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This holiday butter board recipe tops decadent swirls of butter with cranberry sauce, pecans, orange zest, and rosemary for a festive flavor profile that’s perfect for a holiday brunch or appetizer. The butter board sensation is a viral TikTok trend from user @justine_snacks that involves smearing creamy butter onto a cutting board and topping it with sauces, spices, fruit, nuts, herbs, etc. and serving it with bread to scoop it up.

overhead view of butter board with sliced challah

Have you noticed all the butter boards TikTok gave rise to? The first time I saw one, I was a little googly-eyed.

I’ve been a fan of compound butter for years. It’s called “beurre composé” in French, and even though it has a fancy ring, it couldn’t be more straightforward. Compound butter is essentially the OG of flavored butter; it’s butter mixed with herbs, spices, or other ingredients.

Compound butter generally kicks up the flavor of whatever you put it on. (Try cinnamon honey butter on freshly baked cornbread or rosemary garlic butter on a steak and you’ll see what I mean!) This is why I was so intrigued by the idea of a butter board.

hand holding buttered slice of bread above festive butter board

What Is a Butter Board?

I think of butter boards as a marriage of compound butter and charcuterie boards.

You start with silky smooth room temperature butter. You can whip it if you want. Spread it on a board, and then the fun begins!

If you’re wondering what’s on a butter board, the answer to that is essentially anything you want! Jam, chutney, dried fruit, chopped fresh fruit or vegetables, roasted garlic, herbs, spices, honey, maple syrup, nuts, chocolate, etc. You name it, it’s fair game.

Who Started the Butter Board Trend?

TikTok user @justine_snacks (aka Justine Doiron) shared a butter board on TikTok on September 15, 2022 that started the trend. Justine credited Joshua McFadden, co-author of Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables along with Martha Holmberg, as the inspiration.

sweet butter board with cranberry sauce and pecans

The Best Easy Way to Make a Holiday Butter Board Recipe

This sweet butter board is holiday-themed, but you can adjust it to suit your taste preferences. And swap it out for seasonal ingredients!

For example, to make a summer butter board, use strawberry jam instead of cranberry sauce, chopped walnuts instead of pecans, fresh lemon zest instead of orange zest, and fresh thyme instead of rosemary.

Ingredients

ingredients for holiday butter board

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

  • Unsalted butter – use a really good quality butter here (I like Kerrygold), and make sure it’s at room temperature
  • Cranberry sauce – I usually have a batch of homemade cranberry sauce stashed in my fridge this time of year because I use it like jam (this is my favorite cranberry sauce recipe); store-bought cranberry sauce will also work
  • Chopped pecans – or you can use any type of nuts you like
  • Fresh orange zest – bumps up the flavor and aroma, and adds a little Christmas flair
  • Fresh rosemary – this lends piney aroma and flavor, and pairs well with cranberry sauce
  • Honey – drizzle it on for a touch of sweetness
  • Flaky sea salt – enhances the flavor of everything else, and adds a little bit of crunchy texture

Pro Tip: What Kind of Butter to Use

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Go with a good quality unsalted butter instead of salted to make a butter board because it gives you the option of a sweet or savory butter board. I like to add flaky sea salt for bursts of salty flavor and crunchy texture.

Step by Step Instructions

how to make a butter board
  1. For the creamiest texture and most intense flavor, add the butter to a large bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to beat until fluffy. Spread the butter onto a 12-inch wooden, marble, or slate board. You can dollop it on decoratively any way you like.
  2. Drizzle the cranberry sauce around on the butter.
  3. Sprinkle around the pecans, orange zest, and rosemary.
  4. Drizzle on the honey. Sprinkle on the flaky sea salt. Serve!

How to Store a Butter Board

Once the butter is spread on the board (before you add any toppings), you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.

Get the board out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to serve it (so the butter can soften), and then add the toppings.

After the toppings are added, serve the board (you can leave it at room temperature for up to 2 hours).

Because of the communal nature of a butter board, I generally don’t save leftovers. Even if you serve it with a small knife to smear the butter, you never know if people accidentally dipped their fingers in it.

front view of butter board on wooden cutting board

Butter Board FAQs

Can I Use Cold Butter to Make a Butter Board?

No. Butter has to be at room temperature to make a butter board. Otherwise, the butter won’t spread well.

But there’s a caveat: your butter should not be melted! Pull your butter out of the fridge and let your it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before using, and it should be the perfect temperature.

