How to Soften Butter


   It's Saturday morning, and you have planned lots of work for this day. Running some quick errands, cleaning the house, doing some laundry, and then bake something delicious. After all that work, when you finally get to bake something, you realize you totally forgot to take out the butter from the fridge.
   I am sure many of you can relate to the above example. I surely can relate, because I've been there many times. Let me share with you my easy tips on how to soften butter easily and quickly.

  
   Why we need soften butter
   Many recipes for baked goods (cookies, cakes, quick bread) require to use softened butter. It usually states that you have to cream the sugar with the softened butter. This is because butter mixes easier with sugar.
   If the butter has the perfect temperature, the sugar aerates it in the creaming process. And then the baking powder or the baking soda make sure to expand those air pockets. When the butter is softened, it simply retains air during the mixing process. In this way, your resulted baked good will be fluffy, light and airy. 



   What happens if the butter isn't at the right temperature
   Ideally, for the recipes which request softened butter, that means that the butter should be at room temperature. Room temperature means that butter should be flexible and soft so it will not clump in between the blade and bowl of your mixer. But at the same time, it should be hard enough to hold its body. Sounds complicated, right? Not at all: if you can easily squish the butter between your thumb and forefinger, your butter is officially softened.
   If the butter is too soft or even melted, it can't retain the air during creaming. In this situation, sugar is dissolved.
   If the butter is too cold (hard) it will not be pliable enough to cream and blend as it should.

   The best way to soften butter is the old-fashioned way: remember to take it out from the fridge. 😃 But, as we are always busy, let me tell you my tips on how to soften butter easily.

   Use the microwave
   I am sure that the microwave is the first thing coming to your mind. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but you should be careful, especially in the second method I will present to you.

   1. Pour some water in a microwave safe bowl. You can use a liquid measuring cup or anything else that comes in handy. Microwave the water until it's boiling. Meanwhile, put the butter on a heatproof plate or bowl and cut it into pieces. After taking out the water from the microwave, put in the butter, closing the door. In this way, the heat will be trapped inside, and your butter will soften quicker. Make sure you choose correctly the plate/bowl holding the butter. Depending on the quantity of the butter, choose wisely the size of the bowl. The butter should have enough place to spread out in order for all the pieces to warm up evenly.
   2. If you decide to put the rock-solid butter directly int the microwave, you should be very careful! The butter tends to melt on the outside and remain hard in the inside. I recommend cutting the butter into small pieces, and only microwave it for 10 seconds. Check it out how it looks, and if needed repeat the procedure for 5 seconds. I don't use often this method, because there are big chances that the butter will melt, and it will no longer be suitable for the recipe. Once the butter is melted, it reacts differently with the sugar and dough, and it might alter your delicious baked good.

   Use the grater
   Just simply grate the butter using a box grater. Allow it to stay for about 5 minutes and then it's ready to be used. this method works best if the butter is straight out from the freezer.



 






   Use a rolling pin
   Put the butter into a ziplock and simply use the rolling pin to flatten the butter. 5 minutes on the counter, and the butter is ready to go.If you are not a big baker and can't find a rolling pin, you can use a wine bottle or even a meat pounder.

   Use the electric mixer
   Some recipes might tell you to use the mixer to mingle the softened butter with other ingredients. For these recipes (and only for these) cut the butter in small cubes an mix it by itself until it softens. Then you can add the rest of the ingredients as the recipe calls for.



  

 Use a water bath

   Another method to soften butter is using a water bath or double boiler. Put the butter over the water bath, and let it soften. Make sure you keep an eye on it, so the butter doesn't start melting.

   Cube the butter
   As soon as you remember about the butter, take it out of the fridge and cut it into small cubes. Put them on a plate on a single layer. Until you prepare the rest of the ingredients or check your Facebook feed, your butter will be softened.





   



      Please remember to always follow the recipe! Cold, softened and melted butter are very different things, and they perform differently. I really advise you not to change the state of the butter in ANY recipe!
   Now it's your turn! Do you know any other tips on how to soften butter? Make sure you leave them in the comments below. And don't forget to pin and share!



   

 

65 comments :

  1. I always forget to get the butter out to let it soften before baking... will definitely give some of your methods a try! I usually use the microwave and end up with a liquid!

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  2. Loved this! I’m guilty of forgetting to take my butter out too, or just being too impatient. Instead of waiting for the butter to soften, I’d just pop it in the microwave and hope for the best. Then I would be disappointed when my baked goods didn’t come out the way I’d hoped, haha. So much for shortcuts. The next time I try baking something, I’ll try out one of your methods properly!

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  3. I ALWAYS forget to take out the butter or cream cheese to soften! I usually either cube it and wait a few minutes until it's soft or use the stand mixer since it's usually going in there anyway. I'll have to try grating next time, that might work better.

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  4. Good tips!! I've only used the microwave but I'd never thought to cube the butter. I will try microwave water first and place butter in there.

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  5. This is so helpful, thank you! If I could tell you how many times I've had to find creative ways to soften butter - and not all of my brilliant ideas have worked very well! - you wouldn't believe it. This will make life much easier!

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  6. I am so lazy and usually just put the butter in the microwave but sometimes I don't always want it that soft. I would never have thought to use a grater or a water bath!

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  7. I needed these tips the last time I tried to soften butter in the microwave and melted it. oops!

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  8. I had no idea that there were so many ways to soften the butter. I usually just take it out of the fridge or, if I forget, just start cooking a bit later :D

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  9. I read once about heating up a glass big enough to fit over the stick, then standing up the stick on a plate and putting the warm glass over it for a few minutes. Love all these other ideas too, though! :)

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  10. Not having softened butter is something that really holds me back from baking. I always end up melting it when I go for the microwave method.

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  11. Good to know! I usually remember to put the butter out if I need it, but if I forget, I do use the microwave.

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  12. This is so helpful! I have forgotten on more than one occasion to take the butter out of the fridge, now I'll know what to do!

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  13. These are great tips. I tend to put the butter in the microwave and then it is too soft.

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  14. The Cheese Grater! What a genius idea!

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  15. I always forget to take the butter out beforehand. It never fails. These tips will come in handy!

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  16. I've been using my microwave to soften butter. Glad that you came up with different methods as well.

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  17. I always forget to soften the butter before I bake. Good thing I live in a tropical country so I just put the butter outside for a couple of minutes and I'm good to go! :) Thanks for sharing these tips.

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  18. I always forget to take my butter out as well. I will definitely use your tip now that the holidays are around the corner and I will be baking more.

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  19. This is some really great advice. I typically never soften the butter because I am a forgetful person but these methods would be so easy!

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  20. It is very important to do this step and follow the recipe. It is quite a hassle at times but with patience I was able to come up with a good cake.

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  21. I definitely forget to take the butter out of the fridge often. I've never heard of the grater or rolling pin option for this and the both sound pretty easy!

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  22. I can't even count how many times this happened to me! This article is a lifesaver and I'm pinning it forever!! (because I can't trust my memory that is, otherwise I would take the butter out of the fridge on time:P )

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  23. These are great tips for softening butter. This is definitely something you need to know to be able to bake!

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  24. Maybe this is why I am such a terrible baker! I have no patience - I usually just chuck the butter in the microwave. Some great alternatives here to remember!

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  25. These are some great tips! Its the first time I am hearing so much tips to make butter soft. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. i love having butter in a bowl out in the counter and it doesnt melt just soften perfectly so that I can always bake something or butter homemade bread. i dont know if you can do this everywhere becasue when i lived in Florida I couldnt do this.

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  27. I have used all of these tips before to soften butter but when I am in a rush I use the microwave

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  28. Great tips on how to soften butter for baking. I have used many of these tips over the years. However my go to is the microwave method.

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  29. I admit I didn't know how to soften butter until recently! A recipe called for it and I didn't exactly know what that meant but it makes a huge difference in the outcome!

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  30. These are great tips - I would never think about using a grater!

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    1. Using a grater is also good, but sometimes the butter is quite slippery.
      Other tips are also helpful if you have those machines at home.

