When to Choose Salted Vs. Unsalted Butter

Butter is available both with and without salt. The salt is added for extra flavor and to help preserve it so it has a longer shelf life. The problem is that sometimes the salt in butter can be more than a recipe needs. Choosing unsalted butter gives you more control over how much salt your dish contains. If you only have salted butter, the best thing to do is omit approximately ¼ teaspoon of salt per ½ cup (one stick) of butter used in the recipe.

Why it Matters What Type of Butter you Use

Cooking with salted or unsalted butter can make a significant difference in the taste of your dish. Salted butter contains added salt, while unsalted butter is pure butterfat without any added salt. When cooking with salted butter, you should keep in mind that the amount of salt in the butter can affect the overall saltiness of your dish. If you’re cooking something that requires precise seasoning, like a delicate sauce or a baked good, using unsalted butter can give you better control over the final flavor. On the other hand, salted butter can add a rich, savory depth of flavor to dishes like roasted vegetables or grilled meats, where the saltiness is welcome.

Tips for Salted Vs. Unsalted Butter

In general, it’s a good idea to keep both types of butter on hand so you can use the one that best suits your recipe. Some chefs prefer to use unsalted butter for most cooking and baking, as it allows them to control the salt content of their dishes. They add salt separately to ensure the dish is perfectly seasoned. Others prefer to use salted butter for everyday cooking, as it adds flavor without requiring additional seasoning. Ultimately, the decision to use salted or unsalted butter comes down to personal preference and the recipe you’re making. Be sure to taste your food as you go, and adjust the seasoning as needed to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.