Butter Boards Are the 2022 Entertaining Trend Nobody Asked For (but We’re Not Mad About)

Unless you’ve been on a TikTok detox, you’ve likely seen what feels like hundreds of videos showing the app’s latest food craze: butter boards. A butter board is…well, exactly what it sounds like. It’s a communal appetizer that stars softened butter swooped on a cutting board, cheese platter or serving plate, zhuzhed up with dippers and garnishes. There are truly countless ways to make one, and it couldn’t be easier to pull off—even if assembling an Insta-worthy charcuterie board has been your Achilles heel. Read on for all the deets on butter boards, including how the trend went viral and tips for crafting your own.

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What Is a Butter Board?

It’s butter’s answer to the cheese board. Think softened butter, artfully smeared across a serving board of some kind. It’s typically served with sliced bread, crackers or crudités for dipping, and the butter is usually zhuzhed up with an assortment of pantry staples (like dry spices, ground seasonings or roasted garlic) or finished with gourmet-looking toppers (like flaky salt, honey or edible flowers). But don’t limit yourself to those examples: There’s no limit to how you can create or adorn one.

Butter boards went viral when Justine Doiron (@justine_snacks on TikTok and Instagram) shared her version, which is crowned with flaky salt, lemon zest, herbs, edible flowers and coriander honey. She credited Joshua McFadden—coauthor of the 2017 cookbook Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, which included a butter board recipe before butter boards were a thingin her video for the idea.

“I want to make [butter boards] the next charcuterie board—not to usurp charcuterie, but like…maybe a little bit,” she says in her viral video, which has garnered 1.1 million likes and 8.4 million views so far. “It just feels really communal.”

Despite the rising prices of butter (thanks, inflation), butter boards are generally way less costly to create than charcuterie boards, which require pricy cheeses, meats and accompaniments. Not only are they cheaper, but they’re also easier to assemble, if you ask us. There’s no need to fuss over salami roses or creatively cut dairy—with a few naturally gorgeous toppings, butter boards basically assemble themselves.

How to Make a Butter Board

  1. Find a cutting board that’s elegant enough to serve to guests, but a breeze to clean. Wooden cutting or cheese boards are classic, but marble or slate boards are easier to wipe down, says Amelia Nierenberg of The New York Times. (You can also line a wooden board with parchment paper to simplify the cleaning process, if you insist on going the rustic route.)
  2. Next, prepare the butter. If we’ve learned anything from the queen Ina Garten herself, quality matters (see: “good” olive oil). If you’re going to splurge on any part of the butter board, it goes without saying that it should be on high-quality butter (like Plugra or Kerrygold). Let it soften naturally on the counter at its own pace; popping it in the microwave can cause the fat and milk solids to separate.
  3. Once the butter is soft, spread it onto the board as if you were frosting a cake. The back of a spoon is great for making tiny dips and divots in the butter, while an offset spatula or butter knife is ideal for making delicate swoops or designs.
  4. Add in toppings and dippers. Our favorite savory toppers include fresh herbs, citrus zest, chile crisp, roasted garlic (or like the bloggers at Spoon Fork Bacon, crispy garlic chips) and olives. Pair it with warm bread, crostini, crackers or chopped veggies, though you could even serve it with shrimp or steak bites. If you want to make a sweet butter board instead, think honey, maple syrup, cinnamon sugar, candied nuts or chocolate chips. In terms of dippers, opt for biscuits, rolls, pretzels, cookies or fruit. Whichever way you go, make sure you provide knives and spoons to keep breadcrumbs (and your guests’ fingers) out of the butter.

    If you want to experiment with the concept, many content creators have dabbled in using ricotta, cream cheese, dulce de leche or even buttercream frosting in place of butter. But unlike some alternative mediums, butter is safe to leave at room temperature for longer due to its fat content, so you won’t have to worry about refrigerating it in the middle of a party. (Although we can’t imagine your guests will let it go uneaten for very long.)

Our Favorite Butter Board Ideas

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.