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If you are baking up sweets and need to know how to cream butter and sugar, we’ve got the steps broken down for you!
Time To Make Some Treats!
When a recipe calls for “cream the butter and sugar” experienced bakers will know exactly what this step means, but those of you who are just starting out may not understand the process. What exactly is softened butter? How long do I mix? What should it look like?
Creamed butter and sugar is simply a combination of the two ingredients that have been whipped. Don’t worry, I have step-by-step instructions below so you’ll know EXACTLY what you need to do!
How to Cream Butter and Sugar
Creaming butter and sugar is a simple step and we’ve broken it down for you!
PREP. Add softened butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl.
CREAM. Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sugar mixture off the sides of the mixing bowl a couple of times during the mixing time.
The mixture will become a pale yellow, light, fluffy, and still have a bit of a grainy texture.
Recipe tip. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times during the creaming process. This will ensure all of the sugar is evenly distributed.
You may be wondering what creamed butter and sugar look like. These tips will help you troubleshoot and achieve the perfect texture.
Mixer. You will need a handheld electric mixer with beaters attached or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mixing the butter and sugar by hand isn’t powerful enough to produce the needed bubbles.
Speed. The speed of the mixture is another factor in creating perfectly creamed butter and sugar. Missing at low speed for a long time or at a high speed for a short time will not produce the desired texture. Stick to a medium speed and beat for about 2 minutes.
Texture. When properly mixed, the butter and sugar should be a light yellow color with a fluffy texture. No visual sugar granules appear but you can still feel the granules when you rub a bit of the cream between your fingers.
If you mix it for too long it will become almost white, fluffy, and smooth. Overmixing the cream will yield a gummy baked good. Don’t toss it though, it can be flavored with honey, cinnamon, or other spices and used as a delicious buttery spread that can top a slice of bread, biscuits, waffles, and more.
Undermixed: The butter and sugar will be a darker yellow and look gritty.
Beating the butter and sugar together creates a network of air bubbles. During the baking time, the leavening ingredients fill the air pockets with gasses that lift and expand. The more bubbles there are the lighter the texture and the more fine the crumb of the baked goods will be.
Softened butter. The first step in creating a network of bubbles is using the correct texture of butter. If the butter is too firm, it will be chunky and too dense the allow very many bubbles to form. If it is too soft the mixture will not be stable enough to hold any bubbles.
- Cut the stick of butter into cubes and leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Avoid using the microwave as it can easily melt the enter of the butter.
- I have a wonderful post about How to Soften Butter with more information about softened butter.
Sugar. You need to stick to granulated sugar. The hard granules pierce through the butter creating many bubbles. Brown sugar acts in the same manner as white granulated sugar. However, powdered sugar is too soft.
While margarine can be creamed using sugar, be cautious using it when a recipe calls for butter. Margarine typically has a higher water content and a different consistency than butter, which can affect the texture and structure of your baked goods.
The goal of creaming is to incorporate air into the mixture, which creates a light and fluffy texture. Using an electric mixer provides the necessary power and speed to achieve this. However, if you don’t have access to a mixer, you can try using a whisk or a fork, but it will require significantly more time and effort to achieve the needed consistency.
Room temperature is considered to be between 68-72°F. At this temperature, you can leave the butter on the counter for about 30 minutes. Adjust the length of time according to the actual temperature of your kitchen.
For More Sweet Recipes, Check Out:
- Frosted Sugar Cookies
- Gooey Butter Cookies Recipe
- Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
- Strawberry Cookies
- Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- Ginger Snap Cookies
How to Cream Butter and Sugar
- Add softened butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl.
- Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sugar mixture off the sides of the mixing bowl a couple of times during the mixing time.
- The mixture will become a pale yellow, light, fluffy, and still have a bit of a grainy texture.
- Recipe tip. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times during the creaming process. This will ensure all of the sugar is evenly distributed.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.