Fresh Herb Butter

Fresh herb butter recipe on a rectangular white plate

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Softening Time: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 36 servings
Yield: 1/2 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
23 Calories
3g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 36
Amount per serving
Calories 23
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Herb butter tastes like a luxury but is so easy to make and use that it could become an everyday staple. Made with just a few ingredients and taking only 15 minutes, this butter is a wonderful addition to any meal.

Simply melt, and drizzle it over seafood or cooked vegetables for an instant sauce. Or, place a slice on top of a sizzling steak and watch it melt, infusing the flavors of the herbs into the meat. You can also spread softened herb butter onto small toasts to use as a base for delicious crostini appetizers.

Herb butter, also known as compound butter, can be part of elegant party fare or it can be an easy way to perk up a weeknight dinner. It is an excellent way to preserve fresh herbs, especially those like rosemary that lose some of their texture or flavor when dried. Parsley, cilantro (coriander), chives, tarragon, and chervil are also good candidates for herb butter.


  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter

  • 1 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tender herbs of choice

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional

  • Kosher salt, to taste, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for herb butter gathered

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  2. Leave the butter out at room temperature until it softens.

    Butter on a rectangular white dish left at room temperature, to soften

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  3. Mince the fresh herbs and grate the lemon zest, if using.

    Fresh herbs and grated lemon zest on a wooden cutting board

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  4. Put the softened butter in a bowl. Add the herb and zest and using a fork, mash it all together until thoroughly combined.

    Herb butter mashed with a fork in a glass bowl

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  5. Add salt to taste if you started with unsalted butter.

    Salt added to taste to herb butter in a glass bowl

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  6. Scoop the herb butter onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper.

    Herbed butter scooped onto parchment paper

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  7. Shape it into a log by rolling it in the paper. Wrap the herb butter tightly and refrigerate.

    Herbed butter shaped into a log and wrapped in wax paper

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  8. Slice off portions to use on steak, seafood, vegetables, or bread and enjoy.


  • Use the smaller amount of herbs called for in the recipe if working with especially strong tasting herbs such as sage and rosemary; be a little more generous with the amount you include when the herb is a mild one like parsley.
  • You can use either salted or unsalted butter; if you start with unsalted butter, you can add salt to taste. Those on salt-restricted diets may find herb butter is a flavorful way to skip the salt altogether.

Storing and Freezing Herb Butter

  • Herb butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
  • You can freeze the herb butter to store for longer. Put the wax or parchment paper-wrapped herb butter into a freezer bag and freeze for up to six months. The herb butter will still be safe to eat after that, but the quality will decline significantly. Transfer the frozen herb butter to the refrigerator 24 hours before you intend to use it.

Using Herb Butter

  • Use parsley plus lemon zest butter on steamed or boiled vegetables.
  • Chive butter is great on baked potatoes.
  • For cilantro herb butter, use lime zest instead of lemon zest for a great combination. Serve with grilled corn.
  • Cut thin rounds of herb butter to serve at each place at dinner parties. Garnish each round with a fresh sprig of the same herb that is in the butter, if it's available.
  • Drizzle melted herb butter over popcorn.