You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

What Is Brown Butter—and Should You Be Using It?

Country Living logo Country Living 2019-11-01 Katie Bowlby
a bowl of soup and a spoon on a table: What Does Brown Butter Look Like © PoppyB - Getty Images What Does Brown Butter Look Like

"Brown butter" always seems like such a fancy cooking term (especially when referred to by the French phrase, beurre noisette), but it's actually a fairly simple ingredient. If you see it listed in a recipe, don't fret! Yes, you can make brown butter yourself. It only takes one ingredient, a pan, and a few minutes of your attention.

But what exactly is brown butter?

Brown butter is just butter that's been cooked past the melting point. Here's what happens: The milk solids separate from the butterfat and sink to the bottom of the pan. It turns a brown color and takes on a deeper, nuttier flavor than regular melted butter. You'll find brown butter used in sweets (like Basic Vanilla Cake with Browned Butter Glaze and Brown Butter-Hazelnut Brownies) as well as savory dishes like mashed potatoes, pasta, and risotto.

How do I make brown butter?

To make brown butter, melt a stick of butter in a pan over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally. After a few minutes, the butter will begin to foam and solid particles will settle at the bottom of the pan. When the butter begins to turn a caramel color with a rich, nutty aroma, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat immediately or it may burn.

What's the difference between regular butter and brown butter?

Butter and brown butter start out the same—it's basically the regular stick of butter you buy from any grocery store (check your recipe to see if it specifies salted or unsalted butter). Making brown butter does not require any additional ingredients, but it's more than mere melted butter. You simply cook the butter past the melting point until the solids separate (but not until it burns!).

What's brown butter used for?

Brown butter adds a delicious, deep flavor to all kinds of recipes—from cakes and cookies to seafood and pasta. You can even make a simple brown butter sauce and spoon it over just about anything (pork chops! seafood! veggies!). Butter makes everything better, right? But take it easy. Just a drizzle will do—this is butter, after all.

Also on MSN:

Here’s What You Didn’t Know About “Raw” Sugar

Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup

Butternut Squash Lasagna Is the Perfect Cold-Weather Pasta Dish

What does brown butter look like?

Brown butter looks just like melted butter, but it has a light brown color with specks of darker solids at the bottom of the pan. It's best to use a pan with a light interior so you can see the color of the butter more clearly.

How long does it take butter to brown?

Making brown butter takes just a few minutes, but conditions may vary. It depends on the type of pan you use and how high the heat on your stove is set, but you should go from regular butter to brown butter in about two to six minutes. Watch closely! It can burn easily—this is not the time to check your Instagram feed!

What is brown butter sauce?

Don't overthink this! Brown butter sauce is just another name for brown butter. It's usually referred to as "brown butter sauce" when drizzled over a dish, and the term brown butter is more commonly used when it is added to a dish like brownies or cookies.

Related video: Tortellini with Brown Butter (Provided by Bon Appetit)

10 Christmas Treats That Are Totally Healthy (Good Housekeeping)

Download the Microsoft News app for your Android or iPhone device and get news & live updates on the go.

More from Country Living

Country Living
Country Living
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon