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How to Brown Butter (and Why You Should Use It Often)

Golden brown butter being drizzled into a small white bowl.
Emilee Unterkoefler

The rich, nutty flavor that brown butter offers is out-of-this-world delicious. And the best part? It’s easy to make and tastes fantastic on, well, just about everything!

Brown butter (or beurre noisette) is merely melted butter that continues to cook until it turns to a caramel-brown hue.

As the butter heats up in a skillet, the milk solids start to toast up and turn brown, due to the direct heat from the pan. Not only does this create an incredible aroma, but it brings quality flavor to several dishes.

To make your own, all you need is a stick of butter, a light-colored skillet (so you can always see which stage your browning butter is at), and a stovetop.

Next, follow these steps:

  • Cut one stick of butter into a few small pieces. This will allow it to melt and brown evenly.
A stick of butter, cut into small pieces on a cutting board.
Emilee Unterkoefler
  • Add the butter to a skillet. Turn your stove on medium-to-high heat, and add the pieces of butter to a light-colored skillet. Again, a dark-colored skillet will make it challenging to gauge when the butter has turned brown. It should take about one minute for the butter to completely melt.
Butter pats melting in a white skillet.
Emilee Unterkoefler
  • Occasionally stir the butter. Watch as the color turns and don’t walk away from the stove. After about five minutes, you’ll achieve a toasty-brown colored butter.
Stirring butter in a white skillet.
Emilee Unterkoefler
  • Remove from pan. Transfer the brown butter from the pan to a heatproof bowl to ensure it doesn’t continue to cook and burn.
A beautifully achieved brown butter in a white bowl, with a spoon inside.
Emilee Unterkoefler

You’ve made brown butter once the color changes, the milk solids look like little specs, and an intoxicating aroma fills your kitchen!

The butter will resolidify as it cools. You can store it for up to one month in the fridge, but we doubt it’ll be around that long once you find out how delicious it is.


The bottom line is brown butter is a magical ingredient that adds character to a multitude of dishes! Next time you make grilled cheese, use brown butter instead! You can also pour it on your popcorn for an extra tasty snack. It tastes incredible on fish, seafood, or even on pasta. Bon appétit!

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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