Herbed Compound Butter

Herbed compound butter, made with shallots, fresh herbs, and garlic is a home cook’s best friend. We also offer variations for lemon, pimentón, and horseradish compound butters.

Two steaks on a cutting board topped with herbed compound butter an a bowl of the butter on the side.

We consider this lovely little compound butter recipe to be like Cupid’s little helper. Because nothing says love like sharing a magnificent cut of steak beneath a puddle of melting butter. Besides, this recipe demands barely any work on your part, and works considerable magic on the relatively plain sorta stuff you toss together in 15 minutes flat on a random Tuesday while you juggle everything else the day is still throwing at you. In addition to the lovely and fragrant herb butter pictured, we’ve also included some other simple and spectacularly versatile compound butter recipes made from pantry staples. You’re welcome.  Originally published February 8, 2015.Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer

How To Use Herbed Compound Butter

This herbed compound butter turns just about anything that’s mediocre into magnificent, including…

Plain old seared chicken cutlets
Broiled fish fillets
Grilled steak
Boiled rice
Minestrone or other soups
Steamed vegetables
Baked potatoes
And so, so, so much more…

Herbed Compound Butter

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 cup
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Canal House Cooks Every Day cookbook

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Ingredients

  • For the herbed compound butter
  • For the lemon compound butter
  • For the pimentón compound butter
  • For the horseradish compound butter

Directions

Make the herbed compound butter

Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add the herbs, shallot, and garlic to the butter along with salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture on a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and use your hands to roll it into a cylinder. Twist the ends to seal and then slip the roll of compound into a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to a few days or freeze for up to 1 month. Slice off a little—or a lot—as needed.

Make the lemon compound butter

Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add the lemon zest along with salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture on a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and use your hands to roll it into a cylinder. Twist the ends to seal and then slip the roll of compound into a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to a few days or freeze for up to 1 month. Slice off a little—or a lot—as needed.

Make the pimentón compound butter

Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add the pimentón (paprika) along with salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture on a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and use your hands to roll it into a cylinder. Twist the ends to seal and then slip the roll of compound into a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to a few days or freeze for up to 1 month. Slice off a little—or a lot—as needed.

Make the horseradish compound butter

Beat the butter in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add the horseradish along with salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture on a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and use your hands to roll it into a cylinder. Twist the ends to seal and then slip the roll of compound into a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to a few days or freeze for up to 1 month. Slice off a little—or a lot—as needed.

Print RecipeBuy the Canal House Cooks Every Day cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Mmmmmm…butter. I made the herb compound butter recipe first, then the lemon compound butter recipe, and am eagerly looking forward to trying the other compound butter recipes. A half batch, yielding 1/2 cup, was plenty for pre-holiday use, though the option to make some more and freeze it is an appealing time-management maneuver before the craziness of Thanksgiving through the New Year. For the herb compound butter, I used basil because we had it on hand, a scallion, and the optional garlic clove. I envision making this with dill in the near future as well. The uses are numerous, of course—slather on bread, toast, biscuits, bagels, muffins, or scones. My first taste was on a sturdy, dense multigrain, and my first taste of the lemon was on a cherry pecan oat boule. Use on sandwiches—I’m thinking tea sandwiches, open-faced Scandinavian tea sandwiches, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Atop corn bread, quick breads or tea breads. On vegetables, whether steamed or grilled, including broccoli, asparagus, carrots, zucchini, yellow summer squash, green beans, and artichokes. Atop a baked potato or a baked sweet potato. Melted into baked winter squash of any variety—kuri, butternut, spaghetti, acorn, etc. In sautéed vegetables such as succotash, home fries, ranch fries, mushrooms. On corn on the cob. On popcorn! In pasta primavera. Garlic bread for the herb butter. Fry an egg in it. Scramble an egg or make an omelet or a frittata with it. For the horseradish, on matzoh brie! For the lemon, clafouti or pancakes or waffles. Any compound butter recipe could also be made with unsalted butter—you'll just need to be a little more generous with the salt when seasoning to taste.

This fresh-from-your-garden-or-pantry compound butter recipe could make a perfect hostess gift, a surprising taste on a holiday table, or a great treat to pack in the cooler for a ski weekend or getaway. It only takes a few minutes and planning ahead to set the butter out to thoroughly soften. My love of lemons made the first one to try easy. I zested 3 perfect little organic lemons with unblemished skins, used the juice of just 1/2 a lemon, about 1/4 teaspoon Maldon salt, and several grinds black pepper. For travel packing, I used squat Mason jars with a wide lid and a canning funnel to make filling them easy. If I was preparing this for Thanksgiving, I might carefully roll it into a log, and then wrap it in parchment and then plastic wrap. I plan to serve it with a fresh baguette and muffins, or maybe on rice or steaks. Cook's perk—I saved the last bit of compound butter off the spatula and pronounced it delish after schmearing it on a stone-ground wheat cracker. Looking forward to trying the pimentón and horseradish versions. All would be wonderful on baked sweet potatoes or Yukon Golds, as well as on grilled fish or meat. I used Plugrá European style salted butter—handily, it is an 8-ounce package. This was creamy and clean-tasting. I like the flavor better other European-style butters, which I found to be too cheese-like in taste and smell.

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Comments

  1. Mmmmm, compound butter. When I was 17, I checked out a book from the library on French cooking. In it was a recipe for chicken kiev, I don’t know why. The lemon, parsley, and pepper butter was rolled into a log and frozen. We had lots of flounder fillets so I used them instead of chicken. To serve this crispy browned rolled up thing that oozes it’s own sauce as soon as you cut into it was quite impressive to everyone, including me! I’ve loved compound butters since.

    The blend I use for garlic bread is very well received. Lemon zest, parmesan, ‘gahlik’, black pepper, crushed red chilies, parsley, sometimes a tiny bit of thyme or oregano, depending on what else is going on. Don’t tell: a small spoonful of rendered jowl fat is supposed to be a secret. So often I find myself saying, “well, it’s nearly vegan, ‘cept I sauted the trinity in pork fat.”

    This website is my relaxation treat. Thanks!

  2. In the very early days of the food network Emeril did a show on compound butters and I’ve been making them ever since then. This was a great post. My favorites are tarragon butter to put on top of a hot steak. Heaven. Also love horseradish butter and garlic, Parmesan, and parsley butter.

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