Exploding butter

Too many times I have misjudged microwaving butter to melt it, in just a sec or 2 over and pow pop I have lost a bunch of butter and the microwave needs a serious cleaning.
Wondering if I am ignorant of some good micro melting methods.

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There is a lot of water in butter, and that’s what’s exploding. I always melt on 20% power and put a paper towel over the top, just in case! It is a mess to clean up, and I’ve done it myself too often!

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I use a lot microwave to melt butter. Because it is usually for baking, the quality to melt is quite a lot. I use low setting 350W maximum and start with 30 second. I am lucky, so far no accident.

I don’t melt butter with microwave if it is just a small piece, leaving it outside for at least 15 minutes helps to soften. I think microwave heating denature good butter.

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How is butter sold where you are?
In America, we seem to have East and West
sized sticks.
Chubby versus long.

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In France, the usual format is 250g like this.

Sometimes a longer format like this, which gives an impression of more prestigious product.

More rare, there is this format of the shape of wooden butter mold to show more “authentic butter”, whether they are industrial or real craft butter.



I use the “defrost” button for melting (vegan) butter, and in short increments- when it’s almost all melted usually a good stir gets the rest since the hot melty part is, well, hot.

I had to read this thread because it had an enticing title! :open_mouth:

Alas, not advice to offer…


I don’t leave the microwave. I stand there and watch it melt and stop it as soon as its 90% done.

I do it on 50% power and i cube the butter before heating.

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I can use the exact same method with perfect results once and a splatter the next time, so I’d agree that watching is the key. I also use a microwave cover. 20% power.

For any quantity above 4 tablespoons (1/2 USA stick; about 60 grams), I melt over low heat in a pan. For lesser amounts, I don’t bother adjusting the microwave heat level, but instead put butter in a bowl, and hit full-power cooking for a few seconds, 7 or 8 or so, and then leave it for 30 seconds or so (I just do other things meanwhile; always something to do). Then I’ll heat it another few seconds, and repeat waiting process as needed. Usually takes two to three cycles, depending on fat content of butter and initial temperature.

Now I AM challenged by warming maple syrup in microwave–rarely use maple syrup, so I have little practice, but boy can that stuff go hot fast…


Thanks all.
Duh, didn’t consider lowering the power (never used that feature…will now).


Thanks. Really interesting to me.
I must not have a life.


My last micro set fire to a bag of theater popcorn I put in it to reheat. To this day I don’t know why, made from recycled materials it looked like a brown bag.

Anyway, got a new one without really thinking about the options on it and now I miss the “soften butter” button. I used that all the time on frozen butter just to soften for cookies and whatnot. I guess I figured they all have them.

Even if I cover butter with a paper towel, I often lose a good bit of the volume in the paper towel after a single explosion. :exploding_head:

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I just learned the secret to Late Night Bacon, so perhaps Ms. Ray has a recipe for melting butter?

I would second the advice to cover the container to limit the carnage if you overshoot on the timing.


I now microwave on about half power for 10-15 minute seconds bursts. Usually it’s about 2x for me to get it melted to the right consistency. I’m assuming we’re talking about the typical 2-4 tbsp amount. I’ve rarely needed to melt a whole stick, and that might take a few more pushes.

Some may find it annoying and would rather find a way to not have to watch it, but at the end of the day, we’re talking up to 30-45 seconds extra, which is way better than scrubbing down the buttery mess in the microwave.

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I just heat it up on the stove in a small pan, you’re going to have to clean a dish anyway.


I heat a large metal serving spoon over the gas flame and place the butter against the spoon in a cereal bowl. Melts immediately.

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I usually microwave at 10% power for several short time increments, depending on the amount of butter, in a Pyrex (or similar type) measuring cup that holds considerably more than the amount of melted butter I need.

If it’s a whole stick I soften it while still in its wrapper, 8 seconds per side. If it’s a couple of tablespoons in a ramekin a piece of wax paper on top controls any explosion

I dont have a microwave at present hence the hot knife trick but if you heat a pyrex bowl in the micowave and then tent your butter on your kitchen counter with the warmed bowl you can control how soft you want your butter to be. Yeah…put a small dish under the cold butter beforehand😊.

As a toast lover, I would do this alot cause I always forgot to take the stick out the night before. Now, I leave sticks of butter in the small wine frig and its perfect temp for spreading on toast.

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