How To: Soften Butter Quickly

Tips for softening butter quickly and without the microwave! 

Tips for softening butter quickly from

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed a trend. I like to share what new movies we get from Netflix. Not necessarily all of them, because do you really want to know if we’re watching things like Ducktales or Epic? Probably not. There have been some total doozies, like The Host. Don’t even bother with it. Seriously. Horrible. But then there have been seriously good movies like Olympus Has Fallen and Silver Linings Playbook.

Our most recent movie night featured World War Z. Now, I’m not one for horror movies. Seriously. I’m the girl that is sure to have nightmares all night long and freak out for the rest of my life over the simplest creaking I hear in the middle of the night. No joke… Freddy Krueger doomed me for all eternity. I’ll never be able to enjoy a true horror movie.

So World War Z is classified as Sci-Fi Horror/Horror. Great. I honestly had no clue what I was getting myself into. The first 20 minutes are non-stop ridiculous intense action. Fear not… the rest of the movie isn’t quit as intense. It has it’s moments and the ending was pretty decent. Best of all… I slept pretty good and didn’t have a single bad dream. I’m not saying that watching horror movies or zombie movies will become my new thing. Don’t get any silly ideas like that. ;)

Tips for softening butter quickly from

Now let’s talk butter…

I’m a planner. I almost always have butter ready and warming to room temperature. I kind of even take an old school approach a lot and will leave it out, overnight or longer and it’s just there for the ready. But say you suddenly have a craving and need to bake some cupcakes, or muffins or maybe a batch of chocolate chip cookies pretty much right away and you don’t have butter out and softened… what’s a baker to do?!

Stop. Don’t use the microwave. Just don’t. No matter how much you try to soften your butter in the microwave at reduced power levels, you’re still bound to soften it too much. It’s going to melt and not be the consistency you really want. So just don’t.

Instead, try these simple tricks for softening butter quickly.

Tips for softening butter quickly from

If you don’t need it immediately but still don’t have time for it to sit out, cut your butter into small chunks.

Need it faster? Grab your cheese grater and shred your butter! Yup. Seriously. I used this trick for a cookie recipe coming soon. I only had enough butter for half of it, so I needed to think quick. This was my go to method.

Don’t have a cheese grater? Buy one. But no seriously… maybe you want your kids to help you and they’re little or maybe you just don’t want to mess with the shredder… Place your desired amount of butter into a plastic bag, sealed tight, and smash away at it with a rolling pin. Keep doing this until it’s flat and soft.

Another option for when you want soft butter but don’t need it immediately, place your butter into a plastic bag, sealed tight, and add it to a bowl or slightly luke warm water. Not warm enough to melt the butter! It should be just slightly warmer than room temperature, barely warm.

Lastly, if you’re really impatient, toss your butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat it to death. It’ll soften, just give it some time. Now of course, this method will only work if you need the butter for the first step in the recipe.

Do you have a favorite method to soften butter that wasn’t mentioned? I’d love to hear your tips!

Now go on… get baking! :)

Must make recipes with softened butter:
Soft batch chocolate chip cookies
Perfect s’more cookies
NY Times chocolate chip cookies
Pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies
Gingerbread Kiss cookies
Funfetti cupcakes
Carrot cake cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting
Devil’s food cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

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41 Responses to “How To: Soften Butter Quickly”

  1. #
    Jenni — October 21, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I have a cookbook whose author told everyone to just put the stick of butter (wrapped) in the pocket of our jeans for awhile. Kind of hilarious, but sort of effective. I generally just cut into small pieces if I want it to soften reasonably quickly. Putting it in a metal bowl helps too because the the metal will allow the cold to dissipate quickly just like it allows heat to dissipate quickly.

    If I’m ever really in a rush, I’ll have to try the grater method!

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      Haha I’m not sure I’d be willing to try that one but I bet it works great!

  2. #
    Amy @Very Culinary — October 21, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Don’t have a cheese grater? Buy one. Lol. Someone asked me a while back “what do I do if I don’t have a crock pot?” I said, “Um…buy one.” Aaaah, anyway. Love all these butter softening tricks – I’ve used the grater method and the smashing more times than I can can’t, because unlike you, I almost always forget about the butter!

    Have you seen There Will Be Blood? Or Looper? Paul and I watched those recently and both really liked them.

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      lol well seriously ;) some things are just kitchen essentials. And nope, I haven’t heard of those before now.

  3. #
    Amanda — October 21, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Such a great tip!! I have never tried it, but I will now!

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      Thanks Amanda! :) It’s a life saver

  4. #
    Shawn @ I Wash You Dry — October 21, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Brilliant!! This is perfect for baking season! Thanks!! :) (pinning this!)

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      Thanks Shawn!

