Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors
Garlic Butter Sauce: Creamy & Delicious
This article is about how to make delicious garlic butter sauce, which requires only a few ingredients, is simple to make, and doesn't take very much of your time.
We have two recipes for you: 1) for a simple garlic butter sauce and 2) for a creamy garlic butter sauce, so you have your pick between the two!
Watch this video on how to make pan-seared salmon with butter sauce
What is garlic butter sauce?
Garlic butter sauce is a common French-inspired condiment or flavoring used in cooking. It can be served as an accompaniment to fish (e.g., with a salmon recipe), vegetables, and meats - such as steak and lamb chops - but also on its own with breadsticks or crostini. The basic ingredients are generally garlic cloves (minced), unsalted butter, salt and pepper to taste. It can also include other optional ingredients like fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese.
It's typically made by placing the minced garlic into a pan of sizzling hot melted butter before lowering the heat and letting it simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon then adding seasonings like black pepper or red chili flakes if desired.
In order not to have overcooked bits at first stage add less than one tablespoon of water to the pan and cook for about five minutes before adding raw garlic.
A variation is called "garlic beurre blanc" which has a few differences in fresh ingredients but also cooking instructions, namely that it includes white wine vinegar and heavy cream while simmering - often over low heat or on the stovetop burner set at very low power to avoid vigorous boiling. It's generally made by placing minced garlic into a saucepan with melted butter and then cooking until tender. White wine vinegar is added along with heavy cream (at least half as much) followed by salt, pepper, lemon juice if desired and cayenne powder. The mixture can then be simmered gently forming an emulsion-like consistency similar to that of hollandaise sauce.
The garlic butter is then removed from the heat and allowed to cool for about ten minutes before it can be used as a condiment or flavoring.
A very popular variation in North America is called "garlic fry" which involves cooking minced, fresh garlic along with salt (and sometimes also pepper) over high heat until it's browned - usually around two-three minutes or so depending on the quantity being prepared . This type of preparation adds extra pungency and flavor without requiring any additional fat like butter. It's typically served alongside french fries but since they're quite easy to make at home may instead be eaten by themselves dipped into ketchup or ranch dressing. You could even use them as a topping for pizza or other such savory dishes.
The preparation process is very simple - simply place the garlic and salt in a pan set over high heat to brown while stirring regularly until desired color is attained then remove from heat immediately. This can also be done with minced, canned garlic but will require more time on the stovetop before it's ready (roughly three-five minutes). You could even use this method when making grilled cheese sandwiches by cooking both sides of bread slices in melted butter and using pre-cooked french fries between two slices of bread instead of typical ingredients like tomatoes, etc.
How to make a simple garlic butter sauce
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Once melted add garlic to pan.
- Let cook until fragrant (approximately one minute).
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour onto finished dish or use as desired for cooking vegetables, meats, etc... Give it a good stir before serving!
How to make a creamy garlic butter sauce?
- Garlic - One clove of garlic per person (peeled and minced or pressed in a garlic press)
- Butter - Half a cup of unsalted butter, diced into cubes and softened at room temperature for about an hour or until they are very soft. Cubing the butter will make it melt more evenly in the sauce without separating as much during cooking.
- Onion Powder - Add pinches of onion powder if you're looking to add some sweetness! It's also gluten free so this is perfect for anyone with dietary restrictions. If not used then skip this ingredient entirely because there should already be enough flavors going on from salt, pepper, parsley, thyme etc. that adding another would just overwhelm your dish.
- Salt - Use sparingly unless you've made sure your sauce has enough flavor on its own.
- Black Pepper - For this recipe I suggest using black but white can be used as well if you prefer the heat it provides to your dish.
- Heavy Cream - One cup of heavy cream, unsweetened almond milk or soy milk (all work great)!
- Parsley - Fresh parsley, chopped finely.
- Nutmeg - For this recipe I suggest using the spice to enhance your dish and make it a little sweeter but if you don't have any on hand then it's ok to skip out on this ingredient as well because there should be enough flavors going off with salt, pepper, parsley etc. that another would just overwhelm your sauce. Â If not used then leave out. The same goes for thyme in place of parsley but both are great options!
- In a saucepan add butter over medium high heat and cook until it has melted completely then add garlic cloves.
- Cook for about 30 seconds before adding salt, pepper, onion powder and thyme if desired followed by cream/milk!
- Simmer for an additional two minutes while stirring occasionally to make sure there is no separation of ingredients once cooked through - keep in mind that the sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Add parsley and adjust seasonings to taste before removing from heat then add nutmeg if desired!
- Use whisk or silicone spoon and mix until butter has completely mixed in with the cream/milk mixture. This should be enough for a one person dish but you can always save any extra garlic butter sauce to use later!
Enjoy this delicious buttery sauce alongside your favorite recipes like garlic bread or your favorite pasta dish.
If you want to make this recipe vegan use oil instead of butter - olive oil should work great. The same goes with people who don't eat dairy products as well; skip heavy cream and go with vegetable stock instead.
For gluten-free folks, use gluten-free heavy cream or skip the dairy altogether and go with vegetable stock.
What's in garlic butter sauce?
The primary and simple ingredients in a homemade garlic butter sauce recipe are garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. It can also contain heavy cream (or vegetable stock), fresh parsley, nutmeg, onion powder, and thyme. Lemon zest is also an option for lemon garlic butter sauce and garlic powder can be substituted for garlic if you're really in a bind.
The first ingredient is the most important one - it adds a lot of flavor to the dish. One clove of garlic per person should be perfect for this recipe!
If your vegan or dairy free you can use oil instead but I don't recommend using margarine as it will not have enough fat needed to make the sauce creamy like real butter does. Unsalted butter has better flavor than salted so go with that option if possible! Â You'll need about half a cup's worth of butter for this recipe.
There should be just enough salt in the recipe already but taste test after simmering to make sure it has enough flavor on its own before adding more.
I recommend using black pepper because white pepper can often have a very strong heat profile which would overpower these flavors, but use what you prefer.
This is also known as double cream, sour cream or whipping cream depending on where you live and what the supermarket shelf says it's called that day! You'll need about a cup but if your sauce gets too thick in consistency just add a little more until its perfect. Â I don't recommend substituting with milk.
The last ingredient is parsley - you'll need about one tablespoon, chopped finely to finish off your garlic butter sauce! It adds freshness which offsets all the richness from other ingredients so make sure not to skip it ;)
A pinch of nutmeg enhances the flavor and is completely optional but I think it gives a certain sweetness to compliment the other flavors. Â The same goes for thyme, which can be used in place of parsley. Â An onion powder can also help make your sauce creamier with just enough added flavor so feel free to use that if you have some on hand!
Pinches of onion powder will add a sweetness to your sauce without adding any chunks. Â It's also gluten free and vegan so if you're looking for an alternative that checks those boxes then this is it!
Thyme is a herb that can be used in place of parsley. It's perfect for adding freshness and depth to the sauce so if you have some on hand don't forget to use it!
This is one of my favorite ingredients to add in because it's completely optional but can really make your sauce pop with flavor. It has a sour taste which will help balance out the richness from the butter and cream!
You can also use garlic powder in place of fresh minced garlic.
How to store garlic butter sauce?
The butter sauce should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to two weeks. Make sure the lid is tight, because otherwise it can make a mess!
If you are interested in freezing it, make sure to divide the mixture into two portions before storing one portion for future use. When frozen, this recipe will last about six months.
Final thoughts on garlic butter sauce
Hope you enjoyed this article about garlic butter sauce!
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