“Thanksgiving Butter” Is So Good, You’ll Want to Put It on Everything

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Thanksgiving Butter Recipe

Seasoned with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, this flavored butter tastes just like Thanksgiving and can be used for dipping or as a compound butter.

Serves4 to 6

Makesmakes about 1/2 cup

Prep10 minutes

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A spoon dipped into a bowl of compound butter with herbs and garlic on a white surface.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

We all know that you can use garlic butter on just about anything to make it taste more delicious. There’s just something magical about the combination of garlic and butter, and you can bump up the magic factor even more at Thanksgiving simply by adding all the traditional herbs used at Thanksgiving to garlic butter. Meet: Thanksgiving butter! It smells just like a kitchen right before the Thanksgiving meal is served. While you can use Thanksgiving butter at the big meal, it’s also a great way to use up leftover herbs so that they don’t go to waste.

Ingredients You’ll Need for Thanksgiving Butter

Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for Thanksgiving butter, and you probably have most of them on hand for the big dinner already.

  • Butter: Start with 1 stick of unsalted butter. If you only have salted, skip adding the salt.
  • Garlic: Two cloves of garlic give Thanksgiving butter a mellow kick.
  • Four fresh herbs: You’ll need fresh parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary, but not too much of each — just 5 sprigs of thyme and 2 sprigs of everything else.
  • Salt: Enhance all the flavors to bring them together. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Thanksgiving butter is best made with fresh herbs for the brightest flavor, but you can use smaller amounts of dried herbs instead. Don’t use dried parsley, though, as I’m not the biggest fan of dried parsley and find its flavor not like fresh at all. Thanksgiving butter made with dried herbs is best used not for dipping, but to baste food like a roasted turkey or chicken with as it cooks.

How to Make Thanksgiving Butter

There are two ways to make Thanksgiving butter: as a butter dip, or as compound butter. Here’s how to make each one.

  1. Butter dip: Melt the butter, then add all the herbs, garlic, and salt. Cook over low heat so the flavors meld, but don’t let the garlic or butter brown.
  2. Compound butter: Soften the butter, then mash it with all the other ingredients. If you want to freeze Thanksgiving butter, roll it into a log using plastic wrap to use as a compound butter.

How to Use Thanksgiving Butter

Honestly, this herby butter tastes delicious on just about anything. Dip dinner rolls, bread, roasted green beans, or roasted potatoes in it. Drizzle it over baked potatoes, sliced turkey, or chicken, or use it to baste chicken or turkey as it roasts. Spread it onto toasted bread for a next-level turkey sandwich.

If you’re making compound Thanksgiving butter, rub it under the skin of chicken or turkey before roasting. Spread it onto bread and then toast for an herby garlic bread. Drop spoonfuls of it onto seared steaks or fish and let it melt and mingle with the juices of the meat or fish for a rich, flavorful sauce.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Seasoned with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, this flavored butter tastes just like Thanksgiving and can be used for dipping or as a compound butter.


  • 2

    cloves garlic

  • 2

    sprigs fresh parsley

  • 2

    sprigs fresh sage

  • 5

    sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2

    sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same small bowl as you complete it: Finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Pick the leaves from the following herbs and finely chop until you have the listed amount: 2 fresh parsley sprigs (1 teaspoon), 2 fresh sage sprigs (1 teaspoon), 5 fresh thyme sprigs (1/2 teaspoon), and 2 fresh rosemary sprigs (1/2 teaspoon). Add 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

Option 1: Dipping Butter

  1. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a small saucepan or small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the herb mixture and cook, stirring often, for 1 1/2 minutes to let the flavors meld. Do not let the garlic brown or the butter boil.

Option 2: Compound Butter

  1. Place 1 stick unsalted butter in a small bowl and let sit at room temperature until softened. (If you want to speed things up, grate the cold butter on the large holes of a box grater first.) Add the garlic mixture and smash and stir into the butter until combined.

  2. To shape the compound butter into a roll: If not using immediately, spoon the compound butter lengthwise onto a sheet of plastic wrap a few inches longer than a stick of butter. Roll the compound butter up tightly in the plastic wrap. Twist the plastic wrap at each end (like how a Tootsie roll is wrapped). Holding a twisted end in each hand, roll the log along the work surface to tighten and shape the roll. If the plastic wrap is long enough, tie a knot at each end; otherwise, tie a piece of kitchen twine at each end. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use (thaw overnight if frozen before using). To use, unwrap and cut crosswise into rounds.

Recipe Notes

Dried herbs: Dried herbs (besides the parsley) can be used in place of fresh, but the flavor will be sharper. Thanksgiving butter made with dried herbs is best used for basting or placing under the skin of chicken or turkey before roasting. Use 1/4 teaspoon dried sage, 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary in place of the fresh herbs.

Using salted butter: Salted butter can be substituted for the unsalted; just omit the kosher salt.

Storage: Thanksgiving butter can be refrigerated in an airtight container or rolled up in plastic wrap for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

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