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brown butter in a pan with a silver spoon

How to Brown Butter

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup
  • Category: Topping
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Brown butter is melted butter with a nutty and bold flavor brought on by gently cooking it. You can use this one-ingredient wonder as a sauce or as an ingredient in endless sweet or savory recipes. Read success tips above and recipe Notes below before beginning.


  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) butter, cut into 1-Tablespoon-size pieces*
  • light-colored pan or skillet


  1. Preliminary note: Browning butter is pretty quick, so don’t leave the stove unattended. Have a heatproof bowl next to the stove ready to go for step 3.
  2. Place the butter in a light-colored pan over medium heat. Medium heat ensures the butter cooks evenly, an important factor in this process. Stir the butter the entire time to keep it moving. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam and sizzle around the edges. Keep stirring. In about 5–8 minutes from when you started (depending on the amount of butter you used), the butter will turn golden brown. Some foam will subside and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan will be toasty brown. It will smell intensely buttery and nutty.
  3. Immediately remove the pan from heat and pour the butter into heatproof bowl to stop the cooking process. If left in the hot pan, the butter will burn.
  4. Use as desired.


  1. Make-Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare brown butter ahead of time. Since butter is solid at room temperature, the browned butter will solidify. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Melt or bring to room temperature before using in your recipe.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links):  Light-Colored Skillet or Stainless Steel Skillet
  3. I listed 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) of butter, but you can use however much butter your recipe calls for. I never recommend browning more than 1 cup of butter at a time unless you have a very large pan. Use salted or unsalted butter, whichever your recipe calls for. If you’re using the brown butter as a sauce or dip, I recommend salted butter. Other than that, use the kind of butter that the recipe calls for. Most of my baking recipes call for unsalted butter because you add salt in the recipe.

Keywords: brown butter