How To Make Compound Butter

Along with peanut butter and jelly, chocolate, and macaroni and cheese, bread and butter is one of those things that I could quite conceivably live on for an extended period of time. Not much can beat a warm, fresh hunk of bread slathered with soft butter. For most of my life, butter was always butter. Except for when my grandma would sneak a leftover stick of margarine onto her butter dish. I could totally tell it was different and I was not happy. Ick! Other than that, I never knew anything other than regular butter.

That all changed at some point years ago when I was eating at a restaurant and a basket of bread was delivered to the table with what looked to be regular ol’ butter. Ah, but it was not your average butter! It was distinctly sweet, and when we asked what it was, the server said it was honey butter. My mind was blown and my taste buds threw a party. After having it at a couple of other places, I finally realized I could make this fabulous stuff at home, and not just honey, either. Pretty much any flavor I wanted.

Compound butter is the perfect way to jazz up dinner rolls or your traditional piece of toast in the morning. It’s really easy to make compound butter, and only takes a few minutes. Below is a quick instructional on how to do it, along with recipes for my three favorite compound butters (cinnamon-vanilla, herbed, and honey).

For this tutorial, I am using my herbed butter, but you’ll follow the exact same method for any type of butter you choose to make. First (and most importantly), you want to start with really soft butter. Let it sit out until it’s completely softened at room temperature; the softer the butter is, the easier it will be to incorporate your add-ins. Cut up the butter in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, your herbs or other flavors, and then fold and mix it together with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly distributed.

Next, dump the butter out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a log, wrapping it tightly and sealing the ends.

At this point you can use the butter, but I recommend refrigerating it for at least 2 hours so the flavors have some time to meld together.

Below are all three of the butters – herbed, cinnamon-vanilla, and honey. I am tempted to slather the vanilla-cinnamon butter on everything. It makes everything taste like a piece of cinnamon bread (or a cinnamon roll)! The herb and honey are fabulous for dinner rolls (hello, jazzed up holiday table!) or just plain old bread-and-butter (my speed). I have included the recipe for each variation below… be sure to try them all out and share your favorite!

Are there any other flavored butters you enjoy?

One year ago: Leftover Halloween Candy Bark
Two years ago: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Compound Butter

Yield: ½ cup of compound butter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

A general recipe for creating compound butter - use your favorite combination of ingredients!

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, very soft
Pinch of salt

For Herbed Butter:
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
1 tablespoon minced sage
1 tablespoon minced thyme

(Or, 3 tablespoons of your favorite herbs)

For Honey Butter:
1 tablespoon honey

For Vanilla-Cinnamon Butter:
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and added to the butter, pod discarded
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Place the softened butter in a medium bowl, cut into pieces and add a pinch of salt.

2. Add your herbs or flavorings and use a rubber spatula to fold and mix until the add-ins are completely incorporated and evenly distributed throughout the butter.

3. Transfer the butter to a piece of plastic wrap. Shape and roll it into a log about 6 inches in length. Twist the plastic wrap at the ends to seal. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld. (Alternatively, you can transfer the butter to a small bowl or ramekin and cover with plastic wrap.)

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47 Responses to “How To Make Compound Butter”

  1. Simply Sweet Justice on November 1, 2012 at 12:32 am

    I recently made a dijon mustard butter to enjoy with pretzel baguettes. YUM!

    Reply

    • Cass on November 1st, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      Hi,
      Do you have a link to that recipe? Sounds good. Thanks!

      Reply

  2. Kristen on November 1, 2012 at 12:34 am

    I didn’t realize it was so easy but it looks so fancy

    Reply

  3. GB on November 1, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I will definitely try this soon, I’m thinking the vanilla-cinnamon butter this weekend, on my freshly baked bread. There is just one food that I always come back to and that is bread and butter. So thank you so much for this recipe!

    Reply

  4. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on November 1, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I love compound butter, it’s so simple and tasty!!! I LOVE the cinnamon one!!! Oh my gosh I make that ll of the time! Dangerous!!!

    Reply

  5. little kitchie on November 1, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Thank you for this post! I am cooking steaks next week for a special anniversary dinner, and was thinking I’d try a herb compound butter on top! xx

    Reply

  6. Tracey on November 1, 2012 at 7:50 am

    That vanilla-cinnamon butter is right up my alley! I just fear how much butter I’ll start eating if that’s sitting in my fridge all the time :)

    Reply

  7. Laura on November 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

    This is how I make garlic bread! I buy the bread at the store that you stick in the oven for 10-15 minutes to finish baking. Before I put it in the oven, I slice it in half and put on some garlic butter (softened butter with garlic, salt, and a few herbs if I have them). Usually I’ll throw some parmesan cheese on there about 5 minutes before it’s done baking. It’s wonderful and so easy!

    Reply

  8. Susannah on November 1, 2012 at 8:53 am

    One of my favorite butters is butter mixed with boursin cheese. I just LOVE that on a hunk of crusty bread with a bowl of delicious soup.

    Reply

  9. Loria A. on November 1, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I will be baking fresh bread for the family this weekend and now they will have an added suprise! I fear there will be extra gym time involved for me, the vanilla-cinnamon butter sounds amazing!

    Reply

  10. Stephanie on November 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I love garlic butter! But since I don’t use flavored butter (or butter for that matter) that much, I haven’t made compound butter before.

    Reply

  11. Annamaria @ bakewelljunction.wordpress.com on November 1, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I’ve never made compound butter before but it looks so easy. Looks delicious.

    Reply

  12. Cassie | Bake Your Day on November 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

    This is so great. I love compound butter and that vanilla cinnamon butter sounds fantastic!

    Reply

  13. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen on November 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Oh I love compound butter! Cinnamon sugar is my favorite!

    Reply

  14. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on November 1, 2012 at 10:07 am

    SUCH a great idea. That cinnamon butter looks especially amazing. I’m thinking maybe a blueberry butter in my future…..

    Reply

  15. Navar on November 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I noticed you said to discard the vanilla bean after scraping the seeds out. Never do that! (smile) Put them in your suger container and they will make vanilla sugar, toss them into milk anytime you heat it for hot chocolate or any other purpose and have vanilla milk. Use them in tea etc.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 1st, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Yes, that is true! You can definitely use the vanilla bean for other things; I just try to be as clear as possible in recipes and wanted to convey that the actual bean/pod wasn’t to be used for the rest of the recipe.

      Reply

  16. Sweettwist_Meg on November 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Yeah.. Bread and butter is just one of those comforting things… my niece and nephew will eat like 4 rolls at every family dinner.

    Love all the flavours.

    Reply

  17. Sarah on November 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Those look delicous! I love that cinnamon one. Yum.

    Reply

  18. Kristall on November 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I guess I’m the odd one out. I loathe the flavour of butter and much prefer the lighter taste of margarine. I exclusively use margarine in all my baking. I guess the compound thing can work for margarine too. Butter just makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t even eat shortbread!

    Reply

  19. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on November 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Oh man, I have never heard of cinnamon vanilla compound butter…makes everything taste like a cinnamon bun? SOLD!

    Reply

  20. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on November 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    These all look so good! LOVE garlic basil butter. I love all butter, really :)

    Reply

  21. Jill on November 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    These are so fun!! Love it!

    Reply

  22. Laurie on November 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    These look great! I recently discovered a sweeter honey butter recipe that is excellent on cornbread: 1 stick of butter, 1/4 cup honey & 1/4 cup marshmallow fluff…really good!

    Reply

    • JudyH on April 21st, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Oh wow – I bet that’s YUMMY! I’ll have to save that idea. My hubby loves sweet cornbread, and I’m thinking this would knock his socks off! Thanks!

      Reply

  23. Celine on November 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Honey butter is absolutely amazing on warm biscuits- seriously, it’s the best!

    Reply

  24. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on November 2, 2012 at 12:41 am

    I love fancied up butters like this! I think the herbed one would probably be my fave of the 3. Perfect on some hot dinner rolls!

    Reply

  25. Katrina on November 2, 2012 at 7:37 am

    My mum used to make these when I was a kid… It was a dinner party staple (for the steak) she used to press the butter into rubber trays of seashell shapes (equivalent these days would be silicone) freeze, pop out and store in plastic bags or if she did a roll she would slice when just firm then freeze to solid and store in plastic bags, if we were lucky we could have some on a French stick toasted in the oven.

    Reply

  26. Heather on November 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Thank you for sharing. This is a great idea. I am going to try the vanilla cinnamon butter today. Do you think you could add olive or canola oil to make it like a spreadable butter?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 2nd, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Heather, I would honestly just let the butter come to room temperature before you use it so it’s a nice spreading consistency, instead of adding oil.

