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How to Make Compound Butter

In this post, I’m breaking down How to Make Compound Butter, how to store it, and the many ways you can use it. Plus I’m sharing a master list of the various sweet and savory compound butter flavor ideas you can make!

photo of compound butter on a cutting board

What Is Compound Butter? 

Compound butter is essentially a type of flavored butter. To make it, softened butter is  whipped together with various sweet or savory ingredients. 

Most people associate compound butter with flavors like fresh garlic, herbs, or cheeses. However, the flavor combinations for making compound butter truly are endless! 

Whether you plan on using your homemade compound butter for steaks, salmon, rolls, or another dish entirely, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make! 

What Is Compound Butter Used For? 

Also called “finishing butter,” compound butter is typically used to enhance the flavor of a dish. Most recipes have you add compound butter during the final stages of cooking or as a garnish. 

The butter isn’t cooked in the dish, but rather added later on to round out the flavor profile and add extra flavor. 

photo of compound butter ingredient ideas

Ingredients in Compound Butter

To make homemade compound butter, you’ll need unsalted butter and your mix-ins of choice. Salted butter would also work, but I prefer using unsalted and adding extra salt if needed. 

As a rule of thumb, the ratios required to make compound butter are: ½ cup (1 stick) butter + 1 to 2 tablespoons of mix-ins. 

However, the exact ingredient ratios will differ based on the mix-ins you’re using. For example, you’ll need to use less dry herbs than fresh herbs as dry herbs are far more potent. 

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

Savory Compound Butter Mix-Ins

If you’d like to make a savory compound butter, try combining one or more of the following mix-ins with the unsalted butter: 

  • Chopped fresh herbs 
  • Shredded or grated cheeses
  • Citrus zest 
  • Spices
  • Salt and pepper
  • Finely chopped hot peppers (such as a jalapeño)
  • Roasted or minced garlic
  • Finely chopped onion or shallot
  • Chopped caramelized onions 
  • Grated ginger 
  • Citrus juices 

Sweet Compound Butter Mix-Ins

I particularly love topping my morning pancakes, scones, or biscuits with sweet compound butters! Here are some sweet compound butter recipe ideas: 

  • Citrus zest
  • Citrus juices 
  • Honey
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Other extracts (lemon, orange, etc.) 
  • Chopped fresh berries
  • Ground cinnamon 
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Grated ginger   

Tools Needed to Make Compound Butters

Making compound butter is a very low-tech affair. Here’s what I typically use to make finishing butters: 

  • Sharp knife — Perfect for dicing fresh herbs, berries, or other mix-ins. 
  • Microplane — Makes zesting citrus fruits a breeze. 
  • Mixing bowl — If you’re only using 1 stick of butter, a small mixing bowl does the trick. 
  • Fork or pastry cutter — Pick one or the other to cut the mix-ins into the butter. 
  • Electric mixer — Not necessary, but a handheld electric mixer makes it easier to prep large batches of compound butter at once. Note that the butter will have more of a whipped texture if you use an electric mixer rather than a fork. 
step by step photos of making compound butter

How to Make Compound Butter

Once you realize just how easy it is to make compound butter at home, you’ll kick yourself for not trying it sooner! 

Here’s how to make compound butter, no matter the ingredients: 

  1. Bring the butter to room temperature. If you forgot to do so, here’s a guide on how to soften butter quickly.  
  2. Add the prepared mix-ins. You can use either sweet or savory ingredients. Make sure any herbs, fruit, ginger, or garlic is finely chopped or minced. 
  3. Combine the ingredients. You can do this using a fork, pastry cutter, or handheld electric mixer. 
  4. Shape the butter as desired. I’ve given instructions below on the various ways you can shape homemade compound butter. 
  5. Chill until firm. After you’ve shaped the butter, place it in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours, or until firm. Then, use as desired. 

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

Shaping Compound Butter

Compound butter is often rolled into a log, chilled in the fridge, then sliced. However, there are other ways to shape compound butter. 

Here are a few easy ways to shape compound butter, no matter how you plan on using it. 

1. Rolling it Into a Log

  1. Follow the instructions shared above for making the compound butter. 
  2. Once the ingredients are all combined, transfer the butter mixture to a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap. 
  3. Shape the butter mixture into a log, then roll up in the plastic wrap or parchment paper. 
  4. Chill for 1 to 2 hours before slicing. 

2. Piping the Butter 

  1. Follow the instructions shared above for making the compound butter. 
  2. Once the ingredients are all combined, transfer the butter mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large piping tip (any shape you’d like). 
  3. Pipe the butter onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray. 
  4. Chill the butter for 1 to 2 hours before serving. 

3. Using a Silicone Mold 

  1.  Follow the instructions shared above for making the compound butter. 
  2. Once the ingredients are all combined, scoop the butter mixture into the wells of a silicone baking mold. Your silicone mold can have any design you’d like! 
  3. Chill the butter for at least 2 hours, or until very firm. 
  4. Carefully pop the compound butter out of the mold and transfer to a parchment paper-lined tray or plate until ready to use. 
photo of compound butter rolled in parchment paper

Compound Butter Flavor Combinations to Try

Need some compound butter ideas? Not sure where to start? Try one of the following flavor combinations when making compound butter for the first time! 

