My family is working on a long-term food storage plan, and we’re hoping to include everything we need to make our favorite recipes. Butter keeps well in the freezer, but if power is out, it’s nice to have a backup plan to keep your family eating comfortably. I bought a can of butter powder and I’ve been learning to how to adapt my recipes to use butter powder instead of perishable butter.
What is Butter Powder?
So what on earth is butter powder anyway? Dehydrated butter isn’t strictly possible, as butter isn’t water-based. How do you turn an oil into a powder to make powdered butter?
Regular butter is roughly 80% fat, 1-2% milk solids and the rest is water. The first step is to remove as much water as possible. That’s easy to do industrially, but can be tricky to manage at home.
After that, you have butterfat and milk solids, which still isn’t a powder. If you remove the milk solids, you get an oily spread known as ghee.
That butterfat will keep on the shelf for an extended period of time, but it doesn’t taste like butter. It tastes like a clean and simple cooking oil.
To preserve the butter flavor in butter powder, they do the opposite. Instead of removing milk solids, they add back in powdered milk. It takes quite a bit of powdered milk to turn butterfat into a free-flowing powder, but eventually, the butterfat takes on a dry, powdery texture.
How to Reconstitute Powdered Butter
Instructions vary based on the brand of butter. My tub of powdered butter from Augason Farms says to use 3 Tablespoons of water to 1 cup of butter powder for a firm, moldable butter. For a soft butter, use 6 tablespoons per cup of powdered butter.
I found that 3 Tbls was plenty to turn the butter into what looked like whipped buttercream frosting. Soft and spreadable, but not runny.
Since butter powder isn’t quite butter, it’s not really recommended that you reconstitute it before using it in baking. Ideally, you’d add butter powder directly into the dry ingredients in your recipe, and just add an extra 3 Tablespoons of water for every cup of butter powder.
Other brands of butter powder have different reconstitution rates, and some say to use equal parts water and butter powder. Reading other people’s reviews, this results in a very runny liquid butter, and I’d suggest starting more conservatively and only adding small amounts of water until you find the right consistency.
What Does Butter Powder Taste Like?
So it’s not quite butter, and once rehydrated butter powder has the texture of whipped butter and tastes like butter with a bit of milk in it. That extra milky flavor means that it doesn’t taste quite right slathered on toast, but it works perfectly in baking, especially in recipes that call for both butter and milk.
Since it’s not pure butter, the nutrition facts are a bit different too. A tablespoon of regular butter has 100 calories in it, but reconstituted butter powder only has 35 calories. That’s because of all the milk solids.
Butter powder behaves a bit differently in cooking. It won’t melt like regular butter, and if you put a blob of it on a pan, it’ll scorch into a tiny cooked blob before it even thinks about melting. If you want to grease a pan, stick with vegetable oils and save butter powder for adding richness and butter flavor to just add water baking mixes.
How to Use Butter Powder
It’s best to treat powdered butter as just another dry ingredient in baking mixes, rather than trying to whip it separately into butter and then add it to your cooking.
When I was a kid, my parents would buy these bottles of add water, shake and pour pancake mix for camping. She was always nervous about letting us kids make it, even though it seems like the perfect kid thing to make because they were so expensive to buy. She was afraid we’d drop it, and there’d be money wasted and no breakfast.
I’m experimenting with making my own just add water pancake mix using butter powder, milk powder, egg powder and buttermilk powder to replace the wet ingredients. Here’s my starter recipe, that I’ll be tweaking in the coming months as we camp and use it regularly. To use this mix, use 1 cup of mix to 1/2 cup water:
- 2 cups Flour
- 1/2 cup Milk Powder
- 1/3 cup Malted Milk Powder
- 1/3 cup Powdered Buttermilk
- 1/4 cup Whole Egg Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
The can of powdered butter comes with a few recipes printed on the back, but I’ve got to say I’m not inspired. There’s a recipe for apple crumb cake that uses dried egg powder and dehydrated apple slices, but instead of butter powder in the cake, it adds shortening. The butter powder is only used to make a crumb topping. If you’re going to put a recipe on the butter powder can, the least you can do is put butter powder in the cake!
The other recipe is for a simple honey butter, using honey powder and butter powder. It’s nice that it’s a just add water dry mix, and I’m sure the honey powder goes a long way to disguise the strange milky flavor in the powdered butter, but I’d still rather just bake with it.
Amazon reviews have a lot of helpful advice. One reviewer suggests making a number of different spreads, all starting with a butter powder base:
“It is best reconstituted with light vegetable oil, then chilled, to make a firm spread, like butter. Mix with water and a little vinegar, then chill, to make a sour cream substitute. Adding vinegar, water and spices produces a passable mayonnaise. The powder can be mixed straight into dough, noodles or mashed potatoes. For a treat, use it straight in tea or coffee; it’s tasty and comforting. It doesn’t do well sprinkled straight on popcorn. I would mix some of the oil/butter mix straight into the hot popcorn…No, it’s not butter. But it’s tasty and useful.”
How Long Does Butter Powder Last?
Most sources say that butter powder lasts 5 years in an unopened can. My can from Augason Farms says, “Product good for up to 10 years when unopened. Best when stored in a cool, dry and dark place at temperatures between 55F and 70F. Actual shelf life may vary based on individual storage conditions.”
Once opened, it’s tough to say how long powdered butter will last. I can’t find any recommendations from manufacturers, and I’m sure it’ll vary based on the temperature and humidity in your home, and whether or not it’s ever contaminated with a dirty spoon.
