Citrus Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Replace oil for brown butter to make an amazing dressing you’ll want to drizzle over everything from charred vegetables, grilled fish or seafood to your favorite green. And a hit of orange juice take this citrus brown butter vinaigrette to the next level.

close up of arugula with brown butter vinaigrette and shallots

If caramel ice cream sauce had a savory sibling, it would be this brown butter vinaigrette. Swapping out olive or vegetable oil for butter in salad dressing is one thing. Simmering said butter until it becomes a rich golden-brown version of itself and then elevating it with a sweet acid like orange juice takes it to the next.

And if reading about browned butter vinaigrette immediately made you think of a sauce for butternut squash ravioli, dear reader, I’ve got you covered.

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Unsalted butter makes the best brown butter

brown butter in a white bowl with a whisk and bowls of honey, shallots, vinegar and and orange.

Most of my recipes call for unsalted butter because it allows you to control the amount of salt in the finished dish. And this brown butter salad dressing isn’t any different. While many brown butter recipes call for salted butter, that can present a problem as the salt crystals cling to the milk fat making things look “browner”, when in fact they are not.

Salted butter, according to Cook’s Illustrated lends false hope that the brown butter will have more flavor. That’s why I use unsalted butter to make brown butter.

Tips for the best browned butter

  • Use a stainless or light colored skillet. No non-sticks! That way you can see when the butter is browning.
  • Brown the butter on low. It will seem like it’s taking forever but if the heat is too high, the butter will burn instead of brown.
  • Skim the fat solids off the top of the browned butter once it’s finished browning.

Ingredient rundown

To let the brown butter shine, the ingredient list is intentionally small but sweet yet bold.

Noticeably absent is Dijon mustard but since it has a strong flavor impact, I chose not to include it.

Ingredients for brown butter vinaigrette including butter, orange, honey, vinegar and seasoning

In addition to unsalted butter, you’ll need:

  • Acids. Fresh squeezed oj and apple cider vinegar bring a sweeter acidity.
  • Sweet. For syrupy sweetness.
  • Shallot. More delicate than a white or yellow onion and gets sweet after sitting in the cider vinegar.

How to make brown butter vinaigrette

1. Melt butter in a stainless skillet over low heat until bubbling.
2. Butter starting to brown after 4 minutes.
brown butter in a skillet with foam on top and a spoon and bowl.
4. 3. After approximately 8 minutes have passed, use a spoon to remove surface milk solids off the top.
white bowl with salad dressing and shallots in it with bowls nearby on a white background
5. Whisk the juice, vinegar, and honey into the dressing. Add in shallots and seasoning.

Things to remember

The whole process to brown butter is going to take about 8 minutes all together. This isn’t something to rush.

The butter is going to sputter and bubble. That’s ok! If things get too crazy and the butter is rapidly sputtering and hissing, lower the temperature a bit.

Allow the butter to cool slightly before whisking in the remaining dressing ingredients.


Pro tip

If you make the dressing ahead of time, the butter will solidify. However, you can heat it in a skillet over low heat while whisking to re-emulsify the dressing.

Storage

Store chilled in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Follow the pro tip above for re-mixing chilled vinaigrette that has turned semi-solid.

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white bowl with salad dressing and shallots in it with bowls nearby on a white background
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Citrus Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Replace oil for brown butter to make an amazing dressing you'll want to drizzle over everything from charred vegetables, grilled fish or seafood to your favorite green. And a hit of orange juice take this citrus brown butter vinaigrette to the next level.
Prep Time:5 minutes
Total Time:5 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a small skillet and simmer over low heat until browned about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
    ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • Whisk butter with remaining ingredients. Taste and correct for seasoning.
    ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ½ shallot, 2 Tablespoons honey, 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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