Making Compound Butter at Home: Six Flavours

I love butter. I love it on hot toast, melted over veggies and steaks, mashed into fluffy potatoes and baked into buttery biscuits and cakes (including the buttercream frosting, naturally). There is only one thing I love more than butter and that is flavoured compound butter (on hot toast, melted over veggies and steaks, mashed into fluffy potatoes…you get it).

Sure, you can buy ready-made compound butters in supermarkets and deli’s and save yourself the trouble, but I often find those a bit disappointing; either they have too little flavour, or they’ve got some funky, old-herb aftertaste going on. The benefits of making your own flavoured compound butter at home is that you can add whichever herbs you like and adjust the salt content according to your liking as well (I like a generous amount of coarse sea salt…). It’s also just a great way to use up leftover herbs (fresh or dried), citrus peels, and other leftovers such as the final few anchovies or sun-dried tomatoes in the jar, or end-pieces of black truffle too small to slice.

In this article I give you six flavouring suggestions for homemade compound butter plus some suggestions for foods I think they go well with to help you on your way. I love all six variations for different reasons and uses; the classic garlic and herb butter is great with shrimp and oven-roasted potatoes, the porcini and thyme butter is awesome melted over steak or pork chops, and the orange peel and rosemary one really works great for both savoury and sweet foods. Of course, as is the case for any butter: all six of them are amazing generously slathered onto hot slices of baguette or toast.

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Six Flavoured Compound Butters

Classic Garlic and Herb Butter


This one is a well-known classic. In the Netherlands, herby compound butter (either with or without garlic) on sliced baguette is a common appetizer or snack… particularly at French style restaurants, bistros and barbecue parties. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been at a barbecue in The Netherlands where hot baguette and compound butter were not somehow (a main) part of the spread.

Best enjoyed with: sliced baguette, steak, chicken, shrimp and prawns, grilled- or baked bivalves (clams, oysters, scallops, mussels), oven-roasted potatoes (with skin), mushrooms


150g butter, room temperature

3 garlic cloves

10g fresh chives

5g fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

  1. Peel and press the garlic cloves and chop the parsley and chives very finely.
  2. In a bowl, combine soft room-temperature butter with the garlic, parsley, and until well combined. Season with salt (if using).

Porcini & Thyme Butter


The flavour and smell of this butter remind me of autumn! This porcini and thyme butter adds a savoury (umami!), intense mushroom flavour to your dishes and sauces, but I like it spread thickly on slices of bread or crackers as well.

Best enjoyed with: sliced baguette, steak, potatoes, pork chops, more mushrooms, pasta


150g butter, room temperature

25g dried porcini

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon sea salt

pinch of ground white pepper

  1. Soak porcini in boiled water for 15 minutes.
  2. After soaking, remove porcini from liquid (save it for soups or stews) and squeeze out as much excess water as possible.
  3. Very finely chop the reconstituted porcini and stir through the butter together with the pepper, thyme, pepper and salt. Alternatively, use a food processor to chop and combine all ingredients for a smoother texture.

Orange & Rosemary Butter


This orange and rosemary butter is great for both savoury and sweet foods. The flavours of zesty orange peel and herby rosemary go great with meat and with sweet baked goods.

Best enjoyed with: sliced baguette, turkey, pork, sweet potato, warm bread, scones, baked into cookies or cupcakes.


150g butter, room temperature

few sprigs of fresh rosemary, stems removed

zest of ½ orange (fresh or dried), or more to taste

¼ teaspoon salt, optional

Note: To make this a sweet butter, replace the salt listed with ½ – 1 tablespoon of (brown) caster sugar, or add both.

  1. Discard stems from the rosemary and very finely chop. Zest the orange when using fresh peel, or very finely chop dried orange peel.
  2. Combine chopped ingredients with the softened butter and salt (or sugar) until well-combined.

Wild Garlic (Ramsons) Butter


A lovely, delicate compound butter for springtime. Either you are lucky and live in an area where you can easily find ramsons in the wild, or you might have to go to a specialty shop to find them. Either way, this is a great springtime treat for the early days of good weather.

Best enjoyed with: sliced baguette, (white) fish, scallops, baked oysters, chicken, steamed vegetables, asparagus


150g butter, room temperature

25g wild garlic (ramsons) leaves and soft stems

¼ teaspoon sea salt

  1. Wash wild garlic leaves, pat dry, and coarsely chop.
  2. Add room-temperature butter to a food processor together with the wild garlic and salt. Blend until smooth and green. Alternatively, you can very finely chop the wild garlic and stir it through the room-temperature butter; this will not affect the flavour much, but the butter won’t be as bright and green.

Smoked Paprika, Chili & Garlic Butter


This smoked paprika, chili and garlic butter packs a bit of a punch and adds a mild smokiness to your dishes.

Best enjoyed with: sliced baguette, roasted (sweet)potatoes, roasted root vegetables, (grilled) corn on the cob, steak, chicken, crab (melt the butter to make a dip), grilled- or baked bivalves (clams, oysters, scallops, mussels)


150g butter, room temperature

1 heaped teaspoon ground smoked paprika

½ teaspoon chili flakes, or more to taste

2 cloves of garlic

¼ teaspoon salt

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

  1. crush or very finely chop the garlic cloves, then combine with the rest of the ingredients until well combined.

Caper, Dill & Lemon Butter


The perfect butter for fish and seafood with it’s mild herby taste, slightly salty capers and a pleasant freshness from lemon zest.

Best enjoyed with: fish (white fish and salmon, particularly), shrimp and prawns, crab


150g butter, room temperature

1.5 tablespoon (around 15g) brined capers, rinsed and excess liquid squeezed out

10g fresh dill, no stems

zest of ½ lemon

freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

  1. Finely chop the capers and dill (remove large stems). Zest the lemon.
  2. Combine all chopped ingredients with the room temperature butter and add freshly cracked pepper to taste. Taste a bit of the butter to see if it needs any salt, if so, add some to taste (remember that the capers can be pretty salty already).

How Can You Store Flavoured / Compound Butter?


Technically, each of these butters are ready to be used right away, but they are tastier when made a day or two ahead of using. To store for a few days only, you can simply scoop the butter in a bowl, cover it with cling film and store in the refrigerator, but if you want to store the butter for a longer time or present your butter a little bit nicer, here is how to do it:

  • Spread/heap the butter in an elongated shape the middle of a piece of cling film or baking paper.
  • Carefully roll and wrap the butter into a log-shape and tightly twist ends to tighten and seal well.

Like this, these butters keep at least 1 week in the refrigerator, or 2 months in the freezer (use cling film for freezing). Optionally, and before freezing, you can choose to slice your refrigerated log into shorter disks to package and freeze separately for small-portion use.

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