Wood Butter – A Recipe for Your Utensils!

Wood Butter – A Recipe for Your Utensils! is not a food post but one sharing how to care and condition the utensils you use.  It restores a luster to your wooden cutting boards, wooden bowls and utensils, and protects them during continued use.

Wood Butter - A Beeswax Product for your Wooden UtensilsOften called Spoon Oil, this magical elixir has become know as Wood Butter in my home and I think that’s a much better fit. It’s perfect for the care of the wood items we use in the kitchen and does a great job of renewing wood utensils and bowls. A necessity but also a bit indulgent…yes, ‘butter’ is perfect!

We need to take special care of our wood kitchen items in Denver due to the low humidity in our environment and I can be as lax as the next person.

Making your own ‘wood butter’ makes it simple and inexpensive too. I was reminded by a friend that she ‘hoped’ I would have some made in time for Christmas and decided that this very old post (first published in 2009) might be beneficial to some who have never seen it before so I resized the photos (I used to include much smaller photos in posts) and am publishing this again.

It’s not just perfect for your kitchen but every friend I have is like the one mentioned…they look forward to their annual supply that I include in holiday gifts baskets for friends.

I was lucky to find a local resource for the beeswax but Amazon sells Beeswax Pellets online. The small pellets make for easier melting; I bought two pounds which is enough for (48) 4 oz containers…um, that should be enough for awhile don’t you think? Finding the food grade mineral oil was easy once I finally remembered to put it on my grocery list; it’s typically available in the pharmacy. I now know why that poor guy gave me such a funny look when I lamented that I wish they had more than four bottles. I’ve always used it for wood conditioning; I’m thinking he was wondering why I needed more than four bottles of a laxative. Who knew?

Wood Butter - Melting and Pouring the Wax Into JarsThe process is easy but can be messy. Most ‘recipes’ include heating the wax in a mid size Ball jar in hot water and adding warmed mineral oil to the wax once it is melted. I preferred using a large glass measuring cup with a pour spout as I was going to be pouring the combined liquid into a whole bunch of small jars. I also used a funnel just for canning and it worked perfectly.

The only negative to this method is the removal of the wax from the measuring cup and funnel. I decided since I’ll be doing this again, I’ll just save those two utensils just for this process and candle making and not worry about the residue layer that remained inside each.

A reader has mentioned that freezing the utensils used would make the was come off easily; I haven’t tried that yet but plan to.

Wood Butter - Before and AfterWhat better way to show you the magic of Wood Butter than a Before and After photo. Totally untouched, promise. Everything in this photo has been treated with an application of wood butter including the bottom board. Simply apply a bit to a paper towel or a piece of cheesecloth and rub a dollop onto the surface until it’s rubbed in.

The bowl in front was an inexpensive one I purchased from World Market and it was apparently never supposed to touch water. It did, I thought it ruined but ‘the butter’ did the trick. I found the wooden rolling pin at a yard sale and can’t believe the difference myself. All of my cutting boards have a renewed luster; in fact they seem new again. It is not tasty like a sage compound butter but it is a miracle butter!

PIN ‘Wood Butter A Recipe for Your Utensils’

Wood Butter is stored in glass jars and pictured with wood items it has restored to original luster.

Jars of Wood Butter and Wooden Kitchen Utensils Before and After Use

Yield: 20 ounces

Wood Butter – A Recipe for Your Utensils!

Wood Butter - A Recipe for Your Utensils

A terrific homemade product to use for all of your wood kitchen products from wooden spoons to cutting boards.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces pure beeswax - measured dry; I bought pellets
  • 16 ounces of mineral oil - typically packaged with 16 liquid ounces per container.

