Kitchen Hacks

Quickly Soften Your Butter With This Easy Hack

November 22, 2018

Butter is an art, not a science. Cream or milk is churned—ferociously, lovingly—until it achieves the thick, spreadable consistency we love on toast, folded into cakes, or melted into shallots. Butter, that cornerstone of French cuisine, takes many forms. Like a chameleon, butter adapts to its surrounding temperature. In the freezer it is solid, icy even. In the fridge, butter stays stiff and shaped. Left on the counter, it achieves a level of cream that renders it perfect for slathering. And melted, in a pan or microwave or on the stove, butter is a silky golden liquid.

All forms of butter are worthwhile, some recipes even specify butter temperature to achieve certain textures. But it’s moving between these forms that proves difficult; any good chemist knows process is necessary to shift between states of matter. One transformation that leaves bakers consistently stumped is getting cold, hard butter soft enough to spread. We all know the feeling of pulling a dense stick of butter out of the fridge—or worse, the freezer—only to find it impossible to manipulate. Well, rest assured because this video hack is here to solve all your butter softening needs.

Like any good hack, the trick is simple enough. A warm cup creates a lightly heated environment and gets your butter going in mere moments. It’s a hack like this that hits the sweet spot, perfect for those never-knew-you-needed-it-until-you-did kinds of moments. So, go forth and give it a try because we’re not all lucky enough to have a butter keeper (yet).

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Would you give this a whirl? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Top Comment:
“The tips that I found useful for softening butter is using a zip closed bag. place the wrapped stick of butter in a small bag zip it. Using warm tapwater fill a small bowl that is at least 2 to 3 inches deep. Place the bag in the water for one minute...butter is softened. BB”
— BerryBaby

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Arthur J. October 15, 2018
A vegetable peeler also can cut a thin ribbon of cold, not frozen, butter. Great for toast. But, the stick will be reduced, and the assumption that a stick is a 8 T, no longer is valid. That lack of certainty bothers my wife greatly. Alas and alack.
Patty October 9, 2018
My favorite way to soften butter:
Put the wrapped stick in the micro on the edge of the turntable. 5 seconds. Keeping the cube still on the edge of the turntable, flip it to the next side of the cube. 5 seconds.
Flip it again (the same direction) to the next side of the cube. 5 seconds.
Continue this until it’s perfect FOR YOU.
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ozbaker December 29, 2017
Here's a suggestion: if you just want softened butter for toast just take out a cold stick of butter and use a cheese plane to slice it lengthwise. It gives you a slice thin enough to instantly melt on your toast. I've also used this method to quickly slice a whole stick of butter for quick softening to make cookies or a cake.
Cheryl B. December 28, 2017
Great idea! Seems like it will turn out to be at the right texture. Perfect for spreading. Love the idea, will definitely use it.

judy December 20, 2017
GREAT Butter Hack. Now I don;'t have to leave the butter out on the counter. Gets way too soft, and in a warm kitchen, melts. So this hack is a game changer. Now to come up with a better word than hack!
Janet M. December 3, 2017
I soften a half stick of butter--about this amount--by sticking it in the microwave on the serving dish and using the defrost setting for 1 minute. It will be soft enough to spread, but still firm
JJ A. December 2, 2017
Tiffany! LOVE your method....LOL
Tiffany R. November 29, 2017
I always soften a pat of wrapped butter by placing it between my breasts for thirty seconds.
Whiteantlers November 30, 2017
I very sincerely doubt this bit of fiction.
BerryBaby November 29, 2017
The tips that I found useful for softening butter is using a zip closed bag. place the wrapped stick of butter in a small bag zip it. Using warm tapwater fill a small bowl that is at least 2 to 3 inches deep. Place the bag in the water for one minute...butter is softened. BB
AntoniaJames November 29, 2017
Great idea, BB! Thanks for the tip. ;o)
BerryBaby November 29, 2017
You're welcome but I can't take the credit. Saw it on The Chew.
How long you keep it submerged can vary. Sometimes less, sometimes more.
judy December 20, 2017
But then you have butter inside the zip bag? A mess!