Some call it liquid gold; we say this one-ingredient wonder is a secret weapon for cooking and baking.

October 17, 2016
Stephen Kent Johnson

It feels like a magic trick every time. Brown butter is a simple one-ingredient sauce that can transform all kinds of recipes. In mere minutes, a stick of unsalted butter melts, then simmers and sputters, transformed into an intoxicatingly fragrant and impossibly silky brown sauce. As soon as the foam subsides, the milk solids darken and fall to the bottom of the pan, an unmistakable nutty aroma fills the air, and you're well on your way to better, bolder-flavored food. You've probably had it spooned over pasta or seafood, but it also adds dynamic depth to hollandaise sauce, chicken pot pie, humble glazed radishes, even lemony crinkle cookies. So roll up your sleeves and get cooking! You'll be browning butter for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.


Follow this method, using the amount of butter needed for the recipe.

Active/Total Time: 10 Minutes

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high. When it boils, reduce heat to medium; simmer until foamy. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan, until foam subsides, butter turns golden brown with a nutty aroma, and milk solids separate into brown specks that sink to bottom, 2 to 7 minutes (depending on amount). Remove from heat; immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl unless otherwise noted in recipe (butter may burn if left in hot pan).

Get Our Recipes That Star Brown Butter

Did you leave your butter in the pan too long? No problem! Watch our Kitchen Conundrums expert Thomas Joseph demonstrate his foolproof method for fixing burnt brown butter.


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