Instructions

  1. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a gentle boil.
  2. Place your beeswax inside a 2 quart glass measuring cup or a 1 quart glass jar; set the glass into the gently boiling water.
  3. Place the container of mineral oil inside another medium saucepan filled with water and heat to low.The mineral oil just needs to be warmed to mix with the beeswax; no need for a rolling boil.
  4. Once all the wax has melted, turn off the stove and carefully add the warmed mineral oil to the beeswax;stirring with a spoon to combine.
  5. Using a towel around the handle of the measuring cup, carefully pour the liquid into each jar fit with the canning funnel; filling them almost to the top.
  6. Finish filling all jars and wait for the was to cool and firm up before using.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Note: This post has had several people feel compelled to advise against the use of mineral oil as an ingredient as it is a by product of petroleum, however, it has been deemed safe by the FDA for use as a laxative so I see no need for the scare tactics. See the comments from a reader named Bob…he speaks the truth!

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495 Comments

  1. As I posted in one of the comments, I think this recipe would be best used on raw wood items. If you use the wood butter on floors, you would not be able to finish them again with varnish. It might be possible if they were stripped, but perhaps not even then, if the wax penetrated to deep. The same would apply to furniture. Once a wax product is used, it is nearly impossible to strip it down far enough to stain and varnish. Probably best to keep it for only wood items that would never be finished. Linda

  2. I melt beeswax in the microwave all the time and I put the oils in the same glass measuring cup as the beeswax. The beeswax melts into the oil and they come out the same temperature. I just swirl a wooden skewer through it to mix.

    BTW, this would be good on furniture if you don’t mind a wax finish.

  3. I TOTALLY need this stuff! I’m constantly buying new wooden spoons because we live in the deserts of California and I forget to take care of them! And I’d love to win it since I have 4 children 6 & under and don’t really want to take the time to make it!

  4. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I made up my first batch this morning and I love it! I just applied some to an old salad bowl and had to let you know. My butcher block is next. Am going to give as gifts, too!

  5. THANK YOU! Found u via pinterest. Going to make a batch soon for my butcher block table!!!! And all the little utensils too! It’ll bring everything back to life!!!!

    1. It really does a nice job…I found that the first time out all of my wooden items just soaked it up like crazy; now I try to remember to do them every so often and never let them get that bad again!

  6. I am a big time canner so the pic of canning jars is what caught my attention! Then I read your recipe and am very excited to try this! My second thought was Christmas gifts!!!!! I have do many wooden utensils and a beautiful buther block! As soon as I can get my hands on the beeswax I’m mixing up my first batch! Thank you for the great idea and sharing your recipe!!!

    1. I gave jars of it for Christmas last year and the orders have already come in pleading for more. You will love it and so will your gift recipients!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! We just harvested the beehives and I was looking for something to do with bees wax when I ran across this. I use a LOT of wood items in the kitchen. This will be perfect. I appreciate the time you took to post it for me to find!

    Crystal Burrows
    Brookston, TX

  8. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I made a small batch (for myself!) today and it was so easy. I used 2 oz of beeswax to 8 oz of mineral oil–and it was perfect! My wooden utensils thank you profusely! 🙂

    1. So glad you loved it Kim; it is easy (OK a bit messy and I miss my 8 cup glass measuring cup I sacrificed to the cause) and already on the list for holiday gifts…the ones from last year have run out! 🙂

    2. Hi! Was thinking of making a smaller batch also! How many jars did you get out of this? Did you use the really small mason jars? Or jelly size? Thinking of giving these as gifts for Christmas, but don’t need 48! 🙂
      Any tips for cleaning the glass bowls after? I can’t give mine up!!
      Thanks!

      1. Hmm…I used some jelly jars and then of the even smaller jars too. I don’t remember how many I got out of it but I guess you could add the quantities of the two products that are combined and then figure which jars you want to use and divide by the number of ounces contained in one?

        OK…if I were going to clean them? I would have probably put them in the oven with paper towels on a cookie sheet and warmed them at 200 degrees til it almost all melted off and then put them in warm soapy water. I am missing that big measuring bowl; I might have to do the same thing!

