How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave Quickly

How to Clarify Butter in the MicrowaveButter is an essential ingredient for many recipes, from savory to sweet. Its rich flavor and creamy texture make it ideal for baking, sautéing, and even as a spread on toast.

Sadly, butter does not always behave as we would expect. It can burn easily if cooked at too high of a temperature or become rancid if left out at room temperature for too long.

Fortunately, clarification is an easy process that results in a “purer butter” that can withstand higher cooking temperatures and is less likely to spoil. While there are several methods clarify your butter, using a microwave is quick and simple.

Here’s how to clarify butter in the microwave.

Dice 1 cup of unsalted butter and add it into a tall microwave-safe container. Nuke on high for 2 minutes or until melted, then remove from microwave and let cool for 1 minute. Skim off any excess foam on the surface, then filter through cheesecloth to reserve clarified butter (the golden liquid).

In today’s post, we’ll go over how to clarify butter in the microwave step by step and share some tips. We’ll also address any concerns about clarifying butter in the microwave and answer all your questions.

But first,

Why Clarify Butter

How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave QuicklyButter is an excellent cooking ingredient and has been for centuries. However, it tends to burn at high temperatures making it unsuitable for sautéing or frying. For this reason, it’s often clarified before use.

So what does clarifying butter means?

Simply put, it’s removing water and milk solids from butter by heating it until they separate from its fat. The result is pure butterfat that won’t burn as easily when used for sautéing or frying.

The process can be broken down into three simple steps: melting, skimming and straining.

  1. Melting: The first step is melting your butter over low heat until it’s completely liquefied. Don’t let it boil because this will prematurely separate the fat from the water and milk solids.
  2. Skimming: Once your butter is melted, you’ll want to remove any foam formed on top of it. To do so, simply skim it off with a spoon or ladle and discard it.
  3. Straining: It involves filtering your butter through cheesecloth, which will remove any remaining milk solids and water from your butter. This will leave you with pure, golden-yellow butterfat.

Due to its high smoke point, clarified butter is commonly used in stir-fry and other Asian dishes. Moreover, it imparts no off-flavors or odors, making it an excellent choice for delicate sauces and pastries.

Can You Clarify Butter in the Microwave

The short answer is yes. You can clarify butter in a microwave.

Microwaves offer convenience and speed, so you don’t have to wait for hours on end while your butter melts over the stovetop. However, there are some things to keep in mind when clarifying butter in a microwave.

Butter has a low melting point, which means it melts quickly. This makes it easy to clarify in a microwave. However, if left for too long or subjected to extreme heat, butter can burn and become rancid.

It’s therefore critical that you pay attention and check on your butter frequently. As soon as it melts, remove it from the microwave immediately and let it cool down before straining out any milk solids or impurities. This ensures that your clarified butter stays fresh for longer.

How long to clarify butter in the microwave

How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave QuicklyAs previously stated, clarifying butter means separating the three components (butterfat, milk solids, and water).

The process requires heating at high temperatures to evaporate the water and detach the milk solids from the fat. As a result, time then becomes a critical factor in clarifying butter using your microwave.

So generally, it will take about 2 minutes of microwaving on high for every 2 cups of butter you are clarifying. For instance, 4 cups of butter will require 4 minutes of microwaving. However, this time can vary depending on your microwave wattage and how much butter you clarify.

Check your microwave’s manual for wattage and adjust accordingly. You may be required to either cut down on time or increase it depending on how much butter you are clarifying, as well as your microwave’s wattage.

It’s important to note that clarifying butter in a microwave takes much less time than it does on an open flame or stovetop burner.

Tips for Clarifying Butter in the Microwave

How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave QuicklyThe most challenging aspect of clarifying butter is getting it hot enough to melt without burning it. It’s a delicate balancing act that becomes easier with practice.

Here are some tips for getting your clarified butter just right.