Do You Have to Whip Butter for a Butter Board?

Technically, no. But I recommend it!

Whipping just a couple minutes is fine. However, if you go a full 10 minutes, the butter will turn a lighter color as it aerates, resulting in the most intense flavor and velvety mouthfeel.

What is the Serving Size for a Butter Board?

This butter board recipe makes 8 servings and has 8 ounces of butter. Each serving is 1 ounce of butter, or about 2 tablespoons (not including toppings).

close up top view of holiday butter board

What Do You Eat With a Butter Board?

You can serve anything with a butter board that tastes good with butter.

When thinking of what to serve with it, think about the flavor profile of the butter board you’re composing.

If you’re going with a sweet butter board, you can think of cakes and scones in addition to bread. And if you’re making a savory butter board, think about pita bread, garlic breadsticks, etc.

Here are a few ideas of what to serve with a butter board:

  • Sliced bread, such as sourdough, challah, brioche, baguette, etc.
  • Mini croissants
  • Waffles, cut into quarters
  • Small scones or biscuits
  • Crispy cookies, such as gingersnaps with this holiday butter board

Are Butter Boards Sanitary?

This question is the source of much debate.

I’m not a food safety expert, but here is what I personally do in terms of food safety for a butter board:

  • Avoid using old wooden boards or wooden boards that are cracked or hard to clean. I also like to use marble or slate cheese boards, and both can be cleaned thoroughly.
  • Don’t let the butter board sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Instead of having people scoop the butter directly with pieces of bread, provide a knife for smearing.
  • Only save leftovers if you’re sure there was no double dipping (or accidental finger-dipping) going on. (If you save leftovers, depending on what you top your butter board with, you can store it wrapped in the fridge for up to 4 days.)
festive christmas butter board

More Holiday Appetizers to Try

butter board with small knife for spreading butter

Let’s Connect

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Holiday Butter Board Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
The butter board sensation is a viral TikTok trend that involves smearing creamy butter onto a cutting board and topping it with sauces, spices, fruit, nuts, herbs, etc. and serving it with bread to scoop it up. This holiday butter board recipe tops decadent swirls of butter with cranberry sauce, pecans, orange zest, and rosemary for a festive flavor profile that’s perfect for a holiday brunch or appetizer.

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Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (see Notes)
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 3 tablespoons pecans chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Optional Serving Suggestions:

  • Sliced challah
  • Sliced brioche
  • Waffles pancakes, or French toast (cut into bite-sized pieces if desired)
  • Crispbread
  • Cookies such as gingersnaps or shortbread
  • Sliced apple or pear

Instructions
 

  • Add the butter to a large bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to beat until fluffy.
  • Spread the butter onto a 12-inch wooden, marble, or slate board. You can dollop it on decoratively any way you like.
  • Drizzle the cranberry sauce around on the butter, and then sprinkle around the pecans, orange zest, and rosemary. Drizzle on the honey. Sprinkle on the flaky sea salt.
  • Serve with sliced bread, or anything you like.

Video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This butter board recipe makes 8 servings and has 8 ounces of butter. Each serving is 1 ounce of butter, or about 2 tablespoons (not including toppings).
  • Nutrition Information: The nutritional information for this recipe was calculated without the optional serving suggestions.
  • What Kind of Butter to Use: I like to use a European butter for this, such as Kerrygold. It’s very important that the butter is at room temperature, not chilled and not melted.
  • Do You Have to Whip the Butter for a Butter Board? Technically, no. But I recommend it! Whipping just a couple minutes is fine. However, if you go a full 10 minutes, the butter will turn a lighter color as it aerates, resulting in the most intense flavor and velvety mouthfeel.
  • Make Ahead: Once the butter is spread on the board (before you add any toppings), you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. Get the board out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to serve it (so the butter can soften), and then add the toppings. After the toppings are added, serve the board (you can leave it at room temperature for up to 2 hours).
  • Storage: Because of the communal nature of a butter board, I generally don’t save leftovers. Even if you serve it with a small knife to smear the butter, you never know if people accidentally dipped their fingers in it.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 28mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 717IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Appetizer, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Butter Board Recipe, Easy Butter Board, Holiday Butter Board, How to Make a Butter Board

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

holiday butter board recipe pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on December 14, 2022. I updated it with more information on December 5, 2023.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a unique idea – perfect for holiday brunch!!

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