How to Cream Butter

Three Parts:Softening the ButterUsing a MixerCreaming by Hand

Creaming butter is the process of mixing butter and sugar together to create a soft and creamy state for use in baking. It's a common skill in baking that ensures even distribution of the butter through the cake mixture. It also introduces air to the mixture, helping it to rise. For these reasons, it is important to master the skill of creaming butter.

Part 1
Softening the Butter

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    Allow the butter to reach room temperature. Take the butter out of the fridge at least an hour before you intend to work with it. Cold butter does not blend well when mixed and will leave chunks of butter throughout the finished product.
    • The butter is ready when it reaches room temperature. You can test it by giving it a poke with your fingers; if the butter is soft as a ripe peach and your fingers easily leave an indentation, it's ready to use.[1]
    • However, if the butter is squishy and shiny it has probably started to melt, which is not ideal for creaming. Place the butter back in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes until it firms up a little.
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    Grate the butter. Don't worry if you forget to take the butter out of the fridge in advance - all chefs forget from time to time. You can cheat by using a cheese grater to grate the hard butter into thin strips. The increased surface area will allow the butter to soften very quickly and you'll be ready to cream in no time.
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    Microwave the butter. If you're really in a rush, you can also cheat by warming the butter in the microwave. Be very careful with this though - if the butter melts, it will not cream properly and you will have to start again with new butter. To microwave:
    • Cut the cold butter into even sized chunks (this will ensure that they soften evenly), place the chunks in a microwave safe bowl and heat for no more than 10 seconds.
    • Take the bowl out and check the butter - if it is still too hard, place it back in the microwave for another 10 seconds.

Part 2
Using a Mixer

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    Place the softened butter into a suitable mixing bowl. Beat the butter with a hand-held or stand mixer on a low speed, until it becomes soft and creamy.
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    Start adding the sugar gradually. Add the sugar to the butter a little at a time. The purpose of adding it slowly is to allow you to work it into the butter so that it dissolves and doesn't leave lumps or granules of sugar in the mixture.
    • As the sugar is beaten, it cuts through the butter, leaving bubbles of air behind. This aerates the mixture, allowing it to rise and giving the final product a light, fluffy texture.
    • Most recipes will call for caster or superfine sugar when creaming butter. This is because superfine sugar has the perfect consistency for creaming - it has enough of a surface area that it will adequately aerate the butter as it is beaten (unlike powdered sugar), but it is fine enough that it will not give a coarse texture to cakes and cookies (unlike granulated sugar).
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    Increase the speed of the mixer. Once all of the sugar has been added to the butter, increase the speed of the mixer (high on a hand mixer, medium/high on a stand mixer) and continue beating until the entire texture is smooth and creamy.
    • Don't forget to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time, to reincorporate any sugar or butter that has stuck to the sides.
    • Also try to scrape out any mixture that has become trapped in the beaters.
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    Know when to stop mixing. As you continue to beat, the butter and sugar mixture will increase in volume and become increasingly lighter in color. When the sugar and butter has been perfectly creamed, it should be off-white in color and have almost doubled in volume. The texture should be thick and creamy - almost like mayonnaise.
    • Be careful not the over-mix the butter and sugar. Once the mixture is pale and creamy, and forms slight, soft peaks, you should stop beating.
    • If you keep mixing, it will lose most of the air you worked in and the final product will not rise very well.
    • As a guideline, your butter and sugar should be perfectly creamed in about six or seven minutes, when using a mixer.
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    Use as required in your recipe. If you've creamed the butter and sugar well, the baking process should proceed smoothly.

Part 3
Creaming by Hand

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    Place your softened butter in a mixing bowl. You can use any type of mixing bowl you like, however, some chefs recommend using a ceramic or stoneware bowl for creaming butter.
    • These type of bowls have rougher surfaces which catch the butter and speed up the creaming process.[2]
    • Metal or plastic bowls have smoother surfaces which do not catch the butter.
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    Start mixing the butter. Before you add the sugar to the bowl, you should cream the butter on its own first. This will make adding the sugar much easier later on.
    • Use a fork, wire whisk, spatula or wooden spoon to mush up the butter before you begin to mix.
    • Like with the ceramic or stoneware bowl, it is believed that a wooden spoon will catch the butter more easily and speed up the creaming process.
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    Gradually add the sugar. Little by little, incorporate the sugar into the butter, beating after each addition. This will give the sugar a chance to dissolve and prevent it from flying out of the bowl as you mix.
    • Continue beating the butter and sugar once all of the sugar has been added. Beat vigorously but steadily - you will have to work at it for a while so you don't want to tire yourself out too soon! Switch hands if you need to.
    • Just think of all the calories you'll burn while beating - you'll certainly deserve that extra cookie once they're done!
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    Know when to stop beating. Really with hand beating there's no way to over-mix the butter and sugar...but you'll have to stop at some point.
    • When it's ready, the mixture should be creamy and lump-free. It should be slighter paler in color too.
    • A good test is to drag a fork through the mixture - if you see any streaks of butter, you'll need to keep beating, if not you can continue with your recipe.
    • If you leave streaks of butter in your mixture, this means that it's not uniform and your final product will have an uneven texture.


  • If you have spices, vanilla essence (extract), and the rinds from citrus fruits to add to the cake, add them while creaming the butter. This will ensure that the flavours are released, and these items will also be well diffused through the cake.


  • If the butter is not creamed enough when the recipe calls for this, there is a risk of finding holes in the cake.

Things You'll Need

  • Softened butter
  • Superfine sugar
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk or spoon or electric mixer for beating
  • Recipe

Article Info

Categories: Baking | Cake Making Tips