What Is Compound Butter? Chefs Explain This TikTok Food Trend

Compound butter isn't new, but it is on-trend.

With #Compoundbutter having more than 105 million views on TikTok, it’s fair to say that butter is back and better than ever. And while you can easily pick up gourmet butter at a local cheese shop or upscale supermarket—whether it's for a slice of fresh bread or making a butter board to serve to your guests—compound butter is truly next level. Here’s everything you need to know about this delicious food trend


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What Is Compound Butter?

“A compound butter starts with a base of a high-quality European butter, and I am partial to butters from France because [they] have a base of a minimum of 82 percent fat,” says Sheana Davis, author of Buttermonger

This book features a variety of recipes for unique butters, including savory ones such as Ginger-Garlic Butter and Smoked Salmon Butter, and sweet ones, such as Girl Scouts Cookie Butter and Peach Vanilla Butter.  

Compound Butter Is a Bit Like Fine Wine

Much like wine, compound butters can elevate the flavors of a particular dish or culinary pairing. The chef explains, “A Wild Mushroom Butter may add to a taste of pinot noir as both wild mushrooms and Pinot Noir have earthy flavors that create a beautiful butter, wine, and culinary pairing.”

How to Make Compound Butter

Davis recommends starting by selecting a Frech butter, ideally. “By starting with rich and classic French butter, the creamy texture can create a compound butter, sweet or savory, that will be perfect for you to enjoy.”

It can be salted or unsalted. “[Then] you may add in spices and seasoning to flavor your butter. A compound butter, prepared sweet or savory, could be a gateway to creating an ultimate pairing of butter and spices and will tie a menu together.”

The process, while it can be slightly different depending on the butter you’re making, is actually quite easy. Most recipes don’t require a ton of work or prep and all you need are ingredients, a food processor, and a hand blender. 

Where to Start 

Some of Davis’ favorite compound butters aren’t too difficult to make and can be used for a variety of recipes. “Meyer Lemon and Black Pepper are my go-to's when I travel. I can locate a good French butter and then I can add in lemon and black pepper and serve with anything from seafood to pasta and it pairs beautifully with any bubbles or Sauvignon Blanc,” she says.

Level Up Your Butterboard

If you like making butter boards, you’ll love making your own compound butters to elevate them. David suggests creating a seasonal board using edible flowers, seasonal spices, and herbs to flavor your board. You can even create a themed board, such as spring citrus. “Use lemon zest, orange zest, lemon olive oil, chives, and edible blossoms to create a spring butter board. You can go sweet or savory on a butter board. Serve the best butter you can find and be sure to include fresh bread, herbs, and spices.” 

How to Serve Compound Butter

While you can create a butter board, it’s not the only way to serve compound butter. Davis suggests serving compound butter in a ramekin. Consider serving a duo or trio of butters. “Most of all, have fun and enjoy your French butter as it is or personalize it.” 

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