Kitchen Hints and Tips #1 … How to Soften Butter in a Hurry …

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I love to bake but when I do, a lot of recipes will call for softened butter. Softened butter is much easier to mix with other ingredients like flour and sugar and it’s almost impossible to successfully blend ingredients with hard, cold butter. But there’s nothing more frustrating than having all your ingredients measured out only to find your recipe needs softened butter and it’s still in the fridge rock hard … grrrrr!


Allowing butter to stand, out of the fridge, at room temperature is the easiest way to soften it but, depending on the climate, this can take as long as 60 minutes which can really upset your plans if you haven’t thought to do it in advance. And, if you take the butter out of the freezer, it can take even longer. Out of the freezer, I hear you say … are you kidding? Yep … butter freezes beautifully so, next time your favourite brand is on sale at the supermarket, save some pennies by stocking up and throwing some in the freezer.


So, if you’re keen to get baking, here are a couple of quick and easy methods you can use to soften butter quickly when you need it in a hurry and don’t have time to wait:


1. Cut the butter into either slices or small cubes. Measure the amount you need, chop it or slice it and place on a plate at room temperature. It will soften much faster than if it was left in a bigger, single block.


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2. Grate it. Grate the butter and spread it out on a plate or cutting board. This method will take a little more effort but the butter will soften so quickly, it just might be worth it!


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3. Roll it or pound it. Place the amount of butter you need between 2 pieces of baking paper, pound it a little, roll it flat and this will allow it to soften much quicker.


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4. Place it over some hot water. Heat a little bit of water in a saucepan until it’s hot enough to create steam. Turn off the stove. Place the butter on a plate/bowl and then sit the plate over the hot water. The plate will heat up and the butter will soften within a couple of minutes. Do keep an eye on it though so it doesn’t start to melt.


5. Beat the butter. If you need to use an electric mixer for your recipe, beating the butter first will soften it quickly. Other ingredients can then be added.


6. Microwave it. This is probably the least preferred method because it’s too easy to over do it and melt the butter, making it unsuitable for some recipes. It also tends to heat and soften unevenly. If you’re going to attempt to soften the butter in the microwave, set the timer for only a small amount of time and watch it like a hawk!


So there you have it … 6 quick and easy methods for softening butter when you need it in a hurry. Do you have any other methods that you’d like to share?




  1. Yes, I’m often in the kitchen all ready to get started but the butter is all too hard. I think the grating method is a good one. However, I regret to advise I often resort to the microwave method however, like you say, this can create other problems like wondering what to do with the butter you’ve now melted! xx

    • I most commonly chop the butter into small cubes … it really softens very quickly that way. I sometimes resort to the microwave but end up having the same problem as you if I don’t watch it carefully and it starts to melt! x

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