Compound Butters – Adding Things to Butter to Make it Extra Awesome

Compound Butters – Adding Things to Butter to Make it Extra Awesome Recipe

I thought we could do a dive into compound butters today. Compound butters are a lazy cook's secret weapon. They're a way to add intense flavor to preparations without a whole lot of extra effort. They also freeze really well, earning them bonus points as far as I'm concerned. Thaw, stir, and you've got a powerful flavor accent at your disposal. To make a compound butter you incorporate ingredients into a butter base. As much as I love good butter, I also can't help but constantly ask myself - what can I add to this butter to make it extra awesome? I've included a few recent favorites here, and I'll also mention a few things to think about for when you set out to try out your own ideas.

Compound Butter

Compound ButterSaffron Date Butter (recipe below):

Compound ButterScallion Dill Butter (recipe below):

Compound ButterGarlic Green Olive Butter (recipe below):

Compound ButterLemon Miso Butter (recipe below):

Keep in mind, compound butters are a great way to use up smaller quantities of herbs, spices, the odd clove of garlic, the bottom of the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, or capers. They also freeze really well. I recommend freezing in small quantities, so you can easily pull just enough for a couple of days use. One other tip - concentrated ingredients with little moisture work best. For example roasted strawberries versus fresh strawberries. Orange zest versus orange segments. Have fun! -h

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Compound Butter - Adding Things to Butter to Make it Extra Awesome

Lemon Miso Butter:
Use a food processor to whip 1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Pulse in 1 tablespoon miso, zest of one lemon (or yuzu), 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin. Taste and adjust if needed. Fold in the sesame seeds. Great on: brown rice bowls, roasted delicate squash, sautéed vegetables, roasted tomatoes...

Saffron Date Butter:
Add 1 pinch of saffron threads in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, allow to sit for five minutes. Use a food processor to whip 1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Pulse in 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt. Add the saffron-almond mixture, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl regularly. Pulse in five plump dates, leaving them a bit chunky. Great on: hot oatmeal, flatbreads, sautéed greens...

Garlic Green Olive Butter:
Use a food processor to whip 1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Pulse in 1 large clove of peeled garlic, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Start with 1/8 teaspoon, but add more if you like. Pulse in a dozen plump green olives that you have pitted, rinsed, and dried in a clean towel. I like to squeeze the olives between my palms to rid them of as much olive water as possible before pulsing them in. Great on: pasta, polenta, a wide range of vegetables, it's easy magic.

Scallion Dill Butter:
Use a food processor to whip 1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Pulse in a scant 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, a large clove of garlic (or 1 head of trimmed green garlic), 2 scallions, and a handful of fresh dill you've de-stemmed. Pulse well here, until everything blends together into a vibrant, electric green butter. Great on: just about everything - grilled asparagus, to finish sautéed mushrooms, perfect on corn later in the year, or cornbread ;)....biscuits, polenta, rice bowls, potatoes, egg salad...

Roasted Strawberry Ginger Butter:
This is a bonus butter - I didn't include a photo here, but I make it on occasion during strawberry season using strawberries I've roasted and cooled. Use a food processor to whip 1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Transfer to a bowl and old in 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, 3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger, 15 chopped, candied pecans, and a couple of teaspoons of runny honey. Stir until everything comes together, and then loosely fold in about 1/4 cup roasted strawberries. Great with: brunch.

Prep time: 5 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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  • Butter (or oil) is also the best way to preserve the flavor of fresh herbs! Just follow the directions for scallion dill butter above. When I have to buy a larger quantity than I need, and also at the end of the growing season, this is what I do. Flavors are much more vibrant than if you dry them.

  • I've tried many ways to preserve the leaves of coriander (cilantro), but none of them convey the right taste, or any taste at all! Perhaps this would work? Has anyone ever tried coriander butter?

  • Wow what lovely ones... I usually love compound butters with waffles or pancakes -- one that I make a lot of walnut + maple syrup + caramel and another is with garlic + chives + coriander. These new ones will make a lovely addition to my repertoire.

  • it was your luscious and inviting photos of compound butters that first lured me into your kitchen 10 years ago, heidi. really, they looked so much like ice cream that i wanted to lick my computer screen!!! these look even more delectable. thank you so much for making delicious treats like these the norm in my life!!!

  • I never thought about making compound butter to use up herbs or those pesky little bits left at the bottom of misc jars, etc. The Scallion Dill butter sounds amazing! I think it would be great on salmon. Brynn

    The Domestic Dietitian
  • Is there anything butter can't do?! I'm digging your combinations, especially green olive business--yum!

  • Fantastic post! I always loved mint butter so much but hadn't thought to experiment much further, I suppose because I don't eat butter, but there are alternatives and you are so right, what a wonderful and easy way to pack in flavour. I feel inspired!! x

    Amy | Lemon and Coconut
  • I love a nice tasty compound butter! The strawberry one sounds particularly luscious - I can just imagine that on a lovely warm piece of toast.

    leaf (the indolent cook)
  • What is the bright yellow butter in the photo?

  • I almost always have a compound butter in my fridge. They are lifesavers when it comes to making veggies sing.

  • How wonderful! I've only ever made an occasional garlic butter to serve alongside pasta. Aside from that, I will say that I HAVE made a roasted strawberry butter. I served it with a chocolate bread that I served at a potluck, once. :)

  • Great ideas! I confess I love good butter too. Never tried any of the combinations here, I'm quite curious, specially the saffron date one. Also, just got your new book and it is an absolute pleasure to read. thank you :)

  • These look like fun to try! How many dates should I use in the saffron date butter?

    HS: Hi Amy - about five...or to whatever "density" you like ;)....

  • Funny, I'm working on a post about Molasses Butter, which may be my all-time favorite. What great ideas you've got above; food for thought for this weekend's biscuits.

  • I have been following your site for a long time and have tried many recipes and told many people about it, but this is the first time I have commented. The options with butters is amazing! Think: " flavored oils" but with other degree of intensity. I worked in a restaurant once in which we often had steak specials served with Lobster compound butter on top... so they need not be limited to herbs as long as the pieces of whatever ingredient are semi dry and smallish. I did a clam butter once that I served with garlic bread- yummy!

    Lauren Yarema
  • I've make compound butters, but these combinations are new. Especially roasted strawberries. How intriguing! Now I just have to wait for strawberry season....we can get them already from Spain or Morocco, but I hold out for the organic French ones, with so much more flavor.

    Taste of France
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