Will butter burn in cast iron skillet?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: May 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Table of Contents

Will butter burn in cast iron skillet?

Are you wondering if butter will burn in a cast-iron skillet? “I hope you’re sitting down for this, but I’ve got some bad news. Butter can burn in a cast iron skillet.” “This is the kind of shocking revelation for many people.” “But it’s true!

There are scientific reasons behind why will butter burn in a cast iron skillet. Butter burns at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 176 degrees Celsius. That temperature threshold may seem low to you unless you’re an expert chef who knows how to handle the heat. Butter will start smoking and eventually burn once it reaches that point on the stovetop. That means its flavor and nutritional value will start to evaporate.

But here is good news:

There are ways you can cook smoothly without making the butter burn in your cast iron skillet.

Let’s see how you can do that!

9 ways you can use butter in your skillet without burning it!

Butter can burn in a cast iron skillet. Butter is very sensitive to heat, and it’s easy to burn when cooked at high temperatures because of the milk solids in it. And since dairy has a low smoke point, you can get some serious smoking in your skillet when you add butter.

Here are some ways you can prevent it:

Use unsalted butter

You can prevent your butter from burning by using unsalted butter.

Salted butter which is used in most dining restaurants contains high amounts of sodium that can make your dish taste too salty. Also, check with an expert before you use either salted or sweetened butter, which may burn easily compared to unsalted butter.

Use clarified butter

If you still think that unsalted butter is not enough for your dish, then you can use clarified butter which has the milk solids removed from it. Then your pan won’t have any burnt taste because of the milk solids, and you’ll be able to cook more deliciously.

Use a cooking spray

If you’re not sure which butter to use for your pan, then the best way is to use a cooking spray. A cooking spray can be made of any cooking oil or fat that contains more than 80% fat and less than 20% water and propellant that allows it to be stored in containers under pressure.

Cooking sprays are used on pans and baking sheets to prevent sticking and burning by creating an invisible barrier of oil between the food and your skillet/pan/baking sheet, preventing the food from interacting with hot metal.

Cooking sprays can even make cleanup easier since they don’t leave behind a gummy residue like some stickier butter does when baked onto cookware.

Use clarified butter combined with vegetable oil

You can combine clarified butter with vegetable oil to cook your recipe without burning it. Clarified butter provides a high smoke point, so you’ll need the vegetable oil as an added source of protection for preventing burnt taste.

Using a preheated pan

It’s important to heat your pan properly before adding any type of fat to it – including cooking sprays, ghee or clarified butter, and even regular oils.

Heating the pan ensures that the metal is hot enough not to burn one, ensuring that you won’t have all those milk solids present in your dish.

And if you’re using a cast-iron skillet, then they better be preheated well since they retain heat very well which helps them maintain their target temperature.

Keep the flame low

Another way you can use butter in a cast iron skillet is by cooking on low heat. You should maintain your burner temperature at medium or low heat when cooking with butter. If you are using a gas range, adjust the flame so that it just barely keeps the pan warm.

Cover the skillet

And if you know that the butter will burn, try covering your skillet with some lid or kitchen paper towel which will allow for consistent heat distribution while preventing burned taste.

Stir using a wooden spoon

Another trick is to use a wooden spoon to stir your dish. Wooden spoons tend to tolerate high heat better than other types of cooking utensils, which can get burnt when they come in contact with hot pans.

Limit the time of heat

Another interesting technique is to limit the time of heat. You can simply do this by turning off the flame or removing the skillet from the flame. Just cover the skillet after removing it from the flame and let it cook in its own heat.

Is there an alternative of butter I can use in a skillet?

Absolutely yes. In fact, there are many. You can use any type of cooking oil that’s high in fat like vegetable oil or lard. It’s best to use neutral-flavored oil. Another alternative is coconut oil.

Also, consider adding Greek yogurt if it suits your dish’s ingredients. You can also mix some cooking oils with a little bit of butter to avoid burning your dish.

What will happen if I accidentally burn the butter in the skillet?

Burning the butter in the skillet will make your dish bitter and give it a burnt taste.

If this happens to you while you’re cooking in a cast iron skillet, immediately remove it from the flame. After which, place it in a cool water bowl to stop the cooking process.

Is it necessary to use butter in cooking?

You don’t have to use butter in cooking. Some people prefer butter just because of their personal choice or its smell. You can use cooking spray or coconut oil for your cast iron skillet.

How should I clean the burnt butter from the skillet?

That’s very simple! Just add some salt in water and use a metal spatula to scrape the brown bits and food particles from your skillet.

Don’t forget to rinse it thoroughly afterward since salt is very difficult to remove when it dries.


In a nutshell, butter can burn in a cast iron skillet. There are ways you can prevent it – either by taking precautionary measures or using safer alternatives.

You’re never limited to just using butter in your cast iron skillets, but get creative and improvise. Be mindful of the temperature though when trying out new cooking techniques.

So, handle the heat following the above-mentioned techniques and enjoy cooking with butter in your favorite cast iron skillet!

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