How To Make Herb Butter
It’s so easy to jazz up butter (which is already incredible) using fresh or dried herbs! Once you see how simple it is to make herb butter, you’ll always have a stash in the fridge.
Here’s all you need:
- Two sticks of room temperature butter (unsalted)
- 1 cup of chopped or shredded fresh herbs OR 1/2 cup dried herbs
- Food processor or stand mixer (optional) OR a deep bowl and a stout spatula/scraper
WHAT TO DO:
Making compound butter with a food processor
- place the butter in the food processor bowl. Pulse a few times to soften the butter up.
- add the herbs
- pulse to distribute the herbs throughout the butter
How to make compound butter by hand
- place butter in the bowl and add the herbs
- thoroughly work the herbs into the butter with the spatula, scraping the butter down the sides of the bowl frequently.
Storing herb butter
Once the butter and herbs have been combined thoroughly, scrape the butter out of the bowl and place on a piece of parchment paper, wax paper or cling wrap. Roll the paper up around the butter, then put into the fridge. Alternatively, you can scrape the butter out of the bowl and into a mason jar or other container, then refrigerate. The first method makes a butter log, which can be easier to portion out.
I like to store my herb butters in jars, it’s easier to keep it contained and sealed.
Or get fancy and turn it into molded butter!
Freeze butter to store it almost indefinitely.
Making herb butter and using it
- You can use just a single herb or a combo – thyme and rosemary are excellent together. Experiment with different combinations and see what you like.
- It’s easy to add a little citrus flavor, just zest a lemon or orange into the bowl with the butter, or express a few strips of the peel. Lemon-dill butter is divine on salmon and orange-thyme butter is great on chicken.
- How finely you process the herbs is up to you, but I think herb butter works best when the herbs are finely minced. I usually chop or tear them slightly, if they’re larger pieces, and then let the food processor break them down further. That ensures the oils are worked into the butter.
- For a more spreadable butter, add a tablespoon of olive oil, then process as described.
Herb Butter Recipe
It’s a bit of a stretch to call these combination recipes but that’s ok!
Garlic Herb Butter
First off, plain old garlic butter is divine. Adding herbs to garlic butter creates a more focused flavor. Both have their place. If you’re not sure how you’ll use it, make up a big batch of garlic butter, then use it to make small portions of garlic herb butter.
To make garlic butter, finely mince 3-6 cloves of garlic. Combine garlic and two sticks of butter using one of the methods above. Let the garlic butter develop at least 24 hours before using.
Add minced rosemary and/or thyme to make a garlic herb butter for steak that is amazing. Swap those out for sage, or use all there for the perfect poultry herb butter.
When using herb butter for steak, the butter is spooned onto the hot, resting steak. It melts and adds rich, buttery flavor to the beef. By contrast, rub softened poultry butter on the skin of raw chicken or turkey before roasting or baking. The butter helps the skin crisp up and the herbs slowly add flavor to the meat.
Lemon Dill Butter for fish
Combine 2 sticks of butter with 1 tablespoon dried (2 tablespoons fresh) dill and the zest of one lemon. This is also great with a pinch of minced tarragon thrown in. Use lemon herb butter by either dotting it all over raw fish before cooking or basting cooked fish. There’s no way to go wrong when it comes to butter, lemon and fish.
Sage Butter for Stuffing
Shred 1/2 cup of fresh sage leaves (purple or green, or a combo) OR mince 2 tablespoons of dried sage, then combine with two sticks of butter. To use sage butter, melt it on very low heat, then add to the stuffing. Brush any remaining sage butter over the top of the stuffing before baking.