Garlic butter is simple to make and packs a punch in any number of dishes, including garlic bread, cooked meats, fish, and vegetables. Learn how to make your own garlic butter and save money!
Simple food is some of the best. What a boon to the frugal home cook! We don’t need to get crazy complicated in order to eat well.
Garlic butter is one prime example of eating well without all the fuss. Just a little dab will do ya. Like other compound herb butters, this spread packs a big punch into a small serving.
Why Make This
It’s super easy – Just a mixture of softened butter and crushed or minced garlic, with a little chopped fresh parsley for kicks, learning how to make garlic butter is a matter of stirring!
It’s versatile – An ideal spread for hot sandwiches, breads, rolls, and breadsticks, homemade garlic butter makes an instant sauce when melted, perfect for dribbling on steamed veggies or cooked meats.
It’s packed with flavor. How strong the garlic flavor will depend on how much garlic is used and how long the mixture rests before use. You can adjust it to suit your preferences.
You can buy garlic butter in a plastic tub at the store, but honestly, it will taste better and fresher if you make your own. You’ll need:
butter – you can use dairy butter as well as margarine or plant butter. There will be flavor differences among those three choices, but the basic process is the same.
garlic – you can use fresh cloves that your mince yourself, jarred garlic, or in a pinch, garlic powder. Fresh or jarred garlic will give you the best flavor. If you want to get super fancy use roasted garlic.
parsley – fresh parsley gives garlic butter a bright, fresh flavor as well as add color to the finished dish. You can use dried parsley flakes if you need to.
Garlic and parsley make a simple compound garlic butter, but you can change the flavor by adding in different herbs and spices, such as:
- lemon zest
- ground cumin
If you use dried herbs, use 1/3 what you would use in fresh. In this instance, 1/2 teaspoon of the dried herb should be sufficient.
To make homemade garlic butter, simply chop the parsley and garlic finely and work them into softened butter until well combined.
Use the mixture in recipes right away or store it, covered in the fridge for up to a week.
It can be used as a topping for grilled or roasted meats and fish as well as cooked vegetables, such as Easy Garlic Green Beans, or cooked pasta or noodles. As it melts, it creates an instant sauce. French chefs slather it on escargots.
For longer storage, lay out a small piece of plastic wrap. Place the prepared butter mixture in a log along the plastic and roll it up in the plastic. Store the butter log in a ziptop plastic bag. If you don’t want to use the entire log, you can slice off as much as you want from the frozen log.
Alternatively, you can press the butter into silicone ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen pop out the butter cubes and store in a ziptop bag.
Garlic butter is a great thing to freeze! Simply wrap it well and store in the freezer. So that you don’t have to thaw an entire block, freeze it in smaller portions, per my directions above.
While a vegan garlic butter won’t have the exact same flavor as that made with dairy butter, you can make an approximate variation by using your favorite vegan spread or margarine. Alternatively, garlic-infused olive oil is a nice vegan option that doesn’t require buying more expensive plant-based products.
Yes, garlic butter can go bad. Do not leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Keep it refrigerated for up to a week and frozen for longer storage.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- butter $0.92 ($3.69/lb)
- garlic $0.02
- fresh parsley $0.05
One-half cup (or 4 ounces) of garlic butter costs $0.99 to make. By contrast, prepared garlic butter from the grocery store costs $2.99 for the same volume. Homemade is the clear winner!
How to save even more
Save even more when you use the Good Cheap Eats System! Here are some strategies to get the costs down further.
Visit the store with the best prices – Do some price comparisons and see who has the best prices, particularly for butter.
Shop the sales and clearance – Sale butter is a lot cheaper than the full price we quoted above. Here in SoCal, I can find butter as low as $2/pound, making this recipe as low as $0.57/batch!
More Great Ways to Use Garlic
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- 8 tbsp butter softened
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, garlic, and parsley.
- Use as a spread on garlic bread or sandwiches and as an instant sauce for cooked vegetables, meats, or fish.
- lemon zest
- ground cumin