The Easiest Way To Soften Butter More Quickly

Where would we be without butter? This rich dairy fat brings so much flavor to the kitchen, whether it's a simple cooking medium for scrambled eggs, the golden liquid whisked into a glossy hollandaise sauce draped over eggs Benedict, or garlic's perfect pairing on warm, crispy garlic bread. And of course, much of our very best baking relies heavily on butter: It provides not only flavor, but stability for cakes, quick breads, and more that rise in the oven. It also creates a fluffy texture in the final baked good in recipes that call for butter to be creamed with sugar and eggs, per Institute of Culinary Education.

When baking, many recipes call for room-temperature butter, which makes that creaming process easier and ensures that all the rest of the baking ingredients (which should also be at room temperature, according to The Takeout) come together smoothly, avoiding the lumps or unevenness that can create a dense, heavy baked good. 

But we've all been there: You've decided to bake your favorite cookies after work, but didn't set out the butter to soften beforehand, delaying the baking process and, ultimately, the time between you and a soft, warm cookie. That's why it's important to file away this tip for softening butter more quickly for the next time you plan to bake.

Cube the butter for fast results

When baking, it's almost always a good idea to reach for softened butter, which incorporates more easily with the other baking ingredients and helps ensure a more even, predictable texture in your cakes, cookies, and quick breads (via The Takeout). Perhaps the simplest way to soften butter is to simply remove it from the fridge about an hour before you want to start baking, where the warmer ambient air will soften the cold fat to a texture that's suitable for creaming or whipping. But if you forgot to do so and want to bake ASAP, you can cut the butter into cubes and lay the cubes out on a cutting board or plate, where they'll soften up in about 15 minutes.

To cube a stick of butter, Taste of Home advises cutting it lengthwise, then cutting it the other way lengthwise, producing four long rectangles that are all stacked up. Now simply run your knife cross-way through the four sticks, producing cubes of butter. Since more of the surface area of the butter will be exposed to the warm air, it will soften more quickly, according to SheKnows

Want to soften butter even faster — in about five minutes? Grate the stick of butter on the coarse side of a box grater, SheKnows counsels, which will expose even more of the butter to the air, getting you that much closer to baking, and to enjoying the sweet results.