Food 101: Compound Butter
Compound butter may sound kind of weird and scary. It sounds like some kind of chemically scientific thing that’s probably really fake and bad for you. But really it’s just butter that has stuff added into it to give additional flavor. You could just as easily call it “flavored butter” but for some reason compound butter was the name it was given, so that’s what we call it.
You may have seen the Land O’ Lakes Sauté Express butters in the grocery store. These are essentially compound butters. They’re also pretty pricey, and you know how we feel about things that are too pricey here at Poor Couple’s Food Guide. Luckily making your own compound butter at home is ridiculously easy. It’s cheaper, and you can make any flavor you want.
First you are going to need some butter. You can use however much you want, but it needs to come completely to room temperature and be nice and soft before you get started.
While your butter is softening you can work on prepping your additions. Traditional compound butter ingredients include herbs like chives, sage, rosemary, etc. Garlic is also a classic in compound butters. You could also go more towards the sweet side of things and add cinnamon sugar, or fruit like strawberries. Whatever you decide to add you’re going to want to chop it down into small, manageable pieces. Note: for savory butters, if you’re starting with unsalted butter you will want to add some salt in addition to whatever herbs/spices/etc. that you’re mixing in.
When it comes to the actual mixing process itself, you have a couple of options. You can either use a rubber scraper like this to fold and mix things in…
…or use a hand mixer. This is the faster option.
Put all your ingredients in a mixing bowl.
If using a scraper, mix until everything seems well combined. If using a hand mixer, mix until well combined and the butter starts to look fluffy.
Once done, plop your compound butter onto a piece of plastic wrap.
Fold one edge of the wrap over your butter and then shape it into a nice log formation. Roll the butter up in the rest of the plastic wrap.
Even if you want to keep your butter more at room temperature for easy spreading, I’d recommend putting in the fridge for an hour or two to re-solidify first before bringing it back to room temperature, just to make sure everything gets nice and melded together.
So what can you use compound butter for? Pretty much anything you’d use regular butter for. You can put it on biscuits, bagels, corn, popcorn. You can melt it down in the pan and use it to sauté your meat and veggies. The options are pretty much endless!