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Compound Butter Ingredients

compound butter ingredients: kosher salt, minced garlic, unsalted butter, fresh thyme, ancho chile pepper.
  • Water: This won’t actually go into the compound butter, but it’s used to rehydrate the ancho chile pepper
  • Dried Ancho Chile: This is a dried poblano pepper that is mildly spicy.
  • Unsalted Butter: If you use salted butter, cut back on the salt in the recipe.
  • Minced Garlic: Do yourself a favor and mince 1-2 fresh garlic cloves. Fresh is much more flavorful than the pre-minced jarred garlic.
  • Kosher Salt: If you use table salt, reduce the amount by at least half.
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme leaves will provide the best flavor, but dried thyme leaves can also be used. If you use dry, crumble the leaves in your hands to release their essential oils.

Substitutions: To make garlic compound butter without the chile, just leave the ancho out.

What is an Ancho Chile

Ancho chile peppers are dried poblano peppers. When dried, they are dark redish black and very flat.

Poblano peppers, when fresh, are the dark green peppers that are about 3 times larger than a jalapeño pepper. They are more flat than they are round.

Like all peppers, their level of spiciness can vary from pepper to pepper, depending on their growing conditions, but the heat is similar to an Anaheim pepper, which is the long skinny, light green peppers.

Chile vs Chili: These two words get mixed up all of the time. A chile is an actual pepper; whereas chili, is a tomato-based stew that contains meat, chiles and sometimes beans.

Ancho chile peppers have a Scoville heat unit of 1,000-2,000; whereas a chipotle (a dried jalapeño) has a Scoville heat unit of 10,000-20,000.

ancho chile pepper rehydrating in pot of water.

How to Rehydrate Peppers

The simplest way to rehydrate a pepper is to steep it in boiling water.

Place a small pot on the stove. Bring the water to a boil. Then, place the pepper in the pot, add the lid and turn off the heat.

In just 10 minutes, the pepper will be soft.

Alternatively, you could also boil water in a bowl in the microwave. Then, place the pepper in the water and close the microwave door, but don’t turn the microwave back on. The pepper will soften in 10-15 minutes.

More text explaining how long the meat should rest

How to Prepare the Ancho Chile Pepper

Once the pepper is rehydrated, remove it from the water and let the excess water drip back into the pot or bowl.

Using a knife, remove the stem and scrape out the seeds.

rehydrated chile pepper with stem and seeds removed and remaining minced.

Then, mince the remaining part of the pepper into very small pieces. Now you’re ready to add the other ingredients.

How to Make Ancho Garlic Compound Butter

To make compound butter, start with softened unsalted butter. I usually put the butter on the counter as soon as I’m starting to pull everything together for dinner. By the time I need it, it’s softened.

stick of butter in bowl with minced ancho, garlic, thyme and salt on top.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter with the minced chile peppers, minced garlic, salt and thyme.

For best results, stir everything together with a fork. This will allow all of the flavors to evenly distribute within the butter.

How to Roll Up Compound Butter

You could serve the ancho garlic butter straight from the bowl, but most compound butters are rolled up and chilled, so they can be sliced into medallions and added to food like steaks, chicken and vegetables.

  1. Start by placing a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the counter.
  2. Use a spoon to place the butter in a row in the bottom center of the plastic wrap, leaving 2-3 inches of plastic exposed on the bottom.
  3. Fold that part of the plastic over the butter.
  4. Roll the butter into a log, until you reach the top end of the plastic.
  5. Grab the two ends, hold on and flip the butter in a forward motion. This will cause the ends to twist.

How to Use Compound Butter on Steaks, Chicken, Vegetables

Once you butter is rolled into a log, chill it so it’s hard enough to be cut into slices. This will take 30 minutes in the freezer or an hour in the refrigerator.

sliced ancho garlic compound butter.

You can add slices of compound butter to a steak or chicken breast while it’s cooking. This will allow all of the flavors to melt right into the meat.

However, if your meat is not cooking in a pan, the butter will drip off the sides, which can cause flareups on a grill. That’s why I like to mostly use compound butters when cooking meat in a cast iron skillet.

You can also add slices of compound butter to dishes after you remove them from the grill. This is especially great on grilled asparagus, corn on the cob and in mashed potatoes. It’s also great on garlic bread.

Save any remaining butter by wrapping it back up in the plastic wrap and returning it to the fridge.

GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Use unsalted butter, so you can control the salt in your compound butter
  • Use fresh garlic and herbs for a better flavor
  • Try adding minced, rehydrated ancho chile for a touch of heat

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy ancho chile peppers?

You should be able to find them in the Hispanic section of your grocery store near the enchilada sauce and refried beans. You can also purchase them online. I buy mine direct from Spiceology.

Can you soften butter in a microwave?

Technically you can, but I prefer to soften it on the counter at room temperature. If you use the microwave, it can go from hard to soft to melted, very quickly. You don’t want the butter to melt, if making compound butter. If you do the microwave, use a reduced power setting and microwave in 10-second bursts, checking in between each burst.

Can I make this without the chile?

Absolutely. Once you have the basics down, you can adjust the ingredients and create all sorts of flavors of compound butters. Remove the ancho and you have garlic compound butter. Add fresh herbs like rosemary or sage to make compound butter for turkey. Herbs like fresh parsley, tarragon and lemon zest make great compound butter for fish.

How long does compound butter last?

Because this garlic compound butter is made with fresh garlic and herbs, I don’t recommend keeping it for longer than 5 days. If you keep it longer, the moisture in the fresh aromatics will start to break down the butter solids.

ancho garlic compound butter on sliced chicken

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5 from 4 votes

Ancho Garlic Compound Butter

Take your grilled dishes to a new level by topping your favorite steaks, chicken and vegetables with ancho garlic compound butter.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 tablespoons


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 dried ancho chile pepper
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme


  • Rehydrate Pepper: Bring the water to a boil in a small pot. Place the pepper in the pot. Add the lid. Turn off the heat, and allow the pepper to soften for 10 minutes.
  • Mince Pepper: Remove the pepper from the water and allow most of the liquid to drain off. Remove the stem, and scrape away most of the seeds. Mince the remaining part of the pepper and place in a bowl with the butter, garlic, salt and thyme.
  • Mix Butter: Using a fork, mix all of the ingredients, until they are even.
  • Roll Butter: Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Using a spoon, place the butter in a row in the bottom center of the plastic wrap, leaving 2-3 inches of plastic exposed on the bottom. Fold that part of the plastic over the butter. Roll the butter into a log, until you reach the top end of the plastic. Grab the two ends, hold on and flip the butter in a forward motion. This will cause the ends to twist.
  • Chill: Refrigerate the butter for at least one hour. You can also freeze it for 30 minutes, if you're in a hurry.
  • Slice: Slice the butter into 1/4-inch pieces and serve on your favorite steaks, chicken or vegetables.


To soften the butter, place it on the counter for about an hour. 
If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe by at least half. 


Calories: 103kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5gProtein: 0.2gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 293mgPotassium: 11mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 398IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
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Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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