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Beyond the Basics with Butter

Have you noticed it, too? It seems like all the recipes, blogs and food magazines are talking about brown butter or browned butter. There is a very good reason brown butter is popping up all over the food world—it’s delicious! I know browning butter sounds a little intimidating, but it is really very easy to do. With a few quick tips, you will soon be on your way to adding this nutty flavor and aroma to a variety of baked goods and meals in your very own kitchen.

First let’s talk a bit about butter. Although it looks like one thing and is made from one ingredient, it actually has a couple of components. Butter, made from cream, has butterfat, milk solids and water. When you melt butter these things separate, which allows you to do some pretty cool things with butter. The key to Browned Butter is the milk solids.

So let’s get to it. Find yourself a skillet. I recommend using a shiny pan with a silver finish because it allows you to see the transition from melted to brown butter more easily. Place the skillet over medium heat and add your butter.


Allow the butter to melt, swirling the pan or stirring to keep it moving. As it melts, there may be some frothing or bubbling—this is normal.


As the butter continues to cook, the milk solids will start to brown.


Stay close to your pan because the trickiest part of browned butter is getting it just brown enough—not too dark or too light.


Too light, and it won’t have the characteristic nutty flavor and aroma. Too dark, and it may start to taste (and look) burnt.


Your nose will be the first to tell you are browning your butter. The aroma is amazing—very nutty. Continue cooking the butter until it takes on a beautiful golden color. Once it has reached that point, remove the butter from the pan—either into your final application or to another dish. Sometimes simply leaving it in the hot pan can push it over the edge from deliciously golden brown to burnt.


So now that you have this aromatic ingredient, what should you do with it? There are a number of tasty recipes on our site. Type “brown butter” in the search bar to check them out. My absolute favorite use of brown butter is in Rice Krispies Treats®. Brown your butter as described above before adding it to your regular recipe. The subtle nuttiness of the browned butter really shines. You could also toss it with vegetables and pasta, like ravioli, for a fast and tasty dinner.

What is your favorite way to use brown butter?

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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.


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