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Food & Recipes

Cowboy Butter Is the Easy Secret to Add Big Flavor to Any Dish — Here’s How to Make It

And our genius freezer trick means you'll have just the right amount on hand whenever you want!

Just about everything is better with butter. And there’s an easy way to make that creamy goodness even more deletable: Simply add seasonings to create a flavored butter worth using in any savory dish. One we love — and spread on everything — is known as Cowboy butter. It’s full of zesty and robust flavors, making it perfect to enjoy on steak, vegetables or a hearty slice of toast. Even better, Woman’s World Food Director Julie Miltenberger says you can make and freeze a batch of it, so it’s always on-hand for any of your cooking needs. Here’s the scoop on Cowboy butter along with our recipe that takes this fridge staple to the next level!

What is Cowboy butter?

Cowboy butter is a type of flavored (or compound) butter that’s enhanced with garlic, herbs, citrus, mustard and spices. The combination of ingredients gives it a spiced and tangy flavor that puts plain butter to shame. In fact, Julie says she likes using Cowboy butter to “cook omelets, sauté vegetables, toss with hot pasta or add a flavor burst to boiled or pan-fried pierogies.” (For another delicious and versatile spread, make this sun dried tomato pesto!)

Where Cowboy butter came from

With a fun name like Cowboy butter, you may wonder how this deletable ingredient came about. Well, it’s reported that a New York comfort food restaurant called Mr. Donahue’s concocted this butter to melt and serve as a dipping sauce for meat dishes. As you could imagine, this butter quickly went from second fiddle to the star of the restaurant’s signature menu items. Since Mr. Donahue’s closed six years ago, lots of Cowboy butter recipes have circulated online — but we have the best one you should make.

The best-ever Cowboy butter recipe

Homemade Cowboy butter is quick to make, as long as you have soft butter on hand. Luckily, our story on softening butter shows how to make it spreadable in 10 minutes. This allows you to prepare our Ree Drummond-inspired recipe for Ribeye Steaks With Cowboy Butter without hassle!

Ribeye Steaks With Cowboy Butter

Ingredients for butter:

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. spicy brown mustard 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. grated lemon zest

Ingredients for steak:

  • 2 bone-in ribeye steaks, about 1 lb. each
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper


  • Active: 20 mins
  • Total time: 55 mins + grill prep time
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Make butter: In small bowl, stir together butter, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest; cover and chill until ready to serve. Alternately, spoon butter down center of sheet of plastic wrap; roll into log, sealing edges tightly. (Note: Butter can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
  2. Sprinkle steaks all over with salt and pepper; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare grill for medium-high direct-heat cooking.
  3. Grill steaks, flipping once, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or until desired doneness. Transfer to platter; let rest at least 5 minutes. Serve steaks topped with dollops of Cowboy butter.

How to store Cowboy butter in the freezer

Although extra Cowboy butter can be stored in the fridge for a few days, it lasts up to one month in the freezer. Simply freeze the entire plastic-wrapped log of butter, then thaw in the fridge overnight. Or follow Julie’s steps for freezing individual butter portions to cook with right away, no thawing needed.

  1. Once rolled into a log, cover in plastic wrap and chill the butter in the fridge until firm, about 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Remove the log from the plastic wrap and slice into ¼”-thick rounds. Place the butter slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until solid, about 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Transfer butter rounds to an airtight plastic bag and store in freezer.
  4. To use: Grab your desired amount of butter rounds to sauté veggies, mix into cooked rice, or melt onto a sizzling hot steak and enjoy!

Craving more butter-tastic dishes? Read the stories below:

Using This Butter Instead of Oil Will Give You the Most Flavorful Roasted Meat and Veggies

Have You Tried a Butter Board Yet? We’re In Love With These 5 Mouthwatering Creations

Adding This Fridge Staple to Your Pasta Sauce Will Make It Taste So Much Better

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