Apr 9

How to: Make Compound Butter


How to: Make Compound Butter Recipe

There is no simpler way to add flavor to baked goods, meat, fish and chicken than by infusing or slathering them with herbs and spices. One of the easiest, but most impressive ways of doing this is with compound butters. This sounds fancy, but is no more difficult than mashing together butter and your choice of herbs, spices, citrus zest or other ingredients, such as olives and sun-dried tomatoes. In this week’s how-to, I will demonstrate the basic method to making a compound butter, provide a few recipes to try, and give you ideas of how to use these pretty butters. However, the ease of the process is meant to spark your creative juices. The sky is the limit as far as flavor combinations.

How to use compound butters:
Compound butters can be made sweet or savory according to your palate and the dishes that will be enhanced by the butter. Breads, muffins, pancakes or waffles could be paired with butters filled with honey, citrus zest, finely chopped dried fruit or maple syrup, to name a few. Seafood, meat and chicken dishes benefit from savory butters infused with herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, cilantro, etc.), citrus juices, cheeses (Gorgonzola, Parmesan, etc.) or spices (curry powder, cumin, chile powder, etc.).

For baked goods, simply spread the butter onto the bread or muffin. For savory dishes, such as a beautifully grilled steak, place a dollop of the flavored butter (the Gorgonzola & Sage version be great here) on top of the meat and let the heat melt the butter. The butter can also be tossed with lightly sauteed or grilled shrimp (the Curry Butter would be perfect). These are just a few examples of the ways compound butters can be used. Try to think outside of the box and dream up your own uses.

Butter variations:
While many compound butters are made with butter plus the flavor ingredients, they can also be varied by replacing some of the butter with cream cheese or goat cheese for a slightly different flavor and texture. Regardless of the base ingredients you are using, they should be at room temperature to insure easy mixing.

Recipe variations:

Kalamata & Mint Butter (seen in photos)
8 tbsp (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 tbsp minced kalamata olives
2 tsp minced fresh mint

Gorgonzola & Sage Butter
8 tbsp (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 tbsp minced fresh sage
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Shallot & Herb Butter
8 tbsp (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 tbsp minced shallots
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Curry Butter
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 oz. cream cheese
2 tsp curry powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Dill Butter
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 oz (1/2 cup) goat cheese
3 tbsp minced fresh dill

Orange Honey Butter
8 tbsp (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1 tbsp honey

How to do it:
In a medium bowl, mix together room temperature unsalted butter and desired ingredients, such as herbs, olives, citrus zest and spices. Use the back of a fork to soften the butter and combine the ingredients.


On a piece of parchment or wax paper, form the butter into a 1-inch log. Wrap the paper around the butter, pressing gently to make a smooth log, and roll to seal. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Compound Cutter Collage

Unwrap the compound butter and cut it into slices of desired thickness. Spread on bread or crackers, or serve over warm foods to melt.


Recipes using compound butter:

Food 52’s Grilled Swordfish with Tangy Compound Butter
Health Nut’s Rotini in Kumquat Jalapeno Compound Butter
Home Cooks Online’s Pecan Planked New York Strip Steak with Red Wine Compound Butter
Healthy Delicious’ Orange Pork Chops with Bacon-Pecan Compound Butter

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dee D. April 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm

wow the butter looks delicious :)
I’ve never tried compound butter, might try it out :) all of your recipes sound great!


2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Thanks, Dee. Compound butters are a great way to add flavor to dishes.


3 claudia lamascolo/aka pegasuslegend April 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

What a great selection, I make several kinds and here are some new ones for me… I freeze mine in molds like rubber hearts etc… they are perfect for company… love this kalamata one, going to try this for Easter! Thanks Dara!


4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

What a great idea, Claudia. I’ll have to try that.


5 erica April 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm

This looks so good…I’ve never made compound butter before, I will try this one though. Thanks for sharing. :-)


6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Thanks, Erica.


7 Shelby April 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Beautiful! I will for sure have to try these… I’ve never tried it but it looks fabulous!


8 Nithu April 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm

ooh!! they look awesome. love to have a bite.


9 Paula (Salad in a Jar) April 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Love all the variations. Something for everybody!


10 Marla April 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Dara, I love the diversity of compound butter. Not only in the unique flavor combos but also in the many ways you can use them. Great recipes here, especially the one with the cream cheese.