      Reply

  27. Ashlee on November 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I lurk around her often, but I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment. I was thinking last night of how I could make honey-butter (made some GREAT wheat rolls that just screamed for honey-butter, alas, I had none). I ended up here from a link in one of your cookie recipes (I’ve chosen five varieties for my cookie plate). Boy, am I glad I ended up clicking the wrong link! I got the recipe I wanted without actively looking for it, thanks Universe!

    Anyways, I think you have lovely recipes and I absolutely adore your personality through the tutorials. I do have a question that will probably not get answered (any other reviewers, if you have the answer, feel free to contribute!): Roughly, what is the ‘shelf-life’ on a cookie? I know they can last for a few days in a cookie jar and longer in an air-tight container, but past three-four days, I’m not sure (hello, cookie fan! They NEVER last that long!). I’m asking because I HOPE to send some to an international friend, but I don’t want them to receive sub-par cookies.

    Anyone?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 6th, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Hi Ashlee, It honestly depends on the type of cookie. Biscotti, for example, will stay for weeks. Other softer cookies, like peanut butter or chocolate chip, are usually only good for 3 to 4 days. If you wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in airtight container, they’ll last a day or two longer.

      Reply

    • JudyH on April 21st, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      I routinely freeze cookies in freezer bags and then take out what I want. I’ve never had any problem doing that. Just let them come to room temperature, and they’re fine. But my kids even prefer some cookies frozen!

      Reply

  28. Maggie on November 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    What a great idea for Thanksgiving dinner!!! Now just to decide between herb and honey butter!!??

    Reply

  29. Duby on November 4, 2012 at 1:17 am

    i wonder if you could help me on this one.
    I made a “cranberry butter” for Rosh HaShana and it came out kind of gross. I used a margarine spread (like smart balance) and i wonder if thats the reason it failed, because of the consistency. Do you think i could use a non-dairy version ? If yes, which would you recommend?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 6th, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Duby, It could have definitely been using a margarine spread. Unfortunately, I don’t use butter substitutes, so I’m not sure what I could advise you to use in place of butter.

      Reply

      • whitney on December 19th, 2013 at 4:13 am

        i have done compound butters before with both regular butter and with a couple of different margarines. i have always ended with them almost the same. the margarine was always softer tho.

        Reply

  30. Victoria on November 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I love this idea and I am going to make this to go with my homemade bread at my next Supper Club. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  31. Shirley on November 5, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I am in love with honey butter! I almost skipped making it along with a biscuit recipe once, thinking it wasn’t necessary. Boy, was I happy to be proven wrong. I’ve got to try the cinnamon-vanilla.

    Reply

  32. Brother Tn-460 on November 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I love this idea… it can totally jazz up a meal!

    Reply

  33. Tracy on November 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I love all of these variations! Can’t wait to try them!

    Reply

  34. Tanya on December 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Could you use a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste in lieu of the vanilla bean or would that little bit of liquid change the consistency?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 19th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Tanya, You could definitely use vanilla bean paste, I don’t think it would affect the consistency too much. If you find it a little too liquid-y you could beat it with a hand mixer briefly and that should pull it all together.

      Reply

  35. Tamara on April 1, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Hey Michelle! Do you know garlic butter? That’s one of my favorites so far- never heard of sweet or spiced butters before though, definitely will have a try in the coming days! A few days ago I discovered cèpe butter in the supermarket, which of course I HAD to have… and it definitely was incredible to my mouth!

    Reply

  36. Bradley on October 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Today I made a Merchand du Vin compound butter. I followed this recipe and added a reduction of 1/2 cup of red wine and a shallot. After that reduced I added 3/4 cup of demi glace and a pinch of white pepper and reduced again. It is amazing on its own, but I plan to make black peppercorn encrusted prime NY Strips and than melt a nice slab of this butter on top. Thanks for the website, its very informative for all your compound butter needs.

    Reply

  37. Mariana on November 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I’ve always flavored my butter with cinnamon and as of this fall – with pumpkin spice mix – but never with vanilla & cinnamon together. I’ll will definitely try your recipe – looks delicious! I love to cook and am always on the lookout for new things to try…

    Reply

  38. Julie on January 29, 2014 at 1:49 am

    I love your compound butter recipe!!

    Reply

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