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Quick Clarified Butter

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2016

We recently discovered a faster method for making clarified butter.

Clarified butter is often served alongside lobster and used for making hollandaise and baklava. Because of its high smoke point, it’s also ideal for pan frying. Our typical clarifying method calls for melting the butter; letting it sit to let the milk solids, butterfat, and water separate; skimming off the milk solids; refrigerating the remaining mixture until it solidifies; and then finally popping the solidified fat out of the container (where the water and trace amounts of other dissolved ingredients will remain).

We recently discovered a faster method that calls for bringing melted butter and cornstarch—1/2 tablespoon per 1/2 cup butter—to a simmer in a pot with high sides (the mixture will foam). After just 30 seconds, the cornstarch will trap the butter’s water as well as any water-soluble proteins in the milk solids; any non-water-soluble proteins will separate out of the liquid. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter–lined fine-mesh strainer to remove the cornstarch and milk solids, and you’re left with clarified butter.