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Grown-up butter (beurre noisette) recipe

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

By Mia McCarthy


Even if you’re not on TikTok, it’s difficult not to encounter the videos of London-based chef Thomas Straker. He’s running an incredibly popular series he’s calling, “All Things Butter”, a title he delivers with an astonishingly catchy British spin.

Scooping butter

As an avid home cook, you can imagine that the all-knowing Instagram algorithm regurgitates these kinds of videos faithfully into my explore page every few hours. Eventually, I caved. I had to know what Thomas Straker was about.

Look. I love butter. Here is what my Belgian grandmother taught me (which I’m semi-confident she lifted from a film): if anybody asks what the three main ingredients of French cooking are, the only correct answer is butter, butter, and butter.

I’ve taken that direction to heart. I’m not shy about butter in my cooking. Butter is fat, and fat is flavour.

Anyway, I couldn’t decide where to start with Thomas Straker’s “All Things Butter” series. His creations include everything from miso butter (made with a Japanese fermented soybean paste) to roasted chicken skin butter. There’s a wide culinary variety to choose from!

One night, though, I settled on an old classic. I thought it was time to teach myself to make brown butter or, as the French say, beurre noisette (nutty butter). Thank you, Thomas Straker.

I served it to my partner with pan-toasted ciabatta slices, fresh tomatoes, and a lovely bit of burrata. It was a smash hit. I’ve made it many times since and used it for everything from drizzling over French toast to dressing a salad.

The best part? It’s dead easy to make.


  • Butter (as much as you want)

  • That’s it


  • Large ice bath in a bowl

  • A metal bowl or similar that will fit in the ice bath

  • A whisk

  • A heavy-bottomed pan or pot. I went with my trusty cast-iron skillet, but using a lighter coloured pan will allow you to monitor the browning of your butter


  1. Cut the butter into equal(ish) pieces. This will make it all melt and caramelise at the same rate, and prevents things like burning.

  2. Plop them into your pan.

  3. Warm on medium-high heat until melted. Stir gently to prevent burning.

  4. As it melts, it will begin to sputter. This is good news! It means that the water content in the butter is being cooked off, leaving us with lovely, lovely fat. Keep stirring to prevent burning! Your butter should start clarifying now with a light, golden colour. If your butter ain’t spluttering, turn up the heat. If it’s spluttering excessively, simmer down.

  5. When the sputtering calms down, turn down the heat. Your butter should start to foam. As it cools, the colour will deepen from gold to a warm brown. You might notice brown bits at the bottom of the pan - don’t worry, you haven’t burned it! Those are milk solids.

  6. When the butter starts to release its signature smell (somewhere between nutty caramel and buttered popcorn?), it’s time to transfer it to your metal bowl sitting in an ice bath.

  7. Putting the hot, melted butter straight into a cooled, heatproof bowl is essential, otherwise the butter will continue to cook and burn. Once it’s cooled to a semi-solid temperature, you can whisk it into the consistency you like. Watch it carefully, because it can turn solid in the blink of an eye.

  8. To be fair, maybe you don’t care about what it looks like, as long as you can spread it on toast. To store it, spoon it into wax paper, shape it into a little sausage, and twist the sides like a caramel candy.

And that’s that. A very simple recipe, for a mind-blowingly delicious treat. A seriously good way to up your home cooking skills!



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