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How to Bring Dairy and Eggs to Room Temperature Fast

Butter, eggs, milk and a spatula on a wooden tabletop

To bring dairy and eggs to room tem­per­a­ture can seem like a point­less extra step when you’re ready to bake right this minute. I get it. I’ve felt all the same things.

I almost always have but­ter at room tem­per­a­ture, but milk and eggs, not so much. I used to think it did­n’t real­ly mat­ter. How­ev­er, I’ve learned there are some valid rea­sons to take the time to bring ingre­di­ents to room tem­per­a­ture before bak­ing. And if the author of a recipe says use room tem­per­a­ture ingre­di­ents, you’ll need to do that to have the same fin­ished prod­uct that they achieved.

As a rule of thumb, unless a recipe says to use cold but­ter, (like for bis­cuits, scones or pie crust), I always default to room temp ingre­di­ents, even if the recipe does­n’t specify.

Friend, none of us want to waste time or mon­ey for ingre­di­ents and end up with a less than per­fect and deli­cious dessert or fin­ished baked good. Using room tem­per­a­ture ingre­di­ents is as impor­tant to that out­come as prop­er­ly mea­sur­ing flour. I’ll show you all you need to know.

Why Bother?

Eggs: Eggs are sort of like the glue, the binder, that holds baked goods togeth­er. They give your fin­ished prod­uct struc­ture and sta­bil­i­ty. Eggs affect the final tex­ture of your cakes, cook­ies and oth­er baked treats. 

At room tem­per­a­ture they will blend in and emul­si­fy with oth­er fats in your recipe more eas­i­ly. As they emul­si­fy they trap air, which makes it eas­i­er for bat­ters to rise and cre­ates a light and fluffy tex­ture in your fin­ished baked goods. 

Con­verse­ly, cold eggs have a hard­er time emul­si­fy­ing with oth­er fats. Their use in your baked goods can lead to lumpy bat­ters, a dense and heavy tex­ture in your fin­ished baked goods, poor ris­ing and need­ing longer bak­ing times than bak­ing with room tem­per­a­ture ingredients.

But­ter: Just like eggs, the goal is to emul­si­fy all the fats in your recipe, trap­ping air in your bat­ter as you do. But­ter sim­ply can’t do that if it’s cold. It’s also much more dif­fi­cult to inte­grate cold but­ter into sug­ar when you are try­ing to cream them togeth­er. In most cas­es, soft­en­ing but­ter before bak­ing is crit­i­cal to hav­ing light, fluffy and ten­der baked goods that rise properly.

Milk, Cream or But­ter­milk: For all the same rea­sons as not­ed above, you need dairy liq­uid to be at room tem­per­a­ture to ful­ly incor­po­rate them with the oth­er fats in your recipes. Struc­ture, sta­bil­i­ty, tex­ture and ris­ing can all be affect­ed if you don’t.

Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is just anoth­er fat in the recipe. It can def­i­nite­ly affect the tex­ture of your baked goods by not emul­si­fy­ing well with the oth­er fats. And, we have all expe­ri­enced lumps of cream cheese that haven’t blend­ed well into the bat­ter. It can’t dis­trib­ute even­ly in your bat­ters, frost­ings and cheese­cakes if it’s cold. Don’t let cold cream cheese leave unin­cor­po­rat­ed chunks and pieces to spoil your favorite desserts. You can just soft­en it quickly.

Favorite Tools for Baking

How to Bring Dairy and Eggs to Room Temperature Quickly

These are the instruc­tions for warm­ing indi­vid­ual ingre­di­ents. All of them are sim­ple and in the time it takes you to bring eggs to room tem­per­a­ture, you’ll have the milk, but­ter and even cream cheese ready, too.

It’s easy. You can def­i­nite­ly do it. I’ll show you how.

