Butter Powder Is The Underrated Staple Ingredient You Should Know

Whether you're trekking through the wilderness, need to spruce up a tasteless meal, or are faced with a disappointingly empty butter tray upon opening your refrigerator door, let butter powder come to the rescue. From gravies and sauces to flavorful muffins, butter powder easily takes the place of the stick form of the dairy product, which not only needs to stay refrigerated but expires faster, too. With a long shelf life, butter powder can be stored in your pantry so you'll never be in need of a way to add flavor to your recipes again.

If you're craving an ingredient to melt in a pan, however, butter powder isn't it, but the dry good can be exactly what you need to add a milky flavor to recipes. The fine powder just needs to be reconstituted in order to mix it with other ingredients. Plus, with a little creativity, you can make the powder for yourself at home to keep on hand.

What is butter powder and how is it made?

Butter powder is exactly what it sounds like — butter that has been turned into a shelf-stable powder. (If you're familiar with powdered peanut butter, the idea is the same.) You can either buy butter powder from a store or make it for yourself.

Butter powder made in large-scale operations is dehydrated in a hot chamber until only that fine powder remains. This is called "spray drying," due to the fact that butter is first melted and then sprayed into the chamber, which allows the liquid to quickly evaporate. If you're making butter powder at home, you would follow a different process, first melting unsalted butter and then allowing it to cool slightly before blending it with nonfat dry milk powder to form a paste. Once this mixture is dry, you'll need to blend it into a fine powder before it's ready to be used or stored.

Regardless of whether you buy butter powder pre-made or make it yourself, the ingredient can be reconstituted with water at any time to create buttery sauces or be added to dishes for that extra sumptuous flavor.

How to store butter powder

Like so many shelf-stable ingredients, butter powder needs to be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place like your refrigerator or pantry. (No, the cabinet above your stove will not work.) When properly stored, butter powder should be safe to use for quite a few years.

Some companies claim that an unopened package or canister of butter powder will remain usable for close to a decade; for this reason, it's wise to label your butter powder containers with the date you made or opened them. You don't want to be stuck wondering if it's been lingering in the back of your cabinet for two years or eight when you're ready to bake. You can tell butter powder has begun to go off if it starts to smell rancid or has an offputting flavor. If you believe your butter powder has spoiled, it's best to throw it away.

How to cook with butter powder

For your baking recipes, butter powder can simply be added to the rest of your dry ingredients. If you're making mashed potatoes, mix the powder directly into your potatoes for an unmistakable buttery flavor. For a sweeter addition, consider making your own honey butter by adding butter powder directly to honey and blending until smooth. Reconstituted butter powder is also perfect for drizzling on top of muffins, golden pieces of toast, or hot pancakes. 

The fine texture of butter powder also makes the ingredient perfect to sprinkle directly on top of fresh popcorn, right-out-of-the-oven veggies, or proteins hot off the grill. And, of course, butter powder can be folded into macaroni and cheese for those days when you need to add a richer flavor to tonight's dinner. Though butter powder may not taste exactly the same as a stick of butter taken out of your fridge, this powdery ingredient can satisfy your buttery cravings in a pinch.

Buying butter powder

To circumnavigate having to make your own butter powder at home, you can order various brands online or head to your local market to pick up a canister to store in your kitchen. The good news is once you've acquired butter powder, it will keep for years. Butter powders are freeze-dried and great not just in a baking pinch but also in emergency situations like natural disasters so they make a solid addition to your kitchen cupboards. Unopened, the butter powder boasts a shelf life of 15 years, so even if you don't reach for it often, you will have a butter backup plan for the next decade or more. 

If you're curious about trying butter powder, you have plenty of options to peruse. Anthony's Premium Butter Powder and Judee's Powdered Butter provide keto-friendly and non-GMO products, and It's Just! Powered Butter and Garden of Life have turned grass-fed butter into powder for you to easily sprinkle into keto-friendly recipes