Creaming butter and sugar is super simple, yet it's often done incorrectly. These step-by-step instructions, tips, and video will show you how to cream butter and sugar properly every time, leading to better baked goods!
Confession: I did not know how to properly cream butter and sugar for longer than I'd care to admit. I did it incorrectly for years. Creaming butter and sugar means more than just mixing the two ingredients together, as I once thought, and doing it properly will have a big impact on the outcome of your baked goods.
For light and fluffy cakes, cookies, muffins, and more, keep reading to learn how to cream butter and sugar the right way.
What does 'cream butter' mean?
As I mentioned above, creaming butter and sugar together means more than just mixing the two ingredients until they're blended. To 'cream butter' means to beat room temperature butter with sugar for a couple of minutes at high speed in order to aerate the butter. As the two ingredients are beaten together, the sugar granulates will create air pockets within the butter that will ultimately help your baked good to rise properly, giving your final baked good the ideal texture. Properly creamed butter will be light and fluffy and will have become a bit paler (but not white) in color.
How to cream butter and sugar
- Tools: To cream butter and sugar you will need a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a large bowl and a handheld electric mixer.
- Ingredients: Butter (must be softened to room temperature) and sugar. Use the quantities of each ingredient specified in the recipe you are making.
- Step 1: Add room temperature butter to the bowl and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 30 to 60 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the butter off the sides and bottom of the bowl and the beaters.
- Step 2: Add the sugar to the bowl and beat with the butter on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy and becomes a bit paler (but not while) in color, about 2 minutes. Pause to scrape the bowl and beaters with the spatula halfway through mixing.
- After creaming the butter and sugar together, proceed with the recipe as directed.
Can I cream butter by hand with a whisk?
Technically yes, it is possible to cream butter and sugar by hand using a whisk or a wooden spoon. This would take some serious arm strength though; I can say with confidence that I would not be able to do this myself. That's why I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer for this task.
How can I bring butter to room temperature quickly?
Check out this post for my tips to bring butter to room temperature quickly (and to read more about why it's important to use room temperature ingredients in baking when your recipe calls for it).
Can I use melted butter instead of creaming it?
No. If your recipe calls for butter to be creamed with sugar, then the structure of your baked good relies on the texture that room temperature butter whipped with sugar and air will provide. Substituting melted butter will alter the texture of your baked good. Many recipes do call for melted butter, but it is not a good idea to use melted butter in a recipe that calls for creamed butter.
Can I over mix butter and sugar?
Yes, it is possible to over mix butter and sugar when creaming them together. If you continue to mix after the butter and sugar become light and fluffy, eventually the butter will separate and the mixture will become batter-like in consistency and greasy.
Love this tutorial for how to cream butter and sugar? Check out these other scratch baking tips!
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