What Does ‘Dot With Butter’ Mean?

In cooking, “dot with butter” means different things to different people, but for the most part, it’s a pretty straightforward instruction. All you have to do is place small dots or pieces of butter on your dish before you put it in the oven. But if you wish to get more technical, keep reading.

Food dotted with butter

What They Mean by ‘Dot With Butter’

Dotting a food item with butter simply means placing small dots or bits of butter on your food that are spread around in an even fashion. You don’t have to get out your ruler and start measuring how far apart each piece of butter is. This is not rocket science. (Though this is not to suggest that only rocket scientists use rulers.)

Nevertheless, if you want your pieces of butter to look neat and even instead of just haphazardly scattered around, here’s what you can do: Use one tablespoon of butter for every six square inches of surface area, and cut the butter into 10 equal pieces. Then make sure each piece is no more than 11/16ths of an inch from any of the pieces around them. Sound complicated? It is, which is why most cooks skip the exact specifications and just place particles of butter as evenly as possible on their food.

What Happens Next?

Keep in mind that when butter melts, it spreads, and you won’t be able to tell where it stood before you put the food into the oven. This is why it doesn’t matter if the piece sizes are measured exactly. As long as there’s even distribution of the butter dots and you include enough dots to cover the food item, your recipe will turn out perfectly in the end.

We have a separate post on what it means when a recipe calls for a “knob” of butter.

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