  • Use a microwave-safe bowl that’s tall enough. This lets you heat your butter more quickly without worrying about it bubbling over or splattering. It also makes it easier to skim off any foam that rises to your melted butter.
  • Use unsalted butter as opposed to salted one. The salt will slow down melting, so you’ll have a harder time getting it hot enough without burning it.
  • Dice your butter into small pieces to melt faster and more evenly. It will also prevent the butter from sticking to the bottom of your bowl after you’ve clarified it.
  • Do not stir your butter at any point as this could introduce air burning it and make it more difficult to clarify.
  • If you desire, add some cornstarch to accelerate clarification and prevent your butter from turning brown.

How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave (Step by Step Guide)

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clarify butter in just a few minutes using your microwave.

Step 1: Cut Your Butter Stick into Small Pieces

Place your butter stick on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut it into small pieces. This will ensure that your butter melts evenly and quickly.

Step 2: Transfer Your Diced Butter into a Heat-Resistant Bowl

Ensure the bowl is microwave-safe and doesn’t crack or melt when placed in the microwave. It should also be tall enough to allow for the expansion of your butter as it melts.

Step 3: Place Your Bowl of Diced Butter into Your Microwave

Nuke your butter on high for 1-2 minutes or until it’s completely melted.

Step 4: Remove Your Bowl from the Microwave and Let it sit for 1 Minute

Because the butter will be very hot, it’s necessary to let it sit before proceeding.

Step 5: Skim off the Yellow Foam from Your Melted Butter

Use a spoon or ladle and skim off the foam that has risen to your melted butter surface. Discard it, as it’s not needed.

Step 6: Strain Your Melted Butter through a Mesh Sieve or Cheesecloth

Pour your melted butter through a mesh sieve set over a separate bowl. The straining process will separate water from your clarified butter, leaving only pure, golden-colored fat.

Faqs On How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave

What temperature heat do you use when clarifying butter?

If you’re going to clarify butter, you want it as hot as possible. For a microwave, that means using the highest setting while still avoiding overheating or burning your butter. But for a stove, you want to start with medium-low heat and simmer until it reaches 260 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do you strain clarified butter without cheesecloth?

If you don’t have cheesecloth, a coffee filter can work just fine. Just place it over a bowl and pour your butter through it. Alternatively, you can use a fine-mesh strainer, a laundry bag, or a paper towel.

What is the difference between melted butter and drawn butter?

There is no difference between melted and drawn butter. The terms are used interchangeably, and both mean butter that has been heated until it melts. Drawn butter refers to clarified butter with all of the milk solids removed and water evaporated.

Is clarified butter the same as ghee?

No, clarified butter is not the same as ghee. However, ghee is a type of clarified butter cooked longer than regular clarified butter until the milk solids begin to caramelize. The result is a nutty flavor and a more golden color.

Why do you clarify butter for lobster?

How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave QuicklyThere are two reasons why you should serve clarified butter with lobster. First, clarified butter has a higher smoke point than regular butter, which means you can cook it at high temperatures without burning. Second, clarified butter has a clear golden color and no milk solids, making it visually appealing when served on the lobster.

What is the white stuff in clarified butter?

When a stick of butter is clarified, a white froth form on top. This layer consists of milk proteins and water separated from the fat in butter. It’s important to skim off as much of it as possible before using or storing your clarified butter.

Can you use the milk solids from clarified butter?

Rather than discarding your milk solids, you can put them to good use. You can add them to a batch of cookies or use them as topping for popcorn. They also make an excellent addition to mashed potatoes, or you can use them as part of a gravy recipe.

Wrapping Up

Clarifying your butter is critical, especially if your recipe calls for it. The ability to cook at high temperatures without burning your food is invaluable.

A microwave provides a quick and easy way to do so. The result is an ingredient that can be used for sautéing, frying or any other cooking method that requires high heat.

Once you’ve clarified your butter, it will last for up to a year if refrigerated and wrapped tightly. You may also freeze it indefinitely at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

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