Will Butter Burn in a Cast Iron Skillet?

This might sound like a strange question, but will butter burn in a cast iron skillet?

It seems this is quite a common question that many people have asked.

Since cast iron gets very hot and stays hot, it’s not out of the question to want to know.

Butter burns quickly on hot surfaces.

However, it would be a shame for people to stop using butter in cast iron simply because they think it will burn.

So, what’s the answer?

Let’s find out.

Will butter Burn in a Cast Iron Skillet?

The simple answer is yes, butter will burn in a cast iron skillet. However, it doesn’t have to burn. Remember that butter burns at temperatures above 350°F (177°C), so if you are cooking with high heat, it will burn. Therefore, with high-heat cooking, it is better to use a high smoke point oil such as Avacado or Grapeseed. Or if you want to use butter, turn down the heat.

How Not to Burn Butter in a Cast Iron Skillet

The easiest way not to burn butter is to cook at low temperatures. You don’t need high heat to make eggs or saute mushrooms.

Simply turn your burner on low for several minutes to let the pan warm up. Next, add the butter, and let it melt. As soon as it’s melted and bubbly, add the ingredients.

Butter doesn’t burn immediately, but it does burn quickly.

Therefore, once it turns brown or to oil, you know your heat is too hot.

And as one person puts it: medium is the new high.

But, you say, I like butter on my steaks. And when you sear a steak, you need high heat.

That’s true. So, the best way to use butter when searing a steak is to add it at the end and baste it as the steak finishes cooking.

That’s the way I do it. I put in a tablespoon of butter right after I sear the sides of the steak, and it melts very quickly. Then I spoon the butter over the steak for a few seconds on each side.

Additionally, many people do recommend combining butter and a high smoke point oil for higher heat cooking. Still, I prefer to just use butter at the end. Or cook at a lower temperature.

RELATED > > > > > How to Sear Steak – 9 Simple Rules to follow

Cleaning Burnt Butter From Your Skillet

If you have burned your butter to the skillet, cleaning it is easy.

Depending on how badly it’s burnt on, you could first try heating the skillet and then holding the hot skillet under running hot water to see if it gets clean.

However, if that doesn’t work, sprinkle some salt on the surface where the butter has burned, add a little water, and scrub it with a non-abrasive sponge.

Easy Trick to Clean Cast Iron

Use Ghee or Clarified Butter as An Alternative

Alternatives to butter are ghee or clarified butter. Both have a higher smoke point but will still give you the butter flavor.

You should be able to find either one in your local grocery store.

Or you can make your own. See How to Make Clarified Butter, Ghee, and Brown Butter to learn more.

Here are the smoke points for butter, clarified butter, and ghee:

Butter                 350°F          175°C
Clarified Butter   450°F          230°C
Ghee                  485°F          252°C

Cooking With Butter Can Build Up Your Seasoning

Since butter is a fat, it will build up your seasoning as you cook with it, just like any fat or oil does.

However, its low smoke point makes it bad for seasoning in the oven.

But what about burnt butter?

Can it build up your seasoning or is there any scenario where it might degrade your seasoning?

That’s what one Redditer wanted to know.

And here is how someone responded: “The only things that will degrade your seasoning are the things that break down your oil.”

Some examples are acid (tomato, lemon), lye, and sandpaper or wire brushes.

Burnt butter doesn’t fit in any of those categories.

But, does anyone want burnt butter building up their seasoning?

Probably not.

Consequently, you will probably want to remove it from your pan if it has burnt butter in it.

In other words, clean it.

How to Cook Basmati Rice in Cast Iron (With Butter)

Making Jasmine Rice With Butter

I didn’t have any basmati rice, so I decided to try the recipe in the video above using jasmine rice.

The last time I made rice in a cast iron skillet, it stuck, so I was a bit skeptical but also curious.

So I rinsed the rice (even though it wasn’t basmati), thinking it might help because I watched another video saying all white rice should be rinsed.

Next, I preheated the skillet, added the butter (1/3 cup or 5 1/3 Tbsp) and garlic (1 tsp), but forgot the salt.

Once the butter was melted, I put the rice in.

Unfortunately, the butter was already brown, meaning my pan was too hot.

So I reduced the heat, sauteed the rice for a minute, and added the water.

But I only put in one and a half times the water instead of double.

So I used 1 Cup of rice and 1 1/2 cups water because that’s how I do it in my rice cooker (and what the bag of rice instructions say).

The rice was starting to boil, so I skipped that step and went straight to simmering with the lid on.

I set the timer for 17 minutes.

When the timer went off, I turned the heat off and removed the pan from the burner. I let it steam for 5 minutes.

Now came the moment of truth.

It didn’t stick! Unfortunately, the whole bottom was crispy and browned.

It may not have turned out like the rice in the video, but it was still delicious, and I will make it again.

Final Thoughts

Well, hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to use butter in your cast iron skillet.

Cooking with butter is way too good to pass up.

Plus, even though butter can burn, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it.

Hey, even the butter I used to make rice turned brown, but I don’t think it affected the taste at all.

And the cleanup was simple using the hot skillet running under hot water method.

Will butter burn in a cast iron skillet?

Yes, it can, but just remember, even if it turns light brown, it’s still good.

However, if it gets dark or looks like oil rather than melted butter, you may have to start over.

Have you had any experiences with butter burning in your cast iron skillet?

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