16 amazing flavored butters you have to make

Butter is a staple in almost everyone's kitchen, and you probably even have a favorite kind. If everything's better with butter, why haven't you been trying a whole assortment of flavored butters? They're easy to make, and they'll give your butter — and your food — an extra kick that's going to have family and guests alike asking for your secret.

Salted caramel butter

There's nothing better than kicking off your morning with a nice, warm muffin ... unless that muffin is of the chocolate chip variety instead of something like bran. If you make the perfect chocolatey breakfast muffins, why not spread something extra-special on them?

Try this recipe for salted caramel butter. Not only is it amazing, but it only takes about 20 minutes to make. Since you need to heat the initial ingredients to get the caramel then refrigerate the whole thing, you'll need to plan ahead. Consider making this alongside whatever you're cooking for dinner, in order to have it ready for the morning (or your after-dinner dessert). With sugar and heavy cream stirred into the mixture, it's definitely not on the healthy side of things, but if your morning muffin is will benefit from it, you're already indulging. Go all the way!

Chianti butter

A dab of butter dropped on top of a pile of fresh vegetables or left to melt over the top of a steak that's still steaming hot might be the perfect final touch ... almost. Plan a bit ahead, and stir up this super simple red wine butter for an even more flavorful kick.

Leaving your butter out on the counter for a few hours will make it soft and spreadable, and this one's so easy to make all you have to do is stir in a few teaspoons of any medium-bodied red wine. Add a dash of salt and stir just long enough to make sure everything's combined. Leave it in the fridge to firm up a bit before you use it as the finishing touch on your meal. This one's so flexible that you can use it over any kind of red meat, and it'll also bring a whole new dimension to old favorites like green beans or Brussels sprouts. If it goes great with a glass of wine, it'll go great with this compound butter.

Lavender and honey butter

If you're looking for the perfect lightly flavored butter to capture everything you love about a spring morning, sitting on the back porch with a cup of tea and a fresh muffin, you can't go wrong with a lavender and honey compound butter.

There are a couple of different ways to do this. If you're in a hurry, go the simple route. Just stir a tablespoon of honey and the same amount of ground lavender flowers into a softened stick of butter, and you have a lightly flavored butter that's as close to the taste of spring as you can get. If you're feeling up for a little more of a challenge, Running to the Kitchen has an incredible recipe for homemade blueberry lavender honey butter. Homemade butter? Absolutely; if you have your stand mixer handy, it's easier than you think. The recipe takes you through making your own butter from a quart of cold heavy cream, and along the way, you stir in honey, lavender, and ¼ cup of blueberries. Now, imagine a fresh stack of pancakes with a spoonful of this slowly melting over the top. Yes, please!

Avocado butter

Avocados are amazing fruits, and they're not just for guacamole anymore. According to Alton Brown, avocado lovers might find avocado butter the perfect finish to everything from grilled chicken to fish dishes, and he says it's perfect for corn on the cob, too.

If you love avocados, you'll certainly agree. His recipe for avocado compound butter is slightly more complicated than most, calling for cilantro, cloves, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper in addition to the avocado, but given that you probably have most of those things in your kitchen already, whipping up a batch of this delicious butter is simple enough. The recipe calls for two avocados. If, by some miracle, there are a couple avocados in your house you haven't gotten around to eating yet, it's a great way to use them up.

Lemon and thyme butter

Lemon and thyme are two of those flavors that just go hand in hand, and they go hand in hand when you mix them into butter, too. Martha Stewart has a simple recipe for making lemon and thyme compound butter, and it's a perfect match for those fresh green veggies that could use an extra kick.

Get a little different with this recipe for thyme garlic butter from Epicurious. It's just as good melting over a steak as it is on the nearby veggies. In addition to lemon and thyme, this one calls for some parsley, cloves, and black pepper, but it isn't overpowering. It's also versatile enough that you might find yourself keeping a stick in the fridge for all sorts of things, from veg to melting over that fresh cornbread that just came out of the oven.

Strawberry butter

Fresh strawberries have a singular taste during that special time of year when they're in season, and whipping up some strawberry butter can be a whole new way to enjoy them. Damn Delicious has an incredibly easy recipe for strawberry butter that takes only strawberries, butter, and a dash of powdered sugar for combining into a light and fluffy butter perfect for Belgian waffles covered with fresh strawberries and a syrupy-sweet sauce.

Spread it on some strawberry muffins for a treat any time of the day, or you might just find yourself baking a loaf of banana bread just for another reason to use this fruity, buttery goodness.

Jalapeno lime butter

There are few things better for a cold winter day than a hot bowl of homemade chili, especially if you like your chili hot and spicy. Garlic bread is the perfect side to any bowl of chili, but garlic bread can get so boring! Why not serve up your side with some jalapeno and lime butter that's going to provide the perfect mix of heat, spice, and fresh citrus to go with your meal.

Check out this recipe from Our Best Bites for creamy jalapeno lime butter with a secret ingredient: cream cheese. Mince some jalapeno, zest some lime, and stir it into this extra-creamy mix and you're good to go. The benefit of using the cream cheese base with this flavor is that it makes it easier to spread, so it's great on corn bread, too. This butter won't destroy your delicate corn bread in the process of spreading it. Why should meal assembly be difficult?

Pecan and brown sugar butter

Butter on waffles and pancakes is good, but if you want to sweeten it up a bit, how about trying this recipe for pecan and brown sugar butter? It's the perfect recipe for adding something sweet and nutty to your breakfast. If you hate mornings, this might encourage you to take an extra five minutes to make sure you don't leave without breakfast.

It's ideal for nut-filled muffins during the week or pancakes on the weekend, and extra-ideal when you drizzle a bit of maple syrup on top. If this breakfast doesn't get you up-and-at-'em sooner, nothing will. Good luck!

