Brown butter

Brown butter

The New Nordic
Simon Bajada

The many different uses for and types of butter are notable in Nordic cuisine. In cafés and bistros, butter is often served whipped, giving it a light, airy consistency not dissimilar to whipped cream. The contrast it makes with crunchy crispbreads is very satisfying. Try it out by simply whipping some up with an electric beater. Use room-temperature butter; it will take about 5 minutes.

Also common in cooking or to spread on bread is brown butter. Known more popularly worldwide as beurre noisette, it has a lovely nutty, caramel flavour that brings an additional depth of flavour to dishes. This recipe shows you how to make basic brown butter, and then I add extra butter for a spreadable version, suitable for the table.

I also recommend adding a little spice to this recipe. Half a teaspoon of lightly ground fennel seeds, dill seeds or parsley seeds can be cooked with the butter.


Quantity Ingredient
200g salted butter
300g salted butter, if making the spreadable version


  1. Dice the butter and, if making the spreadable version, leave the 300 g amount in a bowl at room temperature.
  2. In a small saucepan set over a medium heat cook the 200 g butter, until it starts to colour a light brown. This will take about 2–3 minutes depending on what type of pan you are using.
  3. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and transfer it to a cold surface to stop the cooking. A marble or stone surface is ideal for this; otherwise use a chopping board or tea towel. It will keep cooking after you have removed it from the heat, so make sure you transfer it before it gets too dark. You will know immediately if you have burnt it or have taken it too far on the heat as it won’t smell so sweet and you are likely to detect a smoky bitterness. The butter is now ready to be used in your cooking or added to other dishes.
  4. To make the spreadable version, pour into a separate bowl and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, until it has almost set.
  5. Remove from refrigerator and blend into the reserved room-temperature butter. Whip them together if you prefer a lighter spread. Serve spread on bread or crispbreads.
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