Cowboy Butter – Barefeet in the Kitchen

Loaded with robust garlic, zesty lemon, and a kick of red pepper flakes, Cowboy Butter is absolutely crave-worthy on steak, vegetables, or fresh bread.

steaks on cutting board with compound butter

What is Cowboy Butter?

My brother Karl first told me about this spread. I had never even heard of cowboy butter. He assured me that this spicy, garlic herb compound butter was indeed a real thing.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I was visiting my friend Sandra and she mentioned making cowboy butter for our steaks that night. It was love at first taste! Juicy, grilled meat topped with scoops of slowly melting cowboy steak butter is pure heaven.

Cowboy Butter

This isn’t your average butter. It is a zesty, garlicky, citrus-kissed, spice-tickled creamy concoction with irresistible flavor. I found myself begging her for the recipe.

Lucky for me, it’s about as easy as can be to make. You can mix this compound butter together in barely 5 minutes. The hardest part is waiting while it chills and firms up again in the fridge.

If you’re serving this over meat, it’s well worth the wait. You want the butter to slowly melt over your steak instead of immediately dissolving. Still delicious after it melts, just better when served chilled over hot steaks.

compound butter with cowboy knife spreader on wooden table next to vegetables

How to Make Cowboy Butter

One of my favorite things about compound butter recipes is that everyone can adjust the ingredients to suit their taste. You can make it spicier with the inclusion of cayenne pepper or by adding more pepper flakes.

Or, you could increase the lemon juice or even use limes to give it a more prominent citrus flavor. I’ve seen variations with mustard and horseradish, and others that include a host of fresh herbs.

This recipe is for how to make cowboy butter the way that I fell in love with it, the one that my kids go crazy over. But, if you use other ingredients, I’d love to hear how you like it at your house.

cowboy butter over grilled steak on cutting board

Cowboy Butter Recipe

  • butter
  • lemon
  • minced garlic
  • Italian parsley
  • red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
ingredients for cowboy butter in mixing bowl with checkered napkin

Start by placing the softened butter, parsley, garlic, finely minced lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until it is fluffy.

Then, squeeze one lemon half into the bowl (about 2 tablespoons). Beat again until well combined.

garlicky herb compound butter mixed together in bowl on wooden table

Transfer the butter to an airtight container and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. When ready to use, scoop the firm butter over hot steaks. If you have any butter leftover, it’s tossed with hot vegetables or served room temperature and spread over bread.

For a cowboy butter that is heavier on the garlic flavor, feel free to double or triple the amount of garlic in this recipe. I almost always use a bit more than the recipe card indicates.

scoop of compound butter over roasted vegetables in white dish

How Long Does Compound Butter Last?

Compound butter feels like a fancy treat every time I make it. The extra flavor it brings to the table is worth the minutes spent whipping up a batch. And, you don’t have to worry about how it will stay fresh in the fridge.

Cowboy butter is good for several weeks if stored in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped in wax paper. So, even if I make a double batch, there’s no chance it will go bad. And, you can even freeze it for several months.

sliced steak topped with garlic herb butter on plate with vegetables

Garlic Herb Compound Butter

For those of you who are a fan of this cowboy butter recipe, allow me to share three of my favorite words with you: jalapeno honey butter. It is a sweet and spicy slice of heaven.

I was introduced to everything butter during a trip to New York. It’s exactly as good as it sounds. I also like this broiled salmon with peppery dill butter.

If you’re in need of a great steak recipe to try with cowboy butter, try a reverse seared NY strip steak. I’m a big fan of the reverse sear method because it consistently delivers an evenly cooked result.

I’ve got my eye on these dinner rolls to try soon with this fabulous spread. And, skillet green beans would be a prime candidate for using up the last of a batch.

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Servings: 8

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  • Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the parsley, garlic, finely minced lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Squeeze one lemon half into the bowl (about 2 tablespoons). Beat again until well combined.

  • Transfer the butter to an airtight container and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. When ready to use, scoop the firm butter over hot steaks. If you have any butter leftover, it’s delicious on bread or tossed with hot vegetables.

For a cowboy butter that is heavier on the garlic flavor, feel free to double or triple the amount of garlic in this recipe.

Calories: 210kcal · Carbohydrates: 2g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 23g · Saturated Fat: 15g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 6g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 61mg · Sodium: 186mg · Potassium: 51mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 0.4g · Vitamin A: 1047IU · Vitamin C: 12mg · Calcium: 17mg · Iron: 0.3mg

close up photo of steak with compound butter melting over it
garlic and herb compound butter with cowboy boot butter spreader

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