How to Soften Butter in a Pinch

Learn How to Soften Butter in a pinch for use in cookies, cakes, or other recipes that call for softened butter when you are short on time!

How to Soften Butter in a Pinch from

How to Soften Butter Quickly

1. Warm it. Fill a large glass with hot water and set aside for a few moments. Then, place your butter onto a small salad sized plate. While holding up vertically so that the butter is on one end, pour the hot water out of the glass and place it over the stick of butter. Allow the butter to stay covered for a few moments and then remove the glass. The butter should now be softened. You can also microwave it. This is a controversial method. Yep, there are controversies when it comes to cooking. I know, I know. But, if you place your butter into the microwave and heat for 10-20 seconds on 10% power, you’ll have butter that isn’t molten in the middle and cold as ice on the outside.

2. Grate it. If your butter is straight out of the freezer, you can simply grate it with a box grater to use in a recipe. Then, allow it to sit on a plate or waxed paper beside a warm cooktop or oven as you prepare the remaining ingredients.

3. Smack it or smoosh it. You can also place your butter onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper or even a paper towel and pound it about two to three times with your rolling pin. To smoosh it, just slice your butter into tablespoon or smaller slices and place into the container of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Then, after a few rotations, your butter should be softened.


How to Soften Butter in a Pinch from

With these few time-saving tricks, you should be able to still make those favorite Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies, my Best Chewy Sugar Cookies,  or any of your favorite baked goods or compound butter, even though you forgot to allow the butter to soften for them. But! I still recommend leaving your butter on the counter to soften the traditional way before you make frostings or icings, otherwise, you might still have a few lumps.

Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share on softening butter in a pinch? I’m sure we’d all love to know them!


Robyn xo

11 comments on “How to Soften Butter in a Pinch”

  1. I always get excited when I see a recipe that calls for melted butter because I know if I forget to set the butter out, I’ll be fine. Luckily (or not) I live in an un-air conditioned house in Honolulu, so usually if I just cut my butter up into smaller pieces to expose more surface area, it’s soft in no time.

  2. I definitely use the microwave method all the time. Great to know of other tips too!

  3. Never thought to grate frozen butter, “grate” idea! Thanks, & have a lovely day.

  4. I have used the microwave but my fav is to MW a small bowl of water to hot, then sit the butter on a saucer over the bowl while I measure out the other ingredients.

  5. I use the microwave too, or in the oven while I’m preheating. But last night I was going to bake cookies and we are at our vacation home that came with a microwave. I noticed it has a button called soften…..and it worked! The butter came out exactly the texture it would be if I had left it on the counter to soften as I should have. So check your microwave….we’ve owned this house for 2 years and I never noticed it 🙂

  6. If the recipe calls for butter creamed with sugar then I just slice the butter into pats and go ahead and put it in the mixer and in a couple of minutes I add the sugar. Works great!

  7. Thanks for the tips! You know I’m pinning it!

  8. I saw on recommendation to grate butter on a Jennifer Garner instagram post and used it over the weekend. It worked so much better than my usual melting of half the butter in the microwave.

  9. I smoosh it. lol

  10. I soften butter in the microwave set on auto defrost and start with ten second intervals down to five.., usually takes about 30 seconds total. 

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