Cooking and Baking 101, Quick tips, Tips Tricks & Gadgets
Comments 32

Quick way to soften cold, hard butter

Slicing butter with a chopper scraper

Need to soften a cube of butter fast? Here’s a super quick way to turn that ice-cold butter soft for creaming and for cutting into pastries.

This is a Cooking and Baking 101 tutorial from YayYay’s Kitchen

If you’ve been cooking and baking all your life, you probably know this baking hack. When I was a young mom, who couldn’t always plan ahead so well, I hadn’t figured it out yet. I would throw the hard, refrigerator-cold butter into my mixer bowl and let it run for what seemed like ages, trying to get it to creaming stage. It would not cream!

Well, now you can soften your butter while you measure out the rest of your ingredients. In fact, it will take you longer to read these instructions than to do it!

This quick tip is for all the young or new cooks who may not have thought of this one yet.

Start with a chopper-scraper

Cubing butter and spacing it on a sheet helps it soften fast

The chopper scraper–One of the most versatile tools in my kitchen

For fast cutting, use a chopper-scraper like the one in the photos on this page.

The food-grade stainless steel is thin enough to slice butter into cubes quickly and tall and wide enough to give you leverage when slicing through a cold, hard stick of butter.

It costs less than $10. So versatile! To see all the ways this tool saves time in the kitchen, check out my photo review on HubPages: This inexpensive chopper-dough scraper is one of my indispensable kitchen tools.

A YayYay's Kitchen Recipe

Quick step-by-step guide

Here you go, seven super quick steps from hard, refrigerated butter to soft, creamable butter in less than twenty minutes.

1. Turn on your oven light
Turn on your oven light

Turn on your oven light

Not the oven! Just the light. The light will warm the oven just a hair, enough to help the butter to soften without melting or losing its creamy structure.

2. Slice the stick three times lengthwise
Slice the butter lengthwise three times

Slice the butter lengthwise three times

Slice through the stick three times. Now you have three slabs of butter.

3. Turn the block and slice three times lengthwise once more
Turn the cube and slice the butter three times once more, so you have 9 long sticks

Turn the cube and slice the butter three times once more, so you have 9 long sticks

Turn the cut cube to the uncut side and slice it lengthwise three times again, so you have nine long sticks of butter, each about 3/8-1/2 inch wide. I messed up here. My arthritic hands don’t always make the most symmetrical cuts, especially when one of them holds a camera.

4. Now, chop the strips into half inch cubes
Next, chop the ends off in half inch intervals to get cubes

Next, chop the ends off in half inch intervals to get cubes

Stack the sticks in their original shape once more and slice them off at half inch intervals. They don’t have to be pretty, just easy-peasy cubes. A chopper/scraper is so much easier than a knife for jobs like this. Because the blade is deep, you can keep chopping even when the butter sticks to it.

5. Toss the cubes onto a parchment-lined baking pan
Spread the cubes on a parchment-lined pan

Spread the cubes on a parchment-lined pan

Waxed paper would work too, but I don’t like the idea of the butter fat and wax mingling in the warm oven. Throw the cubes on the sheet. Spread them out a bit so air can circulate around them, and set them in your unheated oven, warmed slightly by the light you turned on earlier.

6. Set the timer for 15 minutes
Set the butter cubes in oven with light on for 15 minutes

Set the butter cubes in oven with light on for 15 minutes

From fridge to dicing to oven takes less than five minutes. While your butter is softening in the oven, measure out the rest of the ingredients for your recipe, so they’re all ready to go.

7. Use the warmed butter
After 15 minutes, the softened butter is ready to cream or to cut into your pastry

After 15 minutes, the softened butter is ready to cream or to cut into your pastry

Use the softened butter as your recipe dictates.

Thank you for visiting this page

I love hearing from other cooks, from experienced chefs to foodie wannabes. Truth is, I love hearing from almost any one. ; ) We all have something to share, don’t we?

What do you think? Is this trick old-hat to you? Or something new you can use?

♥ ♥ ♥

Dear Readers: If you think you’ve seen this tutorial before, you may well have done. In July 2014, as a writer on the now-defunct site Squidoo, I published this tutorial under the user name graceonline. In August 2014, HubPages, where I am known as ecogranny, bought Squidoo, and I transferred this page to the new site. Now, in November 2015, I’ve brought it home–to YayYay’s Kitchen.

 

32 Comments

  1. Kathryn this is such a good tip! I find that when I get the inspiration to bake, I haven’t planned ahead and left butter out to soften as it should. I never thought of just using the heat from the light in the oven! Kitchens are amazing aren’t they? So many undiscovered tricks 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not even a microwave there to do a mini-seconds zap. I do admit to using the one at home for perhaps 5 secs; the middle softens first, so you have to have confidence and not do it too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Could have used something like that in Sedona two weeks ago, but didn’t have the equipment to hand. So, fed up with trying to put hard butter pats onto the fluffy Belgian waffles all motels seem to offer nowadays, I put them on top of the coffee maker while it brewed. Got half liquid and half nearly soft enough, but we managed. Thanks for the tip.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I turn on the toaster-oven while I put the whole stick of butter (or the number of Tbsp. I need) in a small oven-proof dish. As soon as the heating coil is visibly red, I turn off the toaster-oven, put the dish inside, and go on with my work. The butter softens nicely. I only go to the trouble of cutting it up if the recipe is one in which it’s really crucial for the butter to have an extremely even texture, with no melted spots–like a pastry with a very special consistency–I rarely make that kind of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • A lot of times I jump up to make a recipe I’ve just discovered on the web, so this trick comes in handy two or three times a month! Thanks so much for stopping by, Barbara.

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