination of salt, fat, and carbohydrates that feels like the simplest of comforts tied up in one humble package. It was the taste that accompanied the summers of my early childhood when my greatest responsibility was to simply be me.

Even today, as someone who does not own a toaster (New York City living, baby), I still find comfort in a simple piece of wheat bread browned on both sides, smeared with good butter, and sprinkled with a little salt. The key tool, after all, isn’t the toaster. It’s the knife.

With the right knife, butter glides onto your toast, seeping into its brown crags, leaving behind its salty, creamy sheen. It might even take you back to some summer day, when, faced with a lack of childhood responsibilities, a piece of golden toast seemed the height of luxury. Or maybe it will just make your breakfast a little bit better. Below, find the knife that very well might just change your life or, at least, make it butter.

For the golden touch

set of 6 mini gold cocktail spreaders
Set of 6 Mini Gold Cocktail Spreaders, CB2 ($15)

If you already have your hands on a set of golden flatware, simply add to your collection with this small butter knife set. Your dinner party guests will be so impressed.


For the farmers market sourdough

Vestige HOME Wood Butter Knives
Vestige Home Wood Butter Knives, West Elm ($31)

Handcrafted wooden butter knives feel like just the thing to use to embellish a slice of freshly baked bread, no? These knives make easy friends with butter, jam, and more.

For precision spreading

Butter Knife
Butter Knife, Futagami ($75)

Some may consider the right butter-to-bread ratio an artform. To them, we suggest this knife that also doubles as a work of art with its elongated blade and beveled handle.

For the softie

Butterup Knife, MoMA Design Store ($20)

Designed with “butter enthusiasts” in mind, this knife makes even the coldest butter super spreadable. Oh, and it’s dishwasher safe.

For the tough crowd

Butter Peeler, Tenzo ($10)

If you’re looking for bigger curls of butter (hey, we’re all about it), this peeler will come in handy. It’s all the better for constructing a bread-and-butter sandwich.


For the charcuterie board enthusiast

Flat Handle Spreader
Flat Handle Spreader, Crate&Barrel ($5)

When you’re not buttering up some bread, this wide and flat option also comes in handy to spread jam, cut a soft cheese, or smooth some dip on a flatbread. Convenient.

For the minimalist

Forged Butter Spreader
Forged Butter Spreader, Mitsuhiro Konishi ($38)

Yes, this knife may look like a tiny slender butcher’s knife, but we promise it’s extra gentle on the crumbiest of toasts. Oh, and its stainless-steel structure will last for years.

For the gadget geek

Japanese Butter Knife
Japanese Butter Knife, Gingko ($28)

Forgot to let your butter warm up a bit or simply prefer it cold? This funky little tool makes thin, shoestring curls of butter that melt into toast in seconds.

For the simple spread

Miyajima Butter Knife
Miyajima Butter Knife, East Fork ($15)

If it’s wrong to want utensils that look like they could belong in a sustainably sourced children’s play kitchen, we don’t want to be right. This smooth, wooden knife is as delightful as it is functional.


For an artsy affair

newcraft butter knife
Butter Knife, New Craft ($17)

Look, sometimes butter knives can double as sculptural artifacts, and who are we to say they should be otherwise? Consider using this Japanese-made utensil to spread some butter on a fresh loaf of Hokkaido milk bread.

See more kitchen buys: Yes, These Tiny Bowls Have a Purpose (and They’re Totally Worth It) This Cool-Girl Cookware Brand Thinks You Should Monogram More Than Your Towels I Don’t Need a $60 Butter-Warming Pot (But I Want One Anyway)