Alright, I know what you're thinking - garlic butter made with garlic powder? That can't be right. But hold on a minute.
Picture this: You're in the middle of cooking up a storm, and you realize you don't have fresh garlic. No need to panic! With just a few simple, pantry ingredients, you can whip up a batch of this easy garlic butter in no time.
It's also perfect for those times when you don't have the energy or patience to peel and mince fresh garlic.
I'm not going to lie to you - the flavor won't be exactly the same as using fresh garlic. But hey, why not give this one a chance? It's still very tasty and versatile. And, if you're not a fan of the strong taste of fresh garlic, then this one's definitely for you.
Whether you're spreading it on some warm bread, tossing it with pasta, or serving it over your favorite dishes, this garlic butter will take your meals to the next level.
And who knows, it may just become your new go-to recipe.
- Why you'll love this recipe
- Ingredients you need
- Instructions (step-by-step photos)
- Garlic powder substitutes for garlic butter
- Choosing the best garlic powder
- Flavor secret: blooming your garlic powder
- A quick way of softening butter
- Top tips
- Ideas for customizing your garlic butter
- Must-try uses for garlic butter
- Troubleshooting common garlic butter mistakes
- Storing garlic butter
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- More recipes to try
Why you'll love this recipe
- Effortless Prep: With just a few ingredients and simple steps, making this garlic butter is a breeze.
- Pantry-Friendly: Apart from butter, all ingredients in this recipe come from the pantry, making it convenient and budget-friendly.
- Versatility: This butter can be used in numerous ways. It's perfect for spreading on toast and elevating pasta, steaks, seafood, grilled meats, and vegetables.
- Consistent Flavor: Garlic powder ensures a consistent and balanced taste. No more overpowering bites of raw garlic!
- Extended Freshness: Garlic powder's longer shelf life compared to fresh garlic ensures your garlic butter stays fresh and enjoyable for extended periods.
Ingredients you need
Here are some helpful notes on the ingredients you need to make this homemade garlic butter using garlic powder. See the recipe card down below for the quantities of these ingredients.
- Unsalted butter: Opt for unsalted butter to control the saltiness in your garlic butter. If you only have salted butter, wait to add more salt and adjust later. Soften the butter at room temperature for easier mixing. Or use the quick softening tip I've shared below. For a creamier result, use European-style butter.
- Garlic powder: Don't mistake it for garlic salt, which contains added salt. You can substitute garlic powder with an equal amount of granulated garlic. For other alternatives, check the garlic powder substitutes section below.
- Water: Room temp or slightly warm water is ideal for blooming the garlic powder and enhancing its flavor. Tap water works just fine.
- Dried parsley: Adds a subtle herbaceous note to the garlic butter. You can substitute with an equal amount of dried basil or chives. Or use fresh chopped parsley at a 1:3 ratio (1 part dried = 3 parts fresh).
- Dried oregano: Adds a warm, earthy flavor to the garlic butter. If needed, substitute with dried marjoram or thyme, but cut the amount in half since they're more potent.
- Onion powder: Adds a mild onion flavor. Fresh onion won't work here. Oh, and don't get it mixed up with onion salt - that's very salty.
- Ground cumin: Provides a slightly smoky and earthy flavor. You can skip it if you don't have some on hand.
- White vinegar: Adds a little acidity to balance the flavors in the garlic butter. Swap it for an equal amount of lemon or lime juice if that's what you've got.
- Salt: Use fine-grain salts like table salt for even, speedy dissolving.
- Ground black pepper: Adds a slightly spicy kick. If you want to turn up the heat, try paprika, cayenne, or red pepper flakes – just remember it'll change the butter's color. Adjust the amount based on your spice tolerance.
Instructions (step-by-step photos)
Let's dive into the method of making this yummy garlic butter with garlic powder (instead of fresh garlic). Follow these photo-packed steps to get perfect results. And, don't forget to check out the recipe card below for a printable version of the recipe, which includes detailed instructions and all the important recipe notes.
1. Bloom garlic powder
In a small bowl, combine some garlic powder and water to allow the garlic powder to bloom.
2. Mix and rest
Stir thoroughly and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
3. Prepare seasoned melted butter
In another microwave-safe bowl, take a tablespoon of butter from the half cup of softened butter, and melt it in the microwave for roughly 10-15 seconds.
