The basics: How to soften butter quickly and easily

Article 2 min

When it’s time to use butter in any of your recipes, it may not always be at the temperature or consistency you need. Luckily, there are simple ways to use it in all of its many forms. Learn how to soften butter quickly and how to use it when it’s hard or frozen.

By DFC - PLC, Nutrition Team
Butter and other baking ingredients on a wooden counter.

How to thaw frozen butter

To soften butter, first start by cutting the cold butter into small pieces, and then choose one of the following techniques (pick whichever one best suits you).  

1)    Let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.
2)    Place the smaller pieces of butter over a bowl of hot, not boiling, water.
3)    Beat butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until it softens (then add remaining ingredients if baking).
4)    Place butter between two sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper and shape it with the palm of your hand, or roll it with a rolling pin until it reaches the texture you want.    

How to soften butter in microwave

•    Cut the butter into small pieces and spread out on a microwave-safe plate or bowl. Loosely cover the bowl with a paper towel. Use Medium-Low (30%) power for a few seconds – watching it closely. Stop the microwave and check the butter every 5 to 10 seconds to make sure it isn’t melting.

Note: If you accidentally melt your butter, don’t use it for baking as you won’t get the desired texture. Instead, use it for something else like sautéing or drizzling over cooked vegetables.

How to use butter when it's hard

From the freezer

•    Grate frozen butter onto waxed paper or onto a cutting board using the coarse holes of a box grater. It will quickly become room temperature.

From the fridge

•    Do you want butter to spread on bread or toast, but it’s fridge hard? Use a cheese plane to cut paper-thin slices of butter that soften rapidly on contact with your bread or toast.

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