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Best method to soften butter or cream cheese - FAST

replay Nov 17, 2006 02:35 AM

I need to make a cheesecake tonight when I get home. Of course the cream cheese has been in the refrigerator.

Any tricks/tips to soften evenly? While we are at it, how about butter too.


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  1. litchick RE: replay Nov 17, 2006 04:27 AM

    this may be too late, but...

    cooks illustrated recommends wrapping the cream cheese or butter in plastic wrap, then submerging it in a bowl of hot tap water for 5-10 min.


    1. amandine RE: replay Nov 17, 2006 06:11 AM

      i microwave my frozen butter, 10 seconds per side, 6 sides in all, chop into bits if it's still rock hard. or if i'm not as impatient, i sit it out on one of the shelves of the old o'keefe and merrit gas stove-- that thing is like a radiator you can cook with.

      1. p
        Procrastibaker RE: replay Nov 17, 2006 12:19 PM

        Martha Stewart recommends grating it, which works pretty well if the butter is really hard.

        1. Chocolatechipkt RE: replay Nov 17, 2006 03:50 PM

          I usually just throw them in my KitchenAid mixer and let it go for a while.

          1. yumcha RE: replay Nov 17, 2006 03:53 PM

            I take it out of the metal wrapping and microwave for 20 seconds for cream cheese.

            I microwave refridgerated butter for 14 seconds. Works like a charm :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: yumcha
              Oakmont RE: yumcha May 8, 2007 12:26 PM

              Thanks, yumcha! I microwaved 1 stick of butter for 14 seconds and it really did work like a charm.

            2. d
              dotMac RE: replay Nov 17, 2006 03:54 PM

              I've found that putting things to thaw/warm-up on an aluminum cookie sheet works great. It acts like a heat/cold-sync, wicking it all away.

              I'd say it cuts warm-up time in half.

              1. c
                cwatts RE: replay Nov 17, 2006 03:57 PM

                I will usually cut whatever it is into small pieces and leave out for about 15 minutes.
                Also, depending on the type of range you have: if I have stuff going on the burners or the oven is on, I'll leave the butter/cream cheese resting in between the burners. There's usually a warm heat from the oven being on and it speeds things up.


                1. r
                  rockycat RE: replay Nov 17, 2006 04:07 PM

                  Microwave is good, but for butter, whacking it around with a rolling pin always seemed to work for Julia Child. Don't know that I'd want to try it with cream cheese, though. :-)

                  1. v
                    Val RE: replay May 8, 2007 12:47 PM

                    I usually cut it up into small cubes, spread out on a plate and let it sit for 10 minutes at room temp...you have softened little cubes of butter or cream cheese pretty quickly.

                    1. Karl S RE: replay May 8, 2007 02:29 PM

                      The classic truc is simply to cut it up into slices or smaller cubes and leave it out for a few minutes.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Karl S
                        Val RE: Karl S May 8, 2007 05:28 PM

                        You and I were reading the same book! But that's the method I always use; living in FL, things usually warm up quickly, though; I have an unfair advantage there.

                      2. LAcupcake RE: replay May 8, 2007 03:06 PM

                        I also cut mine up in small pieces but then I stick it on a plate in the warming side of my oven by the pilot light while i prep the other ingredients.

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