How to Make Browned Butter

What’s  the deal about Browned Butter?

Also known as Beurre Noisette.

Because Butter (beurre) has been clarified (melted) and then browned to the color of hazelnuts (noisettes).

But why go to the extra trouble though? I mean can’t we just melt butter and add it to the recipe?

Well sure you can do anything you want to do really.

But what will happen if we do that? I wrote a blog post called What is cake to address specifically that. Check it out and then come back here!

But let’s understand that butter contains fat, proteins, moisture and milk solids.

When you melt butter, those fats are changed from a solid form to a liquid form and when it gets cold again it re-solidifies. It doesn’t re-solidify nicely though, if any of you have ever melted butter then stuck it in the refrigerator? Ummm, weird hockey puck like waxy thing on top of a bunch of milky liquid in the bottom of the dish.  This experiment actually showcases the properties of butter in the best light though.  You can clearly see the fat (that hockey puck waxy thing) the milk solids (that milky looking stuff) and then the separated oil and moisture slushing around.

Let’s take oil now, and do the same thing.  Oil remains liquid whether it is refrigerated or not.

The major difference to remember between butter and oil  in cake making is their properties at room temperature (or cold).  If you now re-introduce this ingredient to the recipe (cake); when that cake gets to room temperature, cooled or even cold what will happen to those properties inside the cake?  The same thing that happens to them when they are NOT inside the cake!

So you see that although you can often times make substitutions to recipes with ingredients that seem to be so similar, the results will not be so similar.

Ok, now back to the topic at hand.

Browned Butter.

Browned butter is luscious.  It brings a depth of flavor to recipes that is unmatched.  But technically it is no longer “butter” once we remove that moisture and those milk solids through the cooking process.

So its now easy to remember that any recipe calling for oil can definitely be substituted with Browned Butter.

Just remember that you will start with a bit more butter that you will end up with after it is done browning and the solids are removed.

For every 8 tablespoons or 1 stick you start out with, you will get about 6 tablespoons after the browning and solids are removed.

So if you need 1 cup oil for a recipe, start with 3 sticks of butter!

It is more expensive of course, but it is really worth it!

If you watch the quick video below you will see how easy it is to convert butter to Beurre Noisette for any of your recipes calling for oil!

So choose your recipes that will really benefit from this addition like my Tropical Carrot Cake recipe 

and the Hazelnut Genoise Cake too!


Carrot-Cake-Recipe   Hazelnut-Cake-Recipe

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  1. Wow! I love your website, scientific stuff explained in such a simple manner. Just a question, is brown butter similar to clarified butter also known as ‘ghee’ in my country?

    1. Hi Thanks! It is similar but not exactly the same, in clarified butter the milk solids rise to the top and are skimmed out of the clarified butter leaving a clear, yellow liquid behind. in browned butter the solids are also cooked in, but they get burned and fall to the bottom and we leave that behind also, so yeah, it is very similar

  2. Hi Gretchen!
    I would like to tell you that your videos are so much better compared to the old ones. Also, you look radiantly beautiful and not stressed out. Keep it up.:)

  3. Thank you so much for all your great recipes! I follow you all the time. Love them and you.
    Making your caramel apple cake now for my moms birthday, she will be turning 90 and requested an apple cake. Lets hope it turns out as well as yours!


  4. I love your videos and recipes. Have made your buttercream and it has been the bomb. I want to do the carrot cake with this brown butter. I need to know if it is just butter in the pan boiling or water has been added? Thank you and God bless you always

  5. Thanks again for all your hints and tips, still love your Blondie’s need your recipe if/when poss. Also asked on your fb page, sorry. Best wishes Marg x
    I know they are only brownies but yours are the best. Had it written down from the old days but mislaid it!!!??

  6. Hi Gretchen, thanks again for all your recipes and videos. I was just wondering if you can use the browned butter for any cake recipe like Chocolate, vanilla etc. ?

  7. Thank you very much for this video. I couldn’t really see it well on the apple cake video. It was in a small corner.

    BTW, it took me quite awhile to find the apple cake recipe. I couldn’t find the search box, and had to scroll thru several pages.

    Thank you for your helpful videos!

  8. Hi Gretchen, The apple cake is next to be baked (we have to finish an apple pie first). So I am going to brown my butter soon and get baking.

    But I don’t have your professional pans. I have a set of Teflon dark coated pans. I’m concerned that I won’t be able to see when the butter is done. However, I do have a Cuisinart all metal colored skillet. It’s probably 12″ wide. Should I use that instead of a saucepan? Or would it melt and burn too quickly?

    Thank you very much for your help. I’ve wanted to make this apple cake for over a year now, and I’m determined to make it! Send some eaters over here; I love quality baking but we can’t eat everything I want to bake, LOL.

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