How to Make Brown Butter Sauce: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Brown butter sauce, known as “beurre noisette” in French cuisine, is a simple yet incredibly versatile ingredient that adds a deep, nutty flavor to various dishes. While it may sound fancy, it’s quite straightforward to make at home.

What is Brown Butter Sauce Made Of?

Brown butter sauce is made by heating unsalted butter until the milk solids in the butter start to brown. This process imparts a nutty aroma and flavor to the butter. It is often used in both savory and sweet dishes to add depth and richness.

How to Make Brown Butter Without Burning It

Making brown butter is more about patience and attention than it is about culinary prowess. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:


  • 1 cup of unsalted butter


  1. Choose the Right Pan: Select a heavy-bottomed, light-colored pan. Stainless steel pans work well as they distribute heat evenly and the light color helps monitor the butter’s color change. The best stainless steel pans for induction or the Emeril Forever Pans could be ideal for this purpose.
  2. Melt the Butter: Cut the butter into equal-sized pieces for even melting. Place the butter in the pan and melt it over medium heat.
  3. Keep an Eye on the Butter: Once the butter has melted, it will start to foam and sizzle. Keep stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.
  4. Watch for Color Change: The butter will start to change color from yellow to golden to a light brown. You’ll also notice a nutty aroma. This is a critical stage, and the butter can quickly go from brown to burnt if not monitored closely.
  5. Remove from Heat: Once the butter has reached a deep golden brown color and has a nutty aroma, remove it from the heat immediately. The residual heat will continue to brown the butter a bit more.

Can You Make Brown Butter Sauce Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make brown butter sauce ahead of time. After cooling, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Reheat it gently when you’re ready to use it. Keep in mind that while stainless steel is often the go-to for brown butter, you can make brown butter sauce in a premium nonstick pan. Check here for some examples: Ninja Foodi Neverstick vs Calphalon vs All Clad.

How Much Butter Is Lost When Making Brown Butter?

You can expect about a 20% reduction in volume when making brown butter. This is due to the water content of the butter evaporating during the cooking process. So, for every one cup of butter used, you’ll end up with about 3/4 cup of brown butter.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Why is my brown butter not turning brown? Be sure your heat isn’t too low. While we don’t want the butter to burn, it does need to be hot enough for the milk solids to caramelize and turn brown.
  • Can you brown butter too long? Yes, if left on the heat too long, the milk solids in the butter can burn, resulting in a bitter taste.
  • How do you know when brown butter is done? The butter will have a deep golden color, and you’ll notice a nutty aroma. At this point, remove it from the heat immediately to prevent burning.

The process of making brown butter sauce is relatively simple, but it does require attention to detail. With the right pan and a bit of patience, you’ll be rewarded with a versatile and delicious sauce that can enhance your culinary creations. Happy cooking!