People Are Discovering This Brilliant Hack That Will Soften Butter in Just Five Minutes

published Feb 27, 2024
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butter in a ceramic storage plate with lid next to it
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Many recipes, particularly if you’re baking, call for softened butter. While the debate of keeping butter in the refrigerator or out on the counter lives on, for those of us that feel more comfortable storing it in a cold place, the sticks tend to harden from the chilly temperature. I’m personally guilty of tossing butter into the microwave for a few seconds to soften it, but this tends to fully melt the butter. According to a new post by Instagram account @milkandcardamon, there’s an alternative that will soften your butter, without liquifying it entirely.

“Pro tip: Do NOT microwave butter to soften it for a recipe that calls for softened or room temperature butter,” writes the user in the post’s caption. “The microwave will melt your butter rather than soften it, and that affects how the cake will turn out!”

To soften the refrigerated butter, the Instagrammer pours boiling water into a tall glass and allows it to sit for five minutes. They then dump out the water and place the heated glass over the stick of butter and allow it to sit for an additional five minutes. The butter will soften to perfection without melting.

“Remember, you can’t cream sugar with melted butter,” the creator continues. “Creaming butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy is a basic step in a lot of baking recipes and it’s essential for a good bake. When sugar is beaten with softened butter, it provides aeration, leavening, volume, a tender texture (if you’ve made greasy dense cakes — melted butter could be why), flavor, and so much more! Melted butter will dissolve the sugar which will change the entire recipe and how it’ll look and turn out.” 

Commenters were loving the tip and we can see why. If you need softened butter in a pinch, you may want to give this a try.