If you keep hearing people talking about butter boards, here is everything you need to know!

Butter boards are here to stay, especially since we’re rolling into the holiday season. Everyone’s looking for a trendy new appetizer and if you’re young (or young at heart) butter boards are sure to show up at the party.

butter board recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is a butter board?

A butter board is a wooden board (or ceramic dish) spread with butter and sprinkled with toppings such as flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper, spices, herbs, citrus zest, edible flowers, and honey. Invented by the award-winning Portland chef, Joshua McFadden, butter boards are becoming increasingly popular. The idea is: instead of a charcuterie board, it’s a flavored butter board. They’re infinitely customizable and are a fun way of making butter a bit more tactile and interactive due to the way it’s presented. Butter boards come with bread, toast, crackers, scones, or anything that goes with butter. Think of a butter board as compound butter (butter flavored with herbs, spices, and other ingredients) but in a different form factor.

butter board recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make a butter board

  1. Let your butter come to room temp. Let unsalted high quality butter sit at room temp for 30 minutes, or break out a stand mixer and whip the butter so it is fluffy and light. Both are delicious. Room temp butter is more hefty and whipped butter is lighter, more delicate, and fluffy.
  2. Prep your plate or board. Give your board or plate a good wash. It’s important to use a board that you use for just vegetables. Or grab an new board so there aren’t any gashes in the board that butter can seep into. An alternative is a cute plate, like the bread shaped ceramic plate that we used. If you want to stick with a wooden board, you can also lay down a piece of parchment paper and build your board on that.
  3. Artfully smoosh. Take a spoon or offset spatula and smoosh the butter down on your board/plate. One stick of butter is enough for 4-6 people, it equals 2 tbsp or 1.3 tbsp tbsp per person.
  4. Top. Sprinkle on a generous amount of flaky sea salt, freshly ground coarse black pepper, and any other flavor toppings that you love. See below for topping inspiration. In the butter board pictured we went with a roasted garlic butter board: unsalted butter, flaky sea salt, toasted coarse black pepper, a whole head of roasted garlic, lemon zest, thinly sliced red onions, plenty of fresh herbs, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  5. Enjoy. Serve with warm bread, toasted bread, seeded crackers, or anything that goes amazingly with butter. Place small spoons or butter knives out with the board and encourage everyone to scoop, spread, and enjoy!

butter board recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Butter board ingredients

  • butter – unsalted butter for the win here. Get a pretty, golden, high quality butter. At it’s core a butter board is just bread and butter so both the bread and butter need to be good quality ingredients. Kerrygold is a great readily available brand. If you have access to locally made butter that is a perfect option too.
  • flaky sea salt – giant flakes of sea salt are pretty, crunchy, and just feel special. We love use Maldon sea salt, both their regular flakes and their smoked flakes. Jacobsen Salt Co. is also amazing. They have a bunch of flavored salts and their salt comes from the Pacific Northwest Ocean, which is local for us.
  • pepper – freshly ground black pepper or other peppers like chili flakes add heat and warmth.
  • spices – you don’t need a lot of spices to make your butter sing. Just make sure they’re fresh! Spice mixes work wonderfully and za’atar butter or everything bagel butter are both amazing.
  • garlic – fresh for a spicy bite or roasted for a mellow warmth. I LOVE garlic butter and a garlic butter board is my idea of heaven.
  • herbs – fresh herbs are the flavor superstars. Think: thyme, chopped rosemary, chopped parsley, basil, chives, sage, tarragon, mint, cilantro, green onions, the herb world is large and delicious.
  • nuts – chopped nuts add some crunch and texture. Try: pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, or your favorite nut.
  • sweet – a drizzle of honey, sliced fruits, fruit compotes, jams, or even maple syrup add a note of sweet to contrast the savory. Sweetness and butter work particularly well for breakfast butter boards served with pancakes or waffles.

softening butter | www.iamafoodblog.com

What kind of butter for a butter board?

