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How to Cook with Butter

Tips on How to Cook with Butter

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Sarah Caron Contributed by: Sarah W. Caron

What do cookies, cakes, pastas and vegetables have in common? They’re all made delicious with the help of butter. In fact, it’s one of the most commonly called for ingredients in both cooking and baking. So how do you know what kind of butter to use in what dish? Allow me to explain!

First, let’s talk about kinds of butter:

  • Salted butter. This makes a great topping (spread on bread, melted into grits and on baked potatoes, mixed with pasta and a little cheese). But don’t use salted butter in recipes because you can’t control the amount of salt.

  • Unsalted butter. This is ideal for baking. It has the great butter flavor, but you are free to add as much or as little salt as you want. Basically, it gives you control.

Get Buttered Up:

Now that you know that butter is amazing in baked goods and perfect on toast, check out other uses.

Add a pat of butter to marinara sauce. It adds a wonderful richness., like in our delicious marinara sauce recipe.


Cooking with Butter


Season pasta and veggies with browned butter. To brown butter, melt the butter on the stove. Leave it there, swirling occasionally, until it takes on a golden hue. Immediately remove from the burner and use. With its slightly nutty flavor, browned butter is also delightful in chocolate chip cookies. Try our recipe for Green Beans with Browned Butter.


Cooking with Butter


Brown foods in equal portions of butter and oil. When cooking foods in a skillet, use half butter and half oil. This gives rich flavor without the risk of burning (butter burns at a lower temperature). Try our recipe for Spicy Skillet Chicken.


Cooking with Butter


And now a word about softening butter:

When a recipe tells you to use softened butter, let it stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes until it is soft and leaves a slight indentation when touched lightly yet still holds it shape. If you are in a hurry, you can soften butter in the microwave, just be careful to not overheat it and melt it! Remove the wrapper and place it in a glass bowl or glass measuring cup, uncovered. Heat on HIGH 10 to 30 seconds at 5 second intervals just until soft to the touch but still holding its shape.

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