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What is MaîTre D'HôTel Butter?

Maître d'hôtel butter, a culinary classic, is a savory blend of softened butter, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and a touch of salt. This compound butter transforms simple dishes into gourmet experiences, melting over steaks or vegetables to release its aromatic flavors. Curious about how this elegant touch can elevate your home cooking? Let's explore its versatility together.
A Kaminsky
A Kaminsky

Maître d'hôtel butter is a special butter/sauce served in good restaurants, but easily replicated at home. Its origins are somewhat murky, but it is now a common item on better menus, even if no one refers to it by its formal name. In fact, this would be considered the “foodie” name, whereas many people would call it “herbed butter.”

It begins life as a stick of regular, unsalted butter. With a spoon or mixer, a cook creams the butter and adds chopped parsley, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black or white ground pepper. The mixture is then gathered into plastic wrap and formed into a log or roll. The roll is then refrigerated until firm.

Marjoram, which is often included in maitre d'hotel butter.
Marjoram, which is often included in maitre d'hotel butter.

To use maître d'hôtel butter, the cook simply cuts small rounds and serves them atop grilled meat or fish. As it melts, it forms a savory sauce that mixes with the meat juices, heightening the flavor of the meat and giving it richness. Leftover butter can be rewrapped and refrigerated for two or three days until needed again.

There are endless variations on maître d'hôtel butter. Adding garlic, for instance, turns the mixture into escargot butter. Some cooks may also add bleu cheese, chives, marjoram or minced basil to their personal version. The whole aim is to give more flavor, texture and richness to the meat.

Butter before being mixed with flavorings.
Butter before being mixed with flavorings.

However, maître d'hôtel butter does have other uses besides being used on grilled meat. It is a favorite spread for toasted crusty French bread or bruschetta. It is also delicious on a whole grain toasted roll or cheddar biscuit. This butter also gives richness and flavor to an omelet or quiche. Since it is so easy to make, every cook can adjust any seasonings to his or her taste, making it a versatile seasoning method.

Any cook who wants to give his or her grilled meat or homemade bread a boost should try making this herbed butter. It is a goof-proof way of putting a different aspect on a familiar favorite.

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Discussion Comments


Guys, when you're making that first meal for your girlfriend, maître d'hôtel butter is absolutely your best friend.

Like the article said, it really is an absolutely fool proof way to put a new spin on even the plainest and most traditional of dishes, and best of all, it really doesn't cost that much to make.

So the next time you're breaking out that one steak or fish recipe that you learned solely to impress your dates, believe me, pop a little maître d'hôtel butter in your butter boat and you'll be golden.

Frankly, even if you can't incorporate it easily into the meal, then use it for bread and butter as an appetizer. Yes, it is that impressive, especially if you mention offhand how you like to make it in your spare time.

Good luck, guys.


I love maître d'hôtel butter, and I was so totally jazzed to find out that I can make it at home. I remember the first time I tried it, appropriately enough at a hotel; I was just stunned by the delicate interplay of tastes and flavors between the butter and the herbs.

I searched around to try and find out some maître d'hôtel butter recipes, and lo and behold it's not actually that hard to make. So now I always keep my red butter dish full of maître d'hôtel butter, especially when I've got guests coming over.

It's one of those things that looks incredibly fancy, but is actually very, very easy to do on your own for a fraction of what you would pay in the store.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a win-win: impressive to guests, cheap, and tasty? What more could you want?


Now, people may get onto me for being a food snob, but I really feel like I have to say this -- if you get a good maître d'hôtel butter, I mean a really good one, don't spread it all over your dish like you would with a regular butter or a synthetic spread.

It always drives me crazy to see people using maître d'hôtel butter like it's some kind of filling or sauce when in reality, it is best used to complement the taste of a meal, not make it.

Now I understand that some of these butter crocks that are full of so called maître d'hôtel butter actually don't have much taste, in which case, slather away. However, when you've got a good, nicely made maître d'hôtel butter, don't use it like EZ Cheeze. You will not only destroy the taste of your dish; you won't get the best out of the butter either.

So remember, complementary, not overwhelming.

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    • Marjoram, which is often included in maitre d'hotel butter.
      Marjoram, which is often included in maitre d'hotel butter.
    • Butter before being mixed with flavorings.
      By: Elena Schweitzer
      Butter before being mixed with flavorings.
    • Parsley is often used to make maitre d'hotel butter.
      By: Barbara Pheby
      Parsley is often used to make maitre d'hotel butter.