Butter is great, and while we all know this, those who’ve tasted brown butter are armed with another piece of knowledge—brown butter is better butter. Deeply nutty with a complex, comforting fragrance reminiscent of fresh bread, vanilla, and toasted almonds, it’s a total game changer in the kitchen—fancy enough to elevate your favorite cookies and make them dinner party worthy but down home enough to drizzle over a pair of fried eggs.
Also known as beurre noisette, to make brown butter, all you need is a light colored frying pan (or pot), a cooking spoon, a stick of butter, and 8 minutes. Here's what to do.
Step 1: Get the Party Started
After you’ve gathered a light colored frying pan or pot, spoon, and butter, chop the butter up into pieces and put it into the pan over medium-low heat. Stir until the butter is completely melted.
Step 2: Let the Butter Do The Work
Once the butter melts into a lemon-y yellow liquid, it will soon start to separate—bubbling and splattering dramatically. Stir or swirl the pan every so often and feel free to use a splatter guard if you have one to save yourself some greasy cleanup later. This is the longest step in the process and will take about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Let It Brown
Once the butter has stopped splattering away, it will start to foam silently and the browning will occur—fast. Stir frequently here, making sure to get the sandy milk solids settling on the bottom to move around. As you stir and start to get whiffs of toasty butter, keep your eye on those milk solids—once they’re golden, the butter is done. Tip it into a separate bowl to stop the cooking process and avoid going from browned butter to ruined, burnt butter.
You might notice that the liquid butter itself will be darker than it was when you first started, but despite the name, it won’t actually be brown—only the milk solids will be.
Some people even like to strain the milk solids out for a purer brown butter flavor, but I personally like the flavor and love to see the bits suspended in brown butter frostings like vanilla bean seeds or clinging to twirls of brown butter slicked pasta. To each their own!
Step 4: Eat It Up
To store leftovers from a bigger batch of brown butter, put it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge (where it will re-solidify, so don’t be shocked) for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, you can freeze the butter in ice cube trays—but, let’s be honest, when something is this delicious, and this easy to make, there’s no real reason to freeze it for later.