11 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Thanks, Marla. The cream cheese ads a tangy flavor to the mixture and matches really well with some flavors.


12 Sanjeeta kk April 9, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Never thought of making compound butter at home! And you made it all look so simple and easy..lovely tips. Thanks Dara for the recipes.


13 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 10, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Thanks, Sanjeeta. They couldn’t be easier to make and really add something special.


14 Katrina April 9, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I’ve seen this before but have never tried it. Thanks for the tip! So many of your butters sound amazing!


15 Kathy Mercure April 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

Hello fellow Canadian! Thanks for these great ideas. I made my first compound butter last year (tarragon) and since then have been hooked. Thanks for the great ideas. I’ll be making some of these for sure.


16 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Thanks, Kathy. Tarragon is wonderful in compound butters. I can’t wait until my herb garden starts to flourish again.


17 Elena @MTJW April 10, 2011 at 8:30 am

This looks like such a good way to add some poshness to butter at a dinner party! I always love your posts Dara! Thanks for the tips!


18 Rosemary April 10, 2011 at 10:07 am

You know, I need to this more often. I tend to make these kinds of flavored buters just for holiday dinners, or other special events. How easy it would be to make every day more special without a lot of fuss. Thanks for the reminders and helpful tips and suggestions!


19 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm

While they are wonderful for holiday dinners, they are certainly easy (and tasty) enough to be highlighted during every day meals, too.


20 Barbara | VinoLuciStyle April 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

I love compound butters…they add a special touch to the most simple preparations. I made a molasses one this morning that I saw on Jennifer Perillo’s site. Biscuits in the oven and can’t want to try it!


21 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Molasses – what a great idea. I’m definitely going to try that one.


22 Ethan April 10, 2011 at 11:05 am

You’re right, so easy and yet seemingly complicated and fancy. I’ve done it with roasted garlic butter before, but never thought about doing it 100 other different ways!


23 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Thanks, Ethan. Roasted garlic is the perfect addition to butter.


24 Beth Hirsch April 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I make this every year at Easter. I make my own butter in my stand mixer first and them add the ingredients. I also have 25 different butter molds that I use as well. It’s such a nice nice fresh treat for the holidays. Also makes a nice hostess gift. I’m going to try some of your recipes this year. Thanks.


25 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 10, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Beth, what a great idea to use these as hostess gifts. I know lots of friends that would appreciate them.


26 Taylor April 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Great Post! I love the variety of compound butters. Great Pictures! Thanks for sharing!


27 Maris (In Good Taste) April 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Thank you so much for all these great recipes and most of all for the ‘how to” It is much appreciated! Your pictures definitely depict my favorite one!


28 Drick April 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm

love ’em… keep many butters rolled up in the freezer, slice off what I need – esp like the olive and mint, have not done that one


29 TheFromagette April 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Such a pretty added touch to set out with fresh baguettes…


30 Sara @CaffeIna April 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm

wow! I don’t know which one is making me drooling more…the idea of gorgonzola and sage butter or of orange and honey. Wonderful idea!


31 Belinda @zomppa April 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm

What great combinations! Countless possibilities to cook with here. Thanks!


32 Celia April 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Ooh, butter ideas are percolating…What a great basic; love these how-tos!


33 Caryn Mello-Kennedy April 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I make one with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and basil that is great on steaks.


34 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) April 10, 2011 at 9:32 pm

That’s a great combination of flavors, Caryn. It would be really good tossed with shrimp, too.


35 Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food April 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm

I’m loving every issue of your “How To” series, Dara. On the rare occasion I’ve made compound butter, it was on the fly and without much of a plan or thought process involved. Your wonderful recipes here have given me so many ideas on how to use them more effectively as a flavor complement.


36 Suzanne April 12, 2011 at 7:49 am

great post, super ideas to add flavor!


37 Soma April 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm

How can I never make mine look so pretty? I do not have the patience to make a neat roll. Love the minty olive and the orange zested ones.


38 Sandra January 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I’ve never even heard of compound butter until tonight, trying to find what would go well with haddock, and the page I read recommended compound butters. Then I came directly to this page from a search engine. You have a lot of wonderful ideas, I’ll be using some of them when I entertain this year!
And I also like the one person’s feedback about using rubber molds.


39 stephaniegvthompson.skyrock.Com September 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Hi, yup this post is actually fastidious and I have learned lot of things from it
concerning blogging. thanks.


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