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Salted vs. Unsalted Butter

I am curious as to why you always state (on TV show) to use salted butter. All other cooking shows are virtually unanimous in recommending using unsalted butter so as to control the amount in any dish. Can you explain your logic in being so different?


  • Thanks for your question. Yes, we are different from what you will usually hear from other cooking professionals. Here at Milk Street we experimented with using both salted and unsalted butter in both savory and baking recipes. The overall opinion was that the small amount of salt in the butter was undetectable in the recipes. Since salted butter has the advantage of extending the butters shelf life, it also makes it a good choice for home cooks who may not use butter all that often. Even though conventional wisdom is to use unsalted we have decided it really doesn’t make a difference. If you have unsalted at home, it should work just as well in our recipes. If you are concerned, add a pinch of salt to the recipe for good luck.

    Hope this helps. 

    Deb at Milk Street

  • One other thought. We do feel that using salted butter in a savory recipe is slightly different than just adding salt to a recipe. We think that it provides a better foundation for the dish. However, this has not been tested side by side so we cannot confirm that this is true. I also strongly suggest that you purchase a high quality high butterfat content butter and I also like a well-salted butter - some of them are "lightly" salted which does not cut it when spread on bread or toast. The higher butterfat brands really do make a difference -the texture is richer, silkier and the mouthfeel is better.

  • Since salted butter has the advantage of extending the butters shelf life

    I agree that that should be true but with my experience I disagree. I had two sticks of butter, same brand put out at the same time one salted, one not, same type of dish. They got hid by something and sat way to long. When I discovered them, the salted was rancid the unsalted was not.

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