If you are baking and only have unsalted butter at home, it’s good to know how much salt to add to make it perfect for the recipe. This is especially useful if you’re making compound butters, caramels, breads, frostings, muffins, cakes, or cookies. Let’s break down how much salt to add and the best ways to use unsalted butter.
How much salt should you add to unsalted butter?
So what’s the difference between salted and unsalted butter, anyways? Yep, you guessed it, salt. These two slightly different kinds of butter make your baked food taste different because of the addition of salt.
Salt is a flavor enhancer and balances the other flavors in a dish. It’s delicious in baked goods because your mouth craves the opposing flavors of salty and sweet.
Some recipes call for salted butter but if you only have unsalted butter, don’t worry, there’s an incredibly easy way to get it to work for the recipe you’re using.
Use ¼ teaspoon of salt for 8 tablespoons of butter.
Keep in mind that one stick of butter is a ½ cup.
Here are some further measurements that you might find useful:
- 1/16 teaspoon of salt for 2 tablespoons of butter
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt for 4 tablespoons of butter
- ½ teaspoon of salt for 1 cup (16 tablespoons) of butter
Should I use salted or unsalted butter for baking?
If the recipe doesn’t specify which butter you should use, go with unsalted butter. Recipe developers will always specify if you should use salted butter. If there’s no designation, then you can safely use unsalted butter.
How much salt is in a stick of salted butter?
There is generally ¼ teaspoon of salt for every 8 tablespoons of butter, however, this varies slightly depending on the brand.
You shouldn’t be able to taste much of a difference once the butter is in the dish, however, if you’re using it to make herbed butter or to spread on toast, then you may notice a difference.
If so, buy a few different brands of butter and test them out to see which one you like best.
Can I substitute salted butter for unsalted butter?
What happens if you only have salted butter instead of unsalted butter? How should you adjust the recipe to make sure you don’t over-salt your dish? It’s simply the reverse of adding salt to unsalted butter.
Remove ¼ teaspoon of salt for every 8 tablespoons of butter from what the recipe calls for.
For example, if the recipe calls for 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter and ½ teaspoon of salt, just reduce the amount of salt to ¼ teaspoon and use your salted butter.
How to use salted butter
You may be wondering why you would use salted butter instead of unsalted butter. The best uses for it are dishes where you use butter as a topping or main star of the dish.
This includes spreading it over crostinis when making little hand-held appetizers, on top of homemade pancakes. You can also make compound butter by combining butter with herbs, spices, or seasonings to make it flavored.
This is wonderful on top of steak, fish, chicken, or vegetables.
In this case, it’s best to use the highest quality butter you can find.
You can also use salted butter in baking so you can skip the step of adding additional salt to the dish. This is a handy shortcut and you can use regular baking butter for this.
Which salt should I use when salting butter?
There are all different kinds of salt you can buy and use in your cooking.
When you want to make salted butter, it’s best to use fine-grain salt so that it dissolves in the butter best.
If you were to use larger salt crystals, like kosher or sea salt, you will likely end up with crunchy butter.
If you’re going for a fun texture then, by all means, try it out! If you want smoother butter, use table salt instead.
Some recipes want you to use salted butter, but if you only have unsalted butter, there’s an easy formula you can use to make your butter salty.
You can also reverse this process to remove salt from the recipe if you only have salted butter.
You may need to add salt to butter if you’re using butter as a topping or in a baked dish. It’s best to use fine-grain salt so the texture is smooth, rather than crunchy and you have a better experience.
This is a wonderful way to make your dish perfectly rich and salty with just a few simple steps.