How to Make Brown Butter

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Brown Butter is one of those ingredients that you may not know how to make and today I’m going to teach you! It’s easy to do and adds so much flavor to any recipe where butter is an ingredient.

If you’ve never had it you’re missing out! Learn how to make it now!

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measuring cup with brown butter

The first time I had brown butter I was in awe. Cooking the butter until it’s brown gives it a nutty and rich flavor that regular butter just doesn’t have.

I’ve used brown butter in so many recipes – including one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes – and it is such an easy ingredient.

If you don’t know what it is or how to make it, no fear – I’m going teach you today, complete with process photos and a video!

What is the difference between brown butter and regular butter?

Regular butter is just that, regular butter. It’s great in all sorts of recipes whether it’s used softened or melted.

When you cook butter slowly it turns brown and dark and golden. The flavor intensifies and gets almost nutty and has a much more concentrated flavor than regular melted butter.

Basically, you probably aren’t inclined to just drink melted butter but browned butter? Yes, you’ll want to drink it, that’s how good it smells.

What butter is the best kind to use?

The best kind of butter to use when browning butter is unsalted. Salted butter can ruin the flavor, if the salt gets too concentrated as it cooks. I highly recommend using unsalted butter, also called sweet cream butter.

When it comes to brand, you all know that Challenge Butter is my favorite, but regardless of what you use, be sure to use a top-quality brand. Don’t use the cheap store brand – the browning only concentrates the flavor. It’s like when you cook with wine; you want to use one you’d actually drink (or spread on bread, in the case of butter).

brown butter in measuring cup

Process for browning butter on the stovetop

A few tips:

  • Use low to medium heat so the butter doesn’t cook too fast
  • Cut the butter into small chunks before starting so that it melts evenly
  • Stir occasionally and don’t walk away from the stove!
melted butter in saucepan

Basically, to brown your butter, you just melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Let it melt slowly.

Once the butter melts, it will start to boil and foam.

cooking butter in saucepan

You’ll be able to see below all the foam, that the butter is still yellow at first. As you cook it it will turn from a light yellow to darker yellow, to light amber to brown.

Butter goes from brown to burned fast – so keep an eye on it!


It will foam quite a bit during cooking, so be sure to continue stirring occasionally and not leave it alone.

brown butter in saucepan

Once it gets to a nice dark amber color, it’s done cooking. Be careful – butter can go from brown to burnt VERY fast – so be sure and watch it. Once it turns brown, take it off the heat.

The milk fats in the butter will sink to the bottom and look like silt – that’s the good stuff and totally normal!

What do you use brown butter for?

There are so many uses for this amber colored wonderfulness! In cooking you can:

  • Spoon it over vegetables, pasta or meat as a sauce
  • Mix it with chopped nuts and sage for a sauce for vegetables or pasta
  • I’ve used it with my garlic green beans recipe and it’s delish!
  • Add it in place of butter in sauces like Alfredo

For baking, there are SO many ways to use it! Besides the aforementioned cookies, I use brown butter in:

Storing Tips

It’s probably best to just brown your butter and use immediately in a sauce. I wouldn’t make a bunch and save it for a rainy day – it’s best fresh.

The only time I chill it is when I’m making frosting – I want a solid butter when I make buttercream, so let it harden up in those cases.

Have you made this recipe?

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How to make Brown Butter

Learn how to turn butter into brown butter in just a few easy steps. This makes the perfect sauce or addition to any dessert recipe that calls for butter.
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Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 8 tablespoons
Serving Size 1 tablespoon


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter


  • Slice your butter into chunks or tablespoons. Place in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Melt the butter then cook, stirring often, until the butter browns. It will melt then boil, then foam and turn from yellow to golden to amber to brown. It will go from brown to burned fast, so be sure and watch it.
  • Use immediately unless you're making frosting with it and need it to set. The milk fats in the butter will form little brown silt in the bottom, this is normal and that's the good stuff!

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 2mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Calcium: 3mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword butter
collage of brown butter photos

Learn how to make brown butter for cakes, cookies, sauces and so many more recipes. It’s easy to brown butter and use it in so many recipes – it adds so much flavor to desserts, pasta, frostings and more.

Last Updated on March 6, 2021

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  1. I love using browned butter. With parmesan cheese, it made a great Spaghetti Squash side dish for Christmas one year. Something important you did not mention is that what is happening is you are boiling off all the water that is in the butter and there is a surprising amount. I have found using the various brands available in my grocery store, store brand and name brand, that when I brown two sticks (1 cup) of butter and pour the “finished product” into a measuring cup, I have 3/4 of a cup of melted butter. So, keep in mind that you are losing 25% of the volume of butter and it is all water. If you use salted butter, when you are pouring it off, by avoiding inclusion of the brown bits as much as possible, you will minimize the amount of salt carried over. When I used unsalted butter, I keep the brown bits and most people think I used vanilla paste or a vanilla bean.