Learn how to make brown butter (aka liquid gold) with these easy tips and tricks. It’s bold nutty and caramelized flavor is the perfect way to take any recipe up a notch!
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A True Flavor Enhancer
Learning how to make brown butter is a simple yet fabulous technique that adds a rich, nutty depth of flavor to your dishes. It is made by browning unsalted butter until the milk solids release aromatic compounds that enhance the taste in both baked goods and savory recipes. The flavor is more complex than regular melted butter and can really elevate your cooking!
Brown butter can be used anytime a recipe calls for melted butter. It can be used in both sweet and savory recipes, although my personal favorite way to use it is when baking. You just can’t beat that golden, caramel flavor. It’s an easy way to take your baked goods from average to amazing in one simple step!
Why Brown Butter is Better
- It’s richer than regular butter and adds a caramelized, nutty flavor.
- Can be used in both sweet and savory dishes to add more depth.
- It’s downright delicious. The perfect way to elevate any recipe!
A few kitchen utensils and a stick of butter are all that’s needed for browning butter. Nothing fancy required!
- Light colored pan. Any pan that’s lighter in color (not black) will work. You need to be able to see the change in color while the butter cooks.
- Butter. One stick of unsalted butter. I prefer using unsalted vs. salted in order to be able to control the amount of salt. Some brands of butter are more salty than others!
- Bowl. For pouring the butter into after it cooks.
Infuse with More Flavor
If using for a savory recipe, you can add in a few sprigs of fresh herbs while cooking to infuse with even more flavor. This is especially delicious when making pasta or roasted vegetables!
How to Brown Butter
Ready in just 10 minutes, this recipe is simple to make and will add so much flavor to your favorite baked goods. Follow the steps below to get started.
- Melt. Heat a large pan over medium heat (preferably a lighter colored pan, don’t use black). Add cubed butter and allow to melt.
- Cook. Once melted, you’re going to cook it for around 2 more minutes. This is when the magic happens. Make sure to swirl it around in the pan so that it doesn’t stick (don’t use a spoon to do this, just use the handle of the pan). At this point the butter should start popping and that’s just the moisture escaping.
- Foam. It should start to foam around the 2 minute mark and you’ll just keep swirling. Once the the pan starts to collect golden flecks (do not let them turn black) on the bottom, the butter turns a golden amber color and puts off a nutty aroma, you’ll know it’s done. Take the pan off the heat immediately, so that it does not burn and let sit just a minute.
- Pour. Once it has turned the perfect golden/amber/brown, pour it into a bowl to stop the browning process and set aside until ready to use.
- Cut butter into pieces. Before getting started, cut the butter into cubes. This helps it melt and cook more evenly in the pan.
- Swirling technique. To prevent the butter from sticking to your pan, make sure to swirl it around. You don’t want to use a spoon…just simply use the handles of your pan.
- Keep a close eye. Don’t even think about leaving the room, you need to keep a close eye on the butter at all times! It only takes a few minutes for it to brown and can easily burn if you’re not paying close attention.
- Remove from heat. After you achieve the perfect amber color, quickly pour the mixture into a bowl so that it doesn’t continue browning (or burning) in the pan.
Only a few minutes! Once the butter has fully melted in the pan, it will usually turn a golden brown color within about 2 to 3 more minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
As it browns, the butter will start to foam in the pan. This is totally normal! It means the moisture from the water in the butter is escaping. It will dissolve as it collects golden specks at the bottom of the pan.
Cover and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The butter will solidify once chilled, but will still have that delicious caramelized flavor. Depending on the recipe you’re following, either let soften at room temperature or melt in pan on the stove before using.
It will stay fresh for up to one week covered in the fridge or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Substituting Brown Butter
You can use it anytime a recipe calls for melted butter. Once chilled in the fridge or freezer, you may also use it in place of softened or chilled butter. It would be a delicious addition to all types of desserts, pasta or vegetables!
Favorite Ways to Use It
- Make a brown butter frosting for banana bars or banana brownies
- To make my favorite brown butter rice krispie treats
- Use to make chocolate chip cookies or toffee cookies
- Turn classic banana bread into a nutty, caramelized version
- Make these moist and chewy brown butter blondies
More Flavored Variations
Brown Butter Recipe
- Light colored pan
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick, cut into cubes)
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add cubed butter and allow to melt.
- Once melted, continue cooking the butter for about 2 more minutes. To prevent it from sticking to your pan, make sure to swirl it around using the pan handle. You don’t want to use a spoon. Continue swirling until the butter starts popping (which means the moisture is escaping).
- The butter should begin to foam around the 2 minute mark and you’ll just keep swirling. Once the the pan starts to collect golden flecks (do not let them turn black) on the bottom, the butter will turn a golden amber color and will put off a nutty aroma. That's when you’ll know it’s done.
- Remove the pan immediately from the heat (so that it doesn't burn) and let sit just a minute. Then pour into a bowl to stop the browning process and set aside until ready to use.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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