It could be a disaster. You’re cooking something and then you realize something and gasp: you forgot to take the butter out of the refrigerator. Or even worse: out of the freezer. Do not despair this time, because it is a fixable problem! Here’s how to soften butter quickly!
It can be an easy thing to forget and then it becomes something easy to regret. We use butter in so many dishes and so many ways: from fat for making roasts, to that essential taste-making part of a baking product. But what to do when you forget to take out the butter? How to soften butter quickly? The first step is and always be: don’t panic! You’ll only make things worse. There are plenty of solutions to this conundrum, just pick out the more accessible and fun for you!
Keep in mind that it takes about half an hour for a pack of butter to soften after it’s been removed from the refrigerator. It, unfortunately, takes way more than that for the same stick to soften if you take it out of the fridge. Butter has a delicate balance, so not everything will work. For instance, the microwave method isn’t very useful because it tends to melt it too much at its very core and too little on the outside. And the butter isn’t supposed to be “melted”. That’s another thing entirely.
But how do you know that your butter is, in fact, softened? There’s a trick and a simple test to that! The butter will be ready for use when you can easily squish it between your thumb and index finger.
How to soften butter in 4 ways
1. Chop the butter
Measure the butter if you only need part of it and let the rest of it get back to the fridge where it’s nice and cool. Then use a sharp knife to chop the piece you’re left with into smaller blocks. Place them on a plate and let them sit at room temperature. Don’t take it too close to the stove, or you will have melty butter on your hands.
2. The hot water method
Fill a glass with hot water and let it rest a little until the glass warms up. Cut the amount of butter you want to use and stack it on a plate. This next part should be done quickly: drain the water from the glass, dry it, and use it to cover the butter pieces. It will only take about a minute to have soft butter, not melted one.
3. Use a rolling pin
Place the quantity of butter you want to be softened in a ziplock bag and seal it. Then put the bag on a cutting board or a flat surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the butter. That way it becomes softer but still keeps its “cool”. Remove it from the bag when you’re done and let it get to room temperature for a few minutes or so. Then use it for whatever you like.
The important thing here is not to overwork the butter because you will damage it and your baked goods won’t turn out exactly… good. So try this process to soften butter two, three times at most.
4. Go for the cheese grater
If you forgot your butter in the freezer, do not despair! The trick is to divide it into very small, many pieces so that it softens at super speed! For that, you can use a cheese grater. Take the quantity of butter you want to use and grate it on the large holes of your cheese grater. Leave the shreds on a plate, pretty well spread out, so they can get to room temperature as soon as possible. It will soften up pretty quickly and the shreds will be even easier to integrate into your recipes.
More butter-mergencies? Here’s the difference between brown butter, ghee, and clarified butter. Here’s how to make brown butter, compound butter, and garlic butter.