A Brilliant Tip for Softening Butter in 2 Minutes or Less

updated Feb 24, 2021
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Sticks of butter on a wooden cutting board
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Almost every morning, my six-year-old son asks for toast. And almost every morning, I find myself with a hard stick of butter straight out of the fridge. I’ve dealt with this debacle a few ways. If I can pull the toast out of the toaster fast enough, while it’s still hot, I sometimes attempt to melt the butter on the hot toast. (Usually, my butter knife tears the bread apart when I forcefully spread the hard butter.)

Other times, I try to slightly melt the butter in the microwave, but that usually doesn’t end well either — I’ve accidentally melted the entire stick of butter more than once, resulting in a buttery mess all over my microwave tray. Since I don’t like to leave butter on the countertop, I’ve been low-key searching for a new solution. TikTok to the rescue!

According to this brilliant (and also viral) video, a hot glass is a simple-but-effective way to quickly warm a whole stick of butter. We’ve tried a similar method in the past, but the method in the video looked a lot faster.

Here’s what you have to do: First, fill up a tall glass with boiling water (be careful not to spill, and keep in mind the glass will be really hot). I microwaved my water like in the video, but you could also use an electric kettle. I suppose boiling water on the stovetop would also work here, but that is definitely the slower option. When I need soft butter, I need it now.

Credit: Ashley Abramson

Then, leave the boiling water in the glass for 30 seconds to a minute to get it hot — again, use caution when you’re pouring it out. This is the important part: Grab a plate and your stick of butter, stand the butter up, and put the glass over it. You’ll see it soften right before your eyes! I left my butter in for 30 seconds or so, and it was definitely spreadable, but still a bit hard on the inside. If you want your butter more on the melty side (I like to drizzle it on popcorn with some garlic salt), I would leave it in for a bit longer — maybe 45-60 seconds.

My verdict: This tip is a keeper! I’ll use it next time my son asks for toast, and definitely when I’m making baked goods that call for softened butter. Goodbye, buttery microwave mess!