BUTTER! It makes everything taste so. much. better.
When it is spread on a hot piece of bread. Yummy. When it is beaten into classic yellow cake batter… mhmm…
But what happens when your butter is cold and frozen? You forget to bring it to room temperature and now, there’s no time?
If you use it while it’s frozen, it wrenches your bread apart. Tragic. Your cake is overspreading, your cupcakes are dense, and your muffins are flat. Just bleh.
Next time, you forget again. You try to compensate by heating the butter in the microwave, but it melts. Not good.
So, what do you do?
Throughout this article, I’m going to teach you some QUICK AND EASY techniques that will help you defrost butter in the microwave without melting it. These tricks are better than anything from Jamie Oliver or Mary Berry. I might sound cocky saying it, but the truth is cocky sometimes.
How do you Defrost Butter in the Microwave?
To defrost your butter in the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe container. Depending on the wattage of your microwave and the quantity of your butter, microwave on defrost or low (30% power) setting for 10 seconds or less. Then, flip the butter in a clockwise fashion and microwave for another 10 seconds or less. Repeat until all the sides are evenly and completely softened.
You could choose to heat on a 50% power level for 5 seconds each time you rotate the butter to a different side. What matters is that you are careful to not overheat any side of the butter, so it does not melt.
Remember to remove any wrapping or packaging material on the butter before you microwave, as they are usually not microwavable. Also, if you can, use a plate, so you have enough room to spread each cube or piece of butter.
When microwaving your butter, you must know, that it is very, very easy to cross the lines between defrosting, softening, and melting. So, before you even begin the process, decide on what you want to achieve and keep that goal at the back of your mind
Thinner pieces tend to soften faster, so make sure they are placed in the middle of the plate, hemmed in by the thicker pieces. The more butter you want to be defrosted, the bigger and wider the container you use should be. You need space.
Here’s another less popular trick.
The pros won’t reveal their SECRET WEAPON. But I will.
This hack takes all the possibilities of uneven heating away. You would be surprised to learn it, but here it goes.
Pour 2 cups of water into a microwavable container and place it in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Make sure it is very hot. Then take the water out and replace it with the butter. Close the microwave door and leave it for about 10 minutes to defrost. Voila! Your butter defrosts automatically.
The logic behind this is since microwaves will heat everything by interacting with water molecules, putting water in the microwave, at first, will enable it to produce the radiant heat it needs to defrost your butter.
By the time you put the butter in, you won’t have to turn on the microwave again. Just shut the door to trap the heat that was produced in the previous session. Think of it as a mini sauna for your frozen butter.
This way, you can explore the microwave’s magic and cast a ‘defrosting spell’ on the butter. In no time, you’ll have the perfect results.
There are a lot more tips and tricks from where that came from. So, keep reading.
Is it Safe to Defrost Butter in the Microwave?
Yes, it is safe to defrost butter in the microwave. It is the quickest and easiest way to defrost your butter. Although it can be tricky and requires you to do it the right way, it is the most preferred method to bring butter to room temperature, when you do not have much time on your hands.
Some people do not believe in using a microwave to defrost frozen butter, because of the risk of uneven defrosting or melting. The microwave is so powerful, that it is easy to take your butter from solid to liquid in a few minutes.
This can be a disaster if you are looking to soften your butter, not melt it.
For instance, when a recipe calls for room temperature butter, you’ll make a huge mistake by using melted butter instead, as this will change the texture of what you are baking.
For you, that should not be a concern. Using the tips and tricks I am sharing with you in this article, you can completely avoid that.
Remember, you’ve got to follow all manufacturer instructions. Don’t skimp and choose. Be committed to following through on all of them. If the container says ‘do not microwave’, obey it. If it says ‘microwave safe’, then you can use it. Safety is often found in the little things. Pay attention.
How long can you defrost butter in the microwave?
Defrosting your butter in the microwave should be done in less than 45 seconds, depending on the wattage/setting of your microwave and the quantity of butter you are defrosting.
Normally, it would take about 1-2 hours or more to soften butter using other methods. Therefore, the microwave method is the quickest and easiest option.
When using the microwave, you will need to thaw for 10-second intervals, pausing to flip the butter on its side for even heating.
But, how do you know when the butter has been defrosted?
You’ll know that your butter is defrosted by poking it a little with your finger (it better be super clean and free of germs). When you take out your finger and it leaves an indent in the butter, then you know it has been defrosted.
Frozen butter is usually at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.4 degrees Celsius when it first comes out of the freezer. If your goal is to get it to room temperature, it has to be colder than your kitchen and about 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius. This should take only a few seconds.
If after microwaving, you can still see some ice particles, set it down and allow the remnant heat to finish its work in a few minutes. Remember to arrest the heat by keeping the lid on.
Alternative Ways to Defrost Frozen Butter
If you are still uncertain about defrosting your butter in the microwave or would like to try other methods, consider using any of the following;
- The Counter Method: This is the mother of all methods. It is the technique humans have used since the inception of butter. And it seems to not be going anywhere soon. Here, you simply take your butter out of the freezer and place it on the kitchen counter for at least an hour, before it is time to use it.
