How To Brown Butter
Learn how to brown butter in minutes. Take your everyday butter and turn it into a golden brown, nutty, buttery pan of liquid gold ready to enhance all kinds of dishes!
You’ve probably made brown butter before without even noticing. Perhaps you’ve left it on the pan a little longer than you had anticipated and all of a sudden you’re smelling a bit of heaven. That is the point at which butter is at its optimal taste!
About this recipe
This is a classicly french way of melting butter, now widely used all over the world in a variety of dishes. When butter gets melted to brown butter status you’ll see it caramelize into a golden brown color and it will give off a distinct, drool-worthy nutty, earthy, aroma.
When you make brown butter you’re taking something that is already a deliciously rich ingredient and elevates it to something even better. It becomes a magical ingredient for cookies, pasta, sauce, popcorn, waffles, pancakes, and more! Try swapping out the butter in pumpkin sheet pan pancakes for brown butter…yum!
Learning how to do this isn’t hard especially with this step-by-step guide.
Using just 1/2 a cup of butter, the one, and only ingredient, you will get perfectly browned butter every time, as long as you’re watching the pan. If not, you may have to get through a few trials at first, because it can walk a fine line between beautiful and burnt! But get ‘er done because it’s definitely worth it!
What you need
- Butter – Whatever butter you have on hand works. Unsalted, grass-fed, or organic. Whatever it is, as long as it’s real butter (not margarine) you’re good to go.
- A pan – Using a light-colored pan makes it easier to see the progress of the butter as it browns and tells when it’s ready.
- Tool to use for stirring – There’s no set rule as to what you need to use to stir, but a whisk, a spatula, or a wooden spoon will all work.
How to make it
Cut the butter into cubes and place them into a pan over medium heat to melt.
Lower the heat to medium-low and stir the butter. It will start forming but don’t worry. Continue to stir until the butter starts to brown.
The milk solids at the bottom of the pan will be brown and look like they were toasted. You’ll know it’s done, not only by its appearance but because it smells so good!
Once done, remove the pan from heat and immediately transfer the butter into a heat-safe bowl so the butter does not continue to cook in a hot pan.
Cutting the butter into cubes makes for much more even melting.
Do not discard the milk solids as they are packed with flavor.
It happens quite quickly. It will start to foam at first, which is great, then at about the 6-8 minute mark, the milk solids at the bottom of the pan will start to look toasted, which is what you want.
As soon as you smell it, you’ll say to yourself “Ah yes, now that is brown butter!” We’ve all smelled it and we are all familiar with the signature aroma of that rich nutty buttery flavor. But to explain it? If you can imagine a nutty, earthy, deeper buttery flavor, then that’s it!
It’s made of your everyday butter! This means you can really substitute regular butter for brown butter in any recipe. You’ll still get the same moist, texture, but it’s the difference in taste that becomes apparent. Brown butter is an added super bonus to many many recipes.
Yes! In fact you should not stop stirring. The more you stir, the more evenly it melts. Also, continuously stirring means you have no choice but to keep an eye on it.
Technically yes but just know that the salt settles in the toasted milk solids. This could potentially change the taste, depending on what you’re using it for. If you’re following a recipe that already requires additional salt, it’s recommended you stick with unsalted brown butter.
Like any butter, browned butter will become solid again once at room temperature or when placed in the fridge. This recipe uses just 1/2 a cup of butter, and we tend to only make brown butter for a specific purpose. You may very well not have any left! If you do, however, because it is great to spread on toast, keep it covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It also freezes well for up to 3 months.
Bring to room temperature before using it. If you need to melt it, just as you would regular butter, melt on the stovetop on very low heat (again, keep an eye on it) or pop in the microwave for a few seconds.
Get the Recipe: How to Brown Butter
- ½ cup butter (salted or unsalted)
- Cut the butter into approximately 1 tablespoon sized cubes.
- Place the butter into a pan over medium heat to melt the butter.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and stir the butter. It will start forming but don’t worry. Continue to stir until the butter starts to brown.
- After 6 to 8 minutes, the milk solids at the bottom of the pan will be brown and look like they were toasted.
- Once done, remove the pan from heat and immediately transfer the butter into a heat-safe bowl so the butter does not continue to cook in a hot pan.
- It should smell nutty and buttery when it’s done.
- Keep a close eye on the butter as it goes from browning to browned to burned really quickly.
- Brown butter is freezer friendly, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Using a light colored pan makes it easier to see the progress of the butter as it browns and tell when it’s ready.
- Do not discard the milk solids as they are packed with flavor.