One of my culinary shortcuts is called compound butter. Well, truthfully, just plain ‘ol butter is my shortcut to a better dish, but I want to show you how easy it is to make some fancy schmancy butter with some spices and fresh herbs.
Compound butter is just butter + stuff mixed in. Though calling it “compound butter” vs. just “butter + stuff mixed in” means you have to pay $3 more for it at the store. What a marketing gimmick! Seriously, though, compound butter is just flavored butter, and the possibilities are endless. Some of my favorites are:
butter + honey + cinnamon for toast
butter + chopped cranberries + orange zest for muffins
butter + garlic + basil for vegetables, shrimp (anything really)
All you have to do is mix softened butter with your choice of herbs/spices/sugars and you’re done. But I’ve found that shaping the compound butter into logs makes for easy storage (for the refrigerator or freezer), simple dividing, and an attractive little gift.
Here’s what I do:
Here I’m making some garlic-parsley butter for garlic bread. Take a stick of room temperature butter, a tablespoon of finely minced parsley, a garlic clove smushed through a garlic press, and just a generous pinch of salt (only if you’re using unsalted butter).
Grab a piece of parchment paper and lay it on your cutting board. I find that using a slightly damp cutting board helps the parchment stick, so that it doesn’t curl back up and over the butter (it’s a pain in the butt trying to keep that paper flat!).
Okay, now use your hands to roll up that butter. Don’t worry about getting it perfect; I’ll show you a trick in a second.
Here’s my secret weapon: a $1.50 sushi rolling mat. This mat helps me roll the butter into a tight, compact, even-shaped log. Roll the mat up partway.
Then use your hands like above to tug and pull back to tighten the log. My left hand is tugging and tightening the roll and my right hand is pulling in the opposite direction to give the mat tension.
Once you’ve tugged and evened out the log, open up the sushi mat.
Twist the ends of the parchment paper and refrigerate (or freeze).
Once the log has stiffened up, it’s ready to use! If I’m only using a bit of the butter, I like to cut them into “coins.”
Just slice right through the parchment paper.
Then pull away the paper! You can use this butter to saute vegetables, add to a sauce, slather for garlic bread, top a freshly grilled steak or mix with pasta.
As I mentioned, these rolls make fantastic gifts—just tie a little ribbon on the ends!
Jaden Hair is a food writer, television personality, and food photographer based in Tampa Bay, Florida. Find more of her recipes in her blog, Steamy Kitchen, where you can also read more about Jaden’s new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, and the rave reviews it’s received!
Comments are closed for this recipe.
willblogforshoes on 3.1.2010
Oh wow! Can’t wait to try this!
queenbusick on 2.13.2010
WOW I can see this as a little gift bag of butter for a simple gift! Who wouldn’t accept butter as a gift? It could solve many international crisis if given a chance!
Buckeroomama on 2.12.2010
Wow, what a great idea! I have to try this.
Jami on 2.12.2010
This is a great idea for using up leftover fresh herbs that I usually end up just throwing out. I live in Germany and they use krauterbutter on a lot of meat dishes…I can’t get enough of it! Thanks for the tip. Oh, and I love the personalized cutting board! I now know what I’ll be giving several people for Christmas this year!
Kelly in WY on 2.11.2010
I make one for steaks that includes blue cheese, a little lemon. Sliced and put on top of steaks and melts. Its very good.
I keep it in the freezer when I don’t need a slice.
Also I have one that includes wild mushrooms, unfortunately DH does not like mushrooms so I don’t get to use it very often.
Me, Myself & Pie on 2.7.2010
What a great idea! I’m so doing his. Thanks for the tip!
Stephanie on 2.7.2010
OMG! Thank you Thank you Thank you! I did this once and stored it in a tub, but I didn’t think about parchment paper. I love that idea because you can also store it in the freezer if you need to. Love the sushi rolling mat idea too!! I have to go get one now. I can’t wait to try this!
SoupAddict Karen on 2.7.2010
I agree about the pain that rolled parchment paper is – that’s why I buy mine flat. King Arthur Flour sells it that way.
jenn on 2.7.2010
banging my head on the wall in the ‘why didn’t i ever think of that?” way. fabulous idea. now must make a list of all the flavor ideas rolling round in my head. Thanks!
Karen on 2.6.2010
What a great idea!! Thanks!
Gwenny :) on 2.6.2010
I used to work as a sous chef at a football stadium and at ALL of my catered events I made sure to have a certain compound butter that EVERYONE loves! It is:
~Sweet Cream butter
~Honey (The best quality you are willing to buy)
It is SOOOO delicious on cornbread!! I had customers request this compound butter all of the time! I would make A LOT during late spring/summer and freeze it so I always have some on hand.
bluebird49 on 2.6.2010
That’s truly a great idea, and anything that saves money these days is wonderful! Thanks. The idea for the sushi mat, and the parchment paper—just great!
Jaden on 2.5.2010
Tammy- re: ratio, I really don’t have ratio- I just add the ingredients and taste a little on a piece of bread.
Dawn- the personalized cutting board is from personalizationmall.com. I Love it!
Rhonda on 2.5.2010
Brilliant. Guess what my neighbors are getting for Christmas gifts next year? LOL!
Sarahh on 2.5.2010
This is a great idea!
Trish in MO on 2.5.2010
Wow, I never even thought of making my own flavored butters! And of course, I do have several sushi mats; doesn’t everyone? hehe Thanks, Jaden!
