Overhead View of Logs of 6 Different Compound Butters on a Cutting Board

Six Flavorful Compound Butters You’ll Want to Smear on Everything

Compound – or flavored butter – a harmonious conglomeration of flavors. It is difficult to imagine an improvement for something as perfect as butter. But, alas, compound butter proves that while the pieces and parts may be distinctly wonderful in their own right, when introduced to each other the result is drool-inducing. Seriously.

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Compound Butter is the New Reigning King in Town

Butter is, hands down, one of the greatest culinary achievements to bless our existence. It makes everything better. Toast is a fine example. Toast alone is fine, of course, albeit rather dry without something slathered on the golden-brown surface. But as soon as butter joins the party, well, a high level of elevation occurs. What is toast if not a vessel for butter delivery? 

The only thing better than butter is compound butter. Don’t get me wrong – butter is the original gangsta and always will be. But if butter is the OG, compound butter is the New-Gen’er intent on changing the game. 

Compound butter screams potential. Savory or sweet, earthy or tangy, spicy or mellow and every color under the sun, compound butter is a culinary chameleon that can be utilized across a wide range of dishes without breaking a sweat. 

All hail the new king!

Six Flavorful Compound Butters You'll Want to Smear on Everything Pinterest Pin Image

Compound Butter is Super Simple and Endlessly Customizable

I was first introduced to compound butter while working in a restaurant. Admittedly, I’m ashamed that I hadn’t thought of it on my own. Since that time, I have experimented with a myriad of different flavor combinations, and I encourage you to do the same. 

I like to think of compound butter ‘recipes’ as a guideline, but anyone can make something truly delicious with whatever ingredients may be on hand or based on individual preferences. The method for making compound butter is basically the same regardless of the ingredients you select – add to your softened butter and mix together. The process of creating complex flavors is surprisingly uncomplicated. (I feel like there is a distinct metaphor for life embedded in that statement, but that is a much longer post for another day…) 

So let your imagination guide you in creating a truly incredible concoction. Impress everyone gathered around the table with your fancy butter. They don’t need to know how easy it was to throw together 😉

Two Lemons, Two Limes Sitting On a Tea Towel With Stalks of Cilantro and a Citrus Grater
Roughly Chopped Cilantro, Glass Bowl of Softened Butter, Head of Garlic and Zested Lime
Overhead View of Chives, Rosemary and Cilantro on a Cutting Board with a Knife Off to the Side

Compound Butter is Good on Everything

Ok, I don’t necessarily advise that you put compound butter in your morning cereal, late-night bowl of ice cream or your canned spaghettios (but no judgment if that’s your thing), but I think you get my gist. Pretty much anything that you would typically put butter on, you can sub out for your homemade compound variety. Here’s just a smattering of possibilities for you to consider:

  • Steaks, burgers, salmon, shrimp, chicken – pretty much any protein! I like to fry an egg in a pad of melted compound butter for a super simple, flavorful breakfast. Pro tip: I make a big batch of compound butter every time I roast a whole chicken or turkey and slather it UNDER the skin of the bird. Trust me – you will end up with wonderfully crispy skin, juicy meat and a flavor explosion in every bite. 
  • Vegetables galore! Try compound butter on corn on the cob, sautéed green beans, potatoes, roasted root veggies and Brussel sprouts.
  • Try tossing with some fresh pasta. You could also finish your rice, couscous or quinoa with your compound butter concoction. 
  • Elevate your bread, rolls or biscuits with compound butter. Try some on this super simple focaccia bread. I’ve even been known to amp up some homemade croutons with some savory compound butter. Oh, and if you have a sweeter compound butter, slather some on pancakes, English muffins or bagels.
Bowl of Softened Butter Mixed with Lime Zest. Stick of Softened Butter in the Background.

How to Store Compound Butter

You can certainly keep your compound butter in any container with a lid. I find that I prefer to form my butter into a log for easy serving. 

