Recently, I acquired the tiniest enamel pot—a butter warmer from Dansk. I'd always wanted to have a piece of this Scandanavian-cool cookware, and the little pot looks exactly like a shrunken version of their Dutch oven (but it's a lot less expensive). Like most of the decisions I make in life, the choice to buy the mini pot was not rooted in any sort of practicality; it was about the cuteness factor.
But having a teeny pot has come in handy. Yes, Dansk calls these little guys butter warmers—and it’s true, they’re great for melting a couple of tablespoons of butter for your pancakes or your baked goods. But they’re also more versatile than that name would lead you to believe. Read about all the ways I use my butter warmer (and you should, too) below:
But first, the tiny pots
Dansk offers their butter warmers in a variety of fun colors. In addition to the shades below, there are plum and teal options. Also, if you're looking for a less expensive option, I don't think brand matters too much here; you won't be putting your butter warmer through the paces you would, say, your stainless-steel skillet—you could certainly opt for Sweet Home enamel pot that's less than half the price of the Dansk. I also have a lid for my pot. I love the way the classic Dansk lid looks, but I don't actually use it that much—so you could definitely skip it to lower the cost.
$85.00, Sur La Table
During the depths of quarantine, I made Epi contributor Priya Krishna’s Saag Feta recipe approximately once a week. The dish gets topped with a mixture of cumin seeds toasted in ghee, along with asafetida and red chile powder. Spices toasted in ghee or oil, called chhonk or tadka, are common in Indian and South Asian cooking; the toasting process enhances the spices’ flavor and the ghee finishes the dish with extra richness. The butter warmer's size is right for just a few tablespoons of ghee.
Toasting your spices can also enhance the flavor in your spiced cookies or tea cakes, or provide a flavorful base for homemade sauces. The light bottom of the Dansk mini pot allows you to monitor the toasting progress easily. The little pot is easy to wipe out after you’re done; the enamel coating makes it reasonably nonstick.
Warm syrup for pancakes
Everyone knows that cold maple syrup is a crime against breakfast, right? I don’t have a microwave (Welcome to New York: the culture, the bagels, the tiny kitchens), so when I made pancakes in the days PBW (pre-butter-warmer), I was forced to endure cold syrup, or, um, weirdly heat up ⅛ cup of syrup in a 12-inch stainless steel skillet, dirtying another pan and wasting a lot of the syrup to stickage, which I then had to scrub off of the pot until my biceps felt the way I imagine Kelly Ripa’s do every day. (Yeah, we don’t have dishwashers here in La Grande Apple, either.)
With my butter warmer, I can heat a small quantity of syrup and pour it in a nice stream over my pancakes, thanks to the pot’s little pour-spout. If you’re into this sort of thing, you can melt butter and syrup together to make a kind of pancake special sauce—though, for some reason, I prefer distinct little pools of melted butter and syrup on my pancakes, so I choose not to do this; my therapist and I are looking into it.
Heat leftovers for one
Here’s another problem I frequently faced in my pre-butter-warmer life. I’d heat a single serving of soup in a large stock pot. The tiny amount of soup would spread into a thin layer across the wide surface, making my dinner prone to burning, heating unevenly, and evaporating if it wasn’t watched with an eagle eye.
It is both easier and more satisfying to heat my little bit of leftover soup, saucy vegetables, or curry in this tiny pot.
Reheat your coffee
I’ve found a number of solutions for chronic cold-coffee sufferers to keep their beverage from getting cold too quickly, but if you do need to reheat your coffee and you don’t have a microwave, a butter warmer is essential. If I’m honest, this is what I use this pot for most. I pour bits of sad leftover takeaway latte or homemade pourover into this pot, which is just the right size for reheating a single cup of coffee or less—and then I’m never sad again.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious