Once you know how to make browned butter there’s no end to the depth of flavor you can add to your dinners and desserts! Read below for the entire step-by-step tutorial.
Maybe this is something I should’ve shared before reposting my (absolutely amazingly delicious) Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ah, well, I’m nothing if not someone who loves being a day late and a dollar short. (Actually I hate it. Help me!)
Perhaps, though, we should back up a little bit and figure out what exactly is browned butter?
What Is Browned Butter?
Browned butter is simply butter…that’s been browned! (I know, I know, how annoyingly easy and obvious is that response?) Truly though, it is butter that has been heated to the point that the milk solids fall out of suspension and get all toasty and golden. The result is an immensely deep and nutty flavored liquid that is amazing in baked goods and savory dishes too!
What Does Browned Butter Look Like?
Browned butter fresh from the pan will be liquid. It has a dark yellow to golden color and is speckled with beautiful dark brown bits. Those are the toasted milk solids!
How to Brown Butter:
To make browned butter you only need a few things:
- Butter (which can be cold or room temp!)
- A shallow skillet (non-stick preferably)
- Rubber spatula (not totally necessary, but I don’t brown without it)
- A steady hand (that comes with practice)
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients (or is it just ingredient?…since we’re only working with butter…anyway…)
How Do You Make Browned Butter?
- Cut the butter into TBSP sized pieces. This will aid in the melting process, especially if the butter is straight from the fridge. (P.S. that’s one of my favorite things – you can brown butter that isn’t room temperature. No waiting for butter to soften!)
- Melt the butter. This isn’t a process that I rush. I like to set my skillet over medium heat.
- Swirl the pan. Keep the liquid moving around to avoid burnt butter!
- Keep an eye on it. You’ll notice that the butter will first start to bubble (boil). This is the water evaporating out of the butter (yes, there’s water in butter!). In order to get browned butter we have to get rid of all the water so the milk solids (yep, those are in butter too) fall to the bottom of the pan.
- Keep swirling the pan. Don’t stop! The butter will go from boiling and bubbling intensely to forming more of a light foam on top. This means you’re getting close to browned butter goodness!
- Scrape down the sides. Getting any bits of butter that may have been left behind. Once that happens, I like to scrape the bottom too, to make sure all the solids are toasting evenly.
- Remove from heat! The foam will go from white to beige to brown and you’ll smell that magical scent. It’s nutty and rich and completely mouthwatering. That’s how you know you’ve done it. Kill the heat so you don’t go from brown to burnt!
- Transfer the browned butter. I like to get my liquid gold out of the pan as quickly as possible to avoid burning. I simply pour mine into a heat safe bowl or my mixing bowl until ready to use. Be sure to scrape the pan with your rubber spatula to get every lost morsel!
What Do You Use Browned Butter For?
Any number of things! You already know I love it in cookies! It’s also great in banana bread! And I’ve seen it done in lotsa pasta as of late! It’s great as a sauce over fish or a glaze on roasted veggies.
Can You Make Browned Butter Ahead of Time?
Yes! Not sure what you want to make with your browned butter – don’t worry! You can make it ahead of time! In fact, with baked goods, you’ll usually have to brown it and then let it cool down a bit. Butter that’s straight out of the pan would scramble any eggs in your baked good and no one wants that!
Can You Refrigerate Browned Butter?
Yes! You absolutely can refrigerate browned butter! Simply place it in a heat safe Tupperware and let it cool to room temperature. Close the lid tightly and place it in the fridge. It will last for a few days, until you’re ready to use it in a recipe. To use refrigerated browned butter simply remove it from the fridge and microwave in 30-second bursts, mixing after each, until the butter is liquid again.
You’ll notice after refrigeration all the milk solids will settle and you’ll have a lovely layer of browned flavor on the bottom. Be sure to mix well after reheating to incorporate all these delicious bits when you’re going to use it!
Should You Use Salted or Unsalted Butter?
If you’re going to be baking with it, I’d recommend unsalted (I’ll always recommend baking with unsalted, browned or not). Butter manufacturers don’t have a standard measurement for how much salt to include per stick. Each brand has its own recipe/amount of salt. Using unsalted allows you to control the amount of salt in the recipe to avoid a too-salty sweet.
I hope this answered any questions you may have had regarding browned butter and all its uses! Go forth and brown!