Brown Butter Recipe

How to easily brown butter, step-by-step to add a depth of nuttiness and complex flavors to your baked goods. This recipe makes about 9 oz of brown butter.
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 11 mins
Serves: 9 oz
brown butter in clear jar

Brown butter has an amazing nutty and fragrant aroma that can give a huge boost in flavor to your baked goods

Brown butter is simple to make but has a HUGE impact on your recipes. From savory to sweet. Use brown butter in place of regular butter to add a depth of flavor that takes a simple recipe to another level of delicious like in my brown butter frosting and brown butter cake.  

brown butter in clear jar

I like to brown a couple of pounds of butter at a time. It takes longer but it’s worth it to have it on hand! I pour it into a container with a lid and let it get solid overnight.

Brown butter is never quite as solid as regular butter. You can replace half the butter in a recipe with brown butter without it adversely affecting it in any way but you add a ton of flavor! 

Make sure you give it a stir before using it so you get all those yummy brown bits mixed in (flavor town).  

solid brown butter

What kind of butter should you use to brown butter?

Fun fact, cheap butter has more water in it than say, European butter. So if you plan on browning cheap butter, you might end up with a very small amount of actual brown butter left after all the water evaporates. 

So what’s the difference between American butter and European butter? Usually fillers and water. 

best butter

I prefer to use good quality butter like Plugra for browning because it has a high percentage of fat and very little water. I have also used Kerrygold and Darigold with much success. 

You’ll also want to use UNSALTED butter. This is really important because if you use salted butter, you’ll end up with super-concentrated, very salty brown butter.

How to brown butter step-by-step

I was taught how to brown butter by my good friend Kelsey who often helps me of filming days. I was shocked at how easy it was. There’s no magical trick to brown butter, it’s really just a few simple steps. 

  1. Cut your butter into small cubes and place your butter in a lightly colored saucepan (so you can see when the butter is getting dark) and melt it on medium heat. 
  2. Use a whisk (I used a gravy whisk) to constantly whisk the mixture so the milk solids brown evenly.
  3. At first, everything will be really foamy and it will be hard to see the butter. Occasionally I’ll move the mixture off the heat to check the color. 
  4. After a few minutes, you should start to see little brown bits forming at the bottom of the pan and the mixture will be a pale yellow. It’s not done yet!
  5. When the butter is a rich, caramel color it’s done. It should smell nutty and very aromatic and not black or burned smelling.
  6. If it has burned, you can strain the liquids from the solids and it will be ok to use. 
  7. Pour the brown butter into a container with a lid and let it sit at room temperature overnight to set up. Mix it up before you use it in baked goods recipes. 

how to brown butter

What’s the difference between clarified butter, ghee, and brown butter?

Not that it really matters but they really are different. 

Clarified butter is heated slowly over a long period of time until all the moisture is removed and the milk solids are strained out so only the fat remains. It is pale in color and often used for seafood

Ghee is similar to clarified butter, all the moisture is removed and the milk solids are strained out but it is cooked a little longer until it’s a golden yellow, often used in Indian cooking

Brown butter is cooked to specifically toast the milk solids and they are not removed from the final product. The toasted milk solids are what gives brown butter an aromatic flavor. Brown butter is often used in baked goods or sauces to give an extra depth of flavor.

Why is brown butter so good?

Simply put, it’s all about the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is the process that food goes through when it browns. It actually goes through tons of chemical reactions and develops intense and dynamic flavor profiles.

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor. Seared steaks, pan-fried dumplings, cookies and other kinds of biscuits, bread, toasted marshmallows, and many other foods, undergo this reaction.

It is named after French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who first described it in 1912 while attempting to reproduce biological protein synthesis.

maillard reaction

See those little brown bits at the bottom? That’s where alllll the yummy flavor comes from! 

brown butter in saucepan

This is why a seared steak tastes so much better than a boiled one. Or why crusty fresh bread tastes so much better than a hot dog bun. That browning is pure flavor! When you mix that into your baked goods, it intensifies the browning flavor that you might only get on the outside of the baked good.

Brown butter makes food taste better! And now you know more than you ever wanted/needed to know about the Maillard reaction lol. 

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
brown butter in clear jar

Brown Butter Recipe

How to easily brown butter, step-by-step to add a depth of nuttiness and complex flavors to your baked goods. This recipe makes about 9 oz of brown butter.
5 from 11 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 1 min
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 11 mins
Serves: 9 oz
Calories: 271kcal


Brown Butter

  • 12 oz unsalted butter


  • Light-colored saucepan
  • Whisk


  • Cut butter into squares and place into a stainless steel saucepan and melt on medium heat. 
  • Whisk gently. Butter will foam up. 
  • You will begin to see the butter turning a yellow/brown color after a few minutes. Keep whisking.
  • Once it's a toasty brown (not black) and you can smell a nutty aroma, it's done.
  • Remove butter from heat and place in a heat-proof container to cool. 
    Butter can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for 2 weeks. 


Serving: 1oz | Calories: 271kcal (14%) | Fat: 30g (46%) | Saturated Fat: 19g (95%) | Cholesterol: 81mg (27%) | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 9mg | Vitamin A: 945IU (19%) | Calcium: 9mg (1%)
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14 comments on “How To Brown Butter

  1. 5 stars
    Used it in my Keto coffee today…AMAZING!!!!!!

  2. Hello, im think about making a vanilla cupcake with apple filling and brown butter frosting. do you think adding a little maple syrup would be a good fit?
    if yes better in the frosting or the filling.

    The other cupcake is gonna be a vanilla cupcake with lemon curd (is it possible to make a Lime curd??) filling and coconut frosting.

    Thanks alot I love your recepies.

    1. Hey there, I would add the maple to the frosting. Adding to the cake might mess up the balance of the cake. Yes you can make lime curd the same way as you make lemon curd 😀

  3. I LOVE to use very cold brown butter in my pie crusts! Never thought about putting it into a frosting. Sounds delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    Love the detailed explanation you give!!!

  5. Can you speed the setting process in the fridge?

    1. Yes you can but be aware that it will set up rock hard just like regular butter so if you need it softened but not hard, you will have to keep an eye on it and stir it occassionally

  6. 5 stars
    Can you do a brown butter buttercream recipe? I’d love to make that

  7. 5 stars
    If I want to use brown butter in your easy buttercream recipe, should I substitute 50% of the butter with browned butter? I know when the butter is browned, it yields less. Should I therefore brown enough butter to yield the 50% of the original recipe?

  8. 5 stars
    I made the perfect brown butter the first time with the help of this recipe!! So good and easy!

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