I’m not ashamed to admit that I never pass on a restaurant’s basket of freshly sliced bread and the accompanying foil packets or balls of butter. (Besides, check out the health benefits of butter.) I’ll go through one or two or three portions of butter (also called a “pat”), and who knows how many pieces of bread, while waiting for my entree. But I’ve always wondered: How much butter is in a pat? Why is that much butter is in a pat? And how many calories are in a pat? I investigated.
(Psst: Do you know the real difference between butter and margarine?)
What is a pat of butter?
A pat of butter is a single portion of butter, typically served up in a foil packet, tiny plastic tub, or artfully molded and shaped into a ball or square.
How much butter is in a pat?
There’s no uniform size or quantity of butter provided in a pat. Most pats, however, contain between 1/3 and 1/2 tablespoons of butter. (That’s about 1 to 1.5 teaspoons.) If you wanted to make your own pats—to serve at a dinner party, say—a good size is 1″x1″ square, and about 1/3″ thick. If your recipe calls for a “pat,” that generally means it’s a flexible measurement, and you can add to taste.
How many calories are in a pat of butter?
- 1 teaspoon of butter is about 34 calories
- 1.5 teaspoons is 51 calories
Generally, pats will be on the small side of that spectrum.
Why is it called a “pat”?
Restaurants used to press butter into wooden molds to press it into unique shapes, like flowers, before serving on a plate with bread. The cook would “pat” the butter into the mold, and the name stuck.
Want to eat less butter? Here are butter substitutes that are better for your heart.