How Much Salt to Add to Unsalted Butter? Which Butter to Use When?

how much salt to add to unsalted butter

Okay, at first, stop being annoyed! Sometimes it’s fine to pick the wrong butter from the supermarket. Yes, I’m talking about unsalted butter. If you have mistakenly brought the unsalted butter instead of the salted one, then nothing to worry about! Because you can EASILY fix it!! 

The general rule to substitute salted and unsalted butter in a recipe is to-

  • Add ¼ tsp of salt per ½ cup if you want to use unsalted instead of butter
  • Reduce ¼ teaspoon of salt per ½ cup if you want to replace unsalted butter with salted one.
Quantity of Unsalted ButterAmount of SaltLevel of Saltiness
1 Cup¼ tsp of saltMild or slightly salty
1 Cup½ tsp of saltModerate
1 Cup1 tsp of saltVery Salty
Process of Adding Salt to Unsalted Butter

Butter is an essential ingredient in baking as it adds texture and a rich flavor to baked goods and cooking. Though some recipes call for salted variety while others require unsalted butter, swapping them in your recipe is simple. Just some simple tweaks can go all the way.

Why Is Salt Added to the Butter?

Salt lifts the flavor of the butter, but this isn’t the only reason to add salt to the butter. 

Butter can perish very easily, and salt is a type of preservative. Salt extends the shelf life of the butter. Also, adding salt to butter helps avoid losses from butter passing its ‘sell by’ date soon and spoilage in stores. Does it make sense now?

How Much Is Salt in Salted Butter?

The USDA says that salted butter carries about 643(mg) sodium per 100(g) serving.

In general, one stick of salted butter contains around 8 grams or ⅓ tsp of salt in total. But the amount of salt varies by brand.

How Much Salt Should be Added to Unsalted Butter?

Most recipes that include salted or unsalted butter adjust other ingredients accordingly. So, It’s best to use the butter that a recipe calls for.

But suppose you have only unsalted butter at home or have mistakenly bought unsalted butter. In that case, you can still use it in your cooking with some slight adjustments.

  • For every  ¼ of a pound or half a cup of unsalted butter, add a ¼ a teaspoon of salt to give it the same amount of saltiness similar to salted butter. Or,
  • For every 1 cup of butter, add ½ a teaspoon of salt.

However, this is not a fixed ratio. You certainly can add salt to it according to your personal preference. If you love the tangy flavor of lots of salt, you can add more salt. Again, if you find too much saltiness unappetizing, then add less. 

Just taste your dish as your cooking goes along because you can always add a couple of pinch extra salt if your recipe tastes too bland.

Bonus Read!

Salted vs Unsalted Butter

  • The main difference between these is salt. 
  • Every bit of unsalted butter is cream, while the salted one comes with added salt. However, the amount of salt varies from brand to brand.
  • Because salt is a preservative, salted butter comes with longer shelf life in the fridge and stays fresh for about five months. On the other hand, unsalted butter usually lasts for about three. And It’ll also be fresh on your counter if you follow the storing rules properly. 
  • Unsalted butter is a bit fresher than salted ones.
butter melting in a frying pan due to applying heat.
Image credit: ES Studio, Shutterstock

Can You Use Salted Butter Instead of Unsalted?

If you really want to make a dessert whose recipe calls for unsalted butter, but sadly you only have the salted one, don’t worry! Just preheat your oven. 

Because salted and unsalted butter can be used interchangeably. All you need to do is make some little adjustments. 

Suppose a recipe requires unsalted butter and some extra salt; you can use salted butter instead. Just don’t add any additional salt the recipe calls for. With this easy and simple tweak, you can satisfy your cravings.

Salted Butter vs Unsalted: Which One Is Better?

The salted and unsalted butter are useful in baking and cooking and making delicious and flavorful dishes equally.

However, most chefs prefer unsalted butter for general cooking or baking because they can then adjust the amount of salt as needed. Though using any of those doesn’t make a great difference in regular cooking, you must constantly adjust seasonings to taste. 

In cooking, you can adjust salt anytime if needed. Meanwhile, you can’t adjust the seasoning after it is completely baked in baking. That is why it’s better to use unsalted butter in baking because it lets you control the amount of salt so that the recipe’s taste comes out precisely.

When to Use Salted Butter?

All-purpose salted butter is best for topping pasta and veggies, spreading on bread, and using in recipes that require less control over the amount of salt.

You can add a pat of salted butter to your oatmeal bowl to turn the monotonous breakfast into a delicious one. Because a teaspoon of butter only contains 4 grams of fat but adds rich flavor.

You may also like: Does Butter Go Bad?

When to Use Unsalted Butter?

Using unsalted butter lets, you completely control the final flavor of your dish. Maintaining salt and taste is important for baked goods like pound cakes or butter cookies. The sweet cream flavor and puree of butter are the key ingredients.

While cooking, unsalted butter helps bring out your food’s natural and real flavor.

Many recipes call for unsalted butter and extra salt because you can add the salt as much as you want to the recipe.

Final Words

Butter makes every dish taste better as it adds rich flavor and texture. Though it is best to use the specified type of butter that a recipe calls for, you can easily interchangeably use unsalted and salted butter with little adjustments. Also, adding salt to unsalted butter can be done easily at home.

So, nothing can stop you from baking your favorite cake, even if you don’t have the recipe-specified butter.

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