Bringing Butter to Room Temperature

butter cubes on a plate

Ide­al­ly, you would remove but­ter from the fridge a cou­ple of hours before bak­ing begins. But, who hasn’t for­got­ten? I sure have. And some­times, I just don’t have an hour or two to wait for it. Room tem­per­a­ture but­ter will be slight­ly soft­ened, but still some­what cool to the touch. You’re shoot­ing for about 65° F.

Cut the amount of but­ter for your recipe into cubes. Slice the stick length­wise down the cen­ter. Flip the whole stick on its side and slice that side length­wise down the cen­ter. You’ll have 4 long sticks, now.  Cut the sticks into cubes and put the cubes into a microwave safe bowl or arrange in a sin­gle lay­er on a microwave safe plate. 

Microwave the but­ter at 20% pow­er in 10 sec­ond inter­vals. You can’t walk away from this one. Every microwave is dif­fer­ent, so I can’t give an exact amount of time. Check between each 10 sec­ond inter­val to pre­vent the but­ter from melt­ing. Touch it with your fin­ger. Does it leave an imprint? Remem­ber room tem­per­a­ture but­ter may still be slight­ly cool to the touch, but gen­tle pres­sure will leave an imprint.

Bringing Eggs to Room Temperature

Bring Eggs to Room Temperature

You won’t believe how sim­ple it is to quick­ly bring eggs to room tem­per­a­ture. Place the eggs for your recipe in a bowl or con­tain­er that will hold all the eggs and have enough head space for them to be com­plete­ly cov­ered with water.

Hold the bowl of eggs under the faucet and fill it with warm (not hot) tap water. Tem­per­a­ture is impor­tant, here. Hot water can begin to cook the eggs. 

Turn on your hot water and hold your hand in the stream. Adjust it to a com­fort­ably warm tem­per­a­ture for your hands. That will be per­fect for this job. 

Let your eggs sit in the water for 5 to 10 min­utes, depend­ing on the tem­per­a­ture of your house and the water you used. The eggs will be light­ly warm when they are ready.

Bringing Cream Cheese to Room Temperature

Bring Cream Chees to Room Temperature

Cut the amount of cream cheese for your recipe into ½‑inch cubes. It doesn’t need to be per­fect, but some­what uni­form in size so they will warm at the same rate. 

Arrange the cubes in a microwave safe bowl or arrange on a plate.

Microwave the cream cheese at 20% pow­er in 10 sec­ond inter­vals. You can’t walk away from soft­en­ing cream cheese, either, as it melts just like butter. 

Since your microwave may be dif­fer­ent from mine, I can’t give an exact amount of time. It usu­al­ly does­n’t take more than one or two rounds in my microwave, but again, check, check, check. Check between each 10 sec­ond inter­val. Touch it with your fin­ger. It may still be slight­ly cool to the touch, but soft­er. Does it give slight­ly when you press it? If so, you’re done.

Bringing Milk, Cream or Buttermilk to Room Temperature

milk in a glass measuring cup inside a microwave

Milk, Cream and But­ter­milk are so easy to quick­ly bring to room tem­per­a­ture. Place the amount for your recipe in a microwave safe bowl or *mea­sur­ing cup. [affil­i­ate link] Use 20% pow­er on your microwave and heat your dairy in 15 sec­ond inter­vals until it’s no longer refrig­er­a­tor cold. I use a clean meat ther­mome­ter to check in between rounds for that mag­i­cal 65° F. (Can­dy ther­mome­ters only go as low as about 140°, so it is not a good option for this task.)

Recipes You’re Gonna Love to Bake!

I’m right there with you. And, I get feel­ing all “hmmmph!” about the added steps it will be to bring dairy and eggs to room tem­per­a­ture before bak­ing. But, now you have all the info. You’ve got this!

Plus, deli­cious treats like these will be a sat­is­fy­ing reward. Have a won­der­ful­ly blessed week, my friend! I hope you eat cake! 🙂

Chocolate Cake
Favorite Easy Cheesecake
Frosted Drop Sugar Cookies

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