What Is Compound Butter And How Do You Make It

Most of us can agree that butter is really great, whether simply spread on hot toast in the morning or added to any number of dishes. However, if you haven't made compound butter then you've only scratched the surface of the deliciousness of this fat. Plus, it's so simple anyone can make it.

According to The Pioneer Woman, making compound butter entails whipping savory or sweet ingredients into softened butter. Examples of these ingredients include herbs, spices, citrus zest, and even cheese for a savory version. Of course, the best part of compound butter is the infinite number of flavor combinations you can make for different dishes, whether sweet or savory. For instance, a compound butter made of brown sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit, and even nuts will definitely upgrade your brunch baked goods (via Savoring the Good). Or, start with a simple lemon zest and fresh herb compound butter to serve on your homemade steaks. Whether you go sweet or savory, the technique is pretty much the same.

The secret to amazing compound butter

If compound butter sounds like exactly what your cooking has been missing, it might be worth investing in a stand mixer or food processor with a mixer attachment to make the process easier. This is because the secret to making great compound butter (whether savory or sweet) requires lots and lots of whipping. For example, Alton Brown's compound butter recipe involves processing various herbs with extra virgin olive oil for flavor, whipping the butter, and then adding the herb and oil mixture to the butter before whipping again (via Food Network).

Meanwhile, in sweet compound butters, the stand mixer helps to dissolve the sweeteners into the butter as well as incorporate air into the mixture (via The Spruce Eats). However, if you don't have a stand mixer you can still make compound butter by hand. Depending on how thoroughly you mix, you can give a more marbled, artisan appearance to the butter, which you can always say is a creative choice (via Serious Eats).