How To Make Brown Butter

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An informational guide on how to make brown butter for any sweet or savory application. The Maillard Browning cooking technique adds rich toasted nutty toffee aroma and flavors.

How to make browned butter a step by step guide

Butter on its own is an excellent ingredient, and it can be used in almost any savory or dessert application or just merely enjoyed on a piece of delicious bread. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to turn this beautiful ingredient into liquid gold, otherwise called brown butter, then now is the chance!

Making brown butter is a simple method technically called Beurre Noisette that adds a lot of toasty, nutty hazelnut-like flavor to any sweet or savory dish.

unpackaged stick of butter on a table

How To Make Brown Butter

It all begins with a beautiful hunk of unsalted butter. As the solids naturally found in the butter starts to cook and toast due to the temperature from the heat source, the solids develop deeper flavors due to Maillard reaction. Pleasant nutty hazelnut aromas and flavors emerge as it cooks. This process creates a delicious brown butter base to use for any sauce, pastry or culinary application.

Here is the step by step on how to make browned butter:

STEP 1: Melt the Butter

butter melting in a hot frying pan

Use a lightly colored saucepan like All-Clad stainless steel pan to make brown butter. This way you can see the color of the butter change. Apply medium to medium-high heat to melt.

STEP 2: Allow Solids to Separate

whisking butter in a pan

See the white solids on top once the butter melts? That’s the milk solids. When butter is melted, it separates into milk solids, butterfat (which can be collected for clarified butter) and water.

As you continue to heat the melted butter over the heat source, the temperatures rise, and the milk solids begin to change to a golden brown color. Continuously stir or swirl the butter during this process to get consistent cooking and no burnt bits on the bottom of the pan.

STEP 3: Brown the Butter Solids

brown butter solids forming in a pan

See those golden browned solids on the bottom of the pan? You want to quickly transfer the brown butter to a heatproof bowl to stop the cooking process. Make sure you remove those bits into the bowl to get all of that great nutty flavor.

This process can take anywhere between 3 to 10 minutes depending on how much butter you’re using (a few tablespoons to 1 cup). In the picture above, 10 tablespoons of butter took 3 to 4 minutes for the process to finish.

Recipes to Make with Brown Butter

Now you can you this magical brown butter in any dish you like. It’s time to give it a try! It adds rich toffee and caramel flavors to cookies, pasta, and fish.

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Brown Butter

Guide on how to make brown butter for any sweet or savory application using the Maillard Browning technique to add toasted nutty toffee aroma and flavors.
Pin Print Review
4.67 from 6 votes
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings 16 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine French

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter

Instructions 

  • Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and allow to melt.
  • Once the butter is melted completely, turn the heat down to medium. Occasionally swirl the pan to ensure that the milk solids are being evenly browned.
  • The browned butter is ready when the milk solids become golden brown in color, oil slightly darkens in color, and the butter has a nutty aroma, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Immediately transfer oil and solids to a bowl. You can strain the oil from the solids if desired, however, the milk solids add a lot of flavor to cookies or other baked goods.

Equipment

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Nutrition Facts
Brown Butter
Amount Per Serving
Calories 100 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Vitamin A 400IU8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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13 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Judy Caywood says

    Hi Jessica, these cookies look crisp vs soft. Am I right about that? No one in my family likes the soft baked type but they do love a crisp cookie with a little snap to it.

  2. Brian says

    From white foam…to clear…to clear bubbles…to Heaven! I accidentally made brown butter once when trying to learn how to make ghee – I’d never heard of brown butter before that. I can think of few things as amazing-smelling as brown butter. I literally open the jar on a regular basis just to sniff it. Seriously.

    Thank you for the instructions. 🙂

  3. Robin says

    Can I put in an icebox and make it so I can use for a cookie recipe? Like the snowball cookie .. measure like shortening

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I think you can give that a try and they soften it before you make the cookies. Let me know how it turns out!

      • Mike Govette says

        I made a cookie recipe with brown butter. I let it cool and get solid in the refrigerator, then used it like butter in the recipe. Had to let it soften to use it, but it worked GREAT! What a flavor!

  4. Jill Ruben says

    I’m dying to properly make browned butter for gnocchi. Your directions are perfect. However, I’m a bit confused. When you say it Alita and use only the brown butter, exactly what will I be doing? Sorry I sound so stupid. And I’m a home gourmet cook! Anyone that could help before 7pm I will be so grateful. Wish me luck.

    • Melissa says

      It says in the recipe to use a light-colored skillet so that you can see the butter change color.

  5. De Ratcliffe says

    I have used BrownButter before and now I have done it while making a Béchamel sauce with rice flour for Moussaka recipe. It smells amazing but I am wondering if I should start again?
    It looks like light brown rice and I was going to use 1/2 & 1/2 with Mozzarella cheese so will still get a creamy sauce just not a white sauce.
    Your advice is much appreciated.
    Cheers Dee

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