Is Butter Flammable: Does It Catch Fire?

Working with butter in the kitchen or DIY projects doesn’t possess any risk. Many people think of butter as an inflammable substance. But is butter flammable in real life to have potential danger?

Surprise to many, the answer is a yes. Butter can catch fire more often being a flammable substance.

You better learn why, how, when butter possibly catches fire. Otherwise, you can face jeopardy putting out a simple butter fire. The lessons can help you address any unlikely situation.

Is Butter Flammable thumbnails

How Does Butter Catch Fire?

Well, the obvious question is – why something like butter is flammable?

Butter is nothing other than an ordinary type of oil. Every oil has a smoke-point beyond which its chemical composition becomes unstable. And it essentially triggers ignition to break a fire out.

Speaking of butter, the substance has a lower smoke point. And it can quickly reach the flashpoint to start ignition. So, you may have to deal with all-out butter flames more often than you think.

Important Temperatures Related to Butter

95°C: Melting Point:

You can observe a subtle meltdown of butter.

150°C – 175°C: Smoke Point:

Butter starts to emit fumes/smoke all over. At this point, your butter is almost completely burnt.

300°C: Flashpoint:

You can see surface flames taking over the butter.

The water inside the butter starts to get evaporated after the melting point. And coming to its smoke-point, only milk proteins are left in the butter.

Once the protein hits the smoke point, the composition starts getting evaporated like smoke.

And the flashpoint makes the evaporation rate way too fast. The composition breaks down rapidly to catch fire to cope with the evaporation.

How to Know if a Butter is Burnt?

A noticeable color change will let you know the different phases of burnt butter. Of course, the change will take place close to the smoke-point following its melting point.

The yellow butter becomes light brown first. Then it appears to become golden brown and smells nutty. And the melted butter becomes almost dark brown.

It only takes 15 – 30 seconds only for the entire change to happen.

However, burnt brown butter is another thing after the smoke-point. The unusable burnt butter is dark black in color without any nutty aroma.

Is it Possible to Use Burnt Butter?

Some articles can let you believe that you can still use the dark black butter. The fact is somewhat true to a very limited extent.

What you can actually use (should prefer) is the golden-brown butter. It tastes like nutty or toasts with a deep, intense, richer flavor.

And you can enjoy a pleasant meal with its changed (more-defined) flavor. You can even check the dark brown butter for a taste.

Burning Butter in Oven:

Throwing butter in the oven for burning requires excessively precise handling. Anything to contains lots of fat/grease easily catch fire.

Know the operating temperature intervals for which the butter burns effectively. Try to maintain a slow pace while heating the oven.

Make sure the butter doesn’t splat or burnt too quickly in the process. A possible splatter of butter can cause a flame inside the oven.

Burning Butter in Microwave:

Also, you can throw the butter in the microwave for softening and melting. It’s actually somewhat safer than oven burning. However, the device isn’t exactly suited for burning the oil fat.

Softening the butter requires almost no time. And melting the fat may take about 30 secs to a minute. Still, slight protein burning can take place during the process if you’re not too careful.

Can Butter Burn Oil?

Of course, you can’t do every cooking chore at low temperatures all the time. But you shouldn’t take risk of a fire breakout either.

Mixing the butter with a high smoke-point oil can alter the overall temperature. Thus, you can keep the flavor while pushing the smoke-point to a higher value.

The milk protein will still get burnt past the smoke point but at a slower rate. But a neutral vegetable oil can dilute the protein.

And it’ll eventually prevent sudden blackening of the color and flavor. However, you need to choose the right oil for mixing while prepping a specific dish.

How to Prevent Butter from Burning?

Low-Temp Cooking:

Try to maintain a constant medium-low heat to cook the butter. The process can take some time but save the fast changes.

Skipping Salted Butter:

Using salted butter isn’t a smart move to avoid potential burning. The Browning of salted butter is pretty complicated to understand.

Light-Colored Pan:

Avoid the dark-colored non-stick pans while working with butter. You can see the color changes perfectly on light-colored pans.

Scraped Pan Bottom:

Scrape up the pan’s bottom solids with a heat-resisting silicone spatula. It enables the proteins to hang around without getting stuck.

Using Heatproof Bowl:

Take the cooking pan off right after reaching the desired brownness. Pour the butter into a bowl should slow further browning.

Track Down the Aroma:

Browned butter features a great aroma at phases. A hazelnut complexion with nutty smells can indicate almost completion.

What to Do When Butter Catches Fire?

  • Turn Off the Heat: Just turn off the heat without thinking twice. Let the burning pan cool down.
  • Cover the Pan: Get a metal lid to cover the open pan. Lack of oxygen should put the fire out.
  • Use Fire Extinguisher: Look for a Class B dry extinguisher. Use it on almost out-of-control fires.
  • Pour Baking Soda: Throw baking soda on the flamed butter. It’s usable for small-scale fires only.
  • Get Out of Kitchen: Don’t risk yourself over an out-of-control fire. Just get out of the kitchen.

What Not to Do When Butter Catches Fire?

  • Don’t Ever Use Water: No matter what, don’t lose yourself with water. It’ll make things worse.
  • Don’t Move the Pan: Whatever you do, better keep the pan in place. Don’t move or throw it out.
  • Don’t Pour Baking Products: Don’t just throw any baking product except soda on the grease fire.

Wrapping Up

Well, is butter flammable – gets way more than that with our article. You should know what to do and whatnot when butter catches fire.

Knowing the facts can help you avoid splashes and skin burns. Hopefully, you don’t have to face this troublesome situation anymore.

Leave a Comment