HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Brown(ed) butter, that magical nutty ingredient...what do you do with it?

I was looking for a thread to bump that was specifically on brown butter, but couldn't find one, so here goes. What does brown butter get up to in your kitchen? I like it in pretty much any baked good featuring nuts, in madeleines, and in the German cookie, Heidesand, for which I mean to hunt up my friend's recipe to post. It also adds great flavor to a scallop dish I came up with - scallops seared in butter, taken out, a bit more butter added and allowed to brown, scallops back in and toasted sliced almonds, a few capers, and the juice and grated rind of a lemon added, simmered briefly. The almonds and butter and scallops all speak to each other very nicely.
How about at your place?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oh, as a dressing for ANY green vegetable, with some crushed hazelnuts or almonds sprinkled on top is probably the frontrunner for us. I've made a browned butter flan that was outrageous. I also like to brown butter lightly and toss with crumbs and nuts of any kind and use to crust a rack of lamb, with some tarragon thrown in for fun. If you brown the butter for your bechamel and use it in a green vegie lasagna, it's magical (I like this one in a spring-vegie lasagna with sheets of pasta, 'cause I'm lazy like that.)And if anybody out there reads this, I'm still trolling for a cookie recipe made with browned butter and molded with teaspoons, then stacked with a fudge filling. I saw it in a magazine and can't remember which one for the life of me, and there are waaay too many of them to try to get through, or the Holidays will have to be delayed. And those scallops sound divine.

    8 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      Was it this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      Spoon Cookies - it was in Gourmet 2005. I have been meaning to try it ever since but haven't gotten around to it. They sound divine!

      1. re: biondanonima

        biondanonima, you are my BFF. Can't believe you found it. I am sooo making these.

        1. re: mamachef

          Ha - I didn't even have to look! Ever since I saw this recipe it's been at the top of my "To Try" folder on Epicurious, yet I STILL haven't found the right occasion (we're low-carb so I only really do cookies at holidays). They just look like melty brown butter heaven nuggets, what could be better????!!!! Please let us know how yours turn out!

          1. re: biondanonima

            I have made this recipe many times now and it is to die for. Really good. Also easy I don't bother with the fudge filling. I think it would kind of distract from the great browned butter taste. This is my gift for friends going on trips or events. I store them in tins. The flavor intensifies after a couple days stored.

      2. re: mamachef

        OOH, brown butter bechamel in a veggie lasagna sounds brilliant! I'm always ladling the stuff over fish, green beans and broccoli to get the family to eat those foods, but putting those yummy green things in a carb-y casserole would be positively deadly. That's going on my list of dinners to throw together in my not-quite-finished kitchen this week. Thank God for Whole Foods' fresh lasagna sheets!

        1. re: mamachef

          I've only used browned butter in baking and occasionally with pasta -- I don't know why, but it never occurred to me to use it as a sauce for vegetables! Green leafy vegetables with browned butter sounds delicious.

          My absolute favorite application for browned butter is Suzanne Goin's hazelnut brown butter cake, topped with chocolate ganache:

          SO GOOD. I made it as my birthday cake this year and now that I have a stand mixer, I might start making it more often! (Especially since I'm still bitter about the fate of that cake... I brought it to a relative's house, and after seeing it they went out and bought a "special cake" from Whole Foods -- okay, so I had to slap on the ganache at the last minute and it didn't look so pretty! -- and then, after everyone inhaled my cake and no one had touched the "special cake," they asked if they could keep the last slice and my husband said yes before I could say anything. To add insult to injury, they insisted we take home the "special cake"! This year NOBODY is going to get my leftovers. Anyway, you can see I feel strongly about this cake!)

          1. re: Pia

            This sounds fantastic. I emphasize entirely on the cake issue! Must make. Thanks.

            1. re: Pia

              That looks amazing. I might have to add that to the Thanksgiving menu. Thanks!

          2. Game on, (brown/ed) buttertart! I only recently discovered the magic of this ingredient. So far, rolling sweet (surprise!) in this kat's kitchen with:

            Martha Stewart's pumpkin cookies with brown butter icing--these are seriously delicious and a must-add to your cookie repertoire (even if you're pumpkin'ed out right about now--you know who you are--HA HA!).

            and Brown Butter Marshmallow Treats
            Not just any butter, mind you, but cultured butter (also new to me). It's the old school recipe from the side of the Rice Krispies box, with just one additional tablespoon of butter, browned...oh and a sprinkling of salt, too. Damn, but they go down easy!

            I've clipped recipes for ravioli in a brown butter sauce (with orange), but have yet to give 'em a try...though am happy to wander to the savory side of brown butterdom. And if anyone is interested, I can dig the recipe out of my file to share.

            Your scallop dish sounds lovely, by the way.


            3 Replies
            1. re: kattyeyes

              Cultured butter is heap delicious. What one do you buy? Rice Krispy treats are something I adore, these must be smashing.
              What was that about pumpkin?

              1. re: buttertart

                I found Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery butter in my local Stop & Shop. It is quite special...never had anything like it.

