One of the simplest yet most transformative ingredients you can add to your baking is brown butter.
It’s the talk of the town and the holy grail in the world of baking. Every baker I know can’t stop raving about it.
And since giving it a try myself after making these chewy chocolate chip cookies, I can’t stop raving about it either.
Brown butter brings a delightful nutty aroma and rich flavor to many dishes. And the best part? It’s incredibly easy to make.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through my step-by-step process of how to make brown butter perfectly every time. Bookmark this page, because after trying brown butter once, you’ll want to use it over and over!
What is Brown Butter?
Brown butter, or “beurre noisette” in French, literally translates to “hazelnut butter” because of the nutty flavor it develops when the milk solids in butter are browned.
This versatile ingredient can be used in both savory dishes like pasta, and sweet dessert dishes like cookies and cakes.
A Little Bit of Butter Science: As a chemical engineer, I find the transformation of regular butter to brown butter absolutely fascinating.
When butter is heated, the water within it begins to evaporate, and the remaining fats and milk proteins start to undergo what we call a Maillard reaction.
This reaction is responsible for the browning of foods and the development of complex flavors. So, in essence, the delicious nuttiness of brown butter is a result of chemistry in action!
Ingredients You Will Need:
Unsalted butter: The amount will depend on your recipe, but starting with a stick or 1/2 cup is a good baseline to ensure you get enough quantity for cooking or baking after the evaporation takes place.
How To Make Brown Butter
Step 1: Choose Your Pan Wisely
Begin by choosing a light-colored saucepan. A lighter pan allows you to clearly see the butter as it changes color, ensuring you don’t accidentally burn it.
Step 2: Start Melting
Place your butter in the skillet and melt it over medium heat. If you’re using butter sticks, make sure to cut them into 1-inch cubes before placing them in the skillet.
Step 3: Stir Constantly
As the butter melts, it will begin to foam due to the water content evaporating. it’s essential to stir it continuously to ensure even browning. This also prevents the milk solids from settling at the bottom and burning.
Step 4: Watch for Color Changes
The butter will transition from a light yellow to a golden tan and finally to a toasty brown. As it does, you’ll notice a deliciously nutty aroma filling your kitchen.
Step 5: Remove from Heat
Once the butter reaches that deep golden brown shade and you can smell the nutty notes, immediately remove the pan from the heat. The residual heat can continue to brown the butter, so it’s often a good idea to transfer it to a different container to stop the cooking process.
How To Store Brown Butter
Allow the brown butter to cool. If you’re not using it immediately, transfer it to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it in the fridge for up to a week.
Expert Tips For Perfect Brown Butter
Watch Closely: Brown butter can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. Always keep a close eye on it, especially during the final stages of browning.
Filter if Desired: If you prefer clear brown butter without the toasted milk solids, you can strain it through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.
Use a stainless steel pan: Using a stainless steel butter-melting pan makes a huge difference. The stainless steel pan’s light surface lets you clearly observe the butter’s changing color.
Additionally, it ensures even heat distribution, so the butter melts and browns consistently. Without this even heating, some sections of the butter might burn before others have properly browned.
The Perfect Butter
There you have it – a straightforward guide on how to make brown butter!
Once you’ve mastered this technique, you’ll find countless ways to incorporate it into your meals, from drizzling over steamed vegetables to blending into your favorite cookie dough. With its rich and nutty flavor, brown butter is sure to become a staple in your kitchen.
Looking for more culinary tips and tricks? Browse our website for the latest recipes and kitchen tips. And don’t forget to share your brown butter creations with me on social media!
- 1 cup unsalted butter - 2 sticks of butter
- Place your butter in the skillet and melt it over medium heat. For easy melting, dice butter sticks into small chunks before they hit the pan.
- The butter will get foamy as it melts. Keep stirring so it doesn't burn, and the butter colors evenly. Keep an eye out for a change in color. The butter will change from a light yellow to a deeper golden color. When it does, you'll smell a yummy, nutty scent.
- When the butter is golden and smells good, take it off the stove. The pan will still be hot, so pour the butter into another bowl or pot to stop it from cooking more.
- Use in any recipe that calls for brown butter and enjoy!