How to Brown Butter (plus the BEST ways to use it!)


When I fall in love, I’m head over heels. I’m the type of person who can’t get enough of a good thing. And today I’m officially introducing you to the love of my life: brown butter.

I actually wrote this post back in 2012 but figured it needed a little update and a top spot on the blog because, let’s be real, brown butter is truly magical. So magical that these The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies became #1 on the internet and #1 in the hearts of all AK readers.

Seriously, if you haven’t tried them yet, it’s time to start there.

In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn exactly how to brown butter so that it has that wonderful toasty, nutty flavor and aroma and adds a simple decadence to baked goods and desserts, sauces, savory dishes and more. Yes, I’ve included plenty of recipes using browned butter as well and yes, you’re gonna want to make them ASAP.

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brown butter in a saucepan with a whisk

What is brown butter?

Brown butter is a crazy good thing. No really crazy freaking good. Unsalted butter is melted in a saucepan, which separates the butter and milk. The milk from the butter sinks to the bottom of the pan, which essentially toasts, browns, and caramelizes — giving dishes a wonderful, nutty flavor.

The French call is beurre noisette, which translates to hazelnut butter. I believe it’s called this because once the butter is brown, it gives off a nutty aroma. I love it from the bottom of my heart… obviously.

drizzling brown butter onto a stack of brown butter pancakes

Everything you’ll need to make brown butter

You really don’t need much to make this rich & delicious magic, just:

Can I use vegan butter?

Unfortunately, no. Vegan butter (and even “low calorie” butters) will not brown.

How to brown butter: a step-by-step tutorial

Ready to make some magic? You’ll need about 10-15 minutes total to make wonderful brown butter, so let’s get to it!

butter cubes in a saucepan to brown butter

Step 1: start by slicing your stick of butter into 1-inch pieces so that they melt evenly. Add them to your saucepan and place the pan over medium heat.

whisking butter in a sauce pan to make brown butter

Step 2: the butter will melt, and then start to crackle a bit. Be sure to whisk or stir consistently during this whole process.

browning butter in a saucepan

Step 3: eventually the butter will start to bubble up a bit (as pictured) and start to turn slightly darker in color. Keep whisking!

browning butter in a saucepan

Step 4: after a couple of minutes the butter will start to foam with tiny bubbles and start to deepen in color. You’ll notice a golden amber color at the bottom of the pan. It can be a little hard to see because the butter will also have a layer of foam over it, but continue whisking and look out for this color.

brown butter in a saucepan with a whisk

Step 5: continue to whisk and remove the butter from the heat as soon as the butter turns that amber color and gives off a nutty aroma. This should take just about 4-8 minutes in total.

browned butter in a bowl

Step 6: immediately transfer the butter to a heatproof bowl to prevent it from burning, and scrape all of those solid, brown bits from the bottom of the saucepan into the bowl. Let the butter cool until it’s cool enough to touch before adding it to your recipe!

What are the brown bits in the butter?

Once you’ve browned your butter you’ll notice toasty brown bits or specks at the bottom of your saucepan. These are the milk solids that I mentioned before, and they give the brown butter extra amazing flavor. Be sure to scrape them into your bowl to cool with the rest of the butter!

The best tips & tricks for browning butter

While the whole process is relatively easy, don’t forget these simple tips to ensure brown butter success every time!

  • Only brown 1 cup (or stick) of butter at a time, otherwise the butter may not brown evenly. Remember to cut the stick into 1-inch pieces, too!
  • If you can, use a light-colored saucepan or pot so that you can see the butter change color.
  • Be sure to stir or whisk consistently so that the butter melts and browns evenly.
  • Lastly, remember to cool the brown butter immediately! If you leave it in the hot pan it can easily burn, and burnt butter does not taste good.

brown butter pasta in a skillet

How to store brown butter

If you’re not going to use the brown butter right away, you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It will solidify in the fridge, so you can then feel free to bring it to room temperature to soften or melt it carefully back in your saucepan to use in recipes.

Using brown butter in recipes

Now that you have some incredible brown butter, it’s time to use it! Feel free to substitute brown butter into any recipe that calls for melted butter. Note that if the recipe requires solid or softened butter you’ll need to refrigerate the brown butter so that it solidifies before using it.

Try it out in savory dishes like pasta sauce or even roasted veggies, and use it in your favorite baking recipes to add a deep richness that’s unlike any other. See below for tons of recipes that use brown butter!

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on a baking sheet

Amazing recipes using brown butter

Now it’s your turn to fall in love.

I hope you love this tutorial on how to brown butter! If you try it be sure to leave a comment and a rating to let me know how you liked it (and how you used it). Enjoy, xo!

How to Brown Butter (a step-by-step tutorial)

Learn exactly how to brown butter in just about 5 minutes with a few simple steps to add a lovely richness to sweet and savory recipes! Once you learn how to make brown butter you’ll seriously want to add it to everything. Get all of my tips and tricks in this step-by-step tutorial for browning butter!

  • ½
    cup
    (1 stick) butter (salted or unsalted), cut into 1-inch size pieces
  1. Add butter pieces to a small or medium saucepan and place over medium heat. The butter will begin to melt, crackle, and then eventually foam. Make sure you whisk or stir fairly consistently during this process.

  2. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown and turn a nice golden amber color on the bottom of the saucepan, this usually happens once it begins to foam, and sometimes can be hard to see. Continue to whisk and then remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to foam, give off a nutty aroma and turn an amber color. Keep a very watchful eye. This should take anywhere from 4-8 minutes.

  3. Immediately transfer the butter to a medium bowl to prevent burning (you do not want to burn your butter!), making sure you scrape all the butter from the pan. Set the butter aside to cool for 10 minutes or until cool enough to touch before adding it to a recipe.

I do not recommend browning more than 1 cup butter at a time or the butter may not evenly brown.

It is easier to see the browned butter if you use a lighter saucepan or pot.

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats





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