In the words of one of our testers, this simple compound butter “makes everything exponentially better.” All it takes is a handful of ingredients you may already have on hand and barely any effort. Then stash it in the fridge and revel in just how simple it can be to bling up almost anything. Rest assured, though, this is no ordinary garlic butter. Parsley, shallots, and lemon come together to give just the right blend of sweet, sharp, and smooth.–Renee Schettler


Slather the butter on anything that just came off the grill —fish, chicken, steak, pork shellfish (halved lobsters are particularly impressive), even tofu. Or toss some clams or oysters on the grill, let them steam in their own juices and open on their own, and top with the butter. You can even hit grilled asparagus or zucchini with the butter as you pull them off the grill.

Steam a pot of mussels or clams and dollop the shellfish with delicate blobs of butter just before serving.

Garlic bread. Simply smother the cut sides of a baguette or loaf of ciabatta that you’ve sliced with parsley garlic butter. If you’d like, add a layer of grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and toast in a 375°F [190°C] oven until warm, 10 to 15 minutes or grill slices of bread and spread with generous amounts of the garlic butter.

A clay bowl filled with butter, parsley, red onion, lemon zest, orange zest, and salt

Parsley Garlic Butter

5 / 2 votes
This parsley garlic butter has a nifty twist: minced shallots are added to the parsley, garlic, and butter for extra flavor. Great on meat and veggies.
David Leite
Servings4 servings (makes about 1/4 cup)
Calories106 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • A small handful fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated


  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, shallot, parsley, salt, and lemon zest, mashing everything together with a fork or potato masher until combined. Then use a wooden spoon to really beat the butter until it’s nice and smooth and everything is evenly incorporated.
  • Use the butter immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a week or wrap tightly in plastic and freeze for up to 3 weeks. [Editor’s Note: For ideas on how to use the butter, see the note above the recipe. For a pretty presentation that makes for a lovely hostess gift, spread the butter on a sheet of wax or parchment paper, roll it snugly into a cylinder, and then twist the ends to seal, tying them if necessary with kitchen twine.]
Small Victories Cookbook

Adapted From

Small Victories

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 106 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 0.3 gFat: 11 gSaturated Fat: 7 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 0.5 gCholesterol: 30 mgSodium: 293 mgPotassium: 28 mgFiber: 0.3 gSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 350 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 8 mgIron: 0.1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2016 Julia Turshen. Photo © 2016 Gentl + Hyers. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This recipe is a superbly savory combination, especially for fish and bread. I followed the broiler method for shrimp in this recipe. I especially liked the little bits of shallot for extra texture. Compound butters are quick, easy, and you can tap what’s on hand to make everything exponentially better.

Some of the flavors slid off the shrimp, so I recommend using the compound butter after the shrimp comes out of the oven or off the grill.

This is the perfect compound butter for “Broiled Anything”. It made 4 tablespoons and was the right amount for 1 tablespoon per broiled meat serving. I broiled thin sole fillets and they only took 4 minutes. This was an all purpose butter and could easily be doubled with different mix ins. I used it on the sole, grilled rib eyes, and added herbes de Provence for melting over asparagus. Delicious and I’ll make this again and keep in the freezer.

Not a bite left. Everyone cleaned their plates. Even my picky son who usually needs coaxing to eat fish. The garlic, shallots, parsley and lemon paired perfectly. This was so simple and so good. 15 minutes from start to having supper on the table. The fish cooked quickly under the broiler and was moist and flaky and delicious. Definitely, worth making extra so when they ask for seconds you can say, yes, of course.

A delicious way to treat fish that even swayed a not-so-enthusiastic fish eater. The butter melted into the fish and created an interplay of flavors without any one ingredient dominating the others. I chose salmon steaks for this dish, which worked beautifully. Each steak was about an inch thick and took about 11 minutes to cook to the point where it was just done and still extremely moist. The shallots and parsley were well-charred and flavorful. This is definitely a recipe I would use for a variety of things, including fish, poultry, and for something like garlic bread or any number of vegetables. The possibilities seem endless.

This compound butter is a fun way to jazz up weeknight fish and bread. I tried the butter on baked fish and preferred the use of a thinner cut of fish because that yielded evenly cooked and more flavorful fish. I especially enjoyed the compound butter on oven baked bread.

This parsley garlic butter would more accurately be called garlic, parsley, shallot, and lemon butter. It’s those two additional ingredients, the shallot and the lemon, that elevate this to special.

I started with an excellent quality butter. I used enough parsley leaves that my garlic butter was on the green side. (I’m a big fan of parsley, both for its green color and its fresh taste.)

I made garlic bread that had a crisp crust, soft insides, and both had a wonderful lemony parsley aroma and flavor that made this garlic bread more special than the ordinary butter and garlic variety.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Scored some frozen limpets and was so excited to grill them, Azorean style. While my daughter and I are huge fans, my husband is not so much. Since I didn’t want to make two dishes and my husband loves escargot, I went on the prowl for a garlic butter that would work for both. As limpets love lemon, this recipe seemed like the perfect choice for both my proteins. All I added was some dried piri-piri flakes and some extra parsley. Wow! Such simple ingredient combination with such a fantastic impact!