How to Brown Butter


Have you ever browned butter? It’s an easy way to take a recipe that relies on butter up a notch in flavor. Just by cooking the butter a little past the melting point results in the milk solids in the butter browning, and creating a wonderfully nutty aroma.

It’s fun to do with butter-based sauces (check out these scallops in a browned butter caper sauce), baked goods that call for melted butter (like these brown butter chocolate chunk cookies), or with vegetables such as winter squash that you sauté in butter. Just be sure to keep your eye on it while cooking; it’s pretty easy to go from browned to burnt.

What do you like to make with browned butter? Let us know in the comments.

How to Brown Butter

  • Cook time: 5 minutes


Unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoon sized slices


Melt butter on medium heat Pay attention as the butter foams up

1 Heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the butter (if you slice it, it will melt more evenly) whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter.

The milk solids in the butter will begin to brown Remove from heat before the brown turns black

2 Once melted the butter will foam up a bit, then subside. Watch carefully as lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. Smell the butter; it should have a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and place on a cool surface to help stop the butter from cooking further and perhaps burning.

It's pretty easy to overcook browned butter and go from brown to burnt. If the butter starts to blacken, I suggest dumping it and starting over (something I've had to do on occasion), unless you want beurre noir which has a different taste than nutty brown butter.

If you want to make sage brown butter sauce, add some fresh sage leaves to the butter once it has melted. Allow the butter to brown and remove from heat.

Use browned butter immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for future use.

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Showing 4 of 40 Comments

  • Christine

    I tried to brown butter using baking butter and it didn’t go golden brown melted into a yellowy liquid,no foam or browning.
    Did l use the wrong butter?

  • Stacy Peterson

    Chocolate Chip Cookies!! Frosting of course. :)

  • Sheila

    I use brown butter on egg noodles with some cottage cheese mixed in. Sounds odd and a lot of people don’t like cottage cheese but they love the combination once they try it.

  • Jennifer Mahoney

    I do a browned butter pasta with mizithra cheese. So easy and so delicious!

  • Gene Fields

    A little variation on the earlier spaghetti recipe. Make the browned butter and add some finely chopped garlic. Pour over the spaghetti and top with grated Mizrithra cheese. To die for!

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