How to soften butter quickly using a few simple methods. We’ll show you how to get that ice cold butter to room temperature in no time!
The easiest and best way to soften butter is to simply allow it to sit at – room temperature. That’s pretty much a no-brainer, right?
But this method usually means that you have a bit of a plan in place. If I know that I am going to be baking my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies or my Easy Sugar Cookies recipe early in the morning, I always take my butter out of the fridge and allow it to sit on the counter overnight.
However, if you’re at all like me, sometimes ya just get the urge to bake something without a plan in place. I often find myself in this situation and it can be a real bummer if the recipe you’re using calls for softened butter, or even other room temperature ingredients such as eggs or cream cheese.
But no worries, I’ve got ya covered – so the next time you find yourself staring at ice cold butter, you’ll know exactly what to do to get it to room temp in no time!
HOW TO BRING BUTTER TO ROOM TEMPERATURE
There are a few different ways to soften butter – some of them are faster than others.
HOW TO SOFTEN BUTTER IN THE MICROWAVE
If you bake a lot, I’m betting you’ve attempted to soften butter in the microwave, right? I know some microwaves have a fancy schmancy feature that allows you to soften butter at the press of a button, but unfortunately, my microwave is not rocking that feature.
Softening butter in the microwave is quick. But it can also be tricky because if you get distracted, you’ll end up with a pool of butter instead of a beautifully softened stick.
Ya know you’ve done it – and I’ll attest to the fact that cleaning up melted butter from the inside of the microwave is a pain in the booty. After some trial and error, I’ve pretty much perfected my microwave softening technique. Here’s what I do:
1. Place stick(s) of butter on a microwave safe plate. Leave the paper wrapper on.
2. Place the plate into the microwave and heat on high power for 5 seconds. Open microwave, give the stick 1/4 turn (meaning, pick it up and flip it over onto its side) and heat again for 5 seconds. Do this on all four long sides of the stick(s) of butter. Typically after about 20-25 seconds my butter is perfect. This time will vary depending on your microwave – simply watch it closely and keep flipping it. The flipping action will help the butter to evenly soften.
THE CUBE METHOD
If you have a bit more time on your hands, you can cut the stick(s) of butter into fourths lengthwise and then cube into small pieces. The smaller the cubes, the quicker the butter will soften. Just leave them at room temperature for about an hour or until soft to the touch.
THE GRATING METHOD
I always have a lot of butter on hand and when it’s on sale I stock up and store it in the freezer. But sometimes I forget to move some to the fridge when I’m running low, and then find myself with pounds of only frozen butter. The easiest way to bring frozen butter to room temperature is to take out your handy box grater and grate the butter into a bowl.
Within no time, your butter will be soft and ready to be added to your favorite recipe. This grating method also works wonders when a recipe calls for frozen butter such as scones and pie doughs.
DOES BUTTER NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?
All of this talk of room temperature butter might have you wondering – does it really need to be refrigerated at all?
All unsalted butter should be kept refrigerated. Salted butter can be kept at room temperature but will go bad much faster (about a week). Using an airtight container like a butter crock can make it last longer (about 2 weeks) – and looks cute, too.
And there you have it, my not-so-technical methods of how to soften butter on the fly. I hope it helps you out the next time you feel the urge to bake up something in a hurry! I think these Cookies and Cream Cookies and these Graham Cracker Cookies are calling your name!
How To Soften Cream Cheese
The Microwave and Cube Methods will also work for softening cream cheese. If you use the microwave method, be sure to unwrap the cream cheese before placing it into the microwave.
Saturday 19th of June 2021
These sound like god methods! I’m glad you posted these, because every time I soften butter in the microwave, I seem to do it for too long and it ends up making food taste bad. Thank you!
Monday 25th of January 2021
Oh thank you! Five seconds at a time..perfectly softened ! People, just remember, like I didn’t, that if the butter is wrapped in foil paper, yep, you got it, it sparked! I turned of microwave fast, re-wrapped biutter in some parchment paper pushed 5 min time, flipped it etc. Then all was good.
Saturday 15th of August 2020
I did the 5 second microwave on each side method and it worked perfectly. Thank you so much!
Sunday 16th of August 2020
Thanks so much for stopping by, Marsha! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie
Tuesday 19th of November 2019
Thank you sooooo much. The 5 second per side in the microwave was Prefection!!!
Tuesday 19th of November 2019
Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie