Mexico Life
compound butter logs Add a special something to your butter — it's so easy!

Make butter better with these flavorful add-ins

Take your cooking up a notch with these easy-to-make compound butter recipes

How can something that’s already so good be even better? Well, that’s what compound butters are all about.

Using the freshest, best-quality butter you can find, you mix in small amounts of ingredients that add bold or subtle flavors. Then the butter is rolled into a log and stored in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use it.

Finding good butter in Mexico can be challenging; most brands have vegetable oil added that may not be listed on the label. (Regulations as to what qualifies as “butter” are different than in the U.S. or Canada.)  Your best bets will be imported butters like President from France or the Danish Lurpak.

Some lucky folks will have a local dairy that sells fresh butter or be able to find the delightful Flor de Alfalfa brand butter from an organic dairy in Querétaro. But you can also just use whatever butter or margarine you normally eat.

fish
Liven up whitefish with buttery chives and garlic!

Now comes the fun part: compound butters can be used in ways you’d never consider for regular plain ol’ butter. They’re an easy way to liven up basic cooked or grilled meats, veggies, chicken or fish, and it impresses guests as well.

Put a slice of garlic-parsley butter on a just-grilled burger right before serving for a rich finish; top a salmon filet with lime-herb butter to add lush citrusy overtones; sauté shrimp in ginger-curry butter; brush bleu cheese butter on grilled steak or vegetables; add any flavor to pasta, soups or stir-fries.

All of the recipes below use the same process. Put slightly softened butter in a food processor or bowl. Add the other ingredients and salt to taste; mix well — or for a different look, only mix a little, so that the add-ins create more of a marbled effect.

Scrape butter onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper large enough to tightly roll into a log about 1½ inches in diameter. Twist the ends to seal and refrigerate. When ready to use, just cut off a slice. Voila!

Garlic-Parsley Butter (Beurre Maître d’Hôtel)

Great on burgers or steak! 

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz.) softened
  • ¼ cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. juice plus 2 tsp. zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine butter, parsley, lemon juice, zest and garlic in a food processor or bowl; pulse until garlic and herbs are chopped and juice is incorporated, or mix well by hand. Season to taste with salt and pepper; pulse to combine. Wrap butter tightly and refrigerate.

Lime-Herb Butter

  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice + zest from 2 limes
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 8 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne or pinch of red pepper flakes

Finely grate zest from 2 limes; set aside. By hand or in food processor, combine butter, ginger, 8 sprigs cilantro, lime zest and juice. Process until smooth.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne/red pepper; process again, wrap tightly and refrigerate.

Chipotle Butter

  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
  • 1½ Tbsp. canned chipotle pepper, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • ¼ tsp. coarse salt

By hand or in food processor, combine all ingredients. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

Jalapeño Lime Butter

  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
  • ½-1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt

By hand or in food processor, combine all ingredients. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

compound butter
Garlic-herb compound butter livens up grilled steak, fish or veggies in a flash.

Smoked Paprika and Rosemary Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. salt

By hand or in food processor, combine all ingredients. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

Cinnamon Maple Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

By hand or in food processor, combine all ingredients. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

Ginger-Curry Butter

  • 1-2 tsp. freshly grated peeled ginger
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. curry powder
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste

By hand or in food processor, combine all ingredients. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

Blue Cheese Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4oz.)
  • ½ cup blue cheese or gorgonzola (add more or less as desired)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • By hand or in food processor, combine all ingredients. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Garlic-Herb Butter

  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ tsp. coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

By hand or in food processor, combine all ingredients. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

Fresh Lemon and Black Pepper Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4oz.)
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, zested lemons reserved
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

Combine butter, zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor or bowl; pulse until thoroughly combined or mix well by hand. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed; mix again. Wrap butter tightly and refrigerate.

Sundried Tomato Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4oz.)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp. coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

By hand or in food processor, combine all ingredients. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

Janet Blaser is the author of the best-selling book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expatsfeatured on CNBC and MarketWatch. She has lived in Mexico since 2006. You can find her on Facebook.

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.