How to Make Compound Butter

How to Make Compound Butter

  • Prep time

    10 minutes

  • Cook time

    -

  • Course

    Condiments

  • Skill level

    Beginner

  • Season

    All Seasons

  • Serves

    16 tbsp. per batch
Chef’s notes

All butter is delicious, but my personal favorite is undoubtedly a good compound butter. It’s a great way to add an extra dose of flavor to seafood, chicken, burgers, toast, scrambled eggs, pasta, and more.

Compound butter is essentially just normal butter mixed with additional herbs, spices, and other flavors.

Sweet compound butters can be made by adding flavors like honey and cinnamon. These are amazing on morning toast, in oatmeal, or on pancakes. Savory butter can take corn on the cobb from a 4 to a 10 and is a great addition to hamburgers. Or, for my favorite quick dinner, boil and strain spaghetti and toss in a few tablespoons of savory compound butter. Let it melt and voilà, the easiest meal ever.

Compound butters aren’t exactly rocket science, but I do have a few pointers that are helpful. First, I like to make sure my butters are always well balanced. They should include acid, salt, heat, and sweet. Acids gives the butter a palate-pleasing kick, salt will enhance all the flavors in the butter, and heat gets your attention.

Warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and cinnamon work well for sweet butters, and bold spices like paprika and chili powder work best for savory butters. Fresh herbs perform better in compound butters than dried herbs. Dry herbs need more moisture to bring out their flavor, whereas fresh herbs can stand alone.

You can also add dashes of liquid to your compound butter. Be sure to not use more than 1 tablespoon of liquid per 1 cup of butter, and ensure the liquid is fully incorporated so that it doesn’t seep out when the butter is chilled. Some of my favorite liquids to add are lemon juice, bourbon, flavored vinegars, and wine.

I always keep seasonal compound butters in my fridge. When wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept cold, they can last for up to two weeks. If placed in the freezer, they will keep for up to six months. Here are my current favorite compound butter recipes.

Ingredients

Jalapeno Ginger Lime Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 large jalapeño, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Kimchi-Inspired Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Korean red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Orange Rosemary Sumac Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. sumac
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly using a rubber spatula.
  2. Take a large piece of plastic wrap and place it on a flat surface. Dump the compound butter onto the plastic wrap and roll lengthwise. The butter should form a log shape. Twist both ends of the log to completely seal the butter. The package should resemble a sausage.
  3. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Once the butter has hardened, slice into tablespoon sized portions and use on anything that you would finish with regular butter.
Chef’s notes

All butter is delicious, but my personal favorite is undoubtedly a good compound butter. It’s a great way to add an extra dose of flavor to seafood, chicken, burgers, toast, scrambled eggs, pasta, and more.

Compound butter is essentially just normal butter mixed with additional herbs, spices, and other flavors.

Sweet compound butters can be made by adding flavors like honey and cinnamon. These are amazing on morning toast, in oatmeal, or on pancakes. Savory butter can take corn on the cobb from a 4 to a 10 and is a great addition to hamburgers. Or, for my favorite quick dinner, boil and strain spaghetti and toss in a few tablespoons of savory compound butter. Let it melt and voilà, the easiest meal ever.

Compound butters aren’t exactly rocket science, but I do have a few pointers that are helpful. First, I like to make sure my butters are always well balanced. They should include acid, salt, heat, and sweet. Acids gives the butter a palate-pleasing kick, salt will enhance all the flavors in the butter, and heat gets your attention.

Warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and cinnamon work well for sweet butters, and bold spices like paprika and chili powder work best for savory butters. Fresh herbs perform better in compound butters than dried herbs. Dry herbs need more moisture to bring out their flavor, whereas fresh herbs can stand alone.

You can also add dashes of liquid to your compound butter. Be sure to not use more than 1 tablespoon of liquid per 1 cup of butter, and ensure the liquid is fully incorporated so that it doesn’t seep out when the butter is chilled. Some of my favorite liquids to add are lemon juice, bourbon, flavored vinegars, and wine.

I always keep seasonal compound butters in my fridge. When wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept cold, they can last for up to two weeks. If placed in the freezer, they will keep for up to six months. Here are my current favorite compound butter recipes.

Ingredients

Jalapeno Ginger Lime Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 large jalapeño, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Kimchi-Inspired Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Korean red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Orange Rosemary Sumac Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. sumac
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly using a rubber spatula.
  2. Take a large piece of plastic wrap and place it on a flat surface. Dump the compound butter onto the plastic wrap and roll lengthwise. The butter should form a log shape. Twist both ends of the log to completely seal the butter. The package should resemble a sausage.
  3. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Once the butter has hardened, slice into tablespoon sized portions and use on anything that you would finish with regular butter.
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Save this recipe

How to Make Compound Butter

Recipe by: Bri Van Scotter
How to Make Compound Butter
  • Prep time

    10 minutes

  • Cook time

    -

  • Course

    Condiments

  • Skill level

    Beginner

  • Season

    All Seasons

  • Serves

    16 tbsp. per batch
Chef’s notes

All butter is delicious, but my personal favorite is undoubtedly a good compound butter. It’s a great way to add an extra dose of flavor to seafood, chicken, burgers, toast, scrambled eggs, pasta, and more.

Compound butter is essentially just normal butter mixed with additional herbs, spices, and other flavors.

Sweet compound butters can be made by adding flavors like honey and cinnamon. These are amazing on morning toast, in oatmeal, or on pancakes. Savory butter can take corn on the cobb from a 4 to a 10 and is a great addition to hamburgers. Or, for my favorite quick dinner, boil and strain spaghetti and toss in a few tablespoons of savory compound butter. Let it melt and voilà, the easiest meal ever.

Compound butters aren’t exactly rocket science, but I do have a few pointers that are helpful. First, I like to make sure my butters are always well balanced. They should include acid, salt, heat, and sweet. Acids gives the butter a palate-pleasing kick, salt will enhance all the flavors in the butter, and heat gets your attention.

Warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and cinnamon work well for sweet butters, and bold spices like paprika and chili powder work best for savory butters. Fresh herbs perform better in compound butters than dried herbs. Dry herbs need more moisture to bring out their flavor, whereas fresh herbs can stand alone.

You can also add dashes of liquid to your compound butter. Be sure to not use more than 1 tablespoon of liquid per 1 cup of butter, and ensure the liquid is fully incorporated so that it doesn’t seep out when the butter is chilled. Some of my favorite liquids to add are lemon juice, bourbon, flavored vinegars, and wine.

I always keep seasonal compound butters in my fridge. When wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept cold, they can last for up to two weeks. If placed in the freezer, they will keep for up to six months. Here are my current favorite compound butter recipes.

Ingredients

Jalapeno Ginger Lime Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 large jalapeño, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Kimchi-Inspired Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Korean red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Orange Rosemary Sumac Compound Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. sumac
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. sugar

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly using a rubber spatula.
  2. Take a large piece of plastic wrap and place it on a flat surface. Dump the compound butter onto the plastic wrap and roll lengthwise. The butter should form a log shape. Twist both ends of the log to completely seal the butter. The package should resemble a sausage.
  3. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Once the butter has hardened, slice into tablespoon sized portions and use on anything that you would finish with regular butter.