How to Brown Butter
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Learn how to brown butter in this easy-to-master tutorial. Brown butter adds a rich and nutty flavor to baked goods, pasta, and pan sauces!
Table of Contents
What is brown butter?
Brown butter, or buerre noisette, is unsalted butter that’s been cooked and caramelized on the stovetop. The butter melts then sizzles as the milk solids brown and take on an intense and nutty aroma.
Why you’ll love browned butter:
Brown butter is a simple process that takes less than 15 minutes!
All you need is butter, a light colored saucepan, and something to stir the butter with.
It’s as simple as melting it, only it takes a few extra minutes and a little bit of stirring!
- Adds a bold, nutty flavor to cookies, cakes, and brownies
- Use it as a quick brown butter sauce for pasta, roasted vegetables, or meat!
- Quick and easy to make
When the only ingredient is butter, you know it’s going to be divine! The French refer to it as buerre noisette or hazelnut butter, because it smells like toasted hazelnuts.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Unsalted butter – When you cook butter, some of the water evaporates and the flavor intensifies. Use unsalted butter, so the end result isn’t too salty!
How to make brown butter:
- Slice the butter into chunks and place them in a skillet over medium heat. Doing this helps the butter cook quickly and evenly.
- Melt the butter, stirring continuously, with a heat-resistant silicone spatula.
- It’ll foam and bubble up. The excess water is evaporating, and the butter will slowly change color. Continue to stir so the butter browns evenly and doesn’t burn.
- Cook the butter for about 8 minutes or so. You’ll start to notice plenty of brown speckles in the bottom of the pan, and the butter will look golden.
- Immediately transfer the browned butter into a heat-resistant jar to stop the cooking!
Tips for Success:
- Remember to use a stainless steel or light-colored skillet. Dark skillets aren’t recommended because it’s hard to see the butter change color. If you can’t see its color, it’s easier to burn it!
- Don’t use butter straight out of the fridge, as cold butter splatters while it melts making a huge greasy mess! Ask me how I know this!
- Be sure to stir the butter while it cooks and don’t step away from it. Now is not the time to do paperwork or the dishes, butter burns quickly!
- Don’t strain the brown specks out of the butter. The caramelized milk solids are what give the butter it’s fragrant and toasty flavor.
- The water in butter evaporates during the cooking process, giving you less in the end. So if you’re using browned butter in place of melted butter, measure the butter after browning. And I recommend using 1-2 tablespoons of extra butter to brown to compensate for the loss.
- Don’t cook the butter over high heat. Medium heat takes a minute or two longer, but it’s less likely to burn!
- Store the brown butter in an airtight container or glass jar with a lid that seals.
- It’ll last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed, light-colored saucepan over medium heat. It will melt, sizzle and foam, then finally start to darken. The milk solids will brown and you will notice plenty of tiny brown specks on the bottom of the pan. The butter is browned and ready to store!
It depends on the amount of butter you use. With 8 ounces of unsalted butter over medium heat, it took about 8 minutes to brown. This could vary slightly if you use more or less butter.
Yes, it’s important to stir the butter while browning it. It ensures the butter cooks and browns evenly.
The brown specks are the caramelized milk solids in the butter. They’re what gives brown butter its fragrant aroma and toasty flavor. Don’t strain them out.
You can substitute equal parts brown butter for regular butter in most recipes! If a recipe calls for cold butter, just be sure to refrigerate the brown butter before you use it. It’s important to measure the butter after you brown it, since the butter reduces as it cooks.
How to Brown Butter
- 1 stick (115g) unsalted butter softened, Note 1
- silicone spatula
- heat-resistant jar
- Slice the butter into 1 tablespoon sized pieces and place it in a skillet over medium heat.
- Melt the butter, stirring continuously with a heat-resistant silicone spatula.
- Once the butter melts, it will start to foam and bubble up. Keep stirring to promote even cooking and prevent burning!
- After about 8 minutes, you’ll notice some brown speckles in the bottom of the pan and the butter will turn golden. (If you’re using less than 8oz of butter, it may take less than 8 minutes.)
- Immediately pour the brown butter into a heat-resistant jar to stop further cooking.
Tips & Notes
– Store the brown butter in an airtight container or glass jar with a lid that seals. It will last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.