How to Make Compound Butter
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Compound butter is a sweet or savory spread made from softened butter with fresh herbs, spices, or dried fruit. Follow this easy tutorial to learn how to make compound butter and the best ways to use it.
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Compound butter elevates any dish to a new level. It’s the perfect compliment to pan-seared steak, roasted chicken, baked fish, a toast, or better yet grilled cheese!
You may have noticed it on the menu of your favorite steakhouse or at a specialty foods store, but you can make it at home too! It’s a breeze to make and makes a perfect gift for the foodie in your life.
What is compound butter?
Compound butter is essentially a flavored butter. Softened butter is mixed with ingredients like fresh herbs, dried fruit, citrus, honey, veggies, cheese, spices, or even wine. The combinations are endless!
How to make compound butter:
Compound butter may seem fancy, but it’s simple to make. You can make it one of two ways: in a bowl or a food processor.
In a bowl
Soften Butter: Let butter sit at room temperature until soft. Alternatively, you can microwave cold butter in 5-second increments until it’s soft but not melted.
Chop Ingredients: Mince or chop any fresh ingredients like fresh herbs, garlic, dried fruit, or roasted red peppers.
Mix Ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine the butter with additional mix-ins. Stir well with a spoon until thoroughly combined.
In a food processor
Process Mix-Ins: In a small food processor, pulse mix-ins until finely minced.
Add Remaining Ingredients: Add softened butter and remaining ingredients to the food processor.
Process: Pulse a few more times until just combined.
How to shape:
There are three ways you can shape compound butter before storing it in the refrigerator.
In a log
- Use a spatula to scrape the butter mixture onto a square of parchment paper.
- Form the mixture into a log shape and then wrap it up gently with the parchment paper.
- Secure the ends with tape or twine and then refrigerate until firm.
- Whip or process the softened butter until light and fluffy then add the mix-ins.
- Scoop the compound butter into a small bowl and serve immediately with a spreading knife. Alternatively, cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let the butter sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
In silicone molds
- Spoon the butter mixture into round or decorative silicone molds.
- Use an offset spatula or knife to scrape the excess butter off the top of the mold.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and then remove the butter from the molds.
Dry vs Fresh Herbs
You can use dried or fresh herbs in compound butter, but fresh herbs have a bright, superior flavor.
Keep in mind, that you need less dried herbs than you do fresh. For each tablespoon of fresh herbs, replace with only one teaspoon of dried.
Compound Butter Tips
- Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in the butter.
- For a fluffy or whipped butter, use a hand mixer to whip the butter first then add the mix-ins.
- Be sure to chill the butter for at least 2 hours if you wish to slice it.
- It’s best to use parchment or wax paper to roll the butter since plastic wrap is liable to stick.
- Store the compound butter in an airtight container for up to 6 days in the refrigerator. For a spreadable consistency, let the butter sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Compound butter freezes well too! Place the butter into an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. Let the butter thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Uses for Compound Butter
The opportunities are endless! Here are some ways I love to use compound butter:
- Spread it on toast and top with honey or granola.
- Scoop it onto a baked sweet potato and let it melt.
- Use it atop homemade pancakes with maple syrup.
- Spread it on a blueberry muffin or scone for breakfast or brunch.
Other Flavor Variations
The flavor combinations are endless! Here are a few other delicious combinations:
- Cinnamon Sugar – Combine 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.
- Cranberry Orange – Mix 1/2 cup of softened butter with 3 tablespoons of chopped cranberries, 1 teaspoon of orange zest, and 1 tablespoon of honey.
- Blue Cheese – Combine 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1/2 cup of blue cheese and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Mix well.
- Sundried Tomato – Mix 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1/4 cup of chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt.
- Chipotle Lime – Mix 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, and one teaspoon of lime zest.
- Honey Butter – Whip 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1/3 cup of honey until light and fluffy.
You can make your own flavors too! Just use what sounds good and remember to start with less. You can always add more mix-ins but you can’t take them out!
Compound butter is a mixture of softened butter and mix-ins. It can be sweet or savory and is commonly used on grilled meat, roasted vegetables, and baked fish.
Yes, while butter stays good for up to three months in the refrigerator, fresh herbs do not. Most compound butters will last up to 6 days in the refrigerator, but some stay good for longer depending on what’s in them.
Yes, you can freeze compound butter. Be sure to place the log into an airtight container first then freeze for up to 6 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator over night before serving.
Cilantro Ginger Garlic Compound Butter
Cilantro Ginger Garlic:
- ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter at room temperature Note 1
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons grated garlic about 2 cloves Note 2
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger about 2-inch
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- medium bowls
- food processor or mini food chopper
- spoon or spatula
- In a medium bowl, combine softened butter, chopped cilantro, grated garlic and ginger and salt. Using a spoon, mix until well combined. (Alternatively, you can chop the cilantro in a small food processor and add the rest of the ingredients and mix in the food processor for a few seconds.)
To shape compound butter:
- Spread a plastic wrap (or a parchment paper) on the counter and spoon the prepared compound butter into a rough log shape. Then take the long end of the plastic wrap and wrap it over the butter. Gently press the butter into a log. Twist the ends and refrigerate.
- Once the log is firm, slice them and wrap them back in plastic, or parchment paper. Place it in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Tips & Notes
– Store the compound butter in an airtight container for up to 6 days in the refrigerator. For a spreadable consistency, let the butter sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
– Compound butter freezes well too! Place the butter into an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. Let the butter thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.