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Sep 13, 2020

Beurres Composés - Cold Flavored Butters

Beurres composés (compound butters), or cold flavored butters, are a wonderful way to flavor hot dishes right before serving, especially grilled or pan fried meats and seafood.

Beurres Composés - Cold Flavored Butters

These compound butters would also be delicious added to hot mushrooms, potatoes, or other veggies right before serving. They add a French touch to your dinners.

I made two flavored compound butters, one with garlic and parsley, perfect for topping steaks, and one with fresh tarragon and lemon juice, lovely for topping steaks, seafood, and enriching hot soups right before serving. I even fried an egg in one of the butters with delicious and super gorgeous results. 

filet mignon with garlic butter

I was inspired to make these butters while flipping through my much loved copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (affiliate link). I love reading the book for getting ideas, plus I love reading Julia's prose. Well, I love everything Julia Child.

My biggest effort was making Julia's baguettes from her Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two. The recipe is 20 pages! I didn't do that well with the baguettes (they were flat as pancakes), but I used the dough five years later to make rolls, and was very happy with the results. I still want to revisit the baguettes, but I need to get my game face on.

Little known fact: Julia and I were both born in the same city, so we are pretty much related, right?

Beurres Composés

One of my favorite shows that Julia did was Baking with Julia, where she hosted other bakers who showcased their recipes. The resulting book by Dorie Greenspan is one of my favorite baking books ever. I've probably baked half of the recipes in the book and have learned so much from it.

Baking through that book introduced me to baking fougasse, matzos, making my own puff pastry, and bialys. Plus, there's potato lefse, a Norwegian flatbread. It's pretty much a revelation.

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia has several Beurres Composés. The recipes include mustard butter, anchovy butter, egg yolk butter, and shellfish butter. They all sound amazing.

Cold Flavored Butters

How to cream the butter for beurres composés:

One of the tricks to creaming butter is to not let it get too warm. I learned this trick for softening butter while keeping it cool when making croissants and pastry dough.

Instead of letting the butter come to room temperature, you pound cold butter with a rolling pin. The butter remains cold but pliable with this method. I never have to worry about removing butter from the refrigerator and letting it soften. Just sandwich the cold butter between pieces of parchment and whack it with a rolling pin.

Cold flavored butter ingredients

Finally, beat with a stand mixer or an electric beater until it is light and creamy. Add the herbs or other flavors and beat. Cover and keep in a cool place. The refrigerator is too cold to keep the butter.

This method results in a butter that is immediately useable and not too soft, nor too hard.

Steak with Beurres Composés

One of the two butters I am sharing with you is Beuree d'Ail, or Garlic butter. I tossed in some chopped parsley.

To make this butter, you briefly boil the garlic, mince it, and then whip it into the butter. This is the butter I used to top a filet mignon.

Once you have grilled or pan friend your steak, top it with a pat of the flavored butter and tent it with foil. The butter will get all melty and delicious!

Steak and potatoes with cold flavored butter

I will admit to using the garlic butter for grilled cheese sandwiches and for stuffing baked potatoes. So good!

The other butter I'm sharing with you is Buerre d'Estragon, or Tarragon Butter. It's wonderful for meats, seafood, as an addition to sauce and to enrich soup. Instead of tarragon, you can add mixed green herbs.

There are so many ways you can use cold flavored butter, including:

  • Sauce and soup enrichments
  • Egg fillings
  • Sandwiches
  • Broiled fish, steaks, hamburgers, and lamb chops
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Canapés
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Sandwich spreads

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Beurres Composés - Cold Flavored Butters from Julia Child

Beurres Composés - Cold Flavored Butters

Beurres Composés - Cold Flavored Butters
Yield: 16 servings
Author: Karen Kerr
Beurres composés, or cold flavored butters, are a wonderful way to flavor hot dishes right before serving, especially grilled or pan fried meats and seafood.


Beurre d'Estragon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
  • Salt and pepper
Beurre d'Ail
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


To Make the Tarragon Butter
  1. Cream the butter and then, drop by drop, cream in the lemon juice. 
  2. Beat in the tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Cover and store in a cool place. 
To Make the Garlic Butter
  1. Boil the garlic cloves for one minute and then drain. Mash the garlic with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon.
  2.  Cream the butter and garlic together. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the parsley.
  3. Cover and store in a cool place.
Butter, flavored butters
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Would you like to comment?

  1. I love using compound butters. Try making one with strawberries and putting it on grilled chicken breasts...oh my. I am making your garlic and parsley butter for the next time we grill steaks.

  2. I don't make / use compound butter nearly enough - these both sound delicious! And yes, being born in the city definitely means you're practically related to Julia Child! :D

  3. Oh my, garlic butter for grilled cheese sounds like a fabulous idea. I haven't made compound butter in a while and now I am feeling inspired.

  4. I made a compound butter recently with fennel seed, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and garlic to use with chicken breasts. Yummy!!

  5. These kind of butters are wonderful! Last fall, one of our friends presented us with a butter log that she had put together, using up all the herbs from her garden that were going to freeze soon. It contained sage, thyme, chives, rosemary, and basil. She gave us WAY too much for us to use in the next couple of weeks. So we froze it. It was very easy to pull out and saw off a reasonable piece to thaw for one dinner's worth. We were very sorry to use up the last of it back in February or so.

    Thank you for the reminder to make more.

    1. That sounds delectable! Thanks for reminding me that I can freeze it! And thanks so much for letting me know!

  6. Love compound butter! Such a great way to put a steak or other dish over the top!

  7. I don't use compound butters enough. I'm going to be making these to have on hand and use any time.


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