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How to Make Brown Butter

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! 

This delicious brown butter can be used to add more depth to both sweet and savory recipes. Try making my rich brown butter chocolate chip cookies or add some fresh herbs and use as a sauce over cooked pasta. It’s a true flavor enhancer no matter how you use it!

brown butter in bowl

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Brown butter is one of those things (like yeast) that seems scary, but is easy to make once you know what you’re looking for! It is made by cooking unsalted butter and turning the milk solids brown, while cooking out the water. The flavor is richer, has a nutty aroma and is more intense in flavor than regular butter.

You can use it 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 amazing (and easy) way to elevate your desserts!

cubed butter in pan

How to brown butter

  1. MELT. Heat a large pan over medium heat (preferably a lighter colored pan, don’t use black). Add cubed butter and allow to melt.
  2. 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).
  3. SWIRL. Keep swirling…at this point the butter should start popping and that’s just the moisture escaping.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

melted butter in pan

Tips for success

  • Color of pan. Make sure to use a light colored pan so that you can easily see the change in color while cooking.
  • Cut 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.
  • Infuse. If using for a savory recipe, you can add in a few sprigs of fresh herbs while cooking.

brown butter in pan

Storing + freezing

Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 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.

Favorite ways to use it

close up of foamy brown butter in pan

More flavored butter recipes:

Brown Butter

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! 
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 8

Equipment

  • Light colored pan
  • Bowl

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick, cut into cubes)

Instructions

  • Heat a large pan over medium heat (preferably a lighter colored pan, don’t use black). 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.
  • Keep covered in the refrigerator up to one week.

Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 2mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Calcium: 3mg
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye

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