Anchovy butter

Anchovies are on the list of fish that you should be eating but probably aren't, and if you're the type that thinks there's just something wrong about eating a pizza with little fish staring up at you, you're not alone. You probably tend to think of anchovies as being a bit overpowering, but you may have never thought of mixing up an anchovy-based compound butter!

This is another great one to keep handy as a compliment to almost anything you can be whipping up for dinner. If you're short on time but don't want to compromise on taste, use it as a cooking ingredient in lieu of all those other spices you might debate about putting into a pan of something you're sauteing. Just throw in some anchovy butter, and it's so heavy on the umami that it'll elevate anything it's paired with. It's easy to make, too, with this recipe from Mark's Daily Apple calling only for half a pound of butter and eight anchovies. If you find yourself feeling guilty about slathering on the butter, this one will make it all good!

Garlic chili butter

Summertime is for grilling, and there's nothing quite like an entire meal cooking on the grill under the summer sun. If you want to step up your grilling game a notch — or capture that same hot summer day feeling even if you're stuck inside — chili butter is a great way to do it.

Check out this recipe from Treehugger for a super easy chili butter that's perfect for anything that comes off the grill. With a dash of garlic to go along with the chili, it's perfect for melting over those hot and slightly charred ears of corn or pouring over the baked potato you've just unwrapped right off the rack. Dab it on your kebabs for an easy way to add a little extra spice before you wash it all down with a cold beer that can only taste that good on a summer's afternoon.

Thai red curry butter

If you love spicy, you'll love red curry butter for that extra bit of heat when it comes to fresh veg or even over meats like chicken and fish. Try this one with salmon or shrimp, and you'll never go without it again!

Because cilantro is such a polarizing ingredient, you can do without it in this one ... but if you love it, this might just become a go-to butter that gets its own designated spot in your fridge. Try this recipe from Clean Eating Mag, and throw together a bit of extra-special butter with ginger, cilantro, and red curry paste. It's not just good for the main course, either. Keep it handy in the fridge, and melt it over popcorn for movie night. Serve that mess alongside some chocolatey munchies and you can't go wrong.

Sardine butter

Sardines are the sort of fish you should be eating more of, but honestly, it's tough to work sardines into just any meal. Mark's Daily Apple suggests mixing up some sardine butter to encourage yourself to use these nutrient-filled little fish in a way that's actually going to be appreciated.

If you're looking for a quick snack, try sardine butter on crackers, or take a play out of Mark's book and spread them on these super easy-to-make Parmigiano-Reggiano sesame crisps. When you're shopping for the raw ingredients, you can make some choices that will impact just what the final product comes out as: either bone-in sardines or boneless will work (you're going to thoroughly mash them), and be sure to pick up some fresh veggies to eat raw with this surprisingly delicious spread!

Pumpkin spice butter

If you can't get enough pumpkin spice, how about whipping up a batch of pumpkin spice butter? It's a lovely fall treat. Check out this recipe from A Farmgirl's Dabbles for a few tips and tricks that you might find handy in making all your flavored butters.

In addition to the pumpkin and all the spices that will make this butter taste like your favorite coffee drink, whip in ¼ cup of milk to make it extra creamy, fluffy, and spreadable. Just think of how good this would be on some fresh walnut bread or melting into the crevices of hot waffles. This would also make a great little pick-me-up gift for that friend, coworker, or neighbor who counts down the days until pumpkin spice lattes make their reappearance, if you don't mind encouraging that particular addiction.

Brandy butter

Brandy butter is a traditional topping for a British Christmas pudding, but it has plenty of other uses, too. BBC Good Food has a recipe for a brandy and vanilla butter that might just be the perfect buttery topping for strudel or danish, and you only need butter, brandy, a bit of vanilla, and a dash of powdered sugar to give it that special consistency that makes it something you want to spoon onto your sweet desserts and breakfasts.

If you're looking for a slightly different take on the same idea, Delia Online has a brandy butter recipe that calls for brown sugar instead of powdered sugar. It's a great way to go for a fun, flavored butter that's just as good on some traditional British mince pies as it is over that strudel.

Cranberry butter

Cranberries are the stuff of holidays, and there's just something that makes them the perfect side to go along with a big Thanksgiving dinner. But that doesn't have to be the only time you enjoy cranberries, and if you're craving a bit of holiday cheer, whip up a batch of cranberry butter.

Relish has a cranberry butter recipe that calls for all things that taste of holiday cheer: fresh sage, orange zest, honey, and cranberries. This is a versatile butter that's great for your morning muffin or toast. It might also be the perfect replacement to the mayo on your turkey sandwich. Dig some of those leftovers out of the fridge, slice off some chicken or turkey, and use this delicious butter to splash on a sandwich for a taste of those November leftovers. Leftovers are one of the best parts of the Thanksgiving meal, after all. This might even encourage you to make a turkey in July.

Cinnamon espresso butter

You can never go wrong with coffee, whether it's what you start your morning with or it's what you share with friends after a home-cooked meal. Biscuits and coffee go together great, and whether you're serving biscotti, shortbread cookies, or maybe even a few crepes, add a side of Taste of Home's cinnamon espresso butter for an even bigger hit.

A quick-and-easy side, this will keep in the fridge for up to a month. That's a bonus, because you're going to want to put this on everything you have with your coffee. The coffee granules and cinnamon give it a perfect mix of flavors, and using some powdered sugar will make it light enough to spread on the most delicate of after-dinner treats. That's not bad at all for something that only takes five minutes to make, so even if your neighbors show up unannounced, this is still a quick and easy way to impress the heck out of them.