                I dare you NOT to make the treats with brown butter...they're irresistable (unfortunately!). I ate my way through the better part of two pans' worth...and now I must go walk my @$$ off somewhere. ;)

              2. re: kattyeyes

                I have made sweet potato ravioli with browned butter infused with sage-you add the sage leaves right at the end when you turn the heat off and the flavour is quickly infused. A very light (tasting) sauce for a rich pasta.


              3. I find brown butter works nicely in pasta dishes, like raviolis and gnocchi. .....great on sea foods and fish.....and pretty good on even a steak.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fourunder

                  I have a recipe to try this week for pumpkin browned butter mac n cheese. It uses pumpkin (obviously), a little browned butter and aged cheddar along with the usual milk sauce.

                2. Good topic. I think browned butter is going to be the next big trend. I like it savory with pasta/gnocchi or sweet. I love this browned butter toffee blondie from Martha Stewart--always a big pleaser:


                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    Those sound awfully good, thanks for pointing them out.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      It was posted here years ago and I finally got around to making them a few months ago, in little cupcake holders. People went on and on about them and asked for the recipe. LOL, it was mostly gym people who don't eat things like that but as one said, "They're really THAT good" when she asked for the recipe. I've made them often, since, and people rave about them every time. They're a nice change from brownies that you see often.

                      1. re: chowser

                        chowser -- these sound really good.

                        what kind of cupcake holders do you mean? Do you bake the blondies in them or just cut them when cooked and put them in?

                        and do you use heath bits for the toffee or something else?

                        sounds really good.

                        1. re: karykat

                          I use the cupcake papers--so most of the bite is edge. I've used mini ones and large ones. I'm loving the decorative papers right now that don't need muffin tins. I have also baked up a big pan and then cut on diagonal and put in the holders. It's prettier but far more work, and less chewy crust.

                          I use heath bits when I can find them, ground up Skor or Heath bars when I can't.

                  2. Cook some pasta (my favourite is a pumpkin ravioli from a local shop). While it's cooked, melt butter, throw in some chopped hazlenuts, cook a minute or so, throw in a wackload of sage leaves, cook until sage is crispy and butter is brown. Add to pasta, put on a little parmesan, and you are now in pasta heaven.

                    1 Reply
                    1. i have a recipe from cook's illustrated that uses the browned butter in chocolate chip cookies. they are so good that i have a girlfriend that goes on a diet for a week before she invites me over for dinner (it is standard now that i bring the cookie dough and bake it at her house).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: raygunclan

                        I like that recipe too. It's makes a very sweet cookie but I guess it's a good thing because it means just one is enough.
                        You can find it online here:

                      2. For one of my birthday cakes this year, I made the pumpkin cake with brown butter and cream chess frosting. It was wonderful and the brown butter really took the CC frosting to another level. The cake and frosting recipes are both from Fine Cooking.

                        1. browned butter, sauteed mushrooms and mizithera cheese on pasta

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Island

                            I'm on board with this one. Love it with pasta and mizithera. Yum.

                            1. re: Island

                              I had to look up mizithra--wow, sounds so delicious! Thanks for introducing me to something new. :)
                              Do you agree it tastes similar to ricotta salata? I like that, too.

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                Oh yum. Yes it does taste rather like it. Love Greek cheeses.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  It's also a fairly dry cheese. I usually grate it up pretty fine - like you would a parmesan cheese.

                            2. great timing buttert-we just had pumpkin ravioli with browned butter and it was delicious!

                              1. Very good in mashed potatoes, too.

                                I also occasionally like to brown butter and fry eggs in it; then when the eggs are done, pour the little remaining browned butter over them.

                                1. Count me in on the browned butter train! We experimented with a new recipe today and it was a screaming success!

                                  Pumpkin and Brown Butter Mac and Cheese -- comfort food but definitely elevated by the brown butter. We added some crumbled bacon to give it some extra protien. YUMMERS!


                                  3 Replies
                                    1. re: stomsf

                                      Fun blog, M&C might even make pumpkin edible.

                                      1. re: stomsf

                                        Yes, this is the recipe on my to-try list. The bacon in there sounds really good. You always need a bit of protein!

                                      2. Toss with steamed Brussels sprouts, maybe a drop or two of vinegar (I prefer Sherry to balsamic). Another vote for tossing with any pasta, filled or unfilled. My two fave baked uses for browned butter are shortbread and those spoon cookies. I love browned butter--if it were a perfume, I'd dab it behind my ears!

                                        4 Replies
                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            And a fun thread it is, too. Erika, on the shortbread, you chill the browned butter before proceeding, I take it.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              Yup--brown the butter to the color you want/dare, then shock the pan and chill till re-solidified.

                                        1. ice cream, caramel, cheesecake, cookies, sage butter sauce, lobster, brown sugar and pound cake, frosting. asparagus... I'm gonna hafta go buy more butter now.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: amokscience

                                            I forgot about the spoon cookies!!!!! I have been meaning to make those for years. I have made the Bon App Browned Butter Pecan Shortbread and these are really yum.

                                            1. re: sandylc

                                              Cookies? Tell me more.... got a link?

                                              1. re: Leepa

                                                Here's the spoon cookie link. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                Posted above too, but so you don't have to look for it.

