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What is Garlic Butter?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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A marriage of rich, warm butter and strong, pungent garlic, garlic butter is a spread that is employed in a variety of delicious dishes. Bought in supermarkets or made in the kitchen at home, garlic butter sauce can be used on everything from vegetables, to breads, to pastas and main courses. People who love butter and garlic often substitute garlic butter in their daily cooking.

When searching for a use for the creamy butter spread, one usually needs to look no further than the current contents of the refrigerator or pantry. Starches like rice, noodles, breads, and even potatoes can be flavored well with garlic butter. Meats, such as steak, chicken breast, or pork loin, can be drizzled, sautéed, or even marinated in the dressing. Seafood, like clams, shrimp, and halibut, can be prepared with tasty lemon garlic butter, while nearly any vegetable, from corn on the cob to Brussels sprouts, can be enhanced with the spread.

While many tasty variations can be made, only two ingredients are necessary to complete a garlic butter recipe at home: crushed, minced garlic and any butter of choice. Beat half of one cup (113 milligrams) of butter, then stir in one to two cloves of garlic. The simple yet tasty spread is then ready to be used on any food of choice.

There are dozens of ways to add depths of flavor to this simple garlic butter recipe. Many cooks like to add lemon for a tart note, while others blend in margarine along with the butter for an added richness. Hot sauce, black pepper, paprika, and other spicy additions can be mixed in for a mouthful of kick, while finely ground onions or shallots can help bring forth the flavor of the garlic.

Nearly any spice on an herb rack can be added to buttery garlic spread. Parsley and thyme are popular additions. A dash of ground mace can add warmth to the butter, while dried basil and oregano can provide it with an Italian flair. Rosemary can give the flavoring a woodsy, pine flavor that works well with meat dishes.

If mixing this spread in a blender, a low to medium speed should be used. The butter should be mixed thoroughly, but not whipped, unless preferred while serving on the side. Unsalted, low-fat, or alternative butters may be used for healthier alternatives. Additional cloves of garlic can also be used per the cook's taste.

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Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for DelightedCooking, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Dec 14, 2014

I always include some thyme and basil in my garlic butter, so I have garlic herb butter. I love it on angel hair pasta, maybe with some sliced grape tomatoes stirred in with it. It's wonderful in that recipe.

I also like to roast garden tomatoes with it. Just slice the tomatoes, put them on a cookie sheet, add some salt and pepper to each slice, then roast for about 20 minutes. Add the garlic butter and roast another five minutes or so. Doesn't get any better than that.

Garlic butter is good on nearly anything except dessert. I can't think of too many things it doesn't improve. It's easy and most people like it.

By Pippinwhite — On Dec 13, 2014

I like garlic butter on steak. In my humble opinion, nothing is better on a grilled steak than a nice hunk of garlic butter melting on top. Makes my mouth water, thinking about it.

Actually, garlic butter can make even a mediocre steak taste better. It can give a lot of needed juiciness and flavor if the meat doesn't have much to offer in the way of good steak taste.

The nice thing about it is that it's so easy to make. If you have a mixer and some minced garlic, then garlic butter comes together in just a couple of minutes.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for DelightedCooking, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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