Place the newly made butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and fold the plastic wrap over the butter. Place your hand, a ruler or some other handy tool with a straight edge against the plastic wrap that you pulled over the butter and gently pull the bottom side of the plastic wrap allowing the pressure to form a sort of log. 

Now for the fun part! Twist the ends of the plastic wrap. While holding the twisted ends, swing around (I find that it helps to imagine you are swinging a jump rope made of butter) gently and let gravity finish forming your butter log. Then tuck the twisted ends of the butter under your log to ensure the twisted ends do not come undone. 

Side View of Pads of Compound Butters Lined Up on Cutting Board with Bowl and Lemon in Background

Compound butter will keep in the fridge for roughly two weeks. The shelf life will vary slightly depending on what mix-ins you used. Honestly, a batch of compound butter does not last long in my house. Once made, I use it pretty much exclusively in place of butter. Pro tip: I have found that corn cob holders that I scored at Goodwill work as perfect little dishes to keep my homemade butter log in. If you prefer something with a lid, this simple, understated butter dish has served me well.

Compound butter will keep in the freezer for 3-6 months. When freezing my butter, I will keep my plastic-wrapped log in a freezer bag. If I happen to go on a compound butter-making spree (as I am sometimes want to do) I will vacuum seal the butter log in place of the freezer bag. I resisted purchasing a vacuum sealer for an insanely long time under the delusion that it wasn’t worth the money. Frankly, I was wrong. Here’s the vacuum sealer I use, and once I figured out how to use it (it helps to read the directions), it has proven itself to be a work horse in my kitchen. 

Tips and Tricks

  • Have leftover herbs from last night’s dinner? Rather than let them shrivel up and die in the crisper or relegate them to the compost pile, throw them in some compound butter!
  • Don’t have time to wait for your butter to soften? That’s ok! There are ways to overcome this hurdle. One trick is to fill a large bowl or cup with water and microwave for a few minutes until the water is piping hot. Pour out the water and place the cup or bowl over the butter. In 5-10 minutes, your butter should be soft enough to easily whip up. I’ve also been known to quickly heat up some water in my electric kettle, pour it into the cup or bowl, and let it sit for a couple of minutes before dumping it out and placing the cup or bowl over the butter.  
  • Another trick for softening butter is to cut the butter up into small chunks. By cutting the butter into smaller pieces increases the surface area of the butter allowing the butter to come to room temperature much quicker than it would in a solid stick. Yay for science! 
  • What if you’re pulling your butter directly from the freezer? All hope is not lost! Simply grate the frozen stick of butter. Voila! You’ll have softened butter in no time.  
Angled View of Logs of Compound Butter on Cutting Board

Compound Butter

Simple and endlessly customizable, compound butter is the condiment you didn't know you needed. Use anywhere you would use butter and brace yourself for the flavor explosion. 
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 99 kcal

Ingredients
  

Mango and Honey Butter

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp freeze-dried mango, ground
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp lime zest

Ginger and Cilantro Butter

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp ginger, finely minced
  • ½ tsp cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tsp lime zest

Garlic, Chive and Mustard Butter

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp fresh chives, minced

Garlic and Rosemary Butter

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • ½ tsp lemon zest

Red Curry Butter

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp red curry paste
  • ½ tsp lime zest
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Strawberry and Honey Butter

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp freeze-dried strawberries, ground
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest

Instructions
 

  • Add ingredients to softened butter and mix thoroughly.
  • Transfer compound butter to container of choice or form into log.
  • Keep compound butter refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for 3-6 months.

Notes

To quickly soften butter, fill a tall cup with boiling water. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Dump out the water and place the hot cup over the stick of butter for a few minutes. You can also grate a stick of butter to quickly soften, even from a frozen state. 
Can't find freeze-dried strawberries? Pick up a box of Special K Red Berries cereal and pick the strawberries out! Necessity breeds invention 😉 
Keyword Compound Butter

Now, who’s ready to whip up some next-level butter?

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