An informational guide on how to make brown butter for any sweet or savory application. The Maillard Browning cooking technique adds a rich toasted nutty toffee aroma and flavors.
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.
How To Make Brown Butter
It all begins with a beautiful hunk of unsalted butter. As the solids naturally found in the butter start to cook and toast due to the temperature from the heat source, the solids develop deeper flavors due to the 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
Use a lightly colored saucepan like an 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
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
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 use 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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- 8 ounces unsalted butter
- 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.
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