You forgot to do the above, that’s why you are here. So, let’s move on.
- The Grater Method: If you have a handy grater and if your butter is not stone-cold, you might want to try the grating method. This involves grating the butter into tiny shreds. Then place the bowl of grated butter on the counter and leave for about 30 seconds or until it is soft enough for use.
- The Cutter Method: Cut the frozen butter into small cubes, put them in a clean bowl, and allow to defrost for about 1 hour or until you can feel it soften. Know that the smaller the pieces, the less time it will take to defrost. So. Cut. Cut. Cut.
Tips for Defrosting Butter in a Microwave
Okay, this is the fun part. By now you should be a pro at defrosting your butter in the microwave. But here am I, gladly giving you all the tips and tricks in the treasure chest of my witchcraft – no, I mean cookraft.
Anyways, these are precious secrets so shhhhh… don’t tell anyone. Read this with a whispering mental voice.
- When defrosting your butter in the microwave, to make it thaw faster, slice the butter into tiny pieces and spread it on a flat surface – be it a tray or plate. The point is, don’t muddle the pieces together. They need enough room to defrost properly.
- If you are thinking of defrosting expired frozen butter (butter that is more than 6 months old), you better demolish that thought RIGHT NOW, because it tastes horrible, it has no flavor, and, don’t even get me started on the smell.
- The defrost setting is key. Don’t forget to microwave on ‘defrost’. If your microwave has no defrost setting, don’t panic. Just set your power level to low or 30%.
- Don’t overheat your butter if you don’t want it to turn into liquid and begin leaking in the microwave. Nuke it for 10 seconds, flip it to the side and repeat until the desired result is achieved.
- I saved this one for last because it’s so good. Put your frozen butter directly on the glass plate in your microwave. This allows the hot glass plate to distribute its trapped heat to the butter, to defrost it.
Phew! What a ride that was.
With all the techniques, tips, and tricks I’ve given you in this article, I’m sure you’re ready to defrost your butter in the microwave the proper way.
So, whether you are preparing the batter for baking, or just want to spread the butter on your thawed bread, just know that when all you have is frozen butter, you can always rely on the supreme machine called, the microwave.
How can I quickly soften butter for baking recipes?
To quickly soften butter for baking recipes, cut the frozen butter into small pieces and microwave it on low power in 5-second intervals until it is softened but not melted. Alternatively, grate the cold butter using a cheese grater or leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
What is the difference between softened and room temperature butter?
Softened butter means that it has been left out of the fridge to come to room temperature, while room temperature butter refers to a block of butter that has been stored at room temperature. Softened butter is easier to mix with other ingredients than cold or hard-to-spread refrigerated blocks.
Can I use frozen or thawed butter in baking recipes?
Frozen or thawed butter can be used in some baking recipes, but they may affect the texture and consistency of your baked goods. It’s best to follow recipe instructions carefully and use either softened or cold (not frozen) unsalted sticks of fresh creamery-grade sweet cream.
How do I freeze leftover softening/melted/room-temperature/cold/frozen/thawed/soften-but-not-melted-butter?
You can freeze leftover softening/melted/room-temperature/cold/frozen/thawed/soften-but-not-melted-butter by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing them inside an airtight container. Label each container with the date you froze them so you know how long they’ve been stored.
What are some tips for freezing and thawing unsalted sticks of fresh creamery-grade sweet cream?
When freezing unsalted sticks of fresh creamery-grade sweet cream, wrap each stick individually in wax paper before placing them inside an airtight freezer bag. To thaw frozen unsalted sticks, place them inside your refrigerator overnight until they reach room temperature. Avoid microwaving as this will melt rather than soften your chilled product!
How can I soften refrigerated butter quickly?
To soften refrigerated butter quickly, you can try microwaving it for a few seconds or leaving it at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Another option is to grate the cold stick of butter using a cheese grater and then let it sit at room temperature until it becomes spreadable.
Can I freeze salted butter?
Yes, you can freeze salted butter. It will last up to six months in the freezer. When thawing frozen salted butter, place the whole stick in a microwave safe cup and defrost on low power or leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
What is the best way to thaw frozen unsalted butter?
The best way to thaw frozen unsalted butter is by placing the whole stick in a microwave safe cup and defrosting on low power for 10-15 second intervals until soft but not melted. Alternatively, you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
How do I make my own spreadable butter?
To make your own spreadable butter, take refrigerated unsalted or salted butter and let it sit at room temperature until softened. Then mix with an equal amount of oil (such as olive oil) using a fork or hand mixer until well combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Can I use frozen grated butter for baking?
Yes, you can use frozen grated butter for baking by adding directly into dry ingredients such as flour mixture when making pastry doughs like pie crusts or biscuits. This method ensures that small pieces of cold fat are evenly distributed throughout your dough which results in flaky baked goods!