How to Soften Butter for Cookies Fast

Butter needs to soften before it’s mixed into other cookie dough ingredients. Cue: waiting seamlessly forever to get started on those beloved little treats. If you don’t want to wait endlessly for your butter to soften, don’t worry – there are ways to quicken the process.

Hey! I’m Michelle, and I love baking cookies! However, I’m also notoriously impatient, and waiting for my butter to soften at room temperature is simply out of the question. With my love for cookies paired with my impatience, I’ve found a few ways to soften butter – and fast.

Do you need to soften butter for your batch of cookies but don’t want to wait? Then you need to keep reading. Below, you will uncover the different ways to soften butter quickly – so you can spend less time staring at that stick of butter and more time downing freshly baked cookies.

Read on to find out how to quickly soften butter for cookies!

3 Quick Ways to Soften Butter for Cookies

Softening butter doesn’t have to be a long and laborious process. With these three techniques, you can enjoy perfectly softened butter in no time. The best part is that these methods are simple and don’t require any fancy equipment or tools.

Let’s dive in!

1. Use the Preheating Oven 

I despise waiting for my oven to come to temperature. But it’s not all doom and gloom. You can use the heat of your preheating oven to quicken the process of softening your butter. Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn the oven on to 350F (or whatever degrees your recipe recommends)
  • Cut the stick of butter into small cubes
  • Place inside of a stainless steel bowl
  • Set the bowl of butter chunks on top of the oven
  • Wait a little while for the indirect heat to work its magic

Sure, this isn’t the absolute fastest way to soften butter. However, I like this option because it allows you to engage in some multitasking, which is something I love to do. 

While the butter is softening, you can move on to other ingredients for your cookie dough. You can also take the extra minutes to clean up your kitchen – you know, like the disaster you’ve been avoiding under the sink!

2. Create a Hot Water Bath

We’re not the only ones who love to dip into a piping hot bath; your stick of butter does, too.

OK, I get that this might sound a little funky. But if you want your butter to soften in just a few short minutes, consider preparing a “bath” for it.

To make a hot water bath to soften butter, simply follow these steps:

  • Pour hot water into a heat-resistant glass bowl that’s large enough to accommodate your stick of butter
  • Wait two minutes for the bowl to heat up
  • While it’s heating up, cut the butter into small one-inch cubes
  • Pour out the water into the sink
  • Place your pieces of butter into the heated bowl
  • Cover with an item, such as aluminum foil or a clean kitchen towel
  • Wait a few minutes, and your butter will be perfectly soft and ready for mixing!

Sure, this method involves a few extra steps and equipment, but it’s much faster than waiting for your butter to come to room temp. 

3. Microwave

The final option is to use the microwave. It’s the quickest and most efficient way to soften butter. 

Don’t believe me? Then check out these simple steps:

  • Place your stick of butter into a microwave-safe bowl
  • Heat the butter for 15 seconds using the defrost setting
  • Turn the stick of butter over
  • Continue heating in five-second intervals until you’re satisfied with the texture

The biggest thing to remember when using the microwave to soften butter is that you need to be vigilant. It only takes a split second for butter to go from softened to melted when using the microwave, and melted butter can impact the final texture of your cookies.

That said, keep an eye on it and always check after five seconds have passed.

Tip: You don’t need to cut the butter into cubes like the other methods. 


Gone are the days you have to wait around for your butter to soften. With these simple techniques, you can soften your butter quickly and start making cookies ASAP. But before you take off, check out these frequently asked questions – you might learn something new!

Can you soften butter in the microwave for cookies?

You can soften butter in the microwave for cookies! In fact, this is my preferred method because it’s so quick and easy. Just place your stick of butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, heat using the defrost setting for 15 seconds. Flip and continue to heat in five-second intervals until you’re satisfied with the texture.

How do you soften butter in an hour?

Not in a rush? Then you can soften butter in an hour by placing it on a plate or paper towel and leaving it at room temperature. Consider chopping it into one-inch chunks to ensure it’s adequately softened from the inside out.

Do I need to soften butter for cookies?

You need to soften butter to bake a perfect batch of cookies. While cold butter is ideal for recipes that require flakiness, such as a pie crust or pastry, cold butter can ruin the texture of baked goods like cookies and cakes. Use one of the methods mentioned above to soften butter for cookies fast.

Softened Butter Doesn’t Have to Take Forever!

Whether you use the oven, hot water bath, or microwave technique, you can rest assured you’ll have softened butter for cookies – and fast. My preferred option is the microwave because it takes under a minute and it’s effortless. Just make sure you use the defrost setting!

Do you soften your butter quickly for cookies? Do you have a unique technique you’d like to share with others? Comment below so that we can try it, too!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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