Create the most epic butter board ever, with some tips and ideas from its inventor.
You might be feeling a little—well, bored—with boards. You’ve likely done a charcuterie board (or 20), and maybe even branched out to themed boards like our wicked Halloween charcuterie boards, hot cocoa boards, ice cream sundae boards, or any other you-name-a-treat boards.
You shouldn't put your well-seasoned board away quite yet, because you might want to slather it up for the newest trend out there—butter boards. Yep, everyone’s favorite creamy bread spread gets a starring role on the latest take on the board trend.
We’re not talking about slapping down a stick of butter and calling it a day. Instead, softened butter is spread in a thick layer on the board and adorned with all matter of goodies. Think herbs, edible flowers, fresh fruit, and flaky sea salt (of course). And it’s served with warm crusty bread, so guests can dip a slice of baguette into the butter—or, for the germaphobes amongst us—slather on with a proper butter knife.
In other words, it’s compound butter (i.e. butter mixed in with other flavor ingredients), served for a crowd.
While the butter board trend has gone completely viral on TikTok, thanks to food stylist Justine Doiron, it was first featured in Joshua McFadden’s cookbook, Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables, way back in 2017, and he’s been regularly including them on menus for weddings and events he caters. His inspiration? Encouraging people to connect.
“It’s all about sharing,” McFadden says. “You often have people sitting next to people they don’t know at farm dinners or weddings. This gets people talking right away, and it’s very interactive.”
Ready to ace the butter board trend? Here’s how to do it up in style.
Upgrade your butter for the butter board
Look, we love a good stick of basic butter, but when butter’s taking a starring role, it’s worth it to splurge for the good stuff. We’re talking European-style or Irish butter, which has additional milkfat for a more luxe mouthfeel. “A cultured butter is indulgent, but you really want to go for the gusto,” McFadden says.
And opt for unsalted butter, so you can add your own flavored salts to punch up the flavor.
Offer a few different butter flavor profiles
Doiron sprinkles the same ingredients all over the board, but why not offer more than one taste sensation? Divide the butter into sections, and sprinkle different ingredients on each one, to give people a few different tastes to try. Think both sweet and savory, or if you’re serving this as part of a meal (perhaps as an accompaniment to a favorite pasta dish), a few options that complement the flavors of the meal. For instance, you could do a basil butter, sun-dried tomato butter, and a garlic butter to pair with a marinara sauce.
Get creative with your butter board flavors
Here’s a nowhere near exhaustive list of some of the butter mix-in options that have been already explored on TikTok (or by McFadden) that you could add to yours. McFadden recommends including a bunch of different textures on the board, so no two bites are the same—so you can encourage people to come back for more bites (as if you need to).
Garlic, onions, or shallots You can try different textures, such as dried onions, fried shallots, or caramelized onions.
Herbs Some perfect options include rosemary, thyme, basil, dill, or any other favorites—and consider using the seeds and sprouts from your favorite herbs to add an additional texture to your butter.
Flavored salts McFadden is partial to unique flavors like black garlic, lemon zest, and pinot noir.
Spices Go international with flavors like za’atar or Szechuan pepper—or for fall, a pumpkin spice blend might be perfect.
Fresh fruit or jams McFadden loves figs, ground cherries, lemon zest, dates, apples, and pretty much anything else tasty. He also includes homemade jams—pretty much any flavor you love will be perfect. (Because let’s face it: everything goes with butter!)
Meat People on TikTok have been adding diced charcuterie to their boards, and McFadden recently created one that used smoked trout. For the ultimate in decadence, he opted for one with lobster and lemon zest—which was basically like making a deconstructed lobster roll.
Edible flowers Nasturtiums, pansies, and violets look pretty and add texture and flavor.
Other favorite flavors Reduced vinegars, diced pickled vegetables, olives and capers could help punch up a more savory butter, or you can opt to make a chocolate butter for a sweeter touch.
Don’t forget the bread
What you serve the butter on is just as important as what’s inside it. McFadden likes to include a variety of breads—like a nut bread, a rustic boule, and even crostini or crackers for serving. (And serve it warm, to make the butter even easier to spread!)
Add a few knives
Many of the TikToks show people just dragging their bread through it, but putting a few butter knives around will allow people to dig in without concerns about double-dipping.
Make your butter board seasonal
In the fall, think pear jam, apple slices, and warm spices like cinnamon—while spring may find fresh flowers, berry jams, or spring herbs like chives. By using fresh flavors for the season and including items you find and forage in your own garden, you can constantly change up the butter board concept and keep it fresh, McFadden suggests. “The butter is a canvas that really lets you share that seasonal moment.”
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