The latest TikTok food trend is butter boards — wooden serving boards slathered in butter and toppings, begging to be scooped up with a hunk of freshly-baked bread. Videos of the boards, which show yellow spreads of butter topped with everything from blueberry compote to roasted cherry tomatoes, have racked up nearly 10 billion views on the social media app.
But what exactly is a butter board? And how do you pick the perfect flavor combination when making one in your own kitchen?
What is a butter board?
Before whipping out your wooden boards and raiding the fridge for toppings, it’s important to know what a butter board is. “Basically, it’s a board made of softened butter layered on a cutting board, or you can put it on a plate,” says Lindsey Baruch, a TikToker who’s butter board video has been viewed more than 35,000 times, “and then you can mix and match different kinds of herbs and seasonings.”
Nadia Aidi, a content creator who also hopped on the butter board trend, says the boards are a communal way to serve bread and butter. “In my opinion, it’s a more fun and inviting way to do it,” she tells Yahoo Life. “We put out cheese boards with all kinds of toppings and fun stuff — why not do it with butter?”
What type of butter is best for a butter board?
While you can use just about any type of butter you like for a butter board, not all butter is created equally. For butter boards, Javier Garcia Cerrillo, Executive Chef at Mexico’s Thompson Zihuatanejo restaurant, says finding the highest quality butter possible will make all the difference. “I prefer grass-fed butter because it doesn’t have any kind of additions to the diet of the cattle,” he says.
The second decision in picking butter for a butter board is whether to use salted or unsalted butter. While most content creators lean into unsalted butter (because they are adding flaky sea salt to the top of their boards) Cerrillo goes for salted. “I prefer the salted because you get a better balance compared to unsalted butter,” he says. Grass-fed butter is often thought to be more flavorful and richer in texture than regular butter, due to the diet of the cows it comes from.
Tips for making a butter board
Aidi likes to start her boards by putting down a small pat of butter, followed by a sheet of parchment paper, which she then layers her ingredients on.
“I like to put parchment paper on the bottom [of the board],” she shares. “Something about just putting it directly on the board is not for me.” She also explains the parchment paper makes for an easy clean-up at the end of a meal.
While the boards are simple enough to be prepped ahead of time, Aidi goes a different route. “I like to have everything prepped to [assemble my butter board] in front of people,” she says. “They enjoy watching the process.”
For Baruch, prepping goes a few steps further. “[I do] half [of the] prep [in advance] and then right before, I have everything ready to just top it with,” she says. Her tip? Put a layer of butter on the board then put ingredients like lemon zest on top before storing in the fridge while waiting for guests to arrive.
“Then when it’s ready to serve I would put the pickles and the garnishes [on top],” she explains, “just so that it doesn’t get stuck to the butter because [the butter] would need time to soften.”
What flavor combinations are the best?
“I really love thinly-sliced pickles, which kind of give a charcuterie vibe to the plate,” says Baruch. “I [recently made] roasted butternut squash and honey butter, and I feel like that would be a really good thing to put on [a butter board] as well and serve it with challah.”
“My first one has been the best, it had salsa macha and honey,” says Aidi, adding that salsa macha is a Mexican salsa with peanuts and cracked chili, so it’s spicy and crunchy.
“It’s delicious,” she says, “It’s very similar to chili crunch if you have that. [Add] a little bit of chive, lemon and flaky sea salt, and it’s just such a good combination of flavors and textures.”
“I’ve seen such amazing other kinds of flavor combinations as well,” says Baruch, mentioning that she recently saw fellow TikToker, Violet Witchel make a chimichurri butter board topped with steak. “I kind of want to try that next.”
What can you do with the leftovers?
Butter boards are best when eaten right away, but leftovers should be safe to eat the next day, as long as you serve the butter with knives to prevent guests from double-dipping their bread into the mixture.
“I don’t think there will be any,” says Baruch of leftovers. “But honestly, I would probably just scrape it off, put it in a container, [and put it] back in the fridge.”
“I just roll up the parchment paper and funnel [what is leftover] into a little mason jar,” says Aidi. She says she doesn’t use her leftovers for a second board, but finds a way to repurpose the butter and toppings for other meals that need a bit of flavor, like pasta dishes.
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