Buttered Leeks

Butter-Braised Leeks
Molly Watson
Ratings (25)
  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
53 Calories
6g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is one of those dishes that is both extremely simple and flavorful. It's all about the gentle cooking to coax out the sweet nature of leeks and make them supremely tender. The long cooking lets you use the tougher leek greens, so often discarded in cooking. 

This works well as a relish or warm salsa with roasted or grilled chicken, or slather it on top of broiled fish.

Like so many simple dishes, it's also ripe for experimentation and customization. Add black pepper, a bit of chile, a splash of vinegar, or whatever herbs and spices catch your fancy.


  • 2 leeks
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Steps to Make It

Trim off and discard the root ends of the leeks. Trim off and discard any dried out or browned ends of the leek greens. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, slice them crosswise into bite-size pieces. You can use the dark green parts of the leek; chop it all up, just getting rid of any browned or dried ends.

Put the leeks in a large bowl and cover with cool water. Swish the leeks around to loosen any dirt or grit. If you noticed large clumps of grit when you were chopping the leeks, now is the time to make sure that gets rinsed off. Let the leeks sit a few minutes for the dirt and grit to settle to the bottom of the bowl.

In a large frying pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Lift the leeks out of the water and add them to the pan. Do not drain the leeks into a colander, since that will simply dump the dirt back onto the leeks.

Sprinkle the leeks with the salt and stir to combine.

Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring every 5 minutes or so until the leeks are supremely tender, 30 to 40 minutes total.

Take the pan off the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir until the butter is melted into the leeks. Serve hot or warm.