Next, mix in dried parsley, dried oregano, onion powder, ground cumin, salt, vinegar, and ground black pepper to the melted butter, along with the bloomed garlic mixture.
4. Mix, cool, and thicken
Stir everything together until it's well combined. Then let the mixture sit for a few minutes until it cools and thickens slightly.
5. Combine with softened butter
In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the remaining softened butter. Then, transfer the melted butter mixture into this bowl containing the softened butter. Use a fork or spoon to thoroughly blend everything until it's well combined.
6. Store and chill
Transfer the garlic butter to a small bowl or container and chill it in the refrigerator until you're ready to enjoy it!
Garlic powder substitutes for garlic butter
While this recipe calls for garlic powder, you can pick from a few substitutes. Here are some popular alternatives along with tips on how to use them:
- Will give you a stronger garlic flavor and a slightly chunkier butter texture
- Ratio: ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter = 3 medium-sized fresh garlic cloves, grated or minced
- Tip: For a strong garlicky taste, use freshly grated or minced garlic. Alternatively, sauté the fresh garlic in a small amount of butter for a milder flavor before mixing it with the rest of the butter.
- Saltier than garlic powder and is my least preferred option
- Ratio: ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter = ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- Tip: Use unsalted butter and don't add any extra salt to the recipe. If you like proper garlic flavor, consider adding fresh garlic or garlic powder, as the garlicky punch from just the salt alone will be very subtle.
- Similar to garlic powder but with a slightly coarse texture
- Ratio: ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter = 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- Tip: Granulated garlic can be used interchangeably with garlic powder. However, the texture of the butter won't be as smooth as it will be when using garlic powder.
Store-bought minced garlic
- Stronger garlic flavor without the hassle of peeling and mincing fresh cloves
- Ratio: ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter = 1 tablespoon store-bought minced garlic
- Tip: Be aware of added preservatives or flavorings in the minced garlic. Those may affect the taste of your garlic butter. If the label lists citric acid as an ingredient, it's best to exclude acidic ingredients such as vinegar from the garlic butter recipe.
Choosing the best garlic powder
To make good-tasting garlic butter, you need good-quality garlic powder. Take a peek at the ingredient list and make sure it's 100% garlic with no weird fillers or preservatives added.
You want it to have a beige or off-white color and a really fine, powdery texture. If you see any clumps or the powder is dark brown, that's a sign it might be old or of lower quality.
Some popular brands known for producing high-quality garlic powder with a strong garlic flavor include McCormick, Badia, and Simply Organic.
Flavor secret: blooming your garlic powder
Having good-quality garlic powder is essential. But that's not all. To make this pantry staple really shine, you've gotta give it a little extra attention with a rehydrating technique called blooming.
It's a method I picked up from America's Test Kitchen, but I've added my own little twist to it.
Blooming process: All you need to do is mix your garlic powder with a little quantity of water and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, add your bloomed garlic powder to some melted butter. Let it sit for a couple of minutes in the warm butter. And that's it.
This simple process helps bring out the natural, complex flavors of garlic. And you can use your bloomed garlic powder in any recipe that calls for garlic powder, not just garlic butter.
A quick way of softening butter
Now that we've covered garlic powder, let's dive into the topic of butter.
We all know that the classic way to soften butter is to let it sit at room temperature for a few hours. However, if you're short on time or simply forgot, here's a speedy alternative.
1. Preheat a bowl with hot water
Find a bowl (choose a larger one if you've got more than a stick of butter) and fill it with boiling water or hot tap water. Let it sit for a minute or two.
In the meantime, slice your butter into small, equal-sized pieces. Don't worry about their shape. Transfer the butter pieces to a bowl or a plate.
2. Soften the butter with residual heat
Now, dump the water from the bowl. Quickly dry the bowl and place it upside down over the bowl/plate of butter.
Allow the butter to rest for 5-10 minutes. The residual heat from the bowl will gently soften the butter without causing it to melt. Ta-da!
- Get good quality garlic powder: Choose pure garlic powder and steer clear of garlic salt or products with unnecessary fillers.
- Don't forget to bloom: Rehydrating garlic in water and then in butter will bring out the best flavor. Trust me, it's worth the little extra effort.
- Use unsalted butter: Choose high-quality, unsalted butter so you can adjust the salt level in your garlic butter. If you must use salted butter, leave out the salt from the recipe. Taste the garlic butter when it's done, and then add salt if needed.
