How to Brown Butter (and Why You Definitely Should)

You won't believe what a difference it makes.

Woman stirring melting butter on frying pan, closeupAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

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. Look out for these 12 baking mistakes you didn’t know you were making.

Step 2: Keep a careful eye on it

You will notice the butter slowly change 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 a 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 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. Try these other butter hacks you didn’t know you needed in your life.

How to use brown butter

Once you’ve mastered the art of browning butter, you’ll probably want to know what exactly you should make to flaunt your new skill. The 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 buttered noodles.

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! You’ll also want to check out these 15 other secret pantry ingredients that make your recipes better.

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Originally Published on Taste of Home