How To: Make Brown Butter

CATEGORIES: How To..., Sara

Happy Friday!  I’ve got a quick tutorial today, that we’ve had quite a lot of requests for over the past few years.  As if butter isn’t great enough on it’s own, browned butter takes it to a whole new level.  Butter is basically emulsified water and fat, with milk protein solids in it.  When you melt butter down and let it simmer, the water evaporates and those little milk solids are freed.  As they cook in a pan, they turn golden brown and toast, just like any other delicious thing would toast if you put it in a hot pan with some fat.  Brown butter tastes like heaven.  It can be used in any recipe that uses melted butter, like my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, or this awesome Banana Bread recipe.  It’s also amazing spooned over vegetables, or tossed with pasta.  It’s pretty easy to make.

You’ll want to start with a light colored pan (like stainless steel.)  If you use a dark coated pan you won’t be able to tell when it’s browned and it can go from brown to burned pretty darn quick.  Use unsalted butter.  You can brown salted butter, but all of the salt gets concentrated in the milk solids and depending on how you’re using it, it can ruin the flavor.

Cut up your butter into chunks and place them in your pan.  Turn on the heat to medium and let the butter melt.

After it melts, the butter will foam.

You’ll want to let it bubble away gently, while stirring, and soon the foam will subside and you’ll start to see little brown pieces on the bottom of the pan.   Those are the milk solids starting to toast.  At this point your house will smell almost like roasted hazelnuts.  It’s a really warm, nutty aroma.

Once your butter gets to be a caramel color, remove it from your pan immediately.  If you leave it in a hot pan, the residual heat can overcook it.

See all of those little brown bits?  Deliciousness.

Some people actually strain those out, but I say no way.  That’s where all of the flavor is.  Try it drizzled over pancakes or waffles.  Okay, or like, asparagus.  Whatever.



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  1. I love these tutorials! I use them all the time. The gravy and brown rice one are two of my favorites! Can’t wait to try this one. Thanks, ladies!

  2. One of my favorite uses for browned butter is in buttermilk syrup. I didn’t think syrup could possibly get any better. I was wrong. Yum!

  3. I recently discovered the amazing flavor that browned butter gives to different foods and I am so grateful to have some visual pics to look at- I have pretty much always just guessed! By the way- have you tried the brown butter snickerdoodles that were on Studio 5 a few months ago? A-MAZING! You need to try them if you haven’t yet!

  4. I get browned butter accidentally. I guess I didn’t realize that it was a cool thing to do. But you know I remember a wonderful frosting made with browned butter that I had as a kid and totally forgot about it until I read Ashli’s comment.

  5. Thank you! Thank you! I love making Southern Living’s Fresh Apple Cake with Browned Butter Icing. It’s always a big hit but I’ve never been confident I’ve nailed the icing……because I was doing it in a dark pan! Appreciate the tip! Happy Easter!

  6. The brown butter icing on your apple cake is to die for. I could eat it with a spoon. Awesome tutorial, I never know when to stop so I don’t burn it.

  7. Browned butter is also known “ghee”. This is the secre ingredient that all Indians have in their diet. Btw, this is available at Costco under brand name “nanak” . Try stirfried veggies like cabbage, spinach, or any other with browned butter, elevates the taste to a new level

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