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Help: I Bought Unsalted Butter by Mistake

Ask the Chef

Question:

I bought unsalted butter by mistake. Can I add salt to it so it tastes like salted butter? What proportion per stick? Thanks,

—Linda Blake

Answer:

The ratio of salt to butter varies from brand to brand. The typical amount of salt in an unsalted butter is 1 to 2 teaspoons per pound, or 1/4 tsp to 1/2 teaspoon per 4 oz. stick.

You may add salt to unsalted better, but depending on how the butter is used in the recipe, you may get some mixed results in terms of texture. If you add salt to cold/room temperature butter and the butter remains cold for the recipe (for example, a compound butter), then you may notice a little graininess/crunch if the salt isn’t completely absorbed by the butter. For this reason, be sure to use table salt instead of larger flake salt such as Kosher salt.

However, this won’t be an issue for most dishes, so just add a little bit of salt to the recipe to approximate the salted butter.

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