Butter has a ridiculously low smoke point (120 to 150 °C). Cooking in burnt oil is not cool. However, it seems difficult to find baked dishes targeted at below 150°C..

Is butter acceptable in the oven? When and when not?

  • 2
    I've removed the link to discussion of health; that's off-topic here. The question is fine, though, since "avoid burned butter" is a pretty objective criterion.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 26, 2020 at 3:58
  • 1
    🐘🏠 : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarified_butter
    – Martin
    Sep 26, 2020 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


Butter is not only fine, but extremely common in baked goods. I think the piece you're missing here is that the oven temperature is not the same as the temperature of the baked goods.

The internal temperature of most baked goods never even goes above boiling, unsurprising since there's at least a bit of moisture in there. While the exterior does get hotter, it's generally just a thin layer that browns, if any - bread has crust, some cookies brown on the bottom, and so on. And this isn't any less desirable than, say, getting some browning when sauteeing vegetables in butter.

So sure, I don't think you want to deep fry donuts in butter. But it's an ubiquitous ingredient in baking, with absolutely no issues with the smoke point.

  • 4
    But it could be awesome to deep fry donuts in clarified butter!
    – Caleb
    Sep 26, 2020 at 7:39
  • Ah - uh.... Possibly! Lots of indian festival goodies are, though my mom swears by refined groundnut oil for the closest equivilent we have to it - the Badhusha :D Sep 27, 2020 at 2:13
  • Even in a pan on the stove, water evaporation can keep the temperature low enough that butter doesn't burn, but you have to be gentle to avoid localised burning at hotspots without ingredients to give off water. Omelettes get a lovely flavour cooked in butter but you have to get it so close to the smoke point before adding the egg that it's too much trouble for me. Slowly softening onions until translucent or barely golden is a classic use
    – Chris H
    Sep 27, 2020 at 8:46
  • Let me make sure I read you correctly. Butter is zero trouble inside food. It will still burn if put down under, onto the tray (so that food doesn't stick) or, in some other way, be outside the food all the cooking time. Right?
    – Vorac
    Oct 13, 2020 at 7:26

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