Use This Trick To Tell When Butter Is Perfectly Browned

While you can easily buy a tub of browned butter at Trader Joe's, nothing quite compares to a fresh batch of the homemade kind. It's sweet yet savory at the same time, with a distinct nutty aroma that's slightly reminiscent of toffee (via The Kitchn). Plus, it goes with basically everything. You can add brown butter to a casserole or roast to create depth of flavor, or swap it into your favorite cookie dough to infuse your baked goods with warmth. It's a great way to elevate the flavors of any recipe that already calls for butter, whether it be a single dish or a five-course meal.

The technique requires only one ingredient — butter, of course — but don't be fooled. Browning butter can get complicated if you don't know what to pay attention to. As soon as the butter hits the pan, it's important to keep an eye on everything: the temperature, the color, and especially the clock, or your brown butter can quickly turn into black butter. Even if you make browned butter in the microwave, the process is not exactly foolproof.

Let the butter speak to you

There are always ways to check if your food is ready — if you're baking a cake, you can check the texture with a toothpick. If you're making a stew, you can just grab a spoon and taste it. Those methods don't work with brown butter. Not only will it be way too hot to taste, the smell is just as important. And so is the sound, according to cookbook author Katie Quinn (via TODAY). The nutty smell is certainly a great indicator of when your butter is finished browning, but Quinn believes the sound is a better one. "Listen closely for when the sizzling and spitting of the butter stops; that's your cue to take it off the heat," she told TODAY.

America's Test Kitchen further explained that you'll know when it's done "as soon as the butter turns chestnut brown and emits a nutty aroma." However, if you've ever made brown butter in a black pan, it's a lot harder to rely on visual cues, so Quinn's tip takes the guesswork out of the process. Just make sure you pay attention to that sizzling sound, and before you know it you'll have perfect browned butter before your very eyes — and ears.