Recipes for Making Compound Butters ~ for meats, fish, vegetables, breads

broccoli with Garlic Paprika Butter
A little dab will do ya.

Back in the day, when women folks sat on the back porch churning cream into butter, the yield of milk fat into the resulting butter was higher than it is today, at least in our typical stick of butter. Today, butter contains about 80% of fat, which is the minimum requirement in U.S. standards. European butters run no lower than 82% and Irish butter seems to take the lead with most bakers with its higher butterfat. Some folks prefer cultured butters, that is, a natural culture is added to cream where it is allowed to ferment at least 18 hours before churning, normally in small batches. To many, this is the crème de la crème of butters.

Now I mention all of this for the mere sake of making the recipes below, or ones similar to them. To achieve a really good compound butter, it is best to start with a butter of higher fat content or even better, go the extra step and clarify the butter. The results are well worth the little extra effort.

Compound butters are used to enhance the flavor in various dishes, much like you would use a sauce to do the same. A slather of compound butter wakes up and adds interest to foods. Maître d'Hôtel Butter is the most common compound butter and it was introduced to us by the "king of chefs and chef of kings", Auguste Escoffier in the early 1900's. Many know him for simplifying many methods in French cooking, his codification of the five Mother Sauces and his creativeness while at the Savory Hotel in London in the 1890's.

To us southerners, compound butters differs from house to home. I doubt our grandparents knew while mixing butter with herbs and before serving it with vegetables, fish or breads, that doing so meant making a compound butter. To them, it was just an efficient was to infuse special flavors onto foods while serving. And that is, simply put, what compound butters do. Below are a few ways to enjoy the flavors of seasoned butter. Experiment with your own variation and use a dab on the next steak, side dish or morning muffin. You'll be glad you did. Enjoy!
With all the below recipes, mix or whip ingredients blending completely, place in butter molds or place on a piece of parchment paper and roll into a log about 4-inches long; wrap twisting the ends together to close around the butter. Place in freezer to firm up, about 2 hours, before serving.

the famous Maître d'Hôtel Butter

~the compound butter that started it all; use on steaks, vegetables and broiled fish
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Garlic Paprika Butter

~serve with fresh vegetables, seafood and fish dishes; roasted chicken
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon minced minced garlic and parsley (dried)
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
*if using in a mold, allow to solidify, then re-stir before freezing
makings of Garlic Paprika Butter

Cilantro Lime

~great on Tex-Mex flavored meats, grilled shrimp skewers, fish tacos, salads, even rice dishes
1/2 cup salted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest

Parmesan Butter

~serve with hot toasted Italian or French bread and baguettes; use on vegetables and pasta dishes
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Bourbon Butter

~now this one you can use on just about anything...
1/2 cup softened butter
2 tablespoons bourbon

Creole Horseradish Butter

~great with seafood, vegetables, esp corn on the cob
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole mustard
2 to 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
dash ground black pepper

Steak Butter

~use to finish off grilled meats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke

Seafood Butter

~great on all seafood and fish; topping for bisque and chowders too, even chicken
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 teaspoon Badia Sazon Tropical (or a Crab & Shrimp Seasoning)

Southern Cane Butter

~for soppin' with warm buttermilk biscuits, French toast and hot cornbread; use on hot cereals too
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cane syrup (or honey)
1 drop of vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon -optional

Orange Butter

~serve this with toasted pound cake, morning muffins and flaky biscuits
1/2 cup softened butter
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon grated orange peel

Cinnamon Butter

~for a real treat, try this on caramel ice cream, winter squash, sweet potatoes or hot waffles
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Peach Pecan Butter

~good on coffee cakes, pork chops, even ham biscuits
1/2 cup clarified butter
2 tablespoons peach preserves (chop large sections of peaches)
3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans, toasted

To make Clarified Butter

Heat a saucepan over low heat and melt butter. Cook until all bubbling action stops and skim the foam from the top. Pour away the clear clarified butter at the top from the milky solid part left at the bottom of the pan which will be just a little bit. Discard the solid parts. You can also strain the top part through layers of cheesecloth to remove any unwanted solids, but I find this is a waste of good butter.


  1. They all sounds great but, if I had to choose, I'd go for the bourbon butter, of course!


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