Spicy Holiday Compound Butter


Compound butter is one of my favorite substances on the planet.

I mean, you take regular ole butter, mash in your favorite herbs and spices, roll it up and refrigerate, and…presto! Instant flavor. On hand. When you need it.

This is one of my all-time favorite blends. It’s full of warm, toast-y winter flavors. Scotch. Maple syrup. A hint of smoke from a little smoked paprika. Chinese 5-spice powder, with a little extra clove, anise, and cinnamon thrown in. (Mmmm…)

This is one of those things that I make en masse and keep in the fridge for the holiday season. It’s great on everything from French toast to roasted chicken. Use it to garnish a thick, char-grilled steak. Crown a steaming bowl of creamy mashed potatoes with a few slices and some minced chives.

Like I said: Instant flavor. You get the picture.

Warning: This recipe makes a somewhat obscene amount of butter.

It’ll keep for about a month in the fridge…if it lasts that long, of course. The recipe is also really easy to scale, if you want to make a smaller batch.

This is the butter that we used for this year’s Thanksgiving bird, The Angry Chef’s Whiskey Glazed Turkey.

Spicy Holiday Compound Butter

1 lb. butter, softened
2 Tbls. good scotch, (we used Johnny Walker Black)
1 Tbls. grade B maple syrup (grade A will work, too…grade B has stronger maple-y flavor)
1 Tbls. Chinese 5-spice powder
1/4 tsp. star anise
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt

Yields slightly more than 1 lb. of compound butter. Keeps about 4 weeks.

Flavor the butter

Grab your butter. (In the U.S., one pound of butter = 4 sticks, which is usually one box.)

Slice it up and leave it to soften on the counter for maybe 20 minutes. Basically, you want it soft enough that you can mash it easily with a fork.

When it’s soft, mash it up.

Add the scotch and the maple syrup.

For the maple syrup, I used the Grade B syrup that the good folks at Vermont’s Smith Maple Crest Farm were kind enough to send me. (Thank you, guys!!!) Their syrup has great flavor, and they sell it online. Get some for yourself here.

Toss in the 5-spice powder, anise, clove, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and kosher salt.

Mash it all up with a fork to combine well.

Give it a taste. Add more of salt or spices if you think it needs it.

Wrap and roll

Grab a large sheet of waxed paper. For this amount of butter, you’ll need about a foot-and-a-half or so.

Scoop the butter onto the waxed paper.

Roll it up, tucking the butter under as you roll, just like you would with a burrito or an egg roll.

You want to wind up with a long tube of butter, like this.

Twist the ends like a piece of hard candy. Pop it into the fridge for at least a few hours to harden up. (You can cheat and try to speed it up by putting it in the freezer, just keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn’t freeze solid.)

Slice off as needed. Enjoy!

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. I love it. I am a huge fan of spice and all things nice, so this whipped butter is definitely something I can see myself trying. I make a similar butter concoction, but with herbs and garlic. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.