Brown Butter (How to brown butter and even make it better!)

Butter already has a lovely flavor, but when cooked until nutty brown and fragrant, the butter takes on a toasty, nutty flavor with an enticing aroma, adding depth to whatever you are making.

Use a stainless steel pan

– Browning butter is one of those kitchen techniques that every person should have in their arsenal. It takes 5 minutes, but can elevate whatever you are making, sweet or savory, from tasty to sublime.

On top of that, you can intensify the flavor by adding a “secret” ingredient – powdered milk.


HERE ARE 3 TIPS BEFORE YOU BEGIN: (Click here to skip the tips.)

1) Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan, preferably stainless steel or light-colored.

– Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan, preferably stainless steel or light-colored, so you can see the progress of the butter browning.
– If you do not have a heavy-bottomed saucepan, brown your butter at a lower heat to prevent it from burning. (It can burn quickly, so be vigilant.)

2) Have a heat-proof bowl nearby.

– Have a heat-proof bowl nearby where you can pour out the brown butter as soon as it is done. If left in the hot pot, it will continue to cook and go from brown to burnt pretty quickly.

3) Milk powder makes brown butter even better.

– Adding milk powder to your butter while browning will intensify its flavor even more. The toasted milk solids is where the flavor is. And just a couple of tablespoons of milk powder can add enough extra toasted milk solids to really boost that flavor over the top!

without added milk powder
Without added milk powder.
with added milk powder
With 2 tablespoons added milk powder.

Brown Butter ingredients
Add the milk powder when the butter turns clear.

– Add 2 tablespoons (15.5 g) full-fat powdered milk for every stick of butter to amplify that nutty, toasty goodness.

– I use full-fat (or whole milk) milk powder, but you can use non-fat milk powder as well.


Makes about 6 tablespoons.


  • 113 g (1/2 cup or 1 stick) butter
  • 16 g (2 tablespoons) whole milk powdered milk – OPTIONAL


1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Swirl the pan around to heat the butter evenly.

– The butter will sputter, bubble and foam.
– Once the sputtering starts to subside, the butter will begin to turn clear and the milk solids will sink to the bottom of the saucepan.

3. Stir in the milk powder, if using, once the sputtering subsides.

– The butter will become foamy again after adding the milk powder.

4. Turn the heat down to medium.

5. Continue to swirl the butter around and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, scraping up any browning bits sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

6. Once the milk solids have become brown, (about the color of butterscotch) and the butter smells toasty and nutty, immediately remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to cool.

Foamy brown butter with powdered milk

Use brown butter just like regular butter.

Use your brown butter in every way you would use regular butter!

  • Toss your gnocchi, noodles or rice in it. (Add a little sage, Parmesan or capers, if you like.)
  • Use it in pancake or waffle batter.
  • Drizzle it over popcorn.

You can even chill it and use it like cold butter:

– Let the browned butter set at room temperature for an hour or two. Then stir to evenly distribute the toasty milk solids throughout before chilling.

chilled brown butter
  • Use it in pie crusts or scones.
  • Spread it on toast or bagels.
  • Soften it to whip into buttercream.

Here are some recipes with brown butter you may want to try!

Brown butter’s delicious caramel-y flavor comes from the Maillaird reaction. Learn about the Maillard reaction: