If you like to cook or bake, keeping a can of butter powder in your pantry can be incredibly useful. But if you’ve never heard of butter powder before, you might be scratching your head right now.
Powdered butter is dehydrated, shelf-stable butter that’s kept in the cupboard rather than the refrigerator. It eliminates the need for sticks or tubs of butter, both of which have shorter expiration dates and should be refrigerated.
If you think that sounds weird, think back to the last time you used a packet of dehydrated cheese to make a delicious dish of mac and cheese. It’s similar to that — it starts as a powder and becomes creamy and smooth once it mixes with a liquid.
What Is Butter Powder Used For?
Like powdered milk or powdered peanut butter, powdered butter acts as an instant replacement for the real thing. To rehydrate it, simply add water; however, rehydrating is completely optional.
Let’s say you need to perk up a drab sauce, add zest to popcorn, make vegetables savory or toast more flavorful. Just add a little butter powder as a seasoning! You can use it anywhere you’d use real butter, such as when you’re topping biscuits or waffles. While reconstituted butter powder can’t melt in a pan, it will add a milky flavor to meals.
You can also use it in place of regular butter when you’re baking. Simply treat it as a dry ingredient instead of a wet one.
How Is Butter Powder Made?
When it’s produced on a large-scale level by companies preparing it for purchase, butter powder is made by spray drying, a process in which butter is melted, sprayed into a hot chamber and dehydrated. This allows for fast evaporation of liquids, leaving only powder behind.
Thankfully, this means powdered butter contains very few additives. Take this Hoosier Hill Farm Real Butter Powder, for example. The ingredients listed are butter (sweet cream, salt and annatto color) and nonfat milk solids. For It’s Just! GrassFed Butter Powder, the ingredient list includes only pasteurized cream and milk solids.
What Are The Benefits Of Butter Powder?
The main benefit of butter powder, as compared to real butter, is that it can help you save money if you don’t use a lot of butter often. If you’ve ever had to pitch an outdated dairy product, you know how frustrating it can be when you need it and you don’t have a fresh quantity available.
Manufacturers of butter powder claim an unopened canister will last for ages — up to 10 years if unopened and 6-12 months if opened, but it’s always wise to check the expiration date. Once you open the can, write the date with a Sharpie on the side as a quick way to keep an eye on how long it’s been opened. If it ever smells funky or tastes weird, it’s probably spoiled and needs to be tossed.
Making Your Own Butter Powder
Instead of purchasing premade butter powder, you can whip it up yourself. Yes, really!
If going the DIY route, follow Allrecipes’ lead and melt the unsalted butter, then let it cool. Add the same amount of nonfat dry milk powder to create a paste. Once it dries completely, mix it in the blender to form a powder and then store it in an airtight container.
Since it needs to be kept in a cool, dark place, keep your powdered butter away from the cabinet above the stove. It’ll stay fresh for a long time and doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but do keep reconstituted paste in your fridge.
Butter powder is also good to keep in your long-term emergency prep kit as a way to reduce your dependency on food supply chains. Next time you head out into the wilderness to camp, take a little baggie of it with you to flavor scrambled eggs and campfire toast. You’ll be glad you did!