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7 Best Compound Butter & Herb Butter Recipes

herb butter as an oblong

We have used compound butter to preserve herbs for many years, but wanted to put together a guide for best recipes for different dishes.

Herb butters are used to bring fresh flavors to dishes all year round. In high end restaurants it is called Beurre Maitre d’Hotel and this compound butter translates to the head waiters butter. It goes well with artisan breads, steaks, lamb, roast vegetables or even steamed new potatoes that you want to give a little extra to!

How Long Can I Store My Herb Butter

In the fridge your herb butters will last for two months. In the freezer you can store herb butters for 6 months. You will need to leave the butters in their greaseproof paper and then seal it in a zip lock bag. This will keep themfrom absorbing any foreign aromas or flavors.

To serve each roll or block of butter, take a heated knife (leave it in a jug of boiled water for a few minutes) and cut a slice. Then seal the remainder back up and put back into storage as quickly as possible. You want to reduce the melt and refreeze element.

1. Herb Butter For Steak

There is quite a lot of pressure on steak nights in our house. This is down to personal preference but red meats go very well with a fresh parsley and chive herb butters. The flavor of parsley is not as great when it is dried but a butter is a great way to preserve the taste and aroma.


  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (go for the best quality you can afford)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • Juice and zest of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt, a few twists of pink peppercorns

This is optional but herbes fines are chives, parsley, fennel and chervil. You can make a great anise flavor herb butters using this mix. Just use 3 tablespoons in total.

herb butter does the trick!


  • Soften the butter by leaving in room temperature for a few hours, you can give it a gentle one minute in the microwave at the lowest setting instead.
  • Use a hachoir to chop your herbs finely and mix in with the zest of the lemon.
  • Add to your butter with a fork, slowly combine the lemon juice.
  • Now add your salt, do it to taste rather than sticking to any real measurements.
  • You can store the herb butter by wrapping in greaseproof paper and rolling into a sausage. Alternately you can use butter molds, lined with paper.
  • Store in the fridge for 2 months in a sealed container or 6 months in the freezer.
  • When you are ready to cook your steak leave it at room temperature for around an hour. Add to a hot pan with the butter. As the butter starts to froth baste the steak throughout. If the butter starts to burn, turn the heat down and move the steak over.

2. Herb Butter For Fish

Our preferred herbs for fish are tarragon due to that slightly anise flavor that freshens the flavor.

herb butters


  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chervil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice


  • Soften the butter by leaving it out of the fridge for a few hours.
  • Finely chop the tarragon and chervil leaves. ( an alternative is to use a fines herbes mix and this will really keep a Provencal flavor alive in your fish dish.)
  • Use a fork to mix the herbs into the butter.
  • Slowly add the lime juice to the butter until it is incorporated fully.
  • Push into the molds or roll into a herb sausage and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two months. In the freezer your herb butters will last for up to 6 months with full flavor.
  • To use with fish, prepare in the morning. Lay out the fish with the butter inside prior to cooking. You can also use fresh herbs and slices of lemons as well.

3. Garlic Herb Butter

Once you have made your herb butters it is easy to slice and spread over sliced baguette before grilling and making instant garlic bread. Alternatively slice to a third of the way down your baguette and butter on both sides. Wrap in tin foil and pop in the oven.

garlic butter


  • 1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of leafy herbs like chervil, parsley or basil. Not coriander as this is too strong a flavor.


  • Use a garlic crusher to ensure no scary lumps of garlic!
  • Shred the leafy herbs and mix them and the crushed garlic into the butter using a fork.
  • Form the butter into molds or a sausage and pop into the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container as with the other butter we would usually worry about them becoming contaminated. In the case of garlic we worry more about the garlic penetrating everything else in your fridge.

4. Herb Butter For Chicken

This butter works equally well for chicken as it does for pork. A great way to add moisture as you are cooking as well. Keep basting as the meat is cooking. Do not let the butters, turn down the heat if needed.

herb butter basted chicken


  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons shredded sage
  • pinch of rock salt to taste.


  • Soften the butter at room temperature.
  • Add the sage to the butter with a fork.
  • Slowly add the salt to taste.
  • Store in butter molds or a roll. It will keep well in the fridge for around 2 months and 6 months in the freezer. Keep it in an airtight container though!

5. Rosemary Herb Butter

Rosemary herb butters are perfect for using in a risotto or with hot new potatoes. Also great with lamb or steaks.

rosemary butter


  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • Zest and juice from a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Soften the butter to room temperature
  • Finely chop the rosemary and thyme.
  • Add the zest of the lemon and herbs to the butter.
  • Slowly add the lemon juice using a fork to stir.
  • Salt and pepper to taste, but remember you can always season the dish separate later.
  • Press the butter into molds, then refrigerate. If you leave it for a few hours before chilling it will allow the flavors to infuse.

6. Basil Herb Butter

This is a great way to preserve basil and is one of our favorite butters. Useful in so many dishes and the best one is our midweek meals that are otherwise quite plain. A simple steamed veg with basil butter melted on it is just that little bit special. It also works well on pasta just toss some through and serve with the sauce of your choice.


  • 1/2 cup of salted butter
  • 1/2 cup of chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice


  • Soften the butter in a bowl with a fork. It is easier to do once it has been left in room temperature for an hour or so.
  • Add the chopped herbs and mix through.
  • Then add the lemon juice and pop the warm butter into the mold.
  • Leave for a few hours for the flavors to infuse.
  • Chill in the fridge, if wrapped for 2 months. In the freezer for 6 months.

7. Mint Herb Butters

There are so many uses for mint herb butters. Lamb, vegetables, new potatoes etc. Very much the ideal first time compound to make.


  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice.


  • Soften the butter at room temperature.
  • Mix in the chopped mint and use a fork to mix it thoroughly.
  • Add the lemon in slowly and allow the butter to sit for a few hours to get the mint to infuse the butter.
  • Press into molds and refrigerate. It will last in the fridge if stored in a sealed container for two months. In the freezer for 6 months.

What Next

There is nothing better than growing your own herbs. Making butters is one way to get those fresh flavors all year round. All of the herbs we have suggested you use, we are growing ourselves. If you would like any inspiration to grow your own herbs please do sign up and hopefully gain some confidence. There is nothing nicer than being able to feed your family with food you have grown yourself!

You may like to read more about storing and preserving fresh herbs, we have an article here with a further 9 ways!

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