How to Make Butter for Crab-Dipping

Clarified butter consists of the translucent butterfat left over once you remove the water and milk solids. Clarified butter contains pure butterfat, and it works well for dipping crab and lobster meat. The process of making clarified butter involves heating unsalted butter and removing the solids to create the dipping butter. The butter that remains behind has a more buttery flavor instead of an oily taste. Make clarified butter ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy it with crab.

Pour the butter into a small dish to serve next to the crab. (Image: Elena Zapassky/iStock/Getty Images)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • Heavy-bottomed saucepan

  • Ladle

  • Disposable container

  • Mesh strainer

  • Cheesecloth

  • Heatproof bowl

  • Airtight container

  • Spoon

Step 1

Place a stick of unsalted butter into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Sit the saucepan over low heat on the stovetop.

Step 2

Ladle the foam and milk solids out of the butter carefully. Leave the clear golden liquid behind in the pan. Discard the milk solids in a disposable container.

Step 3

Line a mesh strainer with damp cheesecloth and place it over a heatproof bowl. Pour the clarified butter into the strainer. Discard the cheesecloth after the butter strains through it.

Step 4

Allow the clarified butter to cool completely before you store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Skim off any remaining foam from the butter with a spoon. Store clarified butter for up to six months in the refrigerator.


A single stick of butter will make around 8 tablespoons of clarified butter. The foam on top is the result of the water boiling off, and the white residue in the pan actually is the milk solids separating from the butterfat.


Strain the clarified butter carefully to prevent splattering it, because the hot liquid may burn your skin.

References & Resources