Knowing how to brown butter (also known as buerre noisette) is the perfect way to level up your baking and cooking! With easy to follow instructions, browned butter has never been simpler to make. The nutty aroma and deep buttery flavor is the perfect complement to your baking and cooking repertoire. 

Use this browned butter recipe in my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cookie Dough Cake, Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats, Brown Butter Rosemary Mashed Potatoes, or my Cinnamon Brown Butter Pecan Syrup. There are so many fun ways to utilize this delicious butter!

A spoon scooping up browned butter from a white bowl.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Elevates the flavor of desserts and savory dishes. Using brown butter in salmon recipes or dessert recipes is a great way to boost and enhance the flavor. Don’t limit yourself to just using this delectable food in desserts! It’s really yummy in pasta dishes and seafood recipes. Add browned butter to chocolate chip cookies or buttercream frosting and you instantly have a deeper and richer flavor.
  • Easy to do. It may seem like a complex thing, but browning butter is simple! Once you know how to brown butter (and what to look for), it’s the perfect cooking and baking tool in your toolbox!
  • Easy to make ahead. If you are short on time, you can brown butter ahead of time! Simply follow my easy step-by-step instructions on how to brown butter and my storing and freezing tips below! Now you have brown butter you can use later for dinner and dessert. 

Ingredient Notes

A stick of unsalted butter on a gray background.
  • Butter: This recipe uses 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup). You can use salted or unsalted butter. While you can make more, I don’t recommend browning more than 2 sticks of butter at a time.

How to Brown Butter

  1. Cut the butter and add to a saucepan or skillet. Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon-sized pieces. Place the butter pieces in a light colored saucepan or skillet. Place the pan over medium to medium-low heat. 
  1. Melt the butter. Stir the butter around the pan until melted. Keep stirring during the process to reduce the risk of the butter burning. Browning butter is a process that takes about 8 minutes from the time you started. 
  2. Let foam and sizzle. Once the butter melts, it will begin to foam and sizzle. Continue stirring, eventually the foam will subside and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan will turn a very light golden color. 
  3. Cook until milk solids are golden brown. Continue stirring until the milk solids are golden brown and almost amber colored. The smell will be nutty and very buttery. Butter can burn in a matter of seconds so don’t over cook the butter. 
  4. Remove from heat. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the browned butter into a heat-proof bowl or container. This will stop the cooking process. Use the browned butter as desired!

Tips for Browning Butter

You can brown more than ½ cup of butter. Just make sure you have a skillet or pan large enough to hold the amount. I wouldn’t brown more than 1 cup at a time though.

Using a light-colored pan will make it easier to tell when to remove the pan from the heat. Darker colored pans are harder to see the milk solids change color. Using a light-colored pan can make it much easier so you don’t risk burning the butter! 

When stirring, be sure to fully scrape down the bottom and sides of the pan to avoid burning. I use a heat-proof spatula. 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing Brown Butter

You can make browned butter head of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Remove and use as directed in your chosen recipe. 

Freezing brown butter is done best by storing in an ice cube tray until solid and then transferring to an airtight container or Ziplock bag and storing in the freezer. The butter will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. 

Be sure to let the butter cool to room temperature before freezing. 

A white bowl with browned butter in it, on a white background.

Brown Butter FAQs

What is browned butter?

Brown butter is the product result of slowly and gently cooking butter on the stove until the milk solids separate and turn golden brown. It takes on a deliciously nutty flavor and is used in baking and cooking to enhance and deepen flavors. 

What is the difference between brown butter and butter?

Brown butter is just butter that has been cooked on the stove until the milk solids separate and turn brown in color.  

What does browned butter taste like?

Brown butter takes on a nutty, caramel flavor. It’s even described as tasting a bit toffee-like. The butter flavor is very enhanced and the browning tends to bring on additional rich flavors that enhance any baked good or savory dish it is used in! 

What is brown butter made of?

Brown butter is made of butter that is cooked until the milk solids separate and turn down in color. 

How long does it take to brown butter?

Browning butter will take about 8 minutes (sometimes longer depending on the type of pan and the climate/altitude). The process is a bit slow because you want to be sure to not burn the butter! 

Why is my brown butter not browning? 

Make sure to check your heat. While you want to cook the butter low and slow, cooking it on low will take much longer than cooking on medium-low heat. You may also just need to give it a bit longer! Sometimes it can take a good 10 minutes to brown the butter. 

How do you know when brown butter is done?

The butter is correctly browned when the milk solids turn a golden brown color (amber color) and the aroma is nutty. 

Do I need to stir while browning butter?

Yes. While browning butter you want to stir for about the entire time to keep things moving and to prevent the butter from burning.

How do you tell if browned butter is burnt?
This is why it’s important to use a light colored pan so you can see the milk solids change colors. You want to remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter from the pan as soon as the milk solids turn golden brown. Mere seconds can be the difference between browned butter and burnt butter.

A white bowl with browned butter and a spoon in it.

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A white bowl with browned butter in it, on a white background.
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

How to Brown Butter

How to brown butter… with easy to follow instructions! Browned butter amplifies and completely elevates the flavor of any baked good you add it to! Add browned butter to chocolate chip cookies or buttercream frosting and you instantly have a deeper and richer flavor.
Prep Time: 1 min
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 11 mins
Servings: 1 serving

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup butter - (1 stick) salted or unsalted, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

Instructions
 

  • Place the butter pieces in a light colored saucepan or skillet. Place the pan over medium to medium-low heat. 
  • Stir the butter around the pan until melted. While browning butter you want to stir just about the entire time to keep things moving and to prevent the butter from burning. Browning butter is a process that takes about 8 minutes from the time you started. 
  • Once the butter melts, it will begin to foam and sizzle. Continue stirring, eventually the foam will subside and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan will turn a very light golden color. Continue stirring until the milk solids are golden brown and almost amber colored. The smell will be nutty and very buttery. Butter can burn in a matter of seconds so don’t overcook the butter. 
  • Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into a heat proof bowl or container. This will stop the cooking process. 
  • Use the browned butter as desired!

Notes

You can brown more than ½ cup of butter. Just make sure you have a skillet or pan large enough to hold the amount. I wouldn’t’ brown more than 1 cup at a time though.
Mere seconds can be the difference between perfectly browned butter and burned butter. Using a light-colored pan can help you know when to remove the pan from the heat. 
See my FAQs and Tips for more troubleshooting. 

Nutrition

Calories: 814kcal (41%)Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1g (2%)Fat: 92g (142%)Saturated Fat: 58g (290%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 4gCholesterol: 244mg (81%)Sodium: 810mg (34%)Potassium: 27mg (1%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 2836IU (57%)Calcium: 27mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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