Can’t Cook? Compound Butter Is Idiot Proof

Ever had garlic butter? Well, that’s a compound butter. 

Compound butter is a fancy term for combining butter with finely chopped herbs and spices. The combination is then rolled tightly with paper for storage. One of the most famous compound butters is actually a French butter called the Maitre d’Hotel butter. 

But don’t let the fancy AF french name scare you. Compound butters are truly idiot-proof and make every meal better! They are the easy way to quickly elevate your meal. 

How Compound Butter is Made

Compound butter is a blend of butter with aromatics, seasonings, and an acid such as citrus or wine. Once combined, it may be saved in a container or rolled into a log and refrigerated for future use. It can also be frozen for several months, so you always have your favorite combination on hand. 

Note: While a food processor may be used, we find that dicing the seasonings and mixing by hand with a wooden spoon looks and tastes better. 

How Compound Butter is Used

Compound butter makes a great base for a quick sauce and is delicious on grilled meat, chicken, or fish. It can be used as a sandwich spread or as a finish for more delicate sauces. It can also add some sass to plain old eggs by using in place of regular butter.

Here are a few more ways you can use compound butter:

  • Top steamed or roasted vegetables
  • Use with corn on the cob
  • Mix into mashed potatoes
  • Spread on your carb of choice
  • Top pancakes, waffles, English muffins, and more
  • Swirl into your favorite soup right before serving
  • Spread underneath the skin of a chicken or turkey before roasting
  • Toss with pasta, rice, couscous, or quinoa

Pro Tip: Better Butter Tastes Better

Cheeky? Yes. True? Yes! Believe it or not, the quality and type of butter impacts flavor. Richer butters just taste better. What does that mean to you? Go cheap when baking but consider spending a little extra on an upgrade when you’re making your own compound butter. Try it for yourself. Make your favorite using salted, unsalted, sweet, and cultured varieties, and do your own taste test.

Tasty AF Compound Butter Combinations

The only limit to compound butter is your imagination. The coolest part? You can customize the additions to match the flavors you enjoy. The instructions are the same for all. 

  • Use a rubber spatula to cream the butter and mix with select ingredients 
  • Add any liquids a little at a time and stir until well blended
  • Turn the mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap and form a log about 4” long
  • Wrap closely in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least an hour
  • Slice into discs when ready to serve

Now check out some of our fave combos! Time to start drooolin’

Maitre d’Hotel Butter 
Adapted from The New York Times Cookbook

  • 1 stick best quality butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Tasty AF on grilled meats, pan-seared steak, or fish.

Italian Compound Butter
  • 1 stick best quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon minced sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper
  • (for extra flavor add a splash of extra virgin olive oil)

Tasty AF on grilled bread, grilled meats, or tossed with pasta.

Cilantro Lime Compound Butter
  • 1 stick best quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 small lime
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper

Amazing to flavor rice or top of grilled chicken.

Chipotle Compound Butter
  • 1 stick best quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle peppers
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Zest and juice of 1 small lime
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt

Lather on grilled veggies, especially corn.

(for extra flavor add a dash of adobo sauce)

Honey Butter
  • 1 stick best quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of honey

Pile honey butter high on top of pancakes, waffles, or fried chicken. 

Garlic Butter
  • 1 stick best quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic 
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper

Garlic butter is amazing on bread, mashed potatoes, or even shrimp.

Pinot Noir Compound Butter ( I mean, wine and butter- God Bless!) 
  • 1 stick best quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups pinot noir boiled and reduced to ⅓ of a cup and cooled completely
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Elevate your steak dinner! 

If you have any issues with the butter absorbing the wine, you may need to place the bowl in the refrigerator then pull it out every 15-20 minutes to mix well with a spoon. This will give you time to enjoy a few glasses in between. Once the butter and wine are completely combined, you can treat it as you do the others. This one is best if left for 2-3 days for the flavors in the mixture to really blend.

*You can even keep it as simple as combining butter with your favorite pantry seasoning. Think old-bay butter. 

Have a fave combo of your own? Post them in the comments section below! 

Leave a Comment