Brown butter is an ingredient that is incredibly simple to prepare, but adds a huge layer of richness, nuttiness, and flavor to recipes. This ingredient will take your baked goods to the next level. This post will explain how to properly make and use brown butter in recipes.
What is brown butter?
Brown butter is the process of melting butter and turning it into a much more flavorful version of butter. When the butter melts and disperses the milk solids, they fall to the bottom and become toasted from the heat.
This produces a beautiful, rich, nutty flavor profile that can enhance so many sweet (and savory) recipes.
How to make brown butter
- Step 1. Begin by melting your butter in a frying pan or saucepan over medium heat. If you would like the process to go more quickly, cut the butter into tablespoon pieces. After all the butter has melted, it will begin to get foamy.
- Step 2. The butter will continue to foam up, and will start to splatter a bit. You will hear a noticeable increase in noise at this point, which is the water cooking out of the butter. Using a rubber spatula (or whisk, but I prefer a rubber spatula), begin stirring and scraping the bottom every 15 seconds or so.
- Step 3. At this point, you will notice the butter starting to change color and the sound starting to die down. It will also be much less foamy now. Continue stirring every 15 seconds, taking care to scrape the bottom so the milk solids don't burn. These are the little pieces of magic that make the butter taste so magnificent! Once the butter becomes almost quiet, you'll know it's about ready. You will see a significant change in color and will notice a delightful change in smell.
- Step 4. Pour the brown butter into a heat proof bowl, scraping all of the brown bits out of the pan. If you need room temperature butter, allow the butter to solidify. Continue reading for more details on this.
Tips for making
Because butter contains water, which evaporates during the heating process, you should always add an extra two tablespoons of butter per ½ cup (1 stick, 113g) in addition to what the recipe calls for when substituting 1-1 in recipes. So, if the recipe calls for ½ cup (1 stick or 113g) butter, you will need to add ½ cup + 2T (1 stick +2T or 141g) to your pan.
I also like to measure my melted butter (by weight or liquid measuring cup) to make sure I have enough. If you are slightly shy, add a bit of water to bring it up to the correct amount. If you are more than a tablespoon or two off, brown more butter.
If you need to use room temperature brown butter and are impatient like me, place the bowl in the fridge or freezer and give it a stir every 5 minutes until it becomes opaque and comes together, but is still soft. If you lose track and it becomes too hard, let it sit out at room temperature for a bit until it's the correct consistency.
Tips for using
In recipes that call for melted butter, make sure the butter cools in a bowl for about 10 minutes before combining with your ingredients. Hot temperatures can alter ingredient properties and could be the cause of a failed recipe.
In recipes that call for room temperature or softened butter, allow the butter solidify and become opaque. The end goal for consistency is to be able to scoop a spoon through it - similar to the texture of soft coconut oil. Ya know...buttery feeling 😉 Be sure to get ALL brown bits out of the bottom - that's where the flavor lives.
Recipes to make with brown butter
- Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Spiced Pear Cake with Brown Butter Frosting
- Browned Butter Blondies (with chocolate chips)
Making Brown Butter
- Frying pan or saucepan
- Rubber spatula or whisk
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113g) - turns into brown butter
- Place a frying pan or saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. As it begins to melt, swirl the pan a few times to nudge it along.
- Once the butter has melted and starts to foam, begin stirring every 15 seconds with a rubber spatula (or whisk).
- Conitnuing stirring and scraping the bottom. The butter will begin to bubble and splatter and will start to get slightly darker in color..
- Once the splattering dies down, there will be a noticeable deepening of color and aroma. Your butter is just about done.
- Pour the butter into a heatproof bowl and scrape all of the brown bits out of the bottom of the pan into the bowl.
- Allow the butter to cool for at least 10 minutes if using melted. If room temperature is needed, allow the butter to solidify.
- Use the brown butter as directed in the intended recipe.