How to Melt Butter in the Microwave – 7 Important Tips

Melting butter in the microwave can make you feel things like frustration and confusion when you do not know the proper way to go about it.

Have you ever tried it before?

Yes, I have. I know the plot like the back of my hand: the butter makes loud sounds of ‘pow!’ –tiny explosions like something straight out of a Jackie Chan movie is happening in your microwave. And you don’t know what to do.

There is nothing entertaining about this. If anything, it leaves you with extra work you’re not in the mood to do; burnt butter, wiping oil splatters off the microwave, re-measuring the butter to make up for the wastage, and so on.

For all the trouble I went through in my experience, you’d think I would just let things be, but I had to keep on trying until I got the right formula. 

What if I told you there was a way to melt butter in the microwave, without the chaos? What if I gave you my secret formula in quick and easy-to-follow steps? Would you still shy away from melting butter in the microwave?

Well, let’s find out.

CAN YOU MELT BUTTER IN THE MICROWAVE?

Yes, you can melt butter in the microwave, and you can do it without stress, chaos, and worry. The key thing to remember is that butter melts at a low temperature, so be careful not to overheat to prevent exploding and loss of protein value.  

We’ll discuss the details in a few minutes. Just keep reading.

One key reason that most people cite for not melting their butter using the microwave is that it might explode. The worst-case scenario is getting injured when the hot oil touches your skin. So, a lot of people consider it such a risky venture that they’d rather try other methods.

But anyone who has ever tried to melt anything in the microwave knows that things can go from 0 to 100 really fast. It is either the butter becomes extremely hot (that it begins to burn) too quick, or it takes forever to melt. 

That is why it is so important to be careful because butter is made up of fat and water, that’s why it’s so susceptible to exploding.

Let me explain. 

Butter is 80% fat and 20% water. Water and fat both have different heating temperatures. When butter gets heated, the water moves away from the fat (it looks like oil when melted). You know what they say, oil and water do not mix. 

When overheated, it is as though the fat (oil) cannot stand the water anymore. It begins to throw tantrums in the microwave and starts hurling itself around. God forbid you to open the microwave and it hurls itself at you and scalds your skin. Pretty crazy, huh?

Thankfully, there is a safe way to melt butter using the microwave and, in a few moments, I will let the cat out of the bag. All you’ve got to do is keep reading.

HOW TO MELT BUTTER IN THE MICROWAVE

Dice the butter into cubes of about ½ inch size. Place the chunks of butter in a microwavable bowl and cover with a paper towel. Microwave at 10-second intervals. After that, allow the radiant heat to finish off the melting. Stir it to make sure your butter is fully and evenly melted. 

If you’re going to melt your butter in a microwave, you have to make sure your microwave is very clean. Because if it’s greasy from last night (for instance) that could make your butter burn. Trust me, you don’t need that.

However, you need to defrost your butter first, especially if you’re melting a large quantity, and then slowly increase the power setting. This is more efficient as it will give you a little more control of the process, which can help you avoid overheating.

The microwave melts from outwards to inwards. So, if you want your butter to melt fast and evenly, you better chop that butter and spread it. You don’t want to lump it together. That’s just sending a message to the microwave that you want your butter melted in SOME places and not in others.

How do I prevent the butter from exploding in the microwave?

You can’t. At least, not completely. What you can do though, is cover the butter with a paper towel. This will help contain the splashes.

Since the major cause of microwave explosions is how rapidly it heats the food and causes separation or burning, you’ll do well to dissolve your butter on low or defrost setting for about 10 seconds, then increase the heat to medium-high for another 10 seconds.

Here’s something that will shock you

Butter melts at a pretty low temperature of between 82 degrees Fahrenheit and 97 degrees Fahrenheit. So, when you’re tempted to use high heat and get the task over and done with, remember that every 10 seconds can make a huge difference, even if your butter is ice cold.

If you’re not sure you can do this without making mistakes….

Here are a few more creative ideas you can try:

Melting butter in the microwave with water

Take your butter and put it in a microwave-safe bowl that is filled with hot water. Make sure the water drowns the butter—heat on low power for about 1 or 2 minutes. Remove the water and proceed with your recipe. This method is best suited for when you have a huge quantity of butter to melt.

Melting butter in a sealable bag:

Put the butter in a microwave-safe plastic bag. Seal it, but create a small opening on the side (preferably at the top). Microwave on low power for about 10-30 seconds. When it melts, proceed with your recipe.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MELT BUTTER IN THE MICROWAVE?

It takes 45 seconds to melt butter, but it is better to microwave at 10-second intervals. This is a general answer, but there’s no one-size-fits-all. Microwaving time is dependent on many factors from the strength of the microwave to how cold and large the butter is, and what power level you heat on.

The microwave is the fastest and easiest way to melt butter, but you can further quicken the process by grating the butter and leaving it on the kitchen counter to soften, before microwaving it.

Butter does not have a high melting point, so be careful to not overheat. It is easier to melt butter in the microwave than it is to not succeed at it. So be mindful of that.

ALTERNATIVES

If none of the above methods is your jig, and you don’t care how snail-slow or stressful the old-fashioned way can be, let’s take you through that track, shall we? 

Melting butter on the stove

Place the butter in a non-stick pan and turn on the stove. Cook on low heat until the butter starts melting. Flip the butter to the other side and keep cooking. When the butter is almost melted, take it down and stir for an evenly melted butter.

Melting butter in an oven:

First, you need to pre-heat your oven to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Then leave your butter in the oven to melt. It’s not magic. It’s not going to abracadabra itself to the perfect melting point, so you’ve gotta keep checking so that it doesn’t overcook. This method is best suited for when your entire recipe is oven-based.

Tips for melting Butter in a Microwave

Now, melting butter in the microwave is fast and easy to do, but that does not mean it cannot be complicated. Here are some tips to help you melt your butter in the microwave without any issues. Think of them as lifelines.

  1. Cut the butter into smaller pieces.
  2. Stop microwaving before it is completely melted. This is a good trick for avoiding overheating.
  3. Cover the butter with a paper towel or parchment to confine the explosions.
  4. A cool trick to reduce microwave explosions: place a small bowl of water in the microwave, along with the butter.
  5. Defrost your butter first. Room temperature butter is easier to melt than ice-cold butter.
  6. Don’t use any metal utensils in the microwave. It could be dangerous. Only microwave-safe material should go into the microwave.
  7. If you have a large amount of butter to melt, divide it into two portions. Having too much butter in the microwave could result in an overflow.
  8. If the butter turns brown and starts to bubble or smell, you should stop microwaving immediately and don’t use that butter. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Whether you are melting your butter for a quick dinner or movie night popcorn, I hope you can follow the simple and full-proof steps laid down in the article.

Go melt your butter, save time. And don’t make a mess.