        1. Thanks so much for the feedback!! It’s very helpful! Will probably run by the store and look for another glass bowl to use since I can’t part with the one I have now! I don’t want to risk it! haha! love that glass bowl!
          Can’t wait to try this and give for presents!

        2. Good idea. I had just used a glass measuring bowl I thought would be easily replaced but now I can’t find one anywhere and I miss it. Better luck to you!

        3. Hi, stumbled on this on Pinterest and am going to make some today. I keep bee hives, and wanted to let you know that the beeswax cleans up, especially off of glass, pretty well with comet or Ajax…you know, the super cheap powdered kind. Use paper towels so you can just throw them away, and it will take a few times over to get it all, but it really does just pretty much ball up and come off. Not as effective on metal or plastic, but your glass bowl should come out good as new. Btw, that’s also how I get wax out of those beautiful jars that come with candles in them, once the candle is done and I want to reuse the jar. Hope that helps!

        4. It does…not that I’m lazy but guess I figured that since I would be doing it again and again that I would just ‘give’ the measuring cup up to the cause. I suppose if I wanted it clean, my first thing was going to be to stick it in the over and melt off most of it and then scrub it and then…I had my brainiac idea! I miss that cup though so might have to reconsider. I thought I could find another but so far, nope.

          Hope you love the wood butter…truth is my friend puts it on her hands too!

  9. Just found your blog via Pinterest. Love the “wood butter” recipe. I am going to have to try it soon!!

    Vickie
    Tallahassee, Fl

    1. Thanks for stopping by Vickie…I love this stuff and it was hugely popular last year when I gave it for holiday gifts too!

  10. I can’t wait to make a batch. I have my grandmother’s wooden utensils & salad bowls, but since I live in Montana I have them on display but haven’t used them since they are so dried out. I could also use a good homemade recipe for polishing the copper pots she brought back from France in the 50’s.

    1. Those sound like the perfect things for it…I have my grandmother’s rolling pin but I use it often enough that it’s not dried out; must be that butter in pie dough huh? Have you tried commercial copper polish? I’ll bet those pans are beautiful; I’m jealous without even seeing them.

  11. This sounds great. So many things I could use this on…my thirsty early 70s Old Hickory dining table would be the first, then the butcher block, the spoons, etc. Lots of wood in this house. Thanks for the recipe! We have a honey farm in town, so beeswax should be no problem.

  12. Could you use he wood butter on wood floors? Thanks for the great recipe I love wood and I am going to have somuch fun with this product.

    1. I’ve only used it on small wood products so I don’t feel comfortable suggesting it be used on wood floors. What I would say would be this…they would HAVE to be unfinished; it won’t penetrate a top coating like varnish and…if you thought you wanted to try it, test it on a small area. I would love to know if you do it and how it works…and good luck!

    2. Sandra, if you use the wood butter on the floors, you would not be able to finish them again with varnish. It might be possible if they were stripped, but perhaps not even then, if the wax penetrated to deep. The same would apply to furniture. Probably best to keep it for only wood items that would never be finished.

  13. I’ve been hanging on to some wooden salad bowls that belonged to my mother, plus I was just given my grandmother’s wooden rolling pin, in the hopes thati would be motivated to try making/freezing noodles, so I’d love to try this out.

  14. Wow, thanks! What an easy & fabulous DIY. I’d love to receive a jar for use on my vintage teak bowls I got at Goodwill. They are sad!

    Thanks!
    Rebecca

  15. you might want to add that folks should use a food grade mineral oil – the stuff sold at the market as a laxative is fine, obviously, but wouldn’t want someone picking up a gallon at the hardware store and using that!

    1. I did mention that Ruth; told them to look for food grade in the pharmacy of the grocery store.

    1. I’m glad you did too Peggy and I’m with you…this mixture has done wonderful things for some of my less than gorgeous pieces. I’m in Denver where it’s so dry; they just drink it up!

  16. Thanks to you I am now addicted to Foodgawker and I found this post from your photo there. I am going to have to try this– this would make a lovely gift along with a new cutting board.

