How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave (with great results!)


Quick Answer: How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave

To clarify butter in the microwave, slice the butter into small sizes and put it in a tall, microwave-safe container, and then, set the microwave on high power and the timer at 2 minutes. After the butter clarifies, let it rest for a minute before taking it out. You should find a clear golden layer in the middle between the milky foam and the watery layer.

This article is a comprehensive guide on how to easily clarify butter in the microwave.

From my personal experience, this technique works like a charm.

So, let’s get the ball rolling and clarify some butter.

How to Prep Butter for Clarifying in the Microwaving?

Before clarifying butter, it is important to know a few things.

If you take, large chunks of butter, say, four sticks of butter then use a knife to cut them into small-sized pieces.

Use a tall, microwave-safe measuring cup or container, to keep the butter pieces. Do not use any metal containers inside the microwave.

How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave

How to Clarify Butter in the Microwave

Prep Time: 1 minute
Active Time: 2 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Take a tall, microwave-safe measuring container, take 4 sticks of butter and cut them into small pieces, add them to the container and put it in the microwave, set the microwave on medium heat setting and the timer for 2 minutes.

When three layers are discernible, take the container out and separate the clarified butter from the foamy layer and the watery layer.


  • Four sticks of butter


  • Microwavable safe measuring cup


    1. Preparing the Butter: To prep, the butter, cut it into small sizes just as described in the prep section.

    2. Using a Microwave-Safe Measuring Cup: The microwave-safe measuring container should be tall so that when the butter rises and increases its volume, it has enough space.

    3. Microwave Settings: Place the container containing the sliced butter in the microwave, depending on the wattage of the microwave you can set it on high or medium heat.

    4. Pro Tip: Alice Medrich of ‘Food52’ blog recommends that for an 800watt microwave, a high heat setting should be used.

    5. Adding Cornstarch: ½ a tablespoon of cornstarch can be added to ½ a cup of butter so that the clarified butter can be separated from the milk foam and the water-soluble proteins.

    6. Watching the Butter: The butter should be closely watched. After heating, the butter will start to melt and rise in the container.

      When the three layers, the top being the milk foam, the middle layer being the clarified butter, and the third watery layer, are discernible, switch off the microwave.

    7. Resting Time: The butter should be allowed to rest for about 1 minute before taking it out of the microwave.

    8. Separating the Layers: The top foamy layer should be skimmed off either using a spoon or a ladle, you can use a sieve or a cheesecloth, to separate the clarified butter from the watery layer.

Tips to Remember when Clarifying Butter in the Microwave

  • Butter should be cut into smaller pieces so that it melts quickly and evenly.
  • Unsalted butter is preferred over salted butter when clarifying as it isn’t likely to burn while boiling.
  • Ensure that the container you use is tall enough, as the butter will expand in volume when it is heated and can easily boil over.
  • Butter should be watched carefully, as it can quickly turn brown, use a transparent container so that butter is easily visible.
  • Do not worry about any popping sounds you might hear when microwaving, they indicate that the water in the butter is boiling.
  • Do not stir the butter or open the microwave when clarifying butter, as you do not want the heat to escape.
  • Clarified butter should be stored in an air-tight container. It can last for about three months in your kitchen’s cupboard at room temperature, and in the fridge, it can last for more than six months.
  • Don’t overshoot the heating time in the microwave or rush the process, as it might burn the butter, rendering it unusable.
  • Be very cautious while taking the clarified butter out of the microwave as it will be very hot.

Is it Safe to Clarify to Butter in the Microwave?

It is safe to clarify butter in the microwave, but make sure to use a tall container as the butter can boil over and create a mess in the microwave, keep a close watch on the container as the butter can quickly burn.

Pro tip: Alice Medrich of ‘Food52’ recommends using a Pyrex measuring container or a tall heatproof jar to clarify butter.

How Long does it Take to Clarify Butter?

It is easy and hassle-free to clarify butter in the microwave. For 2 cups of butter or 4 sticks of butter, the timer can be set for 2 minutes, butter is clarified on high heat setting.

The time and heat setting also depend on the wattage of the microwave being used. For microwaves with wattage above 800 watts, butter can be clarified at medium power2.

How to Clarify butter quickly ?

Clarifying butter on the stove is a slow process and can take a long time. The quickest way to clarify butter is to use a microwave.

The thing to note is that, even though you can clarify butter in a matter of a few minutes in the microwave, it can quickly burn if not kept on a close watch.

Alternate Ways to Clarify Butter :

Using the Stove: Cut the butter into small sizes and place it in a saucepan. Put the saucepan on medium heat and let the butter melt.

Slowly the butter will start to bubble, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

After the milky foam appears on the surface, use a spoon to skim it off, then remove the saucepan from the stove.

Then using a cheesecloth or a sieve separate the clarified butter from the residue. You can decant the fat and put it in a separate container.

Don’t let the water seep into the butter because when you add the clarified butter into a pan for cooking something then the hot butter with water will splatter out and can cause burns.

How to Store Clarified Butter ?

Clarified butter doesn’t go bad for a long time, it should be stored in a dark place away from sunlight like in your kitchen’s cupboard at a stable room temperature in an air-tight container.

It should always be covered. Clarified butter can also be stored for a long term in the fridge or the freezer in air-tight freezer bags.

How to Reheat Clarified Butter?

If the clarified butter is frozen, then it should be defrosted in the fridge, after this, the butter can be melted in the pan at medium heat.


Is Clarified butter the same as melted better?

Butter contains milk solids, fat, and water. Melted butter consists of all three components.

However, when butter is clarified, you get three layers in which the layer containing milk solids comes at the top, and the layer containing water-soluble proteins comes at the bottom.

The middle layer, which is the clarified butter is golden and contains pure fat.

Why should Butter be Clarified?

Butter contains fat and milk solids, at high temperatures these can smoke and burn. When the butter is clarified, the milk solids get separated, and you get pure fat.

Clarified butter has a high smoke point than normal butter, so it doesn’t burn quickly, which makes cooking easier and the flavor of the food is retained.

Clarified butter adds a distinct flavor to curries, it can be used on shrimp rolls and other seafood items. It can also be used to roast different kinds of meat.

What to do with the leftover milk solids from clarified butter?

The leftover milk solids can be incorporated in pancakes, bread dough, or other baked goods. They can also be used to add flavor to grilled vegetables.

Bottom Line

I hope this guide helps you to clarify butter with relative ease.

If you have any queries or remarks, please let us know via comments or mail. We look forward to any tips or tricks that can be further added to this guide.

Do share this article with your fellow food enthusiasts!

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About Pooja Jain

Pooja is a foodie who likes experimenting with different cuisines every day. Cooking for Pooja is not just about following recipes, but also adding something of herself into it making each dish unique as well as delicious!

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