Creaming butter and sugar correctly is key to soft and light baked goods! It might sound very simple, but so many bakers get this wrong and end up with tough or grainy cookies. In this post, I will explain the importance of creaming butter and sugar, and show you how to do it properly and bake the perfect batch of cookies every time!
Why Cream Butter and Sugar?
Many baking recipes start with creaming butter and granulated sugar. When you beat softened butter and granulated sugar at high speed, you aerate the batter which means that air is incorporated into the mixture as you beat it. These pockets of air are trapped in the mixture and help puff up baked goods as they’re baked making them tender. When you incorporate air in the sugar and butter, the mixture will increase in volume and become fluffy and that’s the secret to fluffy baked goods!
The longer you beat the mixture, the paler in color it becomes and the sugar is dispersed in the butter to dissolve in it, and the cookie will have a cake-like texture. If you beat the mixture for just a couple of minutes, the cookie will be chewy, flatter, and won’t puff up much.
What is Softened Butter and Why Use it to Cream Butter and Sugar?
Softened butter means that butter is brought to room temperature. To soften butter, I take it out of the fridge about an hour before I start baking. Cold butter is too hard to break down and cream with sugar, and won’t be properly blended. Melted butter does not work either as it has a liquid form that just mixes with the sugar, and results in greasy collapsed baked goods.
Softened butter should be around 65°F/18°C. If you press it with a wooden spoon or your thumb, it leaves an indentation but does not lose its shape.
How Long to Cream Butter and Sugar?
Most recipes will tell you to cream butter and sugar, but they usually don’t tell you for how long! It all depends on the power of your stand or hand mixer. I own KitchenAid and Kenwood stand mixers, both are powerful and it usually takes me 4-5 minutes for the mixture to become pale and the sugar granules are fully dissolved in the butter.
If you’re using a hand mixer, the job will take you more time (and arm work!). I use this KitchenAid hand mixer that I love, and it takes around 5-7 minutes to properly cream the butter and the sugar.
How to Cream Butter and Sugar
- Place softened butter (to room temperature) and sugar (granulated white or brown sugar) in a large mixing bowl.
- Start mixing over medium speed for 1-2 minutes, the mixture will resemble wet sand if you rub it between your fingers. Use a rubber spatula to scrape off the sides and the bottom of the bowl.
- Increase the speed to high and beat for 3-4 more minutes or until it’s fluffy and pale in color.
Do not go too far! If you cream the butter and sugar for too long, the butter will separate and you will end up with a soupy and greasy mixture. Stop when the mixture is well blended, light in color, and fluffy.
If you don’t own a stand or a hand mixer, you can use a fork and a wooden spoon. Lightly mash the butter with the sugar then grab a wooden spoon and mix until the mixture is light and fluffy.
It’s nearly impossible to rescue the mixture now, I recommend starting over with a new batch of butter and sugar.
I hope that this post answers all of your questions about creaming butter and sugar. If you have a question or want to share a tip, please leave a comment below!
Put This into Practice!
Now that you’re a pro at creaming butter and sugar, try these delicious cookie recipes:
- Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies
- Pecan Meltaways
- Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
- Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies