How to Make Compound Butter: Your Secret Weapon in the Kitchen

Compound Butter Recipes: Your Secret Weapon in the Kitchen

Butter is a special kind of ingredient. It gives life to baked goods by adding richness. It lends moisture and flavor to breakfast on toast, bagels, or pancakes. It’s the key ingredient in hollandaise and the base of most thick soups and sauces (combined with flour, it’s called a “roux”). You probably won’t eat a spoonful of butter on its own, but it’s hard to imagine leaving it out of your cooking routine entirely.

What if I told you we can make this tasty and versatile culinary fat even better? Oh, we can. Compound butter sounds fancy, but it’s remarkably simple. It’s just flavored butter, made by combining it with herbs, spices, seasonings, or other ingredients to create a delectable spread or cooking base that will last weeks–at least it can last weeks, you’re likely to use it up before it ever goes bad!

Below are a few recipes for my favorite compound butters, each one using a different technique. Don’t limit yourself to these compound butter recipes, though! Create your own delicious butter blend and let us know how you use it!

Don’t worry, vegans! You can make vegan compound butter, too.

You can follow all of the directions and tips below to make vegan compound butter. Simply substitute a non-dairy butter alternative in the same recipes. Commercially available olive oil-based spreads or coconut oil both make great butter substitutes, because they solidify below room temperature.

Joe's Nashville Hot Compound Butter Recipe

Joe’s Nashville Hot Butter Recipe

If you’ve ever been to Nashville, you’ve probably tried the city’s signature Nashville Hot Chicken–and, if you’re like my husband, developed a marginally unhealthy obsession with it. He tweaked the famous flavor profile to work perfectly in this butter, which makes a great finishing butter for all kinds of dishes beyond fried chicken, from tuna steak to steamed broccoli. Because this is a compound butter that you will probably use in high heat applications, clarifying the butter first is imperative.

Nashville Hot Butter Ingredients:

1/4 lb of butter or butter substitute
2 tbsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tsp smoked paprika (try Bourbon Barrel Foods’ paprika, included in our Terra Kit)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp golden balsamic vinegar (try Sparrow Lane’s in our Gourmand Kit), or other acid like lemon juice or pickle brine
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
Salt and black pepper to taste
Tiny pinch of MSG (optional)

Nashville Hot Butter Instructions:

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. As milk solids rise to the top of the butter, skim them off with a flat-edged spoon and discard.

Pro tip: I find it easiest to skim the butter into a small bowl to prevent making a mess. This process will be easier in larger batches, so double or triple this recipe if you want!

Once butter is clarified (it will be a very translucent yellow), reduce heat to lowest setting and add all other ingredients. Stir frequently until well dissolved.

Transfer to a bowl to cool at room temperature, stirring frequently. The ingredients will separate at first; just keep stirring as it cools. After about 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate.


Holiday Compound Butter Recipe

Holiday Butter Recipe

This butter is sweet with a little kick, and it’s perfect for a morning slice of toast or a stack of buttermilk pancakes. Tisthe Seasoning is ideal for this, but I’ve included an alternative below in case you don’t have any on hand. These seasonings are pretty potent, so we use an infusing technique with the butter instead of cooking the seasonings into it.

Holiday Butter Ingredients:

1/4 lb butter or butter substitute
1 tbsp Smelly’s Brunch Tisthe Seasoning (available here in or in our Terra Kit)
1 tbsp high quality ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 tsp aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper)

Holiday Butter Instructions:

Melt butter in a saucepan over lowest heat.

When butter is fully melted, transfer to a room temperature bowl and add all other ingredients, stirring with a whisk until powdered ingredients are dissolved. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Strain out pepper flakes with a wire mesh strainer and transfer to a small dish to re-solidify (about 2 hours under refrigeration).


Garlic Herb Compound Butter Recipe by Culinarie Kit cooking gift boxes and recipes

Roasted Garlic Herb Butter Recipe

This is the classic flavor profile most folks think of when it comes to compound butter. Garlicky and herbaceous, it’s the perfect compliment to a bagel or an easy way to boost the flavor of a soup from the get-go. This is also the easiest type of compound butter to make, because we don’t even have to melt it down!

Roasted Garlic Herb Butter Ingredients:

1/4 lb butter or butter substitute
1 bulb of fresh garlic
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, or any combination you have available)

Roasted Garlic Herb Butter Instructions:

Leave your butter at room temperature so that it becomes pliable, about one hour from refrigeration.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Slice off the top of the garlic bulb and wrap it in foil from the bottom, creating a little boat. Drizzle with olive oil and close the foil over it, leaving a little room for the garlic to “breathe”. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until garlic is soft and a light beige color.

Allow garlic to cool and pop each clove out from its papery skin–if the garlic is well roasted, they should slide out easily.

Add garlic cloves, softened butter, and herbs to a large bowl. Mix by hand (use gloves) or with a fork.

Place mixed butter on a sheet of parchment and smooth into a small log that is about 3/4″ thick. Roll up the parchment and secure with twine or a piece of tape. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before removing parchment.


Balsamic Shallot Butter Recipe by Culinarie Kit gift boxes and kitchen inspiration

Balsamic Shallot Butter Recipe

This butter uses the ever-aromatic shallot to create a pungent and complex flavor. In this technique, we cook all the flavor we can out of the shallots and strain them out of the final product to have a smooth and flavorful butter.

Balsamic Shallot Butter Ingredients:

1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I suggest Sparrow Lane’s Dark Balsamic Vinegar included in our Gourmand Kit)
1/4 lb butter or butter substitute

Balsamic Shallot Butter Instructions:

Melt butter in a saucepan over lowest heat.

Add minced shallot and balsamic vinegar and continue to cook over lowest heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer butter to a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, stirring once every five minutes or so.

Strain butter through a wire mesh strainer and transfer to a small dish or ramekin to re-solidify under refrigeration (about 2 hours).




Herbed Compound Butter Will Change Your Cooking

Let us know what your favorite compound butter combo is in the comments, especially if you’re using any Culinarie Kit ingredients in your buttery creations!