Beverly McDaniels on 2.5.2010
Never to old to learn. Thank you so much
bethe on 2.4.2010
a sushi mat is now on my wish list! inspired. love your compound butter ideas. fabulous!!
NuJoi on 2.4.2010
One of my favorites is a simple compound butter made with fresh parsley, kosher salt and pepper. Take a frozen slice and put it in the middle of your raw burger patty. Fry away. When you bite into the center and the butter oozes out … heaven.
audreyinez on 2.4.2010
hmmmm butter. what a great idea! i never would have thought of this. i love these genius ideas that you read and you just think “well duh. genius!!”
Army Mom on 2.4.2010
Brilliant! But nothing new from you – everything you do is fantastic!
LBDDiaries on 2.4.2010
How cool! I can’t wait to try all sorts of combos – I guess it really is limited to your imagination! Alpha Hubby will love some hot butter – butter and Habby Flakes!
TinaDee_www_TheHomesteadHeart_com on 2.4.2010
Butter never looked so decadent, except on top of a baked potato or a grilled stake…oh my…
Cheryl on 2.4.2010
Gee, so simple but never thought about making my own butter with stuff mixed in. Thanks for the sushi mat idea, yeah genius.
Kristen Pruett on 2.4.2010
I work part time at a restaurant that serves a German steak called Speissbraten. It has grilled onions and “herb butter” on top. Our herb butter is: butter, garlic, parsley and pepper.
Leanne on 2.4.2010
I once was a sucker for the $3 tubs of flavored butter but not anymore. Never thought of doing this and yet it’s so simple. Great way to fancy up tables for bridal/baby showers and holiday events when buttered is needed. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing.
mamajulie22 on 2.4.2010
Awesome Jaden!! I’ve made a compound butter with parsley, lemon and garlic and used it for corn on the cob… imagine these fabulous rolls on the picnic table ready to use sort of like a ‘glue-stick’ where you could just push up enough butter out of the parchment to allow you to spread it on your corn ?? Oooh, I wonder how that would work?- I’m thinking about kids here who always like to ‘do it themselves’… I’ll definitely have to try this!!
Married to an Aussie in OK on 2.4.2010
Awesome! I love the sushi mat idea. I keep telling myself to buy some, but now I’ll probably do it because while I can’t guarantee I’ll ever make sushi, butter I can handle!
Meredith Steele on 2.4.2010
This is wonderful and a good gift idea for my culinary friends. Thanks for the tip!
KitchenTravels on 2.4.2010
Ditto everyone’s comments on the sushi mat idea. Brilliant! But what I really want to know is… where’d you get the custom cutting board? I want one!
fiddledeedee on 2.4.2010
Apple butter sounds great! I will have to give that a try. When I have made compound butters in the past I have always just stored in small tupperware containers or gave them as gifts with the recipe card. Now I can add a sushi mat as part of that gift–thanks so much for the idea.
Bethany on 2.4.2010
Excellent! So classy and easy! Thanks!
ting on 2.4.2010
this is a great tutorial! maybe i can make some apple butter like they have at this local bbq restaurant. yummy!
BrandyBrooke on 2.4.2010
Love it! Totally making compound butter this weekend!
gretchen on 2.4.2010
when blue cheese is added to butter, it’s sometimes called Hotel Butter.
put a dab of that on a steak …mmmmm……
Janice Eames on 2.4.2010
Love this! Thank you.
lisa on 2.4.2010
What a fabulous idea! I love it – oh the possibilities
Cathy on 2.4.2010
Yet another great use for the maki mat!. I love it! If I make chive butter with chive flower I usually just plop it in a little bowl…whcih never works out very well. This is a much better butter idea :).
DishinAndDishes on 2.4.2010
Mmm looks yummy! I make one like this for my Grilled Corn – Cilantro-Lime Butter. I would love to hear some of your favorite combinations!
emily gocke on 2.4.2010
wow! so simple, yet fabulous! thanks for sharing this trick of the trade!
AMC on 2.4.2010
amazing!! I love different flavored butters! thankyou
Jackie L on 2.4.2010
Oh, and I usually make a ton at once and freeze them in containers. Then you are always ready whenever anyone stops in!
Jackie L on 2.4.2010
I love making herb butters. They are so delicious for toasts with a different flair, great for dinner rolls and they always look fancier at a dinner party. When I registered for my wedding, I saved all the “cookie-cutter” wrapping decor from Williams-Sonoma; those are beautiful to display the herb butter. They come out with a really pretty scalloped edge and raised pineapple. Gorgeous (plus it makes it look like you spent a lot of time prepping) and it takes NO time at all.
Tammy on 2.4.2010
Thanks for the sushi mat tip…I think I’m going to use that when I make cookie logs!
Would also love to hear the ratios you use for the honey/cinnamon and orange/cranberry logs. Thanks!
Emily on 2.4.2010
YUM! love it. love it. love it.
dandy on 2.4.2010
I don’t know why I never thought of using a sushi mat for that! Brilliant!
fransims on 2.4.2010
Love the rolling idea. I make a butter we used to get on our steaks in Germany called Krauterbutter and it looks so ugly in a bowl, but in little coins it would be perfection!!
Emily Hill on 2.4.2010
Love marilyn d’s idea of using the sushi mat for cookie dough. I definitely need to pick up one of those next time I visit our specialty kitchen store. I’ve only done a simple compound butter using butter and Johnny’s Garlic Spread & Seasoning, but now I’m anxious to try a more “from scratch” recipe. Thanks!
Carolyn on 2.4.2010
LOVE it!!! Gonna do some up this weekend!
Rhonda on 2.4.2010