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  31. I've often used the microwave to soften my butter, but have never thought about cutting it into pieces. Such a smart idea. Now I know why it never comes out right.

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  32. Soft butter is so nice to work with. This is going to save us a lot of time!

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  33. So glad I saw this. I was just looking this up the other day with no luck!

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  34. There are so many ways to soften butter and these are some great tips. Thank You

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  35. my go to way is via the microwave, thanks for sharing the many other ways and tips very useful

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  36. Thank you for these tips! I sometimes forget to take it out ahead of time so I use the microwave.

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  37. We used to put it on a hot pan to melt or soften the butter. Butter is good alternative to oil when frying.

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  38. You never really think about softening butter until you are making something. This is such a helpful post!

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  39. I had no idea that softening butter was a requirement. Then again I am terrible in the kitchen so why would I?

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  40. I don't have a microwave! I always forget to soften my butter though and had never thought about using a grater, that's awesome! I usually use warm water in a up and let steam help soften it.

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  41. I didn't know that the right temperature of butter is so important. I think that thanks to your tips my baking skills will be even better. :)

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  42. These are some great tips - my Mum always leaves it out for a little before using it, but if you forget the microwave is a good plan or a warm knife can help!

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  43. I get so annoyed with myself if I forget to take the butter out of the fridge to soften. I typically end up waiting until the butter is softened at room temperature even if that means I need to make the recipe the next day (I am a weekend baker.) In a pinch, I have done the cut the butter into pieces and put in the microwave for a hot second. It has worked out okay but it DOES make me nervous. :)

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  44. I used every single one of these methods back when I was a pastry chef!

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  45. I hate having to soften butter - I never think about it hours ahead of time. Generally - I walk into the kitchen and all of a sudden decide I want cookies...

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  46. I love baking. There's something so relaxing and fun about it for me.

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  47. I am a absolute newbie when it comes to baking and I love reading about simple tips that can lead to better outcomes. Loved reading your post and would love to try out your trick and tips :)

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  48. Those are quite a few great ideas for melting butter. I have tried putting the butter in cold, chunked that didn't work. I've tried soft margarine, that didn't work and neither did using the microwave as I ended up with a log of butter with the outside melted. I think I like your second microwave way the best.

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  49. I usually use the microwave and it gets too hot! I’ll have to try some of these other methods.

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  50. I always just use the microwave - easiest for me. I think the double boiler trick is a really great one too.

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  51. I have to admit, I never thought of using a grater either. I do know that having the ingredients the right consistency makes a huge difference. Thanks for the tips.

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  52. What a great list of different ideas for helping to soften butter. This should cover what is available in most kitchens.

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  53. Thank you for this great post! I try really hard to remember to take it out early enough to soften, but I usually forget.

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  54. Butter temp makes all the difference when baking. I know that when making cookies if you want them crispy than the butter need to be all the way melted.

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  55. Great methods for softening butter! I always forget to take it out when I need to! Vuoery helpful information, thank you!

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  56. Thanks for sharing this! this is quite helpful specially with winters round the corner. It is usually difficult to find right temperature for butter specially if you are in hurry.

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  57. This has a perfect timing! I was baking just a few minutes ago and needed to soften butter but had no idea what to do!

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  58. I've never thought to use a rolling pin to soften butter. Interesting way to do it, too. I'm always warming it up in the microwave.

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  59. It makes perfect sense to put it into a grater to get it softer quicker. I just never would have thought of that. I will have to remember that for the future.

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  60. What I do to soften the butter is to put it on the oven for a few seconds. It works like a charm!

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  61. I don't bake, but my little one really enjoys it. She uses the microwave to soften the butter, and sometimes I always worry that it will spill on her while hot. Next weekend I will ask her to use a rolling pin.

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  62. Rolling pin for butter? This is new to me. I always use a microwave or just put it out the fridge ahead.

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  63. OMG I have been wondering how to do this for year! This happens to me so often, im always ruining it in the microwave.

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  64. yes first thing in mind is microwave for sure! I didnt even know other ways before this! HOw cool idea!

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