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Recipes/ Sauces & Condiments/ Vegetarian Recipes

How To Make Compound Butter

How to Make Compound Butter

How to Make Compound Butter

A few years ago, my family joined a local CSA. I had been wanting to join for a quite some time and I was excited about the challenge of cooking with whatever vegetables arrived in our weekly box. We came across some new-to-us veggies that have now become regulars in our cooking rotation. Who knew that kohlrabi was so delicious? Last year, the CSA season started and was clipping along just fine, for a few weeks at least. But then the corn started.

Oh, the corn.

How to Make Compound Butter

We began receiving six ears of corn a week, along with all of the other vegetables, for about ten weeks straight. That’s a heck of a lot of corn. Especially when it is just the four of us and the kids eat about a half an ear each. At first, we kept up with it by making salads and even baking a few batches of homemade cornbread. Even with the attempted variety, we quickly became anti-corn. The pile of uneaten corn grew in the fridge and I basically panicked and ignored it. Not the most productive use of the corn, I assure you.

With our CSA starting this week, I’ve got my game face on. I’ve started a corn-only Pinterest board full of recipes to keep me inspired all summer long. I will not allow the corn to sneak up on me again and what I don’t use right away, I’ll freeze. Pinky promise.

There are some nights, however, that I don’t want to commit to a full-blown recipe. I want to be able to prepare a few simple items for dinner and call it a night. That’s where my compound butter for corn plan comes into play.

Have you ever made compound butter? It sounds so fancy, but seriously, it’s just flavored butter. That’s right. Butter that you mix a few seasonings or ingredients into. The butter becomes a vehicle for whatever flavors you’re in the mood for. Better yet, you can make a few different types and freeze it to have on hand for whenever you need to add a little interest to your otherwise basic corn-on-the-cob. Compound butters can be made sweet or savory and used on all sorts of things: French toast, baked potatoes and of course, corn.

Compound Butter (1 of 9)

How to Make Compound Butter (It’s Easy!)

Soften the Butter

For compound butter, you need to start with a softened butter. For each flavor, I use one stick of unsalted butter. To soften, you can place it on the counter overnight or pull it out of the fridge an hour or two before you want to make your compound butter. I also have a “soften” button for butter on my microwave that I use in a pinch. Just be sure not to melt the butter.

Choose the Flavors

You can add just about any type of spice or herb to your compound butter. Raid your pantry for your favorite seasonings and dried spices. This is also a good way to use up some of the fresh herbs from your garden. Just be sure to chop any fresh ingredients (garlic, shallot, herbs) very small so that they mix nicely into the butter. Think about the flavor pairings that you like and give it a try. The possibilities are endless. By starting with unsalted butter, you can control the amount of salt in your final butter. I add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt per stick, but feel free to adjust that up or down according to your tastes.

Mix it Up

There are a few ways you can mix your compound butter. You can simply mash it up with a fork (my preferred method) or pop it into the food processor and give it a whirl. When making more than one flavor at a time, I find it annoying to have to clean my food processor in between flavors, so that is why I typically go with fork mixing. But go with your gut on this one.


You can definitely serve the compound butter soft and spreadable after it’s freshly made. However, I prefer to form it into logs with plastic wrap and pop it into the refrigerator. Just spread a piece of plastic wrap out and scoop the softened butter mixture on top. Use the edges of the plastic wrap to fold over the butter and then use your hands to form it into a skinny log. Twist the ends and chill until firm. The butters will last for 5 days in the fridge or up to about 6 months in the freezer. To freeze, slice the log into small discs and place them into a freezer bag. Be sure to label the bag with the flavor of the compound butter and the date for future reference. Frozen compound butter can be used straight out of the freezer. Just pop it onto some hot corn and it will melt beautifully.

Compound Butter (7 of 9)

Flavor Combinations

You can mix together any number of combinations. Here are my favorite six compound butter flavors to serve with corn:

Chili Lime

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

zest of one small lime

3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Tarragon Shallot

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons shallot, minced

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Honey Habanero

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1-2 habanero peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced

1 Tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Indian Spice

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Old Bay (or Chesapeake Bay)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Garlic Chive

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon chives, minced

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Have you ever made compound butter? What are your favorite flavor combinations?


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  • Reply
    June 20, 2015 at 12:47 am

    This sounds perfect for my herb garden. Have you ever tried using parsley? I have an abundance of that.

    • Reply
      linda greene
      June 20, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Try parsley, garlic and sun dried tomato, yum yum yum

    • Reply
      June 22, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Hi Lizzie! I haven’t used parsley, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. Maybe pair it with another herb, garlic or lemon zest to make it really interesting 🙂

  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    These are great!! I am compiling all of my favorite recipes (and the recipes shared from chefs) onto my website. I will let you know when I have them up. I am definitely going to try your chili lime and honey habanero! Yum!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I have a pinterest board devoted to corn also!! I can’t get enough. And I feel like with this compound butter, I would never tire of it!

  • Reply
    June 5, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Nasturtium leaves and flowers in the butter is wonderful!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 5:12 am

    This looks so Good! I’m definitely going to try this.

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