The Quick Way To Soften Butter By Hand In A Pinch

When a recipe like a blueberry-lavender coffee cake or chocolate chip cookies calls for softening butter, it's kind of an annoyance, especially if you are baking or cooking on the fly. You know you should never soften butter in the microwave or you will end up with a mess that is half liquid, half squishy solid. However, if you wait for it to warm up to room temperature on its own, it can take as much as 45 minutes. Neither is optimal and it may have you wondering, what is the best way to soften butter? Luckily, there's a hack that can help speed up the process so you can get to cooking and you don't need any appliances or fancy gadgets — just your hands and a plastic sandwich bag.

Simply put your stick of butter in the plastic bag, making sure to get out all of the air before you close it. Then use your fingers and squeeze, pinch, and mash it. The heat from your hands will help it to soften naturally, and because you are smashing and mashing it, you are going to end up getting right to the core of the butter stick. Because butter is a solid fat, it is imperative that you soften it and not try and bake with a cold stick or your batters will not be smooth, which will ruin the texture of your frosting, cakes, and breads. 

You can also cut it up

Of course, if you are in a hurry, you can add a step before you place your stick of butter in the plastic bag: Slice it up into even pieces. Cutting it up will allow you to smash the pieces of butter and soften it up even quicker. This will also make it easier to blend, cream, and mix into whatever recipe you happen to be cooking up. When it is softened to your liking, open the bag and push out the butter, making sure to get every last smear.

The rolling pin method can also come in handy when you need to soften butter quickly. Similar to using your hands, you want to put the butter stick in a plastic bag, either whole or cut up, and seal it. Then place it on a stable surface and roll your rolling pin over it until it is nice and flat, and flip it over and do the other side. This hack shouldn't take more than 10 to 15 minutes to get your butter ready for use.