Alton Brown's Butter Melting Tip Cuts Down On Dishes

An ingredient as versatile as it is tasty, butter can help you bake up just about any recipe you can imagine. Are you in the mood for something savory? A splash of this kitchen must-have can add flavor to your grilled chicken and level up the taste of your pan-seared asparagus. Or maybe you're craving a baked treat? Butter can also help you prepare everything from cinnamon rolls to chocolate cupcakes.

But for all of its benefits, you may find that cooking with butter has one fatal flaw — it gets messy fast. Unlike other common baking ingredients, butter typically has to be melted down before you throw it into your pancake mix. Between measuring your butter out and heating it up the microwave, you may end up going through a lot of dishes fast. However, in the many years that "Good Eats" star and writer Alton Brown (per Food Network) has been in the kitchen he has discovered an easy and effective way to melt butter without piling up dirty dishware (via YouTube).

Melt your butter on the stovetop with a metal measuring cup

To send off summer, Alton Brown hosted a live stream on his YouTube channel where he taught viewers how to whip up delectable tomato tarts and a festive cocktail brine. In the middle of the video, Brown (who is known for making the prep of involved dishes like Dry Rib Roast as simple as possible) revealed his go-to way to melt butter without dirtying an extra plate or pan.

The chef explained that, after measuring out the butter in a metal measuring cup, he will melt the butter by putting the cup on the stovetop. Through this method, the butter is measured and melted in only one dish. However, while this form of melting butter cuts down on the time you'll spend cleaning up your kitchen, Brown did note he usually only takes this route with "small amounts of butter." 

This tip won't be as effective with recipes like the chef's own upgraded saltine crackers (he encourages cooks to soak their crackers in butter, hot sauce, and mustard to add flavor to the snack best paired with soup, per Food52) where there is a call for a large serving of the ingredient. However, it's the cleanest fix to melt butter for baking cookies or searing meat.