Creating cake, cookies, and other baked goods that are light and tender begins with a simple technique called Creaming Butter. This is an important first step in recipes and it's simple to do.
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If you are new to baking or a seasoned baker I am sure you have recipes that say, cream butter and sugar together. So what is creaming in baking?
- The creaming process involves beating room temperature butter and sugar together with a mixer at a moderate speed until it is well blended, with a fluffy texture, and is pale yellow in color.
- While there are some recipes that just want the butter to be creamed, most recipes want both butter and sugar, and this can be with white granulated sugar, brown sugar, or powdered sugar.
- When butter and sugar are creamed together, pockets of air are created that aerate the batter which helps your baked goods be tender and fluffy.
- Beating sugar into the butter helps dissolve it, creating a smooth mixture. This step is especially important when working with granulated sugar, which can remain grainy if not creamed properly.
- How to get butter to room temperature?
- How can you tell if butter is at room temperature?
- To cream butter, you will need the following ingredients and tools
- How to cream butter and sugar together
- How long to cream butter and sugar
- These recipes use creamed butter and sugar
- Creaming Questions!
- More to make and eat!
- Follow One Hot Oven
How to get butter to room temperature?
Before you start the creaming process the butter needs to be at room temperature for the best results. Take the butter out of the refrigerator for a half hour to an hour to get it warmed up. Of course, this depends on the temperature of your kitchen.
If you need to get the butter at room temperature fast there are several methods
- Get a tall glass and fill it with very hot water and let it sit for a minute, then dump out the water and invert the hot glass over the stick of butter. The heat from the glass will soften the butter.
- Cut the butter into slices which will take less time to get to the right temperature.
- Microwave at 5-second intervals. Place the butter on a plate and microwave for 5 seconds, then turn the butter over and microwave again. Press the butter with your finger to test if it is soft, if not, turn the butter onto another side and microwave again for 5 seconds.
How can you tell if butter is at room temperature?
- You can tell when butter is at room temperature by gently pressing it with your finger or a spoon and it makes a small indentation. If your finger or spoon sinks way down into the stick of butter then it's too warm and will not cream properly.
- The butter should still be slightly cool and the butter temperature should be about 65 degrees F. which is cooler than your kitchen.
This butter is still too hard to cream
This butter is at room temperature and ready to cream
To cream butter, you will need the following ingredients and tools
- Butter (softened to room temperature)
- Large mixing bowl
- Handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer
How to cream butter and sugar together
Step 1. Slice the room-temperature butter and add it to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2. I prefer to cream just the butter first by starting the mixer on medium-low speed to break down the butter, then increase the speed to medium and beat for about one minute until you have creamy butter.
Step 3. Add the sugar to the beaten butter and mix on medium speed to incorporate the butter and sugar. At this stage, the mixture is chunky and grainy.
Step 4. Scrape the sides of the bowl then increase the mixer speed to medium-high and mix for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will start to become smooth.
Step 5. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 2-3 minutes. The mixture will become very smooth, light, and fluffy and become a pale yellow color.
How long to cream butter and sugar
Most recipes just say to cream the butter and sugar together, but there is more to it than just mixing them together. In order to get the right texture, the creaming process can take about 5 minutes with a handheld mixer, or 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer.
This long creaming process dissolves sugar creating a smooth mixture. This step is especially important when working with granulated sugar, which can remain grainy if not creamed properly.
- Tip 1 - If your butter and sugar look and feel gritty then you have not mixed it enough. Undermixed creamed butter can make your finished product dense.
- Tip 2 - If you have over creamed the butter and sugar you will know because most likely the butter will get melty and separate from the sugar and have a grainy texture.
These recipes use creamed butter and sugar
This Mandarin Orange Bundt Cake is light, fluffy, and full of mandarine pieces.
These Iced Lemon Cookies are chewy and with a bold taste of lemon.
This Peanut Butter Cupcakes are a bit indulgent and so delicious with caramel buttercream frosting.
This Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream uses cream butter in the cake batter and the frosting.
Yes, it is the same process, beat the butter and brown sugar for 5 minutes. The mixture will be pale brown in color.
You can and it will take some arm strength. Use a fork to smash the butter then incorporate the sugar with a wooden spoon and stir and mix for about five minutes to get the mixture light and fluffy.
More to make and eat!
Follow One Hot Oven
How To Cream Butter
- 1 Stand mixer optional
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar can use brown sugar or powdered sugar
- Slice room-temperature butter and add it to a large mixing bowl.
- With the mixer on medium-low speed start mixing the butter to smooth it out, then increase the speed to medium and beat for about 1 minute until the butter is creamy.
- Add the sugar to the butter and mix on medium speed to incorporate the butter and sugar. At this stage, the mixture is chunky and grainy.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl then increase the mixer speed to medium-high and mix for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will start to become smooth.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl, and mix for another 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed until the butter and sugar are light and fluffy and the color is a pale yellow.
- From this point, follow your recipe to add other ingredients.
Thank you for stopping by the One Hot Oven blog. Please leave a comment to say Hello or just let me know what you are baking these days, I always love hearing from fellow bakers. Have any questions or just want to chat about the recipe? Please visit my about page for information, and I’ll be happy to help!
From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.
I used it for my son's cake and it came out super delicious. Everybody loved it. It was easy to make, quick, and for sure not a one-time being made. Highly recommended
For some reason I expected this to be hard but it really wasn't! Thanks for the clear instructions!
Thank you for the tips! What seems so simple has always tripped me up but you've turned me into a chef!
This method is so easy to understand and great for all of my baking needs! Thank you for explaining it so well.
Thanks for a clear and easy tutorial. I am not an advanced baker so this came helpful.