How to Soften Butter
Ways to Soften Butter
The three ways to soften butter depend upon the patience of the one desiring the softened butter.
For patient planners (fast):
Place a stick of butter onto the countertop for a few hours (or less depending on the internal temperature of the house). Plan ahead, preferably the night before, for a baking task and simply remove the amount of butter needed for the recipe from the refrigerator ahead of time. This is the most common way to soften butter, but it does involve a little planning.
For those who are not planners (faster):
Remove the butter from the refrigerator and open the wrapper. Cut the butter into pieces, using the tablespoon markings on the wrapper for convenience. Walk away for 10 to 15 minutes (remember, a watched pot never boils) to allow the wrapper to sit on the counter and soften and then gather up the other ingredients to begin making a recipe. You can then pick up the wrapper and usually throw the pieces directly into the mixing bowl, since creaming butter is usually the first step when baking something.
For those with no patience at all (fastest):
If butter needs to be softened ASAP, then cut the butter into chunks as in the fast instructions, but this time place them into a bowl and then into the microwave. Microwave on Low or Defrost mode for no longer than 20 seconds. Check the butter, give it a slight stir and then try again – but never for more than 20 seconds at a time.
CAUTION: Be careful, butter will soften super fast and if you microwave it for too long it will end up melted butter and not softened butter.
Melted butter is a whole different ingredient which will not produce the same result when used in a recipe that calls for softened butter.
Remember, you want soft butter and not melted butter.
How to Soften Butter
To find out how long butter lasts, check our butter page.
To find out if butter needs refrigeration, see our butter refrigeration question.
Soft butter is the first step and made even better when turned into herb butter, depending on what you are making of course.
If thinking about freezing butter, see our freezing butter post first.