What Happens if you Put Buttered Bread in a Toaster? (Explained)

Putting butter on the bread or on toasted bread is what many people prefer to consume for their breakfast. But can you put buttered bread in a toaster? Will it affect the appliance or the output of the food? 

We shall discuss the feasibility of using buttered bread inside a toaster and understand what happens if we do so.

What Happens if you Put Buttered Bread in a Toaster

What Happens if You Put Buttered Bread in a Toaster?

Putting buttered bread in a toaster can create smoke since the butter will melt and contact the heating element. The toaster can reach around 1,100 ⁰F to 1200 ⁰F (520 to 570 ⁰C) while the smoking point of butter is around 302⁰F (150⁰C). So, when you put buttered bread inside the toaster, it can melt the butter and the butter dripped inside the heating element might start smoking. The smoking might continue until the melted butter is completely burned.

Toasters have heating coils that are powered by electrical current. The coils are heating elements made up of nickel-chromium alloy. 

When current passes through this heating element, it makes the coil red hot. This red-hot state of the coil releases infrared radiation. Infrared radiation constitutes heat which dries the surface of the bread and eventually chars it. 

There will be a circuit that lifts the bread from the toaster and cuts off the power to the heating element automatically. Some toasters use a combination of resistors and capacitors while some models use a bimetallic strip to cut the power supply.

You can achieve the desired level of burning of the toast with the help of a variable resistor setup that controls the actuation of the timer circuit and releases it accordingly. This is the working principle of toasters and this is how they operate.

Therefore, if you apply butter over a slice of bread and put it inside the toaster, the following things will happen:

  • The heat from the toaster element will melt the butter before charring the bread surface
  • The melted butter will drip inside the toaster and make a complete mess
  • The melted butter will eventually start to smoke and burn before toasting the bread

So, it is better to avoid putting buttered bread inside a toaster. You can first toast the bread and then apply butter to it.

How to clean butter out of a toaster?

Before reading this article, if you had used buttered bread in a toaster, it probably would have made the appliance full of butter. Now you have to clean the butter off of the toaster so that it doesn’t burn or smoke when used next time. 

There are three ways in which you can clean the butter from the toaster. They are:

  • Burning off the butter
  • Brushing the butter off with vinegar
  • Dismantling the toaster and cleaning the butter

Burning off the Butter

This is the easiest way to remove the melted butter stuck in the heating element. Although you can remove the crumb tray and wash it off, the butter dripped in the coil can be difficult to remove. Therefore, you can simply burn it off with the following procedure:

  • Take the toaster towards an open area or near an open window
  • Connect the toaster to a power supply
  • Make sure there aren’t any bread or bread crumbs on the tray
  • Now, press the tray down to start heating the coils
  • Once the coils start to heat, they will burn the butter and produce a lot of smoke
  • When all the butter is burnt completely, the smoke will subside and the coils will become clean
  • You can also blow the smoke off with an air blower so that your neighbors will not get the wrong idea

Brushing the Butter Off with Vinegar

This is a slightly less efficient way but it can be quite effective in removing the melted butter from the coils. Here is a procedure you can follow in this method:

  • Turn off the toaster and remove the plug. Make sure to unplug the toaster since it might lead to electrocution
  • Take a soft brush or soft cloth and dip it in a mixture of vinegar and water. Don’t mix too much water
  • Now clean the inner part of the toaster, particularly the heating element and the sides of the tray
  • You can increase the amount of vinegar to have a powerful cleaning
  • Remove excess vinegar with a dry cloth and let it dry
  • Once it is dry, you can start using the toaster without any difficulty
  • Avoid using sharp objects that might damage the coil or toaster

Dismantling the toaster to clean the butter

This requires skill and some tools. It involves disassembling the whole toaster and removing the parts with butter to clean them. Although it can be the most effective way, there are chances for the toaster to malfunction if not properly done by a skilled technician. 

You can do this method only when your toaster is very badly filled with butter or if you have the skills and tools to remove it professionally. 

Otherwise, you can simply follow the above two methods and remove the butter stuck inside your toaster coils.

Also Read These Posts: Top 5 Common Toaster Problems


Bread and butter are an integral part of American breakfast. Many of us use a toaster to prepare the bread as per our requirements. But it is not recommended to put butter on it before toasting it in the toaster. Even if you do it by accident, you can simply follow the methods to clean and renew your toaster. Have a happy breakfast with your toaster but remember not to put butter inside it.

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