Go for an unsalted, high quality butter. My all time favorite butter is SMJÖR, an Icelandic butter that isn’t available anyone but in Iceland. Here at home, I love Kerrygold or the local butter that is available.

Who invented butter boards?

Butter boards were first mentioned in Joshua McFadden’s James Beard award winning cookbook Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables. We can thank Justine Doiron via Tiktok for popularizing the butter board.

Why are butter boards popular?

What can I say? I feel like everyone loves food served on boards. Charcuterie and cheese boards are a fun and interactive way of entertaining and a butter board is just a natural extension, especially if you’re going to be serving bread and butter. There are haters, but I love a good bread and butter starter and I think this idea is pretty genius. I think at this point they are a love-hate kind of thing with many people on the internet being both disgusted and delighted.

smooshed butter | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to artfully smoosh butter

The best way to artfully smoosh butter is to use the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula. If you whip your butter, you can use a silicone to create divots just like how you frost a cake. The key is to kind of make the butter look like waves. It’s easier if your butter is just the right temperature. You don’t want it too hard or too soft.

12 best butter board ideas

  • Honey coriander. This is Justine Doiron’s classic combo and it works: flaky sea salt, pepper, fresh mint, ground coriander, ground cardamom, fresh basil, honey, lemon zest, and edible flowers
  • Figs and honey. Juicy quartered purple figs, flaky sea salt, and a generous drizzle of honey.
  • Sweet and spicy. Flaky sea salt, fresh lime zest, honey, and Calabrian chili flakes.
  • Garlic. Whole roasted garlic cloves along with finely grated fresh garlic, finely chopped parsley, and flaky salt.
  • Lemon. Thinly sliced oven caramelized lemons, fresh lemon zest, thinly sliced lemons, honey, fresh mint, and flaky salt.
  • Pistachio. Roughly chopped pistachios, flaky salt, basil, lemon zest, roasted tomatoes.
  • Scallion. Oven roasted green onions, freshly sliced green onions, flaky salt.
  • Everything bagel. A generous sprinkle of everything bagel spice, thinly sliced purple onions, capers.
  • Gremolata. Toasted chopped pine nuts, lemon zest, finely chopped parsley, finely chopped garlic.
  • Pesto. Crushed garlic, toasted chopped pine nuts, loads of fresh basil roughly chopped, and a generous sprinkling of finely grated parmesan.
  • Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate shavings, flaky salt, fresh raspberries, and toasted chopped pistachios.
  • Hazelnut chocolate. A mix of dark and milk chocolate shavings, toasted chopped hazelnuts, flaky salt.

butter board | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to serve a butter board

Make your butter board right before you serve it. They come together very quickly so there’s no need to prep them in advance. If you do need to prep your butter board in advance, make it, then pop it into the fridge to keep the butter cold. Pull the butter board out of the fridge and leave it at room temp for 30 minutes before serving.

Place the butter board, along with dippers, small plates, small butter knives, and napkins arranged around it. That’s it! Everyone can help themselves by scoop up the flavored butter onto bread using knives or small spoons.

Butter board dippers

  • bread – freshly baked crusty breads such as country loaves, sourdough, or baguettes cut or torn into individual servings.
  • toasted breads – warm bread and butter is one of life’s simple pleasures. Give your bread some transformative heat for toast.
  • crackers – seeded crackers, cheese crackers, water crackers; sourdough crackers https://51qishi.com/small-batch-sourdough-crackers/ are especially delicious alongside butter boards.
  • breakfast foods – scones, pancakes, waffles; sweet breakfast things go well with sweet butter boards that feature dollops of jam, fresh fruit, and herbs.
  • vegetables – radishes, snap peas, any sort of crunchy vegetable that you can dip.

butter board recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Are butter boards safe?

There are bunch of sites out there fear-mongering the dangers of butter boards because smushing butter into a wooden board can lead to the butter getting into the cracks where microbes can grow, especially if you’re using a board that you use to prep food. To avoid this all you need to do is do your butter board on a plate or lay down a piece of parchment paper over the board so the butter doesn’t get into the cracks. Also, instead of having everyone communally dip their bread into the butter, lay out some small butter knives or spoons so they can scoop the butter up and discourage double dipping.

Alternatively, you can make cute little individual butter boards on small plates or in dipping bowls. Also, you want your butter to be spreadable and at room temp, but you don’t want to leave the board out too long because believe it or not, butter can go rancid, especially in hot and humid climates. The best thing to do is assemble your butter board right before serving.

What kind of board for a butter board?

Definitely use a clean, dry wooden board that is specifically for cutting bread or vegetables. Or better yet, get a wooden board specifically for butter boards if you’re set on using a wooden board. Otherwise, I recommend using a large flat plate, which will get those butter board naysayers off your back.

bread plate | www.iamafoodblog.com

Better butter board tips and tricks

  • Soft butter is your friend. Let your butter come to room temp for at least 30 minutes.
  • Unsalted butter is better. Go for high quality unsalted butter so you can season it to your own tastes.
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly coarse ground pepper are the sprinkles of the savory food.
  • Herbs, seeds, nuts, and seasonings make it a party.
  • Sweet and savory. Add a drizzle of honey for a bit of sweetness and gloss.
  • Always provide spreading instruments. No double dipping!
  • Do your butter board on a plate. It’s a lot easier to throw a plate into the dishwasher and a lot more difficult to hand wash a buttery wooden board.

Happy butter boarding!
xoxo steph


butter board recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to Make a Butter Board

Butter boards are here to roll into the holiday season.
Serves 8
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper coarsely ground
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temp (2 sticks)
  • 1 pinch flaky sea salt approx 1 tsp, or to taste
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 lemon (zest only)
  • 1 slice red onion
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • fresh herbs of choice, such as thyme, parsley, or sage
  • 2 baguettes sliced to serve, or bread of choice


  • Lightly toast the freshly ground pepper in a dry pan over low heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly. This will warm the peppercorns and release an immense peppery flavor. Remove the pepper from the pan so it doesn’t burn and set aside.
    toasting pepper | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Place the butter in a bowl and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to lightly cream. The butter should be smooth and spreadable, but not at all melty.
    softening butter | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Use the back of a spoon to smoosh and swirl the butter onto a board or plate.
    bread plate | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Layer on the sliced red onions and sprinkle with herbs. Drizzle some maple syrup on top. Finish by sprinkling generously with flaky sea salt, lemon zest, and the toasted cracked black pepper.
    butter board recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Serve with warm baguettes and butter knives so everyone can scoop and spread. Enjoy!
    butter board recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com


Estimated nutrition doesn't include bread

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to Make a Butter Board
Amount Per Serving
Calories 209 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 14.6g91%
Cholesterol 61mg20%
Sodium 213mg9%
Potassium 18mg1%
Carbohydrates 1.3g0%
Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugar 0.5g1%
Protein 0.4g1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Maddy says:

    5 stars
    This looks something I can do! Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Sabrina says:

    5 stars
    I’m totally out of it, missed this entirely ignorant of butter boards, so I appreciate your sharing it, thank you!

  3. Matthew Clark says:

    5 stars
    Made my first butter board for the adults at my daughter’s birthday party and it came out great! Kerry Gold unsalted, roasted garlic, thyme, lemon zest, pistachio, honey. Delicious hit!

    1. Mary Kaye says:

      Can you please share how much of each you used for the garlic, thyme, lemon zest pistachio and honey?

  4. Kim says:

    5 stars
    I gave in and made one of these over the weekend and loved it! I much prefer the bowl presentation to the chopping board. And the variations were terrific – I made 2 kinds and they both flew off the plate. Thanks for sharing!

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