    1. It’s a great gift item Holly; I made some for everyone for holiday gifts; I’ve had comments from people who make cutting boards that they’re going to do just as you mention; make some as an accompaniment for new boards. I would be happy to give you a jar if you want to try it; just yell. 🙂

  17. Wow, thanks so much for sharing this! I have some very “thirsty” wood utensils that would do well with this rub!

    1. The first time they do soak it up; like they’ve been on a desert island with nothing to drink forever sort of soak it up. Enjoy.

  18. Nice idea…Can’t wait to get started. I will be adding little jars to stockings and as gifts to friends… Thanks for sharing.

  19. i love the look of the wood with the *wood butter* …. i was thinking, though, there is a product for cutting boards, like mineral oil, but, it’s *food grade* mineral oil … bought some a while ago and used it on a cutting board from ikea … i bet it would be ok to use in your recipe … do you know the difference between *food grade* and *regular* mineral oil?

    sorry, there are 227 posts and i didn’t read through them all ot know if someone else wrote about this ….

    love a response ……. darlene

    1. I used mineral oil from the supermarket that is in the drugstore section, it’s actually called a laxative (yes, that guy looked at me like I was nuts when I bought several bottles!). I don’t recall if those bottles were labeled ‘food grade’ but it is obviously safe for human consumption and I believe is the same thing as the food grade product sold in the hardware store that sells for considerably more.

  20. Large Animal vets also sell mineral oil in gallon jugs. It is used to treat bloat in cattle. I think I paid $6 for the last gallon jug I bought.

  21. This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I am definitely going to start to treat my wooden spoons and boards with a little love.

    1. Most welcome Wylie; myself and my friends and family have really enjoyed what it does for our wood kitchen products.

  22. Hi,
    Thanks for the wood butter recipe. Recently I started learning how to turn wood bowls. I’ve looked at a number of rather expensive , food safe, finishes. Then , a friend told me about wood butter. A quick search took me to your blog.

    My wife suggested I could find beeswax at a local hobby lobby and she was right. I decided to try soy wax which is about half the price. I had to adjust the proportions. I believe I ended up at about 4 oz (by weight) soy wax to 4 oz (measuring cup) mineral oil. Only a small batch. It gives the bowls a beautiful luster. Time will tell if there are any issues with this.

    Any way Thanks!

    Cary Goltermann

    1. Please keep me apprised Cary; would love to know if there is a good alternative, particular if it’s less expensive. The one reason that mineral oil is used in this combination is because any plant based oil (olive, walnut, etc) has the potential to go rancid. Although soy is plant based the fact that it’s available as a wax seems to indicate it won’t; nothing wrong with a less expensive alternative if it does the job just as well! Thanks so much for the information and taking the time to let me know.

  23. Wow! My Dad would make something like this when he re-conditioned people’s furniture for them. He said that dry wood would eat it up just like a sponge. So thank you for sharing.

    1. Your Dad was right Pam…when I do something for the first time especially. The recipe makes a fair amount but I’m not having an issue with that! 🙂

    1. Certainly…glad so many are finding it and using it…it’s a great find and really does a good job.

  24. Would this work on a piano? This is not one of the black lacquered surfaces, but it’s actually really nice wood and it’s looking a little dull…

  25. I think this is awesome! I haven’t made it yet but definitely want to. I know you said you were looking for comments on this however, I was wondering if you have used it or if it could be used on other wooden items such as coffee tables and such or if you should just stick with the kitchen items? It seems a lot of furniture polishes or dusting sprays end up leaving a very nasty film over time and I am looking to use more natural products to bring out the furnitures natural beauty. Well, that is my question. I think your Wood Butter is great!

    1. I’ve had a lot of folks ask about using this for wood furniture but I’ve not done that and so hesitate to say anything pro or con. Another commenter left a comment with information on what would be a good mix for restoring wood furniture that you might want to check out.

