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Homemade Compound Butter with Mortar and Pestle

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Compound butter is the criminally unused secret weapon in your kitchen. Making it with a mortar and pestle guarantees game-changing flavors.

Simply put, compound butter is just butter combined with other ingredients. Most often, you probably come across these at restaurants served with bread or maybe some type of meat. But don’t think this buttery deliciousness needs to be relegated to eating out. It’s easily prepared, easily stored, and can be added to so many dishes at home.

For best results, we recommend using a granite mortar and pestle to prepare the ingredients. This one from KROK is handmade in Thailand and is the right size for compound butter and anything else you want to use it for.

The reason we recommend the mortar and pestle is because smashing and grinding your ingredients breaks down cell walls and releases aromas and oils that cannot be accessed any other way.

When you use a food processor, you are only chopping ingredients smaller and smaller but you’ll never reach a creamy paste that comes from releasing those oils with the pestle.

Making Compound Butter from Scratch at Home

The options for what to include in your compound butter are endless. You can go for sweeter flavors, adding ingredients like honey or cinnamon.

If you want something spicy, making a chili paste to mix into the butter will be a revelation. The simplest and most versatile compound butter is probably a garlic herb mixture.

Start off by making a garlic paste in your mortar and pestle. Add a few garlic cloves to the mortar with a pinch of salt. Smash and grind the cloves down until you get a creamy paste.

Once your paste is complete, add any fresh herbs you have on hand to the mortar. Parsley, chives, basil leaves, almost anything will work. Break the herbs down with the pestle while mixing them into your garlic paste.

Complete the following steps in the mortar (if you have enough room) or in another bowl. Mix your paste with a spoonful of olive oil and a bit of lemon juice and, if you want more citrus, some zest from the lemon as well. Once combined, add your softened butter and mix with a rubber spatula.

Incorporate the past into the softened butter. Now, move it onto plastic film and roll it into a log. Place it in the fridge and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Now, it's ready to slice a chunk off whenever you need it.

How to Use Your Compound Butter

For this garlic herb butter, you can practically use it anywhere you would use your regular salted butter. Spread it on sliced bread for a grilled cheese sandwich or serve it with dinner rolls. If you grill any meat, serve the meat with a slice of this butter on top.

Add a heaping spoonful of the compound butter to pasta or mashed potatoes for a creamy, garlicky flavor. Sauteeing vegetables with this compound butter will convince you to never use simple butter again.

Check out these other butter recipes

Yield: 8 tablespoons

Compound Butter

Compound Butter

This delicious butter is full of fresh herbs and delicious garlic all made in a portal and pestle.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • Mortar and Pestle


    1. Soften your butter by taking it out of the fridge for at least 2 hours before needing it and putting it on your counter.
    2. Peel the garlic and add to the mortar with a pinch of salt. Pound and grind with your pestle until you get a smooth paste. Add the fresh herbs, break them down with the masher, and mix them into the garlic paste.
    3. Combine the paste with lemon juice and olive oil.
      Finally, mix everything with your softened butter until thoroughly combined.
    4. Roll your compound butter into a log with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator. The butter should be fine for at least 3 months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 227Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 207mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

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