This easy compound butter recipe is the perfect addition to your dinner table. Learn how to make compound butter three different ways with this adaptable recipe. Perfect for slathering on toast, topping on steak, serving with dinner rolls at the holidays, and more!

A wooden cutting board with all three types of compound butter on a grey counter.

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.

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.

What is Compound Butter?

Compound butter refers to butter that has been mixed with other ingredients. These can be savory as well as sweet and are often used to enhance the flavor of dishes.

Many are used as a finishing butter meaning they top a finished dish instead of being used to cook the dish. From slathering on fresh bread to topping on meats, the ways to use compound butter are endless.

It’s really easy to make your own 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 flavors (cinnamon-vanilla, herbed, and honey) and ways to use them.

A wooden cutting board topped with three types of compound butter sliced into circles.

How to Make Compound Butter: 3 Ways

Since compound butter can easily be made by mixing butter with spices, seasoning, and more, here are three of my favorite recipes for making your own compound butter.

The Best Butter for Compound Butter

When making compound butter the best butter to use is unsalted butter. This will allow you to adjust the amount of salt you include in the butter to your preference and not over-power the butter.

Once you have your unsalted butter, you want it to be 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.

Herbed Compound Butter

To make this savory herbed butter, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • A pinch of salt
  • Rosemary, freshly minced
  • Sage, freshly minced
  • Thyme, freshly minced
Three bowls with the ingredients for the three different compound butters.

Once you have your ingredients, making the compound butter is simple.

  • Cut your mix-ins: Finely mince the fresh herbs to small pieces and set aside.
  • Mix butter and salt: Place the softened butter in a medium bowl. Cut into pieces and add a pinch of salt.
  • Fold in herbs: Add your herbs and use a rubber spatula to fold and until the add-ins are completely incorporated and evenly distributed throughout the butter.
  • Shape the compound butter: Transfer the butter to a piece of plastic wrap. Shape and roll it into a log about 6 inches in length.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
Three side by side photos of how to roll up compound butter with garlic and herbs.

Variations

You can easily swap out the herbs listed above for your favorite fresh herbs. Be sure to keep it to 3 tablespoons so the butter isn’t too overpowered by herbs. Some other herbs or flavors you can mix in include:

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Dill
  • Oregano
Top down photo of a roll of garlic and herb compound butter sliced on a wooden cutting board.

Ways to Serve Herbed Compound Butter

I am happy to slather this savory butter on a piece of bread and call it a day but if you are looking for some other ways to enjoy this butter, here are a few suggestions.

  • Serve with a side of dinner rolls.
  • Top a fresh cooked steak with a pad of compound butter.
  • Use it in place of regular butter for coating pasta, rice, or topping baked potatoes.
  • Swap out garlic butter in a garlic bread recipe and make herbed butter bread.

Vanilla-Cinnamon Butter

To make this delicious vanilla-cinnamon compound butter you will need:

  • Softened unsalted butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • Vanilla bean, split lengthwise with the seeds scraped out and added to the butter. You can discard the pod.
  • Ground cinnamon
Three bowls with compound butter mixed until smooth.

Similar to the herbed butter listed above, here’s how to make the Vanilla-Cinnamon Butter.

  • Mix butter and salt: Place the softened butter in a medium bowl. Cut into pieces and add a pinch of salt.
  • Fold in vanilla and cinnamon: Add your vanilla bean seeds and cinnamon and use a rubber spatula to fold and until the add-ins are completely incorporated and evenly distributed throughout the butter.
  • Shape the compound butter: Transfer the butter to a piece of plastic wrap. Shape and roll it into a log about 6 inches in length.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
Three side by side pictures of how to roll up cinnamon compound butter.

Ways to Serve Vanilla-Cinnamon Butter

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)!

  • Smear it on a slice of toasted white bread.
  • Mix it into a fresh bowl of homemade oatmeal.
  • Slathered on a warm slice of banana bread.
A top down photo or cinnamon compound butter on a wooden cutting board with honey butter to the right.

Honey Butter

For this sweet compound butter recipe you will need:

  • Softened unsalted butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • Honey

To make this honey butter:

  • Mix butter and salt: Place the softened butter in a medium bowl. Cut into pieces and add a pinch of salt.
  • Fold in honey: Add your honey and use a rubber spatula to fold and until it is completely incorporated and evenly distributed throughout the butter.
  • Shape the compound butter: Transfer the butter to a piece of plastic wrap. Shape and roll it into a log about 6 inches in length.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
Two side by side pictures of making honey compound butter.

Ways to Serve Honey Butter

Once chilled, there are a number of delicious ways to serve this honey butter. These are some of my favorite ways to use this honey butter.

Storing and Freezing Instructions

  • Shaping: The most common way to shape compound butter is in the long, as described above. You can also store your compound butter in a butter dish with plastic wrap.
  • Storing: Fresh herbs in compound butter last about 1 week in the refrigerator. If you made compound butter without fresh herbs it can keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, keep your wrapped compound butter in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Compound Butter FAQs

Is compound butter real butter?

Yes. Compound butter is made from a base that is real butter softened and mixed with savory or sweet add-ins.

What is compound butter used for?

The sky is the limit when it comes to the use of compound butter. From adding to bread, rolls, rice, pasta, topping meat, and more there are truly countless ways to use your compound butter.

If You Like Compound Butter, Try These Next:

A wooden cutting board topped with three types of compound butter sliced into circles.

Jazz up your butter routine with this easy compound butter recipe. Make your own sweet or savory compound butter that is perfect for a warm slice of bread!

If you make this recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

Three different compound butters cut in slices on a wooden cutting board.

Compound Butter Recipe

Learn how to make your own compound butter with this easy and adaptable recipe.
4.17 (6 ratings)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (113.5 g) 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

Instructions 

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

Notes

  • Shaping: The most common way to shape compound butter is in the long, as described above. You can also store your compound butter in a butter dish with plastic wrap.
  • Storing: Fresh herbs in compound butter last about 1 week in the refrigerator. If you made compound butter without fresh herbs it can keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, keep your wrapped compound butter in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutritional values are based on the whole recipe
Calories: 611kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 62g, Saturated Fat: 39g, Cholesterol: 162mg, Sodium: 29mg, Potassium: 28mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 2155IU, Vitamin C: 8.3mg, Calcium: 94mg, Iron: 1.7mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photography by Lauren Grant.