I used to think nothing could beat the elegant simplicity of a plate filled with cheeses, crackers, and an assortment of other junk. It’s the centerpiece of any party that’s worth attending, and I feel personally offended when there isn’t one. But now that I’ve learned about the butter board, my entire reality has shifted. What are butter boards? Please, come on this buttery journey with me.
What is a butter board?
The butter board is a relatively recent culinary creation, making its first appearance in 2017. Chef Joshua McFadden created it and included it in his cookbook Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. The dish features good quality butter spread onto a wooden cutting board and adorned with a variety of herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, and even edible flowers.
The butter board is served in conjunction with sliced bread, which you use to scrape the decorated butter off the board, effectively buttering your bread. The whole thing is a fun, communal twist on the traditional bread and butter you might get at a restaurant or even a replacement for the standard charcuterie board or fondue pot you may have at a party. It is, after all, much easier to slap some butter on a cutting board than it is to cut a bunch of different cheeses.
What is the viral butter board trend?
Like many modern food trends, the butter board gained popularity on TikTok during the pandemic. Food blogger Justine Doiron posted her own version of the butter board in 2022 and it went viral, garnering over a million likes. If you browse butter boards TikTok, #butterboard brings back hundreds of options; each butter board different than the last.
How to make a butter board?
The important thing is to start with softened butter, otherwise you won’t be able to artfully spread it across a big board. After that, it’s all jazz, baby. McFadden mentions the versatility of the butter board, saying that no two butter boards you make should taste the same. That’s because the combination of ingredients, breads, and even butters is completely modular and can be made to fit any occasion. Here are some ideas:
Halloween: butter of your choice, roasted pumpkin seeds, fresh or pickled button mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, fig, edible viola flowers, served with a heavily seeded bread (or even a pumpkin flavored bread).
Thanksgiving: butter of your choice, dried cranberry, cinnamon, walnut, finely chopped roasted butternut squash, shredded brussel sprouts, served with classic dinner rolls.
Harvest: butter of your choice, granny smith apple, pickled beets, roasted chestnuts, arugula, a drizzle of honey, any bread you want.
You can make a butter board for any season or holiday. It’s a great way to express your creativity and surprise friends with something different at your next party.
Try a butter board. Cholesterol be damned.