How to make brown butter An easy-to-make condiment for any cook’s winter kitchen

Brown Butter

Brown butter is an exquisite and versatile condiment, and it’s extremely easy to make. Heat butter until the milk solids brown – that’s it! However, this process is best done slowly, under a watchful eye, so that the milk solids don’t burn. Once filtered, the resulting fat is clear, with a lovely light caramel color and an irresistible nutty aroma. And since the milk solids have been cooked and strained, the browned butter reaches a smoking point of about 400°F (200°C) – a real bonus!

A batch of brown butter will keep in the fridge for weeks – ready to use in sauces, cookies… and more

During the colder months of the year, when I’m more inclined to cook with butter, I always have brown butter on hand. Indeed, you can make a batch ahead of time and refrigerate it for several weeks. Lastly, brown butter is marvelous in both savory and sweet dishes. It adds a wonderful richness and nutty flavor to anything you cook with it.


Butternut squash soup with brown butter and nutmeg crème
Brown butter-roasted winter squash salad with Pecorino Toscano Fresco and toasted pumpkin seeds

Brown butter

makes scant 1 cup
active time: 10 min

  1. 8 oz (225 g) unsalted butter (2 sticks)

  1. Cut the butter in 1″ chunks and place in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter has melted and starts to foam, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook the butter undisturbed until the milk solids are dark brown (they will look like dark crumbs at the bottom of the pan) and the butter has a light caramel color, about 35 to 40 minutes. Take care not to burn the butter, or it will become bitter. Strain the butter through a fine-meshed sieve and let cool. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

condiment, butter, browned

Brown Butter

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  • Reply KATHERINE WILLIAMS July 17, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Can you reheat it? I want to make brown butter tomatoes, but want to do the butter ahead.

  • Reply Susan Barbetti September 30, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Can I add ingredients to the brown butter lemon and capers and still make it ahead of time?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre September 30, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      Hi Susan, Yes, you can make the brown butter as per this recipe. Once the butter has cooled, you can stir in your flavorings (like lemon, capers or herbs) and refrigerate for up to a week. Enjoy!

  • Reply Maria November 4, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I have never used brown butter, and do not know what it tastes like, I’ll try myself. I thought if was burnt butter changes color and is no longer good. Thanks for the instructions.

    • Reply Viviane November 4, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      Hi Maria, Indeed, you need to take care of not burning the butter when you make “brown butter”. When done right, it’s a most delicious and flavorful ingredient. Enjoy making it and tasting it!

  • Reply mjskit November 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

    What’s not to love about brown butter?!!? It adds such a delicious flavor to so many dishes. I usually just make it as needed and never in bulk. That’s going to change. Thanks for the instructions!!

    • Reply Viviane November 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      You’re most welcome, Mj… and thank you for dropping by! I’m delighted you’re a brown butter fan!

  • Reply Kayle (The Cooking Actress) November 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    brown butter is my FAVORITE!!!

    • Reply Viviane November 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      That makes two of us, Kayle!

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