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.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Never miss a recipe!

Subscribe to Simply Recipes free via email:

Showing 4 of 32 Comments

  • jen

    I wish I had this post when I was first learning how to brown butter. I had no idea that it was the solids I was supposed to be browning. It would’ve saved me many, many pounds of butter…

  • Sri

    This is a constant at our place and we use it for so many different dishes. We always have brown butter in hand. It goes along very well with Indian sweet dishes, added instead of plain butter.

    We use it for buttering chapatis (Indian) and adding sugar and our daughter loves it; or added to pulao’s or biryani’s to enhance their flavors; also to garnish dals with cumin and other spices.

  • Alanna

    Great tutorial, Elise. I might add that it really helps to brown butter in a light-colored pan (so leave the cast iron and dark-colored non-stick aside) so that you can more easily watch the color change.

    Great point, thanks! ~Elise

  • Seth @ Boy Meets Food

    Nice tutorial. I’ll second what you said about how easy it is to overcook!

    If you do happen to catch it before it gets too bad, it may still be salvageable though… Depending on how bad it is, you might be able to run it through a cheesecloth and remove the burnt solids. The liquid may still be usable, if it still has that light, nutty aroma.

View More Comments / Leave a Comment