How to Brown Butter – with video!

LAST UPDATED: Mar 02, 2021 | PUBLISHED: May 05, 2020 | By:

Brown Butter is the easiest way to enhance any dish or baked treat that calls for butter. It elevates just about everything, giving it a deeper, richer, more intense flavor that smells wonderful, too!

Learn just how easy this process is with easy step-by-step photos and video.

A silver pan with handle, hot brown butter inside.

I discovered brown butter as a child when we would frequent the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown St. Louis.

We’d wait hours in line for a taste of that delicious pasta goodness covered in mizithra cheese (you can get the recipe for Spaghetti with Mizithra and Browned Butter here).

Clearly at the time I had no idea what I was eating – it just tasted like better buttered noodles to me. I might have been clueless, but I wasn’t wrong!

Through the years my love for brown butter has continued to grow. I frequently use it in baking and pastas and every time I do, guests ask for the recipe! Brown Butter just makes everything better!

What is Brown Butter?

It’s also known as beurre noisette – a warm sauce used in French cooking for vegetables, pasta, fish and chicken.

While it sounds and tastes “fancy” anyone can do it – in fact, you may have produced it on accident without even realizing it!

It is the result of cooking butter until the milk solids turn brown and the water evaporates, resulting in a nutty aroma and flavor.

A silver pan with handle, warmed brown butter inside.

Yes, I love butter. As is evident by so many of the recipes I’ve shared over the years! Don’t miss my post about How to Soften Butter Quickly, Sweet Butter and Honey Butter recipes if you love butter as much as we do!

Butter is created of just three primary things: water, fat, and protein. You’re simply eliminating that water during this process.

An understanding of butter is fundamental in your cooking and baking. Knowing how and when to use butter (whether it’s perfectly softened, browned, chilled, salted or unsalted) can improve so many things you make.

A silver pan with handle, warm browned butter inside, showing how to brown butter.

Why You’ll Love this Technique

It’s so rich in flavor and lends any dish it touches a warm, toasted nutty flavor that simply can’t be replicated.

When you take this extra step before adding to any of your recipes, you’ll be surprised at the difference in flavor. Just the simmering, aromatic act of melting your butter down is a kind of soothing, simple zen that is so much fun.

This simple technique can truly take your baked goods, pastas, etc from “meh” to my my my… so don’t miss out!

A silver pan with handle, warm browned butter inside, showing how to brown butter.
A silver pan with handle, warm browned butter inside, showing how to brown butter.

Should I Use Salted or Unsalted Butter?

Technically you should use unsalted butter, but I use and love both. We tend to like our baked goods with a decent ratio of salty to sweet in this house.

While many bakers are adamant about only baking with unsalted butter, I tend to use salted because it’s what we have on hand.

In fact, butter is the only ingredient in this technique that transforms savory dishes and baked goods!

A silver pan with handle, warm browned butter inside, showing how to brown butter.

QUICK TIP: I like using a lighter colored pan when I do this. This isn’t the time for a dark cast iron pan, because you’ll lose sight of how “done” your butter is. You need to watch the color closely, and a light pan is the best way to do that!

How to Brown Butter 

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. how to make brown butter
  2. Swirl (don’t stir) to cook evenly. As it begins to melt, it will start to foam. swirl brown butter
  3. Watch carefully as the color turns brown and you start to smell a nutty aroma. Remove from heat to prevent burning. browned butter
  4. I always use the sediment, but if you prefer, you can use a cheesecloth to remove sediment from cooled browned butter. browned butter

Tips

  • Take your time. Rushing this process will burn your butter!
  • If you wish to remove  the sediment, you can use a cheesecloth to remove from cooled brown butter.
  • Use a lighter colored pan so you can easily see how “done” your butter is. You need to watch the color closely, and a light pan is the best way to do that!
What does Brown Butter mean?

It describes both the process and the product of eliminating water from the butter as it melts and turns the milk solids brown. The result is a more rich flavor than simple melted butter.

How long does it take to brown butter?

About five minutes! It’s so simple.

How do you know if brown butter is burnt? Can you overcook it?

Yes, you can overcook and even burn your butter during this process. You’ll know it’s burnt because it turns into a much darker brown color, far beyond the amber, caramelized look pictures here. Luckily, it’s a slow and low technique that wins every time so if you watch carefully you won’t burn anything.

How long does brown butter keep?

When stored cooled in an airtight container, it will keep for up to two weeks on your kitchen counter and up to three weeks in the fridge. You can store it in ice cube trays for up to three months, sealed with saran wrap to prevent absorption of scents from your freezer’s contents. However, with so many recipes to incorporate it in, it never lasts that long in our home!

A silver pan with handle, warm browned butter inside, showing how to brown butter.

How to Store

  • At Room Temperature – For up to two weeks, stored in an airtight container, it can be stored on your counter – that’s because the milk fats are cooked out so it won’t go bad.
  • Refrigerate – Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three weeks but is always best when consumed fresh.
  • Freeze – Store it in ice cube trays for up to three months, sealed with saran wrap to prevent absorption of scents from your freezer’s contents.

Dietary Considerations

  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Nut Friendly

Recipes Using Brown Butter

Of course my butter tips don’t stop there! You can learn how to make honey butter, strawberry butter, chocolate butter and steak butter and learn how to soften butter here .

Hungry for more? Get my BEST Baking Secrets delivered directly to your inbox and connect on instagram facebook and pinterest!

brown butter

Brown Butter

Author: Julie Blanner
Brown Butter is the easiest way to enhance any dish or baked good that calls for butter. It elevates just about everything giving it a deeper, richer, more intense flavor that smells wonderful, too!
5 from 12 votes
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 3 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 102 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup butter you can use any amount

Instructions
 

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
  • Swirl (don't stir) to cook evenly. As it begins to melt, it will start to foam. Watch carefully as the color turns brown and you start to smell a nutty aroma {3-5 minutes}.
  • Remove from heat to prevent burning.

Video

Notes

Substitutions

  • Technically you should use unsalted butter, but I use and love both.

To Store

  • At Room Temperature – When stored cooled in an airtight container, brown butter will keep for up to 2 weeks.
  • Refrigerated – Up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.
  • Freeze – You can store in ice cube trays for up to 3 months, sealed with seran wrap to prevent absorption of scents from your freezer’s contents.

Tips

  • If you wish to remove  the sediment, you can use a cheese cloth to remove from cooled brown butter.
  • Use a lighter colored pan so you can easily see how “done” your butter is. You need to watch the color closely, and a light pan is the best way to do that!

Nutrition

Calories:102kcalCarbohydrates:1gProtein:1gFat:12gSaturated Fat:7gCholesterol:31mgSodium:101mgSugar:1gVitamin A:355IUCalcium:3mg
5 from 12 votes
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner
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