Avoid Baking Overly Salty Biscuits With A Simple Butter Swap

When you whip up a batch of homemade biscuits, you're expecting the finished product to be buttery, flaky, fluffy, and rich, but not overly salty. However, you may have found that your own batch of biscuits came out way too salty — this is likely because you used salted butter instead of unsalted butter. Salted butter typically has between ¼ teaspoon and ½ teaspoon of salt in each stick, which may not seem like it would make a huge difference, but it's important to be precise when baking. Even just ½ teaspoon of salt can alter the overall taste. This is especially true when a recipe calls for both salt and butter separately — as most biscuit recipes do. If you use salted butter and then add in the called-for amount of salt, you will end up with more salt than the recipe intended.

By using unsalted butter, you get to control exactly how much salt goes into the recipe. And, you can always decide to add more salt after the fact. If you prefer some extra saltiness, you can add sea salt to the top of the biscuits as recipe developer Jessica Morone suggests for Tasting Table's fluffy Southern biscuits, but that step is completely optional and meant just for the top of the biscuits.

When to use salted butter in baking or cooking

You may be wondering if there's ever an instance in which you'll use salted butter when cooking. Well, if it's all you have — or if you love the extra saltiness — you can opt for salted butter as long as you keep a few important things in mind. Firstly, if the recipe also calls for a small amount of salt, then it's best to omit that extra salt and rely on the salt in the butter instead. Or, if you choose to include both, expect the outcome to be extra salty. Secondly, if a recipe doesn't call for any salt whatsoever, then just keep in mind that using salted butter will, of course, make the dish a bit saltier than intended. Again, if this is your preference, then it may work out just fine.

Finally, it's important to remember that baking does require precision, so if you choose to play around with the salt content, be ready for some unexpected results. It may not work out every time, so you need to be okay with trial and error. On the other side of things, cooking is a bit more forgiving when it comes to a bit of extra salt, so that may be the time to use up that salted butter you have in the fridge. Plus, salted butter is perfect for spreading over toast and other baked goods.