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How to Brown Butter (Tutorial)

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In this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to brown butter on the stovetop. Browning butter is such a simple way to really elevate the flavors of both sweet and savory foods.

A glass jar filled with a golden brown butter

It’s been a long time coming but I am finally writing out a post detailing the steps for How to Brown Butter on the stovetop.

I have several recipes on my site that call for brown butter, and each time I give step by step instructions on how to do it, but really it deserves some time and attention of it’s own. 

This is a simple process and one that you can easily learn, but there’s a couple helpful tips and questions I might be able to help answer for you to ensure you’re successful the first time around. 

Taking a few extra minutes to melt and brown the butter on the stovetop can really elevate your desserts, but also it’s a great way to incorporate flavor into your savory foods like sauces, pasta or meat dishes and even side dishes like mashed potatoes.

Let’s get into it.

What Is Brown Butter?

Brown butter is melted on the stovetop turning the solid butter into liquid while some of the moisture (water) evaporates. What you’re left with is the milk solids turning into a golden-brown color and releasing a nutty aromatic smell.

It takes melted butter and turns it into something even more amazing!

This simple technique can be used in place of melted butter in baked goods like cookies, breads or cakes. Or it can be used in place of melted butter in savory dishes like sauces, pastas and side dishes.

A clear glass bowl with brown butter

Step by Step Instruction: How To Brown Butter

Step 1: Cut the butter into pieces and place in a saucepan.

This is helpful because the butter will melt down more evenly but also quicker. I recommend using a light color saucepan. I find that darker pans tend to be difficult to judge the color of the brown butter but also it is more likely that you’ll overcook or burn the butter.

A saucepan with cubed butter that is starting to melt

Step 2: Stir over medium to medium-low heat bringing the butter to a boil.

Browning butter is a quick process but does require attention. Once the butter starts to boil, you don’t want to walk away from the stove, instead, you want to stir the butter frequently so that it browns evenly.

Step 3: The bubbles tightly appear foamy and browning begins.

During the boiling process, the water is evaporating from the butter, so it will bubble and foam on top. Once the water has evaporated, the top turns to more of a foam and the butter turns from yellow to more golden. This is when the milk solids start to turn brown. Keep stirring!

A saucepan filled with butter than has been browned

Step 4: When to remove it from the heat

Butter can go from brown to burn very quickly, continue stirring until the brown bits have formed and the butter is golden brown, remove it from the stove and pour into a heatproof bowl. This will stop the cooking process and prevent burning.

How Long Does It Take To Brown Butter?

It should take about 10-12 minutes or less depending on what temperature you set the stove at and the type of stove you have. I recommend medium heat so you don’t burn it. It’s near the end when the foam starts to settle on top, the brown flakes start appearing in the bottom of the pan. 

sauce pan with brown butter

How Do I Know When It’s Done?

The butter can burn very quickly- that’s why you can’t take your eyes off it.

The depth of flavor really comes from those milk solids in the bottom of the pan. If you pull it too early, the flavor won’t be as pronounced. But if you leave it for too long and over brown it, then it will be burned, which results in a very bitter and unpleasing taste. 

When the light brown flakes start to get darker, pull it off immediately and transfer to a heatproof bowl to cool.

Ways to Use Brown Butter

Brown butter can be used in baked goods and savory dishes like mashed potatoes.

On my website, you’ll find several recipes that use brown butter, but one of my favorite things to make is brown butter frosting or glaze. It’s seeeeriously good.

A glass bowl filed with a brown butter glaze, and a gold whisk

How To Store It

Once the butter has cooled, it can be stored in an airtight container. If left on the counter or put back in the refrigerator, the butter will turn back to a soft solid, and the brown flecks usually will settle on the bottom of the bowl. Depending on the recipe, you might use it right away when it’s melted or you may need to wait until it turns back into a solid.

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A white spatula showing the brown butter flakes from the bowl below

Easy Brown Butter

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup

Description

In this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to brown butter on the stovetop. Browning butter is such a simple way to really elevate the flavors of both sweet and savory foods.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, cold or room temperature

Instructions

  1. Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon size pieces and place in a saucepan.
  2. Turn stovetop on to medium/medium low heat bringing the butter to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the moisture evaporates, the bubbles get tighter and appear to be foamy on top and browning begins. This is when the milk solids start to turn golden brown. Stir constantly and don’t take your eyes off it! Butter can go from brown to burn very quickly.
  4.  Once the solid start to go from golden brown to darker brown, remove from the heat immediately and  pour into a heatproof bowl. If left in the hot pan, the butter will continue to brown and maybe even burn.
  5. Use according to the recipe instructions or store (notes below).

Notes

  • Both salted and unsalted butter will work, but refer to the actual recipe for instructions.
  • Once the butter has cooled, it can be stored in an airtight container. If left on the counter the butter will turn back to a soft solid, and the brown flecks usually will settle on the bottom of the bowl. You can also place it back in the refrigerator, but it will become a firm solid like you’d expect butter to be. Melt or bring to room temperature according to the recipe instructions.
  • Recipes that specify brown butter will let you know if the butter should be used as a liquid or solid. It’s common for a recipe to call for browning the butter will indicate if it needs to be rechilled.
  • Butter can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Nutrition Information:
1 tablespoon
100
0g
0mg
12g
7g
0g
0g
0g
30mg
  • Category: Topping
  • Method: Cooked
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: brown butter, how to brown butter, how to make browned butter

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