Monday, April 23, 2018


Please read all the way through the post to see two ways to success for softening butter.

How often do you mix up a recipe and the recipe indicates the butter should be softened? Not melted. Softened. 

I usually try to set the stick out a while before I plan to make the recipe so that the butter can come to room temperature. That is if I am organized. And sometimes I decide on a recipe at the last minute and I don't have time to allow it to come to room temperature.

It really does matter as far as the outcome of your recipe goes, to follow the recipe directions as to the condition of butter that you are using in recipes. (You can read more about this HERE at Southern Living.) Butter should only be melted if the recipe says it should be melted. You might end up with a flop on your hands if you melt the butter when it is supposed to be softened or cold. You probably wouldn't melt it if the recipe calls for it to be cold, but often when trying to soften butter, you might end up actually melting it.

My friend Ellen shared a tip about how to soften butter on Facebook. I must admit I didn't take the time to read closely the whole tip and so when I decided to give it a try a few days later, I only remembered the basic information, but that didn't keep me from experimenting with it myself.

Well, it really is easy and works and it takes less than 20 minutes. You can be getting all of your other ingredients together for the recipe during the "wait time". 

Make sure you read all the way through as I have added an update.

The time you will spend doing this depends on whether you heat the water to boiling using the microwave or heat it on the stove. You do want the water boiling.

You also need a glass that is deep enough to fit a stick of butter in it.

While the water, enough to completely fill the glass, is coming to a boil (either in the microwave or on the stove), gather a ceramic bowl, a stick of butter, and the glass together.

Fill the glass to the top with the boiling water. 

Remove the wrapper from the stick of butter 

and stand it up on one end in the bowl.

Be careful when picking up the glass so that you don't burn your hand.

Pour the water out of the glass and invert the glass over the stick of butter.

Leave it alone for 15 minutes. My glass was only a little warm by this time.

Remove the glass

and the butter is ready to use in your recipe for softened butter.

For purposes of this demonstration, I laid the stick down in the bowl to show you it had softened.

A reader was concerned about putting the boiling water in a glass. She offered an alternative way to do it using a Pyrex measuring cup and cutting the stick of butter in half. The only problem with using the measuring cup is my measuring cup has a spout for pouring that would allow the heat to escape when it was inverted.

I thought for a while and  came up with another way to do it if you are concerned about the glass possibly shattering on you. 

I cut the stick of butter in half and "stood" them up on the end next to each on a Pyrex lid for a casserole.

I filled a large mug (one that would cover the butter without touching it) with water and heated it in the microwave until the water started bubbling.

I poured the water out and then inverted it over the butter. (At least I didn't have to worry about burning myself with the hot glass.)

I set the timer for 15 minutes and when after removing the cup, checked it for softness.

That worked just as well. (Thanks Cyndy for making me think of probably a better way to soften the butter.)

This tip ranks right up there with my all-time-favorite tip I have ever discovered (and yes, I shared it with you HERE) for keeping bananas from ripening so quickly when you buy them. If you don't know this tip, you absolutely have to check out this POST.


  1. I would be very concerned about pouring such hot water into the average kitchen beverage glass. Seem to me most of them are made for cold beverages and may not withstand the hot water?

    1. I admit I was concerned and the thought crossed my mind, but when I thought about how hot they get in the dishwasher, it didn't concern me any more. I did pour the water in the glass slowly and by the sink just in case but it was fine. (BTW, if I open my dishwasher when it finishes instead of waiting hours later, the glasses are hot to the touch.) Thanks for you comment. Hopes my reasoning eases your mind.

    2. I would cut the stick of butter in half and stand the two pieces side by side in the shallow dish. Fill a handled two cup Pyrex measuring cup with water and heat to boiling in the microwave (or fill with water boiled in a teakettle), discard the water and invert the measuring cup over the butter sticks. Allow to sit for the prescribed time and presto - softened butter.

    3. That would definitely work Cyndy as long as the measuring cup is even across the top so that it "seals" against the dish when inverted over the butter. My Pyrex measuring cups have a pour spout on them. That would allow the heat to escape and you want the heat to stay inside the glass.


    4. Cyndy,

      I figured out a different way to do it and it worked great. Hope you will read the post again and see what you think of this method. Thanks for your input.