How to Make Sage Butter

There are a couple of ways to make sage butter. One is actually a melted sage butter (brown) sauce that's pretty delicious with chicken (we'll get to that before Thanksgiving). The other is a flavored butter you can use as an ingredient in cooking or to serve on a buffet or at the table. It will keep for weeks in the fridge and for months in the freezer. (Yes, you can freezer butter without it having an impact on the taste.)

Butter has a naturally mild flavor, so it lends itself to almost any spice, herb or other ingredient or blends you want to add to it. I tend to like simple flavored butters that resonate with the unique contribution of a single herb. That way rosemary butter is the perfect accompaniment to lamb, and sage butter is spectacular with roasted turkey or chicken. I will typically make up a stick of butter per herb recipe and:

Mix it.
Wrap the mixture into a (wax paper covered) tube.
Freeze the tube.
Slice it into one inch disks after it has had time to chill.
Store the disks in the freezer in a zip-lock bag.

I can snag disks out easily for specific recipes. If I want to slather sage butter under the skin of my Thanksgiving turkey, all I have to do is to take a couple of butter disks out of the freezer 15 minutes or so before I need them. That's how quickly they soften up at room temperature.

I can also take out a whole sage butter log as an accompaniment to cornbread muffins, potato rolls or mashed sweet potatoes.  A pound of butter easily sees a tidy freezer full of sage butter, rosemary butter, chive butter and garlic butter (for garlic bread).  If you want to get fancy, you can even place the mixture into food grade molds for flavored butter pats in fancy shapes.  (Think individual, fancy soaps and you have the idea.)  Making herb butter is an easy trick, but it looks like you took lots of time and effort with it.  It is 10 minutes in the kitchen that will pay you dividends during the holidays when you want to up your game at mealtime.

Sage Butter Recipe

  • 1 Stick of (salted) butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. finely minced sage leaves (about 6 to 8)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients and leave at room temperature for an hour or two. This will give the sage time to transmit flavor to the butter. After letting it sit, stir it one more time.
  2. Transfer mixture by heaping tablespoon to a square of wax paper or parchment paper.
  3. Roll into a tight tube about an inch or a little more across.
  4. Twist the ends of the tube and secure them with twine.
  5. Freeze. (It should take about 20 minutes for the butter to firm up.)
  6. If you want to store smaller portions, remove the tube from the freezer, unwrap it and use a sharp knife to slice the butter into one inch sections.  Refreeze the "pats" in a freezer bag for future use.
Tip:  Make sure the sage leaves are clean and dry, and before you mince them, bruise them between your fingers.  The goal is to release as much oil as possible into the butter.


  1. Great idea. I want to try this with my abundance of basil leaves. I also might freeze the flavored butter in an ice cube tray and once frozen, put them into a freezer bag.

    Thank you,
    Anna in So. Maryland

  2. Excellent recipe, thank you so much! I am a beginner, so this is exactly what I needed.

  3. Awesome! Thanks for the easy recipe. Mine is in the freezer now.


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