      If it were me…I would do a small test and see if I liked the results and proceed from there.

  26. Tried this on some really old utensils that I was using for decoration. Really brought them back to life. Had an old bread board that was my grandmothers, used nearly the whole 4 oz on it was so dry, but now looks good as new!
    Thanks,
    Karla

    1. Love those kind of stories Karla…it really is great stuff isn’t it? I gave it for Christmas presents and people were sort of, oh thanks, that’s nice. Then they tried it. 🙂

    1. If you want to work on furniture, try equal amounts of beeswax, turpentine and boiled linseed oil. Heat them carefully as above. The turp and BLO are flammable. NO open flames. Dispose of all rags and towels very carefully BLO will spontaneously combust. That means wash the rags, take them outside and spread them out to dry. NEVER wad them up or toss them in the trash. You’ll wake up to the house burning down around you.

  27. YAY! I’m a new proud owner of a fantastic black walnut butcher block island (unvarnished) and I’m just about to run out of my expensive “butcher block oil.” I’m going to get the ingredients to make a batch of this tonight!!

    1. Good for you! You know what I discovered that was most surprising? The VERY same mineral oil sold at the grocery as a laxative for about $1.50/bottle was available as a ‘wood finish’ product at the hardware store for $9/bottle. This is better…I still need to go over my stuff regularly but it lasts much longer than straight mineral oil. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

    1. Honestly Rebeka I would not know; I’ve only used it on wood products. If you decide to test it out, please let me know.

  28. I am a part time woodworker. I have been using mineral oil on chopping/cutting & serving boards that I have made up to know. I made up a batch of ‘Wood Butter’ a few days ago and applied it to several of my newly made chopping boards. It is very easy to apply, looks great and has a pleasant smell and is cost effective. I think that owners would enjoy the ‘ritual’ of a maintaining such wooden utensils with the ‘Wood Butter’. I plan to supply my customers with a small contained of the ‘Wood Butter’ when they buy cutting/serving boards.

    Thanks

    1. So glad you liked it John and what a wonderful addition for your customers; very thoughtful of you.

  29. I came here from lifehacker, and I will make a few jars of these for Christmas gifts.

    Ev’rybody needs some woodbutter.

    1. Well, I certainly appreciate Lifehacker sending so many folks over to check it out! I love the stuff; just did all of my cutting boards again the other day.

  30. what a great recipe for Wood Butter, thank you, but i would like to know if this can be used on wood furniture—i have not made it, but would like to make some soon. thanks.
    haydee

    1. I don’t have any experience with using it on furniture but I suppose it’s similar to a furniture polish. For the real benefits of having it soak into the wood, it would have to be used on unfinished furniture.

  31. Merci pour cette recette de beurre pour bois qui semble être vraiment géniale .
    J’aimerais beaucoup la réaliser mais en france nous n’avons pas les même mesures et
    utilisons les (ml , cl , et dl ) pouvez vous me dire à quoi corespond l’once ? .
    Merci d’avance et bravo pour travail et vos partages .
    Fanchon

    1. Bonjour,
      Je pense que l’once est autour 30 ml, mais si vous utilizer la même proportion d’un part beeswax(desolée, je ne sais pas le mot en français!) à quatre parts de l’huile, vous devriez le faire bien.

      -A

  32. Can this be used on wood furniture also or just kitchen wooden items? Thanks, sounds easy enough to make. I have a lot of kitchen wooden items that could use a sprucing up. I used to collect rolling pins so I have quite a few. Bet they would shine up and look really pretty again!

    1. I’ve had lots of folks ask me that and I hesitate to say, ‘Sure’ since I’ve never done it…but I would if I had a piece that I thought would benefit. Most furniture is finished with a varnish type layer so this would not penetrate that…it would have to be natural, unfinished wood to really benefit I would think.

  33. How about using on wooden dining room tables. Mine is just finished with an oil rub and this might protect it better.