  5. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — October 21, 2013 at 10:15 am

    It looks so pretty! It’s like shredded mozzarella – you could’ve fooled me! I’ve never done this shredding of butter – I always feel weird doing it but i really should start since I ALWAYS ALWAYS forget to put out the butter, lol…to soften butter quickly, I’ve always just put the stick of butter in a ziploc bag and submerge it in warm/hot water. It does a pretty good job – way better than the microwave! I shall try your method now.

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      Haha I know! Totally deceptive ;)

  6. #
    Kari @ — October 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I never would have thought of grating the butter…..genius !!
    I’m not into horror flicks either for all the reasons you mentioned but I enjoyed World War Z too. It wasn’t too gory and had a good ending.

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      Exactly! Definitely not your typical horror movie.

  7. #
    Kathy — October 21, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Grate idea! We South Floridians can’t leave butter out, forget overnight – puddle time. Being from Buffalo, if I ever forget to put the butter back in the refrigerator, my husband will say, “what do you think, you’re back in Buffalo”!? Mom always left the butter on the counter. LOL. Love your recipes and ideas!

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Ha! I guess it’s a northern thing perhaps? I’d be shocked to leave butter out and have it melt! I have it slip out of the package once though. :)

  8. #
    Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake — October 21, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Great tips! I have to admit I use the microwave to soften my butter almost 100% of the time, I always forget to get it out ahead of time or just up and decide to make something last minute. I love the idea of grating it though! Thanks for the ideas!

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      This method definitely prevents any melting issues which has always been a fear with microwaving to soften.

  9. #
    Anne [A Squared] — October 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    These are such brilliant ideas! The microwave fails me everytime.

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Agreed! And thank you :) I hope this method helps!

  10. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — October 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Oh man it looks like cheese from the photo! I will definitely try out this new trick when I am baking cookies for my new business.

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Haha so long as no one confuses it in person and grabs some to snack on.

  11. #
    Gary — October 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Another similar trick is to use your grater on frozen butter/lard when making pie crust. Really makes things easier and more consistent.

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks for the tip! :)

  12. #
    Tracey — October 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Great tips! I have used the grating method with success before. I can’t lie though, the microwave is my favorite method. I do it on super low power and it works perfectly every time :)

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      I’ve never had much luck with the microwave even on super low power. I figure a totally safe method is better. Maybe my microwaves have always been too powerful or something lol

  13. #
    Angie | Big Bear's Wife — October 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I’ve been wanting to see World War Z! Maybe we’ll watch it tonight! And great trick for the butter!

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Let me know what you think if you watch it!

  14. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — October 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    LOVE these tips, Rach! I never thought of grating my butter or beating in the stand mixer. Totally brilliant!

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks Georgia! :)

  15. #
    Vo — October 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I just sort of put it in cold… :)

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      haha… well if a recipe calls for softened butter you should definitely shoot for softened butter for best results :)

  16. #
    Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent — October 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks for the unique tips. I always try to plan but sometimes it just doesn’t work out :)

    • #
      Rachel — October 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      We all forget a time or two :)

  17. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — October 21, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I’ve been doing the butter grating trick for awhile and it is so much better than trying to get it just right in the microwave. Mine will melt, period!

    I had a friend invite me to go to the mall this past weekend and see Kerry. I said…Kerry who;; thinking it was a friend of hers I had met previously.

    Um, no…she meant the movie Carrie. I am so NOT a person who needs the stress of a fright/horror/gory movie but I took on the challenge. It was pretty lame actually; the previews though were scary as s**t!!

    • #
      Rachel — October 22, 2013 at 7:24 am

      lol what a horrible thing to endure and not be prepared for! You’ll have to get your friend back somehow ;)

  18. #
    Andrea — October 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    My guys watched World War Z and I had no intention of joining, but as I was passing through I ended up staying for the whole thing! I couldn’t look away. I think I actually enjoyed it.

  19. #
    Marian — October 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    You’re right about The Host not being a good movie. But honestly, it was one of the best books ‘I’ve ever read. Thanks for the butter tips! You always have great ideas.

    • #
      Rachel — October 22, 2013 at 7:24 am

      Thanks Marian. I actually heard mixed reviews on the book and I’m so behind on my reading list I don’t know when/if I’ll ever get to it.

  20. #
    Gaby — October 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Great tips because I never remember to soften the butter!

  21. #
    Stefani — October 22, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Good idea! I usually set my stick of butter on top of the oven while its preheating. It gets just warm enough to soften it a bit.

  22. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — October 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    So smart :) thanks for the tip!

  23. #
    Toni Uhl — January 6, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I make sure I always have 2 sticks frozen cut in tablespoon size. I also freeze sour cream by the 1/4 C. I always have it for Baked Potatoes or recipes. I do the same with Cream Cheese, 4 oz + 8 oz.

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