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+ servings

Brown Butter

Brown butter is a one-ingredient recipe that adds a deliciously nutty depth of flavour to recipes both sweet and savoury, from brown butter sauce for pasta to roasted veggies and chocolate chip cookies. 
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: brown butter, browned butter
Servings: 20 tablespoons
Calories: 81kcal
Author: Sylvia Eastman


  • 227 grams unsalted butter (This is equivalent to half a pound. You can use salted butter in a pinch, but it may alter the flavour slightly.)


  • Cut the butter into even-sized cubes and add to a heavy-bottomed, light-coloured saucepan. 
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring every minute or so. The butter will go through various stages. (Note: Mine usually takes about 18 minutes or so, but your saucepan and stove will be different so your results may vary. Also, cooking less butter will take less time.)
    It will take a few minutes for the butter to melt.
    Then it will begin to boil and the water will cook off.
    Next the butter will start to foam as the milk solids brown. You will see the brown flecks and also smell a nutty aroma.
    Take the butter off the heat and pour it into a heatproof cup or bowl to prevent it cooking in the residual heat. 
    Optionally, strain the sediment out during the transfer process. 
    See the body of the blog post for detailed instructions and tips on how to use the butter alone and as an ingredient in recipes. 
    Watch the time-lapse video to see a sped-up version of the cooking process. The video condenses 18 minutes of cooking into 60 seconds, while keeping the amount of time for each process proportional to the overall cook time. You'll notice that the butter melting and then boiling take about 30 seconds of the 60 second video, so proportionally about half of our 18 minute cook time. Around the 45 second mark, you'll see the first of the brown flecks appearing. This is about three-quarters, or 14 minutes in, to our total 18 minute cook time. Please keep in mind that your stove and pot will be different so your times may vary somewhat. 



If you will be using your brown butter within a day or so, it's fine to keep it on the counter. Otherwise, just pop it in the fridge and it will last at least a couple of weeks. You can also wrap it well and freeze it. 
Total Yield and Nutritional Information
The yield for this recipe is 20 liquid tablespoons.The nutritional information is based on a serving size of 1 liquid tablespoon. 
Vegan Brown Butter?
Looking for vegan brown butter, see the recipe here.
Summary of Tips
Please read the post for detailed tips, but here's a summary of key points:
  1. Use unsalted butter if possible. Salted butter will work, but the flavour may be slightly different.
  2. Cut the butter into even-sized cubes to ensure it cooks evenly.
  3. Use a light-coloured saucepan so it's easier to see the colour of the butter changing. 
  4. Stir or whisk the butter every minute or so to ensure even cooking of the milk solids.
  5. Watch the butter carefully. When it is foaming and brown flecks appear, it is time to take it off the heat. Pour the butter into a heatproof bowl or cup to stop it from further cooking. Optionally, strain out the sediment. 
  6. Liquid brown butter all on its own makes a simple, one-ingredient sauce to drizzle on roasted vegetables or hot oatmeal.
  7. For baking, when using brown butter as a swap for regular butter, ensure it's in the same state (e.g., liquid versus solid) as the original recipe calls for. 
  8. For baking, remember that brown butter has less water than regular butter. Therefore when swapping brown butter for regular butter in baking, add an extra 1 tablespoon of liquid for every 1/4 cup of butter (4 ounces). 
  9. Come back often to check out my growing list of recipes that use brown butter. And I've got a recipe for vegan brown butter, too, so if you're cooking for a mixed group of vegans/vegetarians/omnivores you're covered here. 


Calories: 81kcal | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 2mg | Vitamin A: 285IU | Calcium: 3mg