When Should You Use Salted Butter?

You may be surprised at the number of dishes that use salt. Of course, salt and pepper are basic seasonings required in a plethora of recipes, from pasta to soup to meats. But some of the things that might require a pinch of salt might surprise you. For example, did you know you should be adding salt to lemonade and even a pinch in oatmeal? Salt may sound odd in conventionally sweet recipes, but the seasoning's role goes far beyond adding a salty flavor. According to "Salt in the Earth," it can magnify other flavors in a dish, help mask flavors like bitterness, and even enhance the texture of certain foods. The addition of salt can make for juicier-tasting meat, for instance.

Following this logic, many baking recipes dictate adding a pinch of salt. According to The Exploratorium, salt can enhance the sweetness and other flavors in baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, and only a tiny amount is usually used so that the dessert doesn't taste salty. So when it comes to choosing a butter for your cake or muffin recipe, people may turn to salted butter, thinking it kills two birds with one stone. But as with many things in baking, the rules are a little more complicated. Salted butter does have its place in the kitchen, but it might not be where you think.

Use salted butter for cooking, not baking

Salted butter on its own is pure creamy, savory goodness. But when should you use it in the kitchen? According to Delish, using salted butter in baking recipes is a huge no-no. Because of the delicate chemistry involved in making these foods, it's important that ingredients follow exact measurements. And when it comes to salt, it's difficult to control how much is going into the dish when you use salted butter. The Food Network explains that there is no common standard for how much salt goes into salted butter, so even if you try to balance out the recipe by omitting salt, you may not realize how much is in the brand of butter you bought. As Chef Kim Canteenwalla told Delish, "There is no need to have salt in the butter; it gives you better control over your recipe to add the salt and seasonings yourself."

While you shouldn't use it for baking, there is a time and a place for salted butter. Cooking recipes can be much more flexible, so you have a little wiggle room to add salt as you go. According to Taste of Home, salted butter is a perfect ingredient when making sauces or sauteeing vegetables, as it can enhance all the other flavors. However, using salted butter on finished baked goods like cornbread or blueberry muffins, according to Delish, is one of the best uses for it!