How to Make Simple Garlic Butter

Simple garlic butter recipe in a crock with bread alongside

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Yield: 1/2 cup
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
127 Calories
12g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 127
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 1g
Calcium 34mg 3%
*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.)

It may seem mysterious, but garlic butter is a type of compound butter, which is simply butter with other ingredients added to it.

Garlic butter is the key ingredient in garlic bread, but it can also be used to add flavor to seafood, steaks, vegetables, and pasta. Drizzle it warm over beer-steamed shrimp, mashed potatoes, or roasted asparagus. For a steakhouse experience, shape your garlic butter into a log, refrigerate it, and cut off a thick coin to top your sirloin. It's also delicious drizzled over egg noodles, with a grating of Parmesan.

This simple recipe combines salted butter with minced garlic. If you use unsalted butter, be sure to season the butter with a pinch of salt before making this recipe. Although you can substitute jarred garlic or garlic powder in this recipe, if you do, the complexity of flavor will be a mere shadow of what it would be otherwise. (If you prefer your butter less garlicky, just use 1 fresh clove to start.) Alternatively, you can also follow the recipe variation below for roasted garlic butter, which has a sweeter, nuttier flavor.

This ratio of butter to garlic is ideal when making garlic bread, but if you plan on using it to add flavor to meat, fish, or vegetables, you may want to increase the amount of butter to mellow out the intensity of the garlic. You can technically use the garlic butter "raw" or cold, but its flavors bloom the best when served over warm food.


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter (softened)
  • 1 to 2 large cloves ​garlic (crushed and minced)
  • Optional: chopped parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for simple garlic butter
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  2. Using a whisk, beat the softened butter until smooth. Blend in the garlic until incorporated, about 1 minute.

    Beat the softened butter with garlic
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  3. If adding parsley, mix in parsley now.

    Parsley added to whipped butter
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  4. If making garlic bread, spread the garlic butter on French or Italian bread before baking. To use on steak, seafood, fish, or vegetables, place a dollop on top of the cooked dish. Otherwise, transfer the butter to a ramekin and refrigerate, or form it into logs using parchment paper or plastic wrap. Serve and enjoy.

    Garlic bread
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Recipe Variations

  • Roasted Garlic Butter: Following this recipe for roasted garlic, add half a bulb of roasted garlic (about 4 to 6 cloves) to 1/2 stick of butter. Roasted garlic is sweet, so you can use more of it without the butter seeming overly garlicky. Blend per the above directions.
  • Garlic and Parsley Butter: Purée the garlic butter with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley. Add about 3/4 teaspoon of salt (less if using salted butter) and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
  • Lemon, Garlic, and Parsley Butter: Purée the garlic butter with 1/3 cup of chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (less if using salted butter), and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed black pepper. If desired, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of minced shallot.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil Variation: Instead of 4 tablespoons of butter, use half butter and half extra-virgin olive oil; beat along with the crushed garlic.


How to Use Garlic Butter

This garlic butter is perfect for use in garlic bread.

  • Heat the garlic butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
  • Split a large 12 1/2-ounce loaf of crusty Italian or French bread in half and place it on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Place the bread under the broiler on high until it is toasted and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully.
  • Generously brush the bread with the garlic butter mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.
  • If desired, sprinkle with a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. Return the bread to the broiler for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove, cut into wedges, and enjoy.