What is room temperature butter?


Room temperature butter… 

I’ll start this blog post the same way I do all my other baking basics… 

With a couple of questions. 

Have you ever read a recipe that called for room temperature butter and just scratched your head, wondering why?

Why would I bring my butter to room temperature if it is supposed to be kept in the fridge day-to-day? 

Does it affect my recipe if I just throw in the ingredients as-is, cold? 

Can’t I just microwave the butter to get it to room temp?

How long is this going to take?

If you’ve wondered any of the above questions, this baking basic post is for you. So let’s dig in, shall we? 

What does “room temperature” butter really mean?

Cold butter, right out of the fridge is typically about 35ºF while room temperature butter sits happily at 65ºF. When you press your finger into room temperature butter, it should sink in easily, leaving an indent. 

It might seem obvious, but the difference between room temperature and cold butter is more than just about a change in temperature. The consistency of your ingredients also changes, and that consistency will affect how the other ingredients work together to create your baked good. 

A solid cold butter is great for scones and other pastry doughs to create those beautiful flakey layers. But room temp butter, when whipped properly, helps create the airy, fluffy texture that you know and love for cakes, buttercreams and many cookies. 

Why is it important?

Just like many other elements of baking – the temperature of your butter is part of the science behind the bake. And if you don’t get it right, it could break the bake before your oven is even finished preheating. 

Butter is a solid saturated fat, but unlike other fats, it is capable of holding air. When you need a creamy, light texture for your baked good, the first step in the recipe will be to cream butter and sugar. If your butter is too cold or not whipped properly, you won’t give the butter the chance to create that air and trap it inside, only to be released once you put it in the oven. 

Another reason why room temperature butter is important is because when the butter is warmer, it is more easily able to bind to other ingredients. Warm ingredients stick together easier, creating a more cohesive, smooth batter for all your baked goods. 

How to soften butter quickly: 

While the urge to bake can strike at any moment, I know how annoying it can seem to have to wait 1-2 hours for your butter to reach room temperature. You might also be tempted to throw it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so to warm it up (trust me, I’ve done it). But, inevitably, the butter will end up a bit melted with that method. 

So instead, if you are in a pinch and need that butter warmed up to room temperature, follow my tips below and you’ll have that butter ready to bake with in about 15 minutes. 


How to soften butter quickly

A photo of room temperature butter in a large glass bowl

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  • Butter, sliced in small pieces
  • Microwave-safe glass 
  • Microwave-safe plate
  • 2 cups of water


  • Place your sliced butter on a microwave safe plate.
  • Spread them out evenly across the plate to allow them to warm up quickly and evenly.

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Final notes…

If your recipe calls for room temperature butter, it is likely going to call for other room temperature ingredients, such as eggs. Read the instructions carefully and be sure to prepare your workstation correctly every time! 

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  1. Well isn’t this clever! We have butter out on the counter in a covered dish all the time, but when baking, I like to get out a new fresh stick. Seeing as we are related, I am like you and never remember to do this in a timely manner. So glad I now have a quick tip! Thank you, Niecey!!

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