How to Make Compound Butter

Compound Butter

Gaining confidence in the kitchen is all about taking small steps. Making your own compound (flavored) butter, can be a great first step. You need little more than a few sticks of butter and the spark of an idea — and in just a few minutes you will have made something that’s almost too beautiful to eat (that is, until you taste it and realize that it is also unbelievably delicious).

You can make your butter from scratch if you like — making freshly churned butter involves little more than whisking heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until it solidifies (just a little bit of draining to remove the excess liquid and adding a bit of salt, if you prefer) — but using pre-made butter is quicker and easier.

Here’s the basic, 3-step method for making compound butter:

1. Soften the Butter
soft butter
Start by letting one stick of butter come to room temperature. This will make it easier to incorporate the other ingredients. Then, put the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer that’s been fitted with a paddle attachment and beat it until it’s smooth.

2. Add the Flavor
6 compound butters before mixing

Then, add flavorful ingredients to the butter and mix until combined. I find it helpful to think about flavor combinations that I already know I like. If you always roast chicken with lemon wedges and fresh thyme, make a lemon thyme compound butter. Love sweet and spicy Sriracha-glazed sticky wings? Then, why not make a honey Sriracha compound butter? Fruit, herbs, spices, syrups…just about anything will work when you’re making compound butter.

3. Chill the Butter
how to wrap the butter

Unless you’re using the butter right away you should scoop it onto a piece of plastic wrap, using the sides of the wrap to gently roll the butter into a log-like shape, and then twist the ends to seal the wrap. Refrigerate the butter for several hours, until firm. When the butter is cold, slice it into rounds and serve. Or, remove the chilled butter from the plastic wrap and roll the logs in a sturdy, waxy parchment paper (securing the ends with twine) to give as gifts.

If you’re not sure you’re ready to head into your kitchen and start mixing up your own compound butter creations, here are a few of my favorite recipes to get you started:

Lemon Thyme Butter

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 5mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Great for: roasting a chicken, making scones, spreading on crusty artisan bread
making lemon thyme butter

Ingredients
1 stick of unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Directions
Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully combined. Wrap the butter in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

Orange Blueberry Butter

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 5mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Great for: topping pancakes, making scones, or spreading on breakfast breads
making orange blueberry butter

Ingredients
1 stick of unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
Juice of quarter orange
Zest of half an orange
2 ounces fresh blueberries

Directions
Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the blueberries and mix until fully combined. Then, stir the blueberries into the butter by hand. Wrap the butter in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

Honey Sriracha Butter

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 5mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Great for: grilled chicken, grilled salmon, and grilled cheese sandwiches
making honey sriracha butter

Ingredients
1 stick of unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
2 tablespoons orange zest

Directions
Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully combined. Wrap the butter in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

Maple Bacon Butter

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 5mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Great for: spreading on buttermilk biscuits, topping pancakes, or making shortbread cookies
making maple bacon butter

Ingredients
1 stick of unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and then finely chopped
1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon light brown sugar


Directions

Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully combined. Wrap the butter in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

Black Pepper Merlot Butter

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 5mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Great for: topping steaks, buttering toasted burger buns, spreading on crusty artisan bread
making merlot butter

Ingredients
1 stick of unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons merlot
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions
Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully combined. Wrap the butter in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. For a more intense red wine flavor: Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan, add 1 cup of wine and 1 tablespoon of sugar, and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Then, use 2 tablespoons of the red wine reduction in place of the merlot in the recipe above.

Garlic Dill Butter

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 5mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Great for: topping fish, melting over grilled vegetables, spreading on crusty artisan bread
making garlic dill butter

Ingredients
1 stick of unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
2 small cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions
Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully combined. Wrap the butter in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

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3 thoughts on “How to Make Compound Butter

  1. Pingback: How to Roast a Really Flavorful Chicken | gastronoMe

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