How to Cream Butter and Sugar Properly

A how-to guide to upgrading your baked goods with this simple yet critical technique.

You don’t have to be a professional baker to understand that creaming butter and sugar can make or break your recipes. Without creaming, your cakes will never rise to their full potential. Beating together softened butter and sugar is why your cakes puff up beautifully. It also determines whether a cookie is flat and chewy or more cake-like. So if you’re looking to upgrade your baked goods, It’s time to master this critical technique.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Hibiscus Frosting

Creaming butter and sugar is usually the first step in cake recipes. “Creaming” refers to beating softened butter and sugar until the sugar dissolves, creating tiny air pockets in the batter. Once baked, these pockets of trapped air expand and puff up cakes, create texture, and provide structure. While using a stand or hand mixer is easiest, you can certainly do this with common kitchen tools if you’ve got arms of steel.

How do I know my butter is at the right temperature?

Recipes will either say softened or room temperature when referring to creaming. Those two words are used interchangeably for this method. While room temperature usually refers to the average 73℉ home, the ideal butter temperature for creaming is between 60-65℉. You’ll know it’s the right temperature when it feels slightly chilled and your finger leaves an indentation when pressed but doesn’t push through the butter quickly. If you forgot to take your butter out of the fridge beforehand, don’t fret. We’ve got some tricks up our sleeve that can help you soften butter quickly!

How to Cream Butter and Sugar:

Supplies

  • Softened Butter
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer
  • Large mixing bowl

Step 1

Add butter to a large mixing bowl. Beat on low until the butter begins to soften and spread. You can also cut your butter into cubes before beating to help with this process.

Step 2

Pour in the sugar and slowly increase speed to medium (level 6 on a KitchenAid stand mixer).

Step 3

Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color, fluffy, and almost doubled in size. The sugar should also feel mostly dissolved. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure everything beats evenly. Adequately creamed butter can take up to 5-7 minutes, depending on the speed of your mixer.

That’s it! The creaming method doesn’t have to be complicated. With some understanding and patience, your baked goods will thank you for the extra effort. If you still have questions, that’s okay! We’ve got a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about creaming butter and sugar.

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