Brown butter, or beurre noisette, is the secret ingredient used by bakers and chefs to take their dishes to the next level. This simple, one-ingredient recipe is such an easy way to elevate your home baked goods.
Used in all kinds of recipes from Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies to savory Brown Butter Sauce, this is one of the best ways to take your baking from good to great!
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- Why You'll Love Making and Using Brown Butter in Your Baking
- Ingredients & substitutions
- The Browning Process
- Step by Step Tutorial
- Pro tips for making this recipe
- Dessert Recipes Using Brown Butter
- Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Blondies Recipe
- Brown Butter Blondies with Salted Caramel Buttercream
- Sweet & Salty Brown Butter Blondies
- Vegan Brown Butter (thehiddenveggies.com)
- Gluten free Chocolate Chip Cookies (theglutenfreeaustrian.com)
- ❓FAQs about Brown Butter
- More recipes like this one:
- How to Brown Butter (Simple Method)
Why You'll Love Making and Using Brown Butter in Your Baking
Brown butter adds a layer of flavor to baked goods that can't be beat. It is a favorite way among many bakers to impart a nutty flavor and layers of caramel flavors to baking recipes. Here are a few reasons why:
- all it takes is a few tablespoons of butter and a hot pan
- it imparts a rich, toasted flavor
- ready in mere minutes with just a few simple steps
Ingredients & substitutions
The only ingredient needed to make this brown butter recipe is butter. Salted or unsalted butter can be used here.
I would recommend using unsalted butter, as I do in almost all of my baking recipes. This is because the salt level varies across brands of salted butter.
Most recipes call for unsalted butter because it allows you to control the amount of salt that goes into the recipe.
One important tool that you'll need is a light-colored metal pan or skillet. Avoid using a dark-colored or nonstick pan to make browned butter.
When the butter browns, it'll be very difficult to tell when it is done if you use a pan that is the same color as the browned butter.
And brown butter can go from a beautiful caramel color to burned in the blink of an eye. Burned butter has a bitter taste that will make it unusable in recipes.
Seeing the color of the butter as it melts and cooks is, therefore, crucial for success.
The Browning Process
As butter reaches the melting point and begins to cook gently over medium-low heat, the milk solids begin to caramelize. As those milk proteins in the butter cooks, they settle the the bottom of the pan and create an amazing nutty aroma.
Another thing that happens when butter is browned is that some of the moisture evaporates.
This is good because the loss of water content concentrates the flavor of the nutty brown butter, creating a deliciously complex flavor.
Because there is this loss of water content, brown butter cannot always be substituted for melted butter in recipes.
The brown butter will have less volume than melted butter, so be sure to read through the recipe to understand exactly how much is needed for the recipe.
I would recommend that you melt a small amount of butter to add to brown butter if you are substituting it in place of regular melted butter to get the correct amount needed for the recipe.
Or, you can make more brown butter than you need and save the rest for another use.
Step by Step Tutorial
- To begin, set a light-colored pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add a stick of butter or more to the pan. Cold butter or room temperature may be used.
- Using a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, stir or swirl the butter around the pan as it melts. This stirring is important to ensure the butter melts and cooks evenly. After the butter melts, it will begin to foam. It may also sizzle and even sputter a bit, so be careful! Be sure to continue stirring and to stay close to the stovetop so the butter does not burn. As the milk solids begin to separate, they will turn a rich golden brown color and settle to the bottom. At this point, remove the pan from the heat. The residual heat from the pan will continue to cook the butter a bit.
- This entire process takes about 5-8 minutes total. Once the butter has browned, scrape it into a heatproof bowl or Pyrex measuring cup. Be sure to scrape all those brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the heat proof bowl - this is where a lot of the flavor is!
Pro tips for making this recipe
- Use a light-colored pan so you can see the caramel color of the browned butter as it cooks. Burnt butter could very easily occur if using a dark-colored pan
- Opt for a medium, shallow pan rather than a small saucepan. This will enable to butter to have more even surface area close to the heat to brown evenly
- Keep the flame or heat of your stove top on medium heat or medium-low heat. This will prevent the butter from cooking too quickly and possibly burning
- Continue stirring the entire time to ensure the butter cooks evenly
- Stand close to the stove while the butter browns so it doesn't turn from a beautiful golden color to a dark brown color and burned
- Use brown butter in different recipes to elevate the dishes! Just be sure to measure out the proper amount if you're substituting brown butter for melted butter, as one stick of brown butter has a lower water content and volume than one stick of melted butter. This may result in an altered final product if used interchangeably
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Dessert Recipes Using Brown Butter
❓FAQs about Brown Butter
Either salted or unsalted butter will work to make brown butter. I would recommend using unsalted butter, as I do in almost all of my baking recipes. This is because the salt level varies across brands of salted butter. Most recipes call for unsalted butter because it allows you to control the amount of salt that goes into the recipe.
No, the butter does not need to be room temperature. Either cold butter or room temperature butter will work just fine to make browned butter. Since you will be melting it over gentle heat, either one will work just fine.
Yes, browning butter does result in loss of water content as the butter melts. While this concentrates the flavor wonderfully, be sure to measure out the proper amount if you're substituting brown butter for melted butter in recipes. One stick of brown butter has a lower water content and volume than one stick of melted butter. This may result in an altered final dish if used interchangeably.
Same answer as above! Be sure to measure out the proper amount of browned butter if you're substituting it for melted butter in a recipe. One stick of brown butter has a lower water content and volume than one stick of melted butter. This may result in an altered final dish if used interchangeably.
Yes! Just like regular butter, brown butter may be frozen. First, cool the brown butter to room temperature. Place it in an ice cube tray or freezer-proof storage container and freeze up to 3 months. Butter can absorb odors and flavors of other food in the freezer, so I would recommend wrapping it in plastic wrap then placing it in a freezer bag or storage container to prevent this.
A light-colored pan or skillet is the ideal pan to use when making brown butter. This allows you to see the caramel color of the browned butter as it cooks. Burnt butter could very easily occur if using a dark-colored pan where you may not be able to see the color of the milk solids as they cook and caramelize.
These brown specks are caramelized milk proteins, or milk solids. They are the flavorful parts of browned butter, so be sure to scrape all those bits out of the pan and incorporate them into your recipes.
FOR ALL MY FAVORITE BAKING TOOLS INCLUDING THOSE USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE, CHECK OUT MY BAKING RESOURCES PAGE!
More recipes like this one:
- ½ cup unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- In a medium saucepan or skillet set over medium-low heat, add the ½ cup butter, melting and stirring until the butter melts. Pro Tip: Avoid using a dark-colored nonstick pan. You want to see the brown bits as milk solids brown and separate from the liquid. Keep an eye on the butter as it heats.
- The butter may sputter a bit. It’ll begin to foam at the surface. After about 5-8 minutes, the milk solids will separate from the liquid and fall to the bottom of the pan, having turned brown. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Butter can go from brown to burned in a very short period of time. Allow to cool or pour into a heatproof bowl.
- Brown butter can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Melt the solidified butter before using in a recipe that calls for melted brown butter. Be sure to give it a good stir, as the brown bits will settle to the bottom of the bowl as the butter cools
- To freeze, cool then pour into an ice cube tray. Freeze then store the cubes in a ziploc bag for up to 3 months
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