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If there is one thing that I do every Thanksgiving, it’s make my compound butter for the bird. I’ve never wavered from this practice, and as a result, I have a very juicy turkey inside and a nice, crisp skin on the outside. The best part? Prepare this compound butter ahead of time and you save yourself precious time on turkey day. It’s something that anyone can do, and it makes all the difference!
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that some people plan for all year, and others dread because of the cooking involved. After all, if you’re the one cooking the turkey for all of those guests – that’s A LOT of pressure, right? We’ve all heard the stories of Thanksgiving’s gone wrong with dry turkeys, or flavorless birds. So how do we conquer that without putting more pressure on ourselves to put a perfect bird on the table? Using compound butter is one way to do that. It’s a simple way to bring a depth of flavor to your Thanksgiving turkey like never before. In fact, a compound butter is a great way to up the cooking game on any level. Start experimenting with your favorite sweet or savory flavors and add them to your regular prep rotation.
What is a compound butter?
A compound butter is a softened butter which adds different ingredients (herbs and spices), to enhance flavors. All over the world chef’s use this combination to not only enhance flavors, but to save time on preparing dishes. The flavor combinations are endless, and best of all, can be kept in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. You can learn more about compound butter on the Food & Wine website. You absolutely do not need to purchase pre-made compound butters. It’s too simple to make them to justify the cost of pre-made.
Thanksgiving Turkey Compound Butter
The recipe is super simple. Honestly. It’s simply taking softened butter and adding the ingredients to it. You can fiddle around with the recipe and make it your own, but this is what I use every year. The key to making a compound butter is to take the flavors you want to enhance wether they be sweet or savory, and infuse them into what you are cooking.
One tip for cooking anything is that you need to flavor at every level. A compound butter helps you do that
Other ways that you can use compound butters:
- Use a garlic infused compound butter as a base for a quick green bean sautée.
- Place a pat of compound butter on top of a just grilled piece of steak. While the steak rests, let the butter melt over the top.
- A compound butter with the same flavors you use for your Thanksgiving turkey can be easily used to make a roast chicken any time of year!
- Bring in your favorite ethnic tastes to your dishes! Use finely chopped cilantro, a little adobo sauce, and a squeeze of lime to make a Mexican inspired flavored butter!
- Cook your chicken in a compound butter of lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and finely chopped caper berries for a quick lemon chicken.
- Use the recipe below for Spicy Buffalo Butter from Foodie Crush and drizzle it over chicken wings.
- Pull together a compound butter made with lemon zest, and dill for use in making tilapia packets for the grill.
Compound butter can also be used on their own – meaning you can use them to butter your toast or spread onto a slice of baguette at dinner. What a nice touch it would be for your guests to find this treat on the table.
My point is, that although it seems like it might take a little time to put some of these compound butters together, making a few and putting them into your freezer will save you time, and bring amazing flavors later on. It’s worth every second it takes.
More Compound Butters
I’m such a nut about compound butters that I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites from other bloggers and websites. I’ve tried each of them, and they are fabulous!
- Pioneer Woman’s French Toast with Berry Butter. The day I saw this episode with the berry butter I went out and bought the ingredients. It’s amazing (as are all things Ree makes). You have to give her Berry Compound Butter a try! It brings breakfast to a whole new level by taking something simple and making it special.
- All Recipes has a fabulous Garlic Butter recipe that you have to try. I’ve used it in skillet dishes, cut into slices on top of steak, you name it. Their Garlic Butter recipe is fabulous. We once used this when my mom visited, and having the compound butter on top of the chicken was not only impressive, but for a woman who loves garlic as much as my mom does – it gave the chicken more depth and flavor. It took it from a simple chicken dish to something you’d find at a restaurant.
Steaks – a regular for using my compound butter!
- This Worcestershire Chive Butter from Bobby Flay on Food Network is awesome. We’ve used it multiple times for steak and I can’t get enough. In fact, I’m thinking you could do something very similar with a horseradish flavor profile, which would make a Christmas roast even that much more special.
- Spicy Buffalo Butter from Foodie Crush is SO good. Slather it all over corn for an unexpected treat! How about on wings? I’m new to air frying, and I know that the point is to save calories, but pouring this melted compound butter over the air fryer wings would be something dreams are made of. Am I right? Definitely a game time treat for Super Bowl or any time of year!
The possibilities are endless. Go sweet, spicy, or savory – it all depends upon your mood and taste buds, but I highly recommend you try them all! Especially my Thanksgiving Compound Butter, which will make your awesome turkey even better!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp fresh, finely chopped sage (2 tbsp if using ground sage)
- 2 tbsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary (1 tbsp if using ground rosemary)
- 1 tbsp fresh, finely chopped thyme (1/2 tbsp if using ground)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp course black pepper
- 1.5 tbsp poultry seasoning
- Place the butter on the counter for about an hour to come to room temperature
- Chop all of the fresh herbs
- Mix the herbs and spices into the softened butter
- Spoon the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap (or parchment) and roll into a log shape.
- Twist the ends tightly and place in the fridge (if using in the next day or two), or in the freezer if you are making it over a week ahead.
- Take the butter out of the fridge an hour before you plan to use it on your Thanksgiving turkey
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 171Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 701mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g