  • Cilantro Lime Compound Butter
  • Garlic compound butter
  • Herb compound butter (using fresh or dried herbs) 
  • Blue cheese compound butter
  • Sage compound butter
  • Honey butter 
  • Maple cinnamon compound butter 
  • Lemon chive compound butter
  • Parmesan herb compound butter
  • Garlic herb compound butter

Tip: Need even more ideas? I recommend consulting The Science of Spice, The Flavor Bible, or The Flavor Thesaurus for even more flavor pairings. 

Tips for Making Compound Butter

  • Use softened butter. This makes adding the mix-ins so much easier. Do NOT use melted butter, though. 
  • Salted or unsalted butter works. If using unsalted, add extra salt as needed to round out the flavor of the compound butter. 
  • Limit the amount of garlic. I love garlic, but go easy when mixing it into the compound butter. Raw garlic is very potent, 1 clove per 1 stick of butter usually does the trick. 

How to Store Compound Butter

In general, compound butter should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. The exact amount of time it will last depends on which mix-ins you used. 

  • Honey or maple syrup: Butter will last several months. 
  • Fresh herbs: Butter will last up to 5 days. 
  • Fresh berries or fruit: Butter will last 3 to 4 days. 
  • Fresh garlic: Butter will last up to 3 days. 
  • Cheese: Butter will last up to 5 days. 

Can Compound Butter Be Frozen? 

Yes! Once it’s firmed up in the fridge, the butter can be transferred to a freezer container or freezer bag. 

Label and date the freezer container, and add any required instructions so you know what it is and what steps you need to take later on. If frozen properly, compound butter will last up to 3 months. 

How to Thaw Frozen Compound Butter 

Thawing frozen compound butter can be done in the microwave, on the countertop, or in the fridge. I have an entire guide dedicated to freezing butter and thawing it that I recommend reading. 

photo of compound butter on a grilled steak

Compound Butter Uses 

There are so many ways to use compound butter. Use compound butter for steaks, turkey or chicken, salmon, biscuits, and more. 

Here are some of my favorite ways to use compound butter: 

  • As a finishing butter for steaks or chicken
  • Cook fish with it on top
  • Rub it under the skin on turkey or chicken when roasting
  • Make garlic bread with it
  • Roasting vegetables with it 
  • Atop all kinds of breads, rolls, and biscuits
  • Slathered on grilled corn 
  • Melted on top of baked potatoes
  • Stirred into warm grains like quinoa or rice 
  • Added to pasta for a simple buttered pasta dish 

Compound Butter Recipes

Below are just some of the recipes you could add homemade compound butter to. Pretty much anything you’d add regular butter to could benefit from flavored compound butter! 

More Kitchen Tips: 

In this post, I walk you through how to freeze butter and how to defrost it. Plus, I answer other FAQs about freezing butter. 

In this post, I’m sharing how to soften butter quickly eight different ways, plus answering FAQs about softening butter and its uses.

Not sure how to cut butter into flour? Well, there are four ways you can do it. Check out this guide for all my tips and tricks for cutting butter into flour!

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How to Make Compound Butter

How to Make Compound Butter

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

In this post, I’m breaking down How to Make Compound Butter, how to store it, and the many ways you can use it. Plus I’m sharing a master list of the various sweet and savory compound butter flavor ideas you can make!  

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons mix-ins of choice (see post above for ideas)

Instructions

  1. Bring the butter to room temperature. If you forgot to do so, here’s a guide on how to soften butter quickly.  
  2. Add the prepared mix-ins. You can use either sweet or savory ingredients. Make sure any herbs, fruit, ginger, or garlic is finely chopped or minced. 
  3. Combine the ingredients. You can do this using a fork, pastry cutter, or handheld electric mixer. 
  4. Shape the butter as desired. I’ve given instructions below on the various ways you can shape homemade compound butter. 
  5. Chill until firm. After you’ve shaped the butter, place it in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours, or until firm. Then, use as desired. 

Shaping Compound Butter

1. Rolling it Into a Log

  1. Follow the instructions shared above for making the compound butter. 
  2. Once the ingredients are all combined, transfer the butter mixture to a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap. 
  3. Shape the butter mixture into a log, then roll up in the plastic wrap or parchment paper. 
  4. Chill for 1 to 2 hours before slicing. 

2. Piping the Butter 

  1. Follow the instructions shared above for making the compound butter. 
  2. Once the ingredients are all combined, transfer the butter mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large piping tip (any shape you’d like). 
  3. Pipe the butter onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray. 
  4. Chill the butter for 1 to 2 hours before serving. 

3. Using a Silicone Mold 

  1. Follow the instructions shared above for making the compound butter. 
  2. Once the ingredients are all combined, scoop the butter mixture into the wells of a silicone baking mold. Your silicone mold can have any design you’d like! 
  3. Chill the butter for at least 2 hours, or until very firm. 
  4. Carefully pop the compound butter out of the mold and transfer to a parchment paper-lined tray or plate until ready to use. 

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 102Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 31mgSodium 157mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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