6 Ways How to Soften Butter Quickly

We’ve all been there. You are ready to make your next fabulous culinary creation. You read the recipe and have all the ingredients… and then it says “softened butter.”


stick of butter on a wood board


Well, crap. I have time carved out now, not in 30 minutes. I’m going to show you a few ways to soften butter fast.

The first thing to understand is that the temperature of butter makes a huge difference in how your recipe comes out. Think about it, frozen chicken takes longer to cook than cold chicken.

And you don’t want your butter to be over or undercooked in the recipe before you even pop it in the oven. It really is important. The same goes for cookie recipes that call for refrigeration.

Option #1

Do not microwave! This is the cardinal rule for softening butter. Ten seconds won’t make it soft enough and 15  will make it too warm. Just don’t do it.

Here are my other ways to soften butter fast (not instantly).

Option #2

Smaller pieces will soften faster, so dice your butter and give it some room to breathe. This technique will take varying amounts of time depending on the size of your cut. On average, this will take 10 minutes to soften.

Option #3

Take cutting your butter one step further and get out the cheese grater! Grate your butter and it will be soft in about 5  minutes. In fact, but the time you get to the end of the stick, the piece of butter you are using as a handle will probably already be soft.

Option #4

Heat a large glass or bowl in the microwave (without the butter.) Place unwrapped butter on a plate and place the bowl or glass over the butter like a dome.

The heat will soften your butter in a matter of minutes. Be watchful, because it can also soften it too much.

Option #5

If you have a little more time and less motivation, set your butter next to the stovetop or in a sunny place. While the temperature in these spots isn’t vastly different, it is to soften it faster than just sitting on the counter.

Option #6

Use friction! Put the hard butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat it (just beat it… my Michael Jackson reference). It will slap the sides and make horrible noises, but sooner or later, it will soften and the process will be more expeditious than traditional methods. You can use this technique along with others, like grating, as well.

Ways to Soften Butter Quickly

  1. Do not microwave your butter!
  2. Dice your butter into smaller pieces.
  3. Grate your butter.
  4. Place a hot bowl or glass over your butter.
  5. Use the sun.
  6. Just beat it!

Please come back and let us know which technique you used for your softened butter, what you made, and how it turned it. We love the feedback! 

Recipes that Use Softened Butter

You’ll need softened butter to make any of my flavored butters (compound butter) or a butter board. Frostings and of course, some baked goods like Butter Tarts will need the butter to be malleable.

Even some cakes, like my Strawberry Pound Cake, uses a softened butter to seamlessly blend into the batter or Edible Cookie Dough.

how to soften butter for pinterest
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Questions and Reviews

  1. This was super useful in perfecting softening butter quickly! I never know how long to soften it for so this was perfect!

  2. These are great tips! I always stick my butter underneath a warm glass, but I think I’ll try grating it next time!