Are charcuterie boards a thing of the past? The internet certainly seems to think so, with the butter board being dubbed as the ideal alternative for any elegant soiree. Dinner guests are sure to be impressed with this aesthetically pleasing plate, which has recently become popularised via a viral TikTok trend.
Justine Doiron, a Brooklyn-based cook and content creator, was the first to introduce the concept to a wider audience. ‘Have you heard of a butter board? Doiron asked her audience. No one really had… but since then, over 8.5 million people have viewed the video and the butter board has spread all over social media. Doiron can’t take all the credit though, as she cites chef Josh Mcfadden as her inspiration, detailing how much she liked his idea of a group coming together to enjoy a fresh sharing platter of salty and zesty butter. She’s clearly not the only one, as more and more people are trying their hand at creating this new version of the charcuterie board.
So, what exactly is this mysterious new idea? Essentially, a butter board is exactly what it says on the tin. A softened butter is spread across a similar type of board to its charcuterie counterpart, providing a smooth and salty base for lots of tasty ingredients to be placed on top, resulting in an equally pleasing feast for the eyes and the stomach. As well as this, the delicious butter would not be complete without warm, fresh bread.
You might be thinking that this all sounds very plain. Butter with bread doesn’t immediately scream a culinary adventure. However, there is the potential to do so much more, by incorporating a range of ingredients as toppings. Working well as an appetiser, starter or side dish, the butter board is a fresh take on old, overdone platters. Unlike cheese or meat, it’s extremely unlikely that your guests won’t be a fan of butter, ensuring the butter board’s title as a party favourite. As well as being more affordable, it is also quicker to make than the charcuterie board but still retains the same stylistic aspect that will inevitably impress all.
What is a butter board?
A butter board consists of softened butter spread flat across the surface of a board, seasoned with salt and lemon zest, then garnished with toppings of your choice. It's the new and improved version of its charcuterie counterpart. As always, presentation is key, meaning the butter can be smeared or sculpted into any chosen pattern or shape. The board is accompanied by fresh, warm bread on the side for scooping.
How to make a butter board
On to the important stuff. It’s crucial to think methodically when curating your butter board. It may be easier to make than the charcuterie board, but there are still some necessary steps to follow for success. These points have been inspired by butter board queen, Justice Doiron, herself.
As a general tip before you get started, remember to cut everything small enough to fit on a slice of bread!
- Start with a large board. A wooden board or serving plate would be ideal.
- Spread the butter on your chosen board. It’s important that the butter is warm, but not too much so that it melts. We recommend having the butter at room temperature and mixing in a bowl to ensure its smooth texture. The recommended serving size is to use one packet butter for eight people.
- Season, season, season! Salt is always a good addition, as well as lemon zest to add freshness. After this you can go as crazy as you want. Herbs, spices, toasted nuts… anything would work.
- Display toppings in a presentable way. If you decide to add more toppings, like vegetables, ham or olives, then it’s important to arrange in a visually pleasing way! This is essential for the wow factor of the dish. Make sure everything is distributed evenly throughout the board, for a uniform, neat look.
- Serve with warm, fresh bread. Something like sourdough would work perfectly, with a lovely combination of crusty and soft textures.
If you’re looking to create a butter board that has more of a luxurious finish, some people finish the decoration with edible flowers and a drizzle of honey - of course, only if it matches the other tastes on the board.
Savoury butter board ideas
Like the idea but not sure where to start with the ingredients? We’ve collated a number of savoury and sweet, incredibly tasty looking, butter boards ideal for you to replicate or take inspiration from.
Fresh and (sort of) Healthy Butter Board
Chamomile flowers adorn this fresh-tasting butter board, which puts an emphasis on vegetables. The salted French butter has been garnished with flaky salt, fresh basil, and lemon zest. As well as these core ingredients, the board contains radishes, shallots, roasted garlic and microgreens. Packed with fresh and tasty flavours, this board would be the perfect savoury addition to a weekend lunch.
Butter and Mixed Garlic Confit Board
This butter board consists of a soft butter layer topped with lemon zest, parsley and mild hot honey. Its winning feature is that the butter itself is mixed with a garlic confit, sure to pair perfectly with the crunch of a golden baguette.
Breakfast Butter Boar
The great thing about butter is that it works at all times of the day. Ipso facto, it’s never too early to indulge in a butter board, especially when paired with English muffins. This board has thick-cut bacon crumbles, roasted garlic, garlic chili crisp, everything bagel seasoning and parsley for added freshness. Sharing this with a group of friends would definitely be a great way to start the day.
Sweet butter board ideas
The sweet and savoury combination is undeniably a great one. These butter boards lean more heavily towards the former, certain to curb those sugary cravings in the most elegant of ways.
Pumpkin Spiced Butter Board
Pumpkin spice latte? More like pumpkin spiced butter board. This pumpkin spiced butter board is ideal for heading into the Autumn months. It could be easily recreated using pumpkin seed butter, seasoned with cinnamon and a sprinkling of toasted pecan nuts as well as a little honey for sweetness.
French Bakery Butter Board
We love bread, but we also love pastries, and if there’s anything that goes well with a freshly toasted croissant, it’s delicious butter and jam. Why not embrace the nature of the butter board trend at your next brunch? You could create some beautiful patterns of jam on the butter board, perfect for the whole group to dip into.
Fruit Butter Board
If you’re looking to sweeten up the savoury flavours of your butter board, a great way to do this would be by adding fruit. A popular favourite for charcuterie boards is figs, and these definitely work well with butter too. Otherwise, we think this apricot, jam and mint board looks absolutely delicious. It’s sure to be a lovey combination of fresh, sweet, and savoury flavours.
After all this talk about butter, we can be sure that you'll be in the mood to eat some! Why not browse our list of best French restaurants in London, to get to the source of good quality butter and fresh bread. If you're all buttered out, but in the mood for food, try something new from our collection of best pop up restaurants at the moment.
Header image courtesy of Justine Doiron.