How to Cream Butter and Sugar

Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to cream butter?! It can make a huge difference in the end result of baked goods! That is why I am sharing my fail proof step by step guide on how to correctly cream butter for the best cookies, cakes and quick breads!

Looking for recipes that use creamed butter and sugar? Try my Chewy Chocolate Chunk Molasses Cookies, or check out my list below for more options!

Clear mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, with creamed butter and sugar.

The importance of creaming butter and sugar is so often overlooked. It is an important baking skill to learn and can make a huge difference in making cakes, cookies even quick breads! So many kitchen fails can be solved by just simply knowing the basics of creaming butter!

The difference between creaming and simply mixing the two has to do with speed AND time. When you cream butter and sugar together, you mix it at a fairly high speed so that it gets a little paler in color and becomes light, airy and fluffy. As it becomes lighter and airier, the texture of what you’re adding the creamed butter and sugar to will also become lighter and airier. Hence lighter baked goods with a lot more lift to them!

Creaming the butter and sugar together also helps to guarantee that the sugar and butter are evenly dispersed with the other ingredients they’re mixed with, i.e. no large, solid chunks of butter with no sugar.

Why is Creaming Butter and Sugar so important?

I will tell you! I struggled so much when making this pound cake recipe! Whatever I did I could not get this pound cake to rise for the life of me. I added more learners, more flour, less flour, more butter and nothing helped! I found an article that mentioned a reason a cake could fall (or not rise) is because the butter and sugar we’re not creamed for long enough.

So I tested that theory and creamed the butter and sugar for a full four minutes. I was shocked at the difference! The cake did not fall and the only thing I did differently was creamed the butter for longer at a higher speed! Creaming butter for a longer time creates a lighter, fluffier batter with more air! Hence more lift! You are actually adding air to the batter when you are creaming! That explains why it helps baked goods to rise!

Clear mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, with creamed butter and sugar.

The Correct Way to Cream Butter and Sugar

  • Begin by adding the softened butter and sugar to a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. You can do this method with a handheld mixture but it will take more time and effort.
  • Turn the stand mixer or hand mixer on, and cream the butter and sugar together at medium high speed for 4-5 minutes, until the sugar-butter mixture is light, fluffy, and paler in color. Don’t rush this step! I always set my kitchen timer to make sure I am creaming for the full 5 minutes. I also recommend scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through to make sure everything is incorporated.

cubed softened butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer with a clear glass bowl

Timing is Everything!

Here is butter and sugar that has been creamed for one minute:

butter in the stand mixer after one minute of creaming

Below is butter and sugar creamed for five minutes:

butter and sugar in stand mixer after five minutes of creaming

You can see how smooth, lighter in color and fluffy the bottom picture is. Proof that you should never rush the creaming process and that it makes a huge difference in the overall result of you baked goods!

Tips for Creaming Butter and Sugar

  • Room temperature ingredients make all of the difference! For ideal creaming butter should be between 65-67 degrees F.
  • Make sure to scrape down your bowl half way through!
  • Use a higher speed. I like to cream my butter over medium-high for 5 minutes to achieve perfectly fluffy creamed butter.

How To Soften Butter

These are 3 of my go to ways for softening butter fast!

  • Sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

softened butter with a finger print in it to show it is at the perfect temperature

  • Cube into small pieces to allow the butter to soften faster.

butter cut into cubes

  • Microwave in 10 second increments until the butter is softened. Be careful not to over soften or melt the butter.

What recipes do you cream butter and sugar together in?

Cakes

Cookies

Bars

Clear mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, with creamed butter and sugar.

More desserts you will love

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Comments

  • Mirlene

    Okay, I never knew! Thanks for this tip. Now I can improve my desserts when I use butter and sugar.

  • Chenée

    This was much needed since im making a cake today! Thanks for the fantastic tips!

  • This is so useful. Thanks for the tips and tricks! Saving it for holiday cookie season 😉

  • Kathleen

    What fabulous instructions for creaming butter and sugar. I’ve had times where it didn’t get light and fluffy so now I know what not to do. Thanks for this.

  • Amy

    This is such an important step that so many ignore! It really does make all the difference.

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