                                                The Browned butter pecan shortbread sounds great too. Will need a link for that one.

                                                1. re: karykat

                                                  Those look great, thanks! I wonder how they'd be with a nutella filling instead of the fruit preserves?

                                                  1. re: Leepa

                                                    Actually, I think the nutella would mesh better with the flavors than the fruit.

                                                    Altho, I really like em just plain. The flavor is so good.

                                          2. Wow, bt, this took off very quickly! Had a feeling, time for brown butter!

                                            I like to sauté fish fillets or steaks, in clarified brown butter, specially sword, salmon, bluefish fillets, halibut, mackerel, sea trout, striped bass, any stronger flavored, lean or even fatty fish, or even the more delicate varieties like sole or flounder fillets, the popular tilapia or basa; whatever's available and not on a the Monterey watch list. Season well, sauté and add whatever else you want with your fish, it all works with brown butter. Scallops or partially blanched lobster meat are great sautéed in clarified brown butter. Throw some whole butter in the pan after sautéing and let it brown for a quick sauce, or follow buttertart's lovely and tasty scallop suggestion. A squeeze of citrus will help the whole butter move along to brown little quicker. Fish fillets can be baked in brown butter as well, no need to sauté.

                                            Aside from that, sauté your salmon cakes, mashed potato cakes or corn cakes in brown butter for an extra nuttiness.

                                            Michael Rhulman likes brown butter also, and here's his simple technique and a few links and comments:


                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                              Skate with beurre noir is always on my plate when it's on a restaurant menu, but I haven't ever cooked it at home.

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                I completely forgot, and you reminded me....twice in my life I have attempted calve's brains, which I did in a brown butter-sherry vinegar reduction. The brains were all right, but the sauce? OMG.

                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                  I'm not much of a brain eater, but that sauce I could consume by the quart.

                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                    I've eaten brains in this sauce (in San Francisco, at a long gone poshy posh traditional French restaurant, remember those?) but must say I would not make them myself. I wimp out.

                                              2. This may sound gross, but we grew up eating spaghetti with tomato paste and butter. I think it probably started when there was no tomato sauce in the cabinet, just a can of tomato paste and mom wanted a quick dinner. She would brown a stick of butter, then add a small can of tomato paste. Stir the paste into the butter and cook while the pasta is boiling, at some point the butter starts to separate so it looks like dark red paste with a lot of grease. Toss that with a pound of cooked spaghetti. It's really good when it's hot. It's disgusting when its cold or when you try to reheat it. My brother and I liked it a bit stronger so would sometimes use 1 1/2 or 2 small cans of paste. Ah, memories.

                                                We also would toss cooked egg noodles with browned butter and feta.

                                                1. I make a bastardized, Americanized (or is that the same thing?) version of the Indian porridge sheera using brown butter. I toast fine semolina or plain whole wheat flour in a dry skillet until it smells toasty, then remove it. In the same skillet, I brown some butter, then stir the semolina back in. Over this, I pour a hot simple syrup to which I've added the crushed seeds of a few green cardamom pods, then stir until it comes together. The original recipe swears you can get the mixture to firm up like polenta so that it can be sliced, but this never works for me, so I just serve it in small portions with a spoon. People who like cardamom, sugar, and brown butter swoon.

                                                  1. ALWAYS used browned butter when making pecan pie. It's noticeable.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. These browned butter blueberry muffins are fantastic! http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/...

                                                      1. I brown butter and then toss lightly steamed cauliflower into the hot pan and squeeze a little lemon over top before serving.

                                                        1. Brown butter shortbread cookies with sage.

                                                          1. Yah, brown butter on any vegetable! Especially fresh corn...
                                                            My family used to make German style cauliflower with brown-buttered breadcrumbs.
                                                            Mashed sweet potatoes with brown butter. Scalloped potatoes with brown butter.
                                                            Brown butter on steak!
                                                            Or, as my Granddad used to say, on the sole of a shoe- it's hard to think of something brown butter wouldn't taste great on...

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                              Our family: "I could eat x on a brick". For me, that's sour cream, with brown butter a close second.

                                                              1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                German style cauliflower? What;s that? My husband dredges lightly steamed cauilflower in egg and breadcrumbs and/or smashed Durkee french fried onions and sautees it in brown butter. So good. He calls it Italian cauliflower

                                                              2. Génoise.

                                                                I inadvertantly frequently make all sorts of stuff with browned butter, and it always tastes good. The stuff browns quickly if I don't watch it, hence inadvertantly.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. As the OP, it goes over seafood in this house.

                                                                    1. re: Island

                                                                      I was eyeballing that one as well, and saved it. You could certainly make your own pasta, but the wonton wrappers make a very good ravioli facsimile, imo.

                                                                    2. Brown butter has got to be one of my favourite flavours. As other said, I love it on pasta or gnocchi, especially simple pastas with a vegetable and some fresh herbs like this recipe for
                                                                      Gnocchi With Zucchini Ribbons & Basil Brown Butter.

                                                                      1. Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. Love the depth of flavour and nuttiness the butter adds to the dish.