I’ve seen recommendations for powdered peanut butter that say it’s best within 6 months of opening, and I’d imagine that is about right for powdered butter. We’ll see now that I’ve opened this can.
Hi – thanks for the great article. Have you tried to make frosting with butter powder?
I haven’t, but based on the consistency I had when I was testing it, I think it’d do just fine. Mix it in with powdered sugar and water, not sure on the ratio and then it should spread like frosting.
I just bought my first (ever) butter powder. Thanks so much for the great tips, I look forward to trying it.
How can i use this with heavy cream powder and cream cheese powder to make frostong
Thank you for this very informative post. I have butter powder in my “stash” and since we are practicing “social distancing” during the coronavirus outbreak here in the US and staying at home, i.e. self imposed quarantine, I’m breaking mine out for making my bread and going to attempt some type of a homemade buttercream frosting. Fingers crossed the frosting works out……I appreciate your detailed information.
Love the tips. Thanks for sharing. My dilemna right now, ‘m making chocolate chip cookies and instead of using butter it calls for butter flavored shortening. Well, I don’t have that either. LOL, so I was thinking to add some butter powder to the shortening. What would you recommend I use for a ratio in 2 cups of shortening? The recipe barely has any liquids, and I’m using powdered egg as well. Only fluid in it is the 4 eggs I reconstituted already with 9 tsp. of water, and the vanilla 2 tsps. Theres alot of dry ingredients to boot. 4.5 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar 2, 3.4 oz boxes of pudding mix, and baking soda. Oh and the brown sugar (which I also don’t have so am adding a tablespoon of molasses to that per cup of sugar. ugh, I feel like a mad scientist. Any suggestions ? Please Help!!!
Good question! If I were making it, I’d try about a tablespoon of butter powder into each cup of shortening (as a starting point). Maybe try 2 tablespoons for the recipe you mention above? See how it goes.
Tonya l. Welsh
I really appreciate you posting your pancake recipe. When this Covid started I ordered powdered everything just in case we needed it. I’m 78 & have never used powdered anything. So any recipes would greatly be appreciated. Thank you
Hoping for more recipes! I am gluten free and keto so that complicates things.
Hi, I am wondering proportion wise with real butter or oil per 1 cup, how much butter powder/water mixture would you use if the whole recipe was just add water and oil?
About 2 tablespoons per cup of butter called for in the recipe gives you a strong butter flavor. You’ll have to add some kind of actual oil to make the recipe work since it doesn’t actually have fat (at least in most cases), but applesauce works as a butter substitute in many recipes (like quick breads).
This is an expensive investment for pancakes, given three types of powdered milk AND the powdered butter. Why not just stock up on great pancake mixes that are out there, adding powdered butter and powdered egg? It’s been a number of years since you posted…any tweaks to your recipe?
I am not sure if Ashley has experimented any more with this yet or not. I can definitely see your point. I think one of the benefits to this method is that it’s not just for pancakes. You would be able to use the powdered butter and milk in other recipes that call for butter and milk. So if it were an emergency situation you would have the powdered ingredients for use in all of your recipes rather than having a mix that is dedicated specifically to pancakes.
Hello, I left a question regarding substituting dried yogurt for buttermilk powder on your pancake recipe page, but now have a question regarding powdered butter. We’re wanting to make an all-singing, all-dancing pancake mix for friends and family for Christmas for which you only need to add water. Your pancake recipe seems ideal for this, and we really appreciate you sharing it.
However, on arrival of the butter powder we purchased we noticed that although the BBE date is 2022, the packaging also notes that we need to use it within two weeks of opening. We wondered how long you’ve stored your pancake mix after making it up, and also, what sort of container have you stored it in? We were hoping that if we gave the mix for Christmas that it could have a shelf-life up to Fat Tuesday, known as Pancake Day in the UK, which falls around mid-February. Do you think that would be possible?
That’s interesting. It seems that it should have a much longer shelf life after opening than that. I am not sure why it would need to be used that quickly. What brand did you purchase?
The powdered butter is from a business called “The Pouched Food Company”. The BBE date is March 2022, but the instructions say that it must be used within two weeks once opened. Changing the subject slightly, we read somewhere in our research that powdered butter goes rancid if exposed for too long in sunlight. We had considered using Lock&Lock boxes, but as they’re all transparent, that won’t work to store ’til Pancake Day in February (if recipients wait that long!). In what sort of container do you store your pancake mix?
I think any container that keeps out moisture and light would be the best.
I am desperately trying to make butter powder. I have the freeze dryer, the butter (salted or nonsalted?) And fresh or freeze dried non fat milk. Does anyone know the process and amounts of butter to nonfat powdered or fresh milk. Please???? I have wasted so much butter trying to figure this out…
I wish Augason Farms Butter Powder provided a conversion chart as I am horrible at conversions! I specifically need to know how much powder and water I’d need to make 1/4 cup. I also need to know how to make 1 tbsp. But if any of you out there have these and/or other conversions for different amounts of butter, I’d be ever so grateful. Thank you for sharing such useful information.
Kathleen A Erbes-Mrsny
Has anyone experimented with adding butter powder to ghee? Any ratios that work best? Thanks.
No, I’m sorry I don’t have any experience with that. You might want to check the website of the butter powder manufacturer and see if they have any suggestions.
Can butter powder be used with a KETO diet and in what ratios…..thanks
We’re not experts on KETO diets. This would be a better question to ask of someone who is an expert in KETO.