How to Brown Butter (And Why You Definitely Should)

Consider this the home cook's guide on how to brown butter.

Woman stirring melting butter on frying pan, closeupPhoto: Shutterstock / Africa Studio

Whether you’re making banana bread or gooey sweet blondies, knowing how to brown butter is a skill every baker, from beginner to expert, should have in their wheelhouse. Also known as beurre noisette, browned butter adds a toasted, somewhat nutty note to both sweet and savory recipes that can make a major difference in taste.

The best part? Taking your butter to the next level is super simple. Just follow this step by step tutorial for how to brown butter.

How to Brown Butter

Step 1: Melt the butter

First, melt your butter in a saucepan over medium heat (if you’re worried about burning, you can also use low heat). As soon as it begins melting, start stirring gently with a rubber spatula or whisk so that none of the milk solids stick to the bottom of the pan. The butter will start foaming and turning bubbly—this is completely normal.

Step 2: Keep a careful eye on it

You will notice the butter slowly changes color from pale yellow, deepening to a tan hue the longer it’s over heat. Once it is the desired brown color (you’ll also be able to smell the nutty aroma), remove your butter from the saucepan and pour into a heatproof bowl to let cool. Do not leave it in the pan—even after you take it off the heat, the butter can continue to cook and you will risk burning it. You can also strain your butter to remove any burnt bits or leave them to enhance the toasted flavor, it’s all personal preference.

Step 3: Enjoy or store for later

If your butter is for a baking recipe, chill it to the desired hardness before using. And whatever you don’t use right away, you can store in the refrigerator for later. You can even make big batches of browned butter and keep them in the freezer for months.

Once you’ve mastered the art of browning butter, you probably want to know what exactly you should make to flaunt your new skill. Truth is, you can use browned butter for any recipe that calls for butter (like this buttermilk pound cake) or simply spread it over a slice of toasted baguette for a delicious breakfast. When melted, it also makes a great sauce to drizzle over meat, fish or vegetables. And if you want an incredible Italian dish to spice up your next weeknight dinner, whip up a plate of brown buttered noodles.

Now that you know how to brown butter, find out what kind you should be using in your cooking and baking as we settle the salted vs. unsalted butter debate.

Ready to boost your baked goods? Grab a pan, a spatula and a stick from the fridge and get cooking. (We recommend these chewy pecan pie bars to start!)

Get started with these big, buttery desserts.
1 / 32

Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.