    1. I can only advise on the items I’ve used it for Lisa but wood is wood so I would think it would work fine; suggest testing it on a small area first.

  34. My husband makes cutting boards for gifts and this would be perfect to include in the package with them. Look forward to making some soon.

    1. That would be an extra special gift Wendy. I have a board I keep outside in a bakers rack. It’s on a covered patio but still; each spring I have to bring it in and scrub it down and bleach the dirt off of it. This year I gave it the butter treatment…amazing how beautiful it looks again. Now wishing I had done THAT for a before and after! Thanks for visiting.

  35. Hello! Please tell me when you apply the solution, after solidification and before, when it is still liquid?

    1. I suppose you could when it’s liquid but I never have; I make several jars of it at one time and then use it as I need it. The result is semi soft; you can just swipe a cloth or paper towel through it easily and rub it in.

  36. This looks so beautiful and I have been looking for something to use on my cutting boards. Plus it looks really simple, so thanks for sharing. I only wonder if it can be tweaked to use a different oil that is stable and won’t go rancid at room temperature. I just feel funny about putting my food or body into contact with a gasoline by-product on a daily basis. I’ve been using Crate and Barrel’s non toxic wood oil, which is a blend of “refined seed oil, lemon oil, vitamin E, carotene.” I wonder if this can be a good lead into breaking this down into a healthy DIY wood butter recipe. I just wonder what seed oil they use?

    1. I know that feeling so did a lot of checking and that it’s a by product does make some people squeamish but it’s really the best product to use. it’s odorless and colorless and that the pharmacy sell it for a laxative I’m assuming safe. Most other oils will go rancid…hmm, wonder what they do use? Seed is just a bit generic isn’t it? Please let me know if you find something; would be great to know.

    2. From everything I’ve read about mineral oil, it will not go rancid. I’ve had one bottle for several years, and it’s still good.

      1. You’re right Cheryl, it won’t go rancid. Some have reservations about using mineral oil as it’s a by product of petroleum but all of the ‘bad’ stuff has been removed and I have no such concerns; I would be much more concerned about some of the suggestions I’ve seen elsewhere…olive oil and walnut oil can both go bad!

  37. I’ve always wanted to find something like this, but I was too afraid to use stuff from the store and never thought to make my own! Such a simple recipe, too!

    1. The stuff from the store is so much more expensive. Additionally, the same products, one labeled as mineral oil for a laxative at the pharmacy and one labeled as wood conditioner at the hardware store were about $8 different in price. Be sure to get it from the pharmacy!

    1. I hope you love it…it has made such a difference for my wood products. Not that I don’t have to continue to use it, but in Colorado it’s a given things will dry out and this mixture sort of balances how quickly that will happen.

  38. Made this, this evening – made a 1/2 batch, but enough for me and mom and already having visions of making this for my mother and sister in law as gifts. Currently, I’m waiting impatiently for it to cool so I can give it a go. Seeing as I live a stone’s throw from you in Castle Rock, CO and my mom in Monument, CO I expect our VERY thirsty wooden utensils (and other unvarnished wooden items) will appreciate the TLC. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Used the cooled version this morning, my wooden utensils literally drank this stuff! Awesome!

      I think I’ll haev to do a few coats to get my utensils ultra happy, but at least now I can!

      Mother and Sister in law are definitely getting some for Mother’s Day. Thanks again for the recipe!

  39. I just want to thank you. I made a batch of this yesterday, and will be giving some away as gifts, and kept some to use on my thirsty wooden utensils and bamboo cutting board (works beautifully on bamboo). This is worlds better than the straight mineral oil I had been using. One of the best parts is the slight honey scent to the wood butter. I’m in love.

    Thanks again!

    1. Thanks for letting me know Mary; it’s always good to hear that something I love is enjoyed by others too. I’ve already had requests for refills for the jars I made for gifts…everyone’s wooden utensils and cutting boards were VERY thirsty!

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