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Compound Butter with Parsley and Lemon (Maitre d’Hotel Butter)

Compound butter is a chef’s best friend, and is one of the secrets of French bistro cuisine. Maitre d’Hotel butter – with a little lemon zest and parsley mixed in – gives bistro food its distinctive character.

Maitre d’Hotel butter is versatile. I use it to saute vegetables, baste roast chicken, and season mussels. But the best way to use this butter is to finish a steak. Put a pat on top of a cooked steak, right when it comes off the heat; the butter melts, mingling with the juices and making my all time favorite steak sauce.
More on Steak with Maitre d’Hotel butter on Thursday…

Compound butter is easy to make, and keeps forever in the freezer; I always make a big batch, and freeze the rest. Then I have frozen assets – ready and waiting for me to shave off a slice when dinner needs a flavor boost.

Inspired by dinner at Le Bistro du Beaujolais in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. Looking for bistro French in Northeastern Ohio? It’s worth the drive.

Recipe: Compound Butter with Parsley and Lemon (Maitre d’Hotel Butter)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: None



  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • Juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Beat the butter

Put all the ingredients in the bowl a food processor and process until completely combined, about 30 seconds.

2. Roll the butter

Scrape the butter out of the food processor bowl and onto a of parchment paper, forming it into a rough rectangle in the center of the paper. Fold the parchment paper over the butter, then push the paper under the butter using a bench scraper, squeezing it into the shape of a cylinder. Keep pushing with the bench scraper, working up and down the butter, until it is squeezed into a cylinder the width of a quarter.

3. Store the butter

Twist the ends to seal the paper. Put the parchment paper wrapped cylinder in a zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to six months.


  • Take the butter out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before processing – it needs to be soft to process properly.
  • No food processor? Beat the butter with a mixer instead.

What do you think?

How do you use compound butter? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Related Posts

Maitre d’Hotel Butter can substitute for the butter sauce in any of these recipes…
Grilled Butterflied Chicken with Garlic Butter
Shrimp Saute with Garlic Butter
Pan Seared Ribeye with Shallot and Herb Butter

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Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


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