- Make ahead of time: To enhance the flavors even more, make your garlic butter a day in advance and store it in the fridge. This will allow the flavors to meld and create a more intense, robust flavor.
Ideas for customizing your garlic butter
If you're looking to jazz up your garlic butter game, these variations are just what you need.
- Truffle garlic butter: For a luxurious, earthy flavor that will elevate dishes like risotto, roasted potatoes, or grilled steaks, stir in a small amount of truffle oil or truffle salt to your garlic butter.
- Spicy garlic butter: Looking to add some heat to your grilled meats, sautéed vegetables, or bread? Mix in your favorite hot sauce to create some spicy garlic butter that will give your dish a bold kick.
- Lemony garlic butter: Add a bright, citrusy twist to your garlic butter by stirring in freshly grated lemon zest. This variation pairs beautifully with seafood, grilled vegetables, and poultry dishes.
Must-try uses for garlic butter
- Homemade garlic bread: Spread garlic butter on crusty bread. Then top it with some grated Parmesan cheese. Pop it into the oven or air fryer, and toast until it turns golden – the perfect side dish to your pasta creations, warm soups, or vibrant salads.
- Grilled veggies: Toss your favorite veggies with garlic butter before grilling or roasting for added flavor.
- Steak topping: Add a dollop of garlic butter to cooked steak for a flavorful, buttery sauce.
- Pasta sauce: Mix melted garlic butter with a little reserved pasta water to create a simple, tasty sauce.
- Baked potatoes: Use garlic butter as a topping for baked or mashed potatoes.
- Buttery seafood: Brush garlic butter on shrimp, scallops, or fish before cooking to add a rich, buttery flavor that will elevate your seafood game.
- Popcorn topping: Drizzle melted garlic butter over popcorn for a gourmet snack.
Troubleshooting common garlic butter mistakes
If you've tried making garlic butter before and it didn't quite turn out as you'd hoped, don't worry! I'm here to walk you through some common issues and share tips to avoid them:
- Uneven texture and mixing difficulties: Using butter that isn't softened or at room temperature can cause an uneven texture and make blending ingredients more challenging.
- Overly salty garlic butter: Adding salt when using salted butter can result in an overpowering salty flavor.
- Butter separation or curdling: Overheating or overbeating the butter can cause the fat to separate from the water, resulting in a greasy, curdled texture.
- Inconsistent flavor: Insufficiently mixing the ingredients can lead to an uneven distribution of flavors.
- Poor flavor and quality: Using low-quality or expired ingredients negatively affects the overall taste and quality of the garlic butter.
Storing garlic butter
- Refrigerate: Place the garlic butter in an airtight container or tightly wrap it in plastic wrap. Then store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Freeze: Wrap the butter in plastic wrap. Then put it in a resealable freezer bag, label with the date, and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Be sure to thaw the garlic butter in the refrigerator before using it.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Garlic spread and garlic butter are similar but not quite the same. Many times people use these terms interchangeably, but there's a subtle difference.
Garlic butter is made by mixing butter with garlic (fresh or powdered), sometimes with herbs, salt, and other spices added in.
Meanwhile, garlic spread is a more general term for a mixture of garlic and other ingredients, which can be oil-based, dairy-based, or even vegan (like olive oil, cream cheese, mayo, or margarine). It can have a variety of textures and flavors, depending on the ingredients used.
Definitely! You can create vegan or dairy-free garlic butter by using a plant-based butter alternative, like vegan margarine or vegan butter. Keep in mind that some vegan butter substitutes have a more distinct flavor compared to dairy butter, so you may need to tweak the seasoning to your liking.
Sure thing! To make the garlic butter sauce, start by melting the garlic butter in a saucepan over low heat. Then, add a small amount of liquid such as chicken or vegetable broth, fresh lemon juice, or cream to thin it out and form the sauce. Stir the mixture until it's well combined and heated through. Then, give it a taste and adjust seasonings like salt and pepper as needed. If you want the sauce to be thinner, add more liquid. If you'd like to thicken it a bit, use a little cornstarch slurry.
- ½ cup (114 g) unsalted butter - softened (Note A)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder - (Note B)
- 1 tablespoon water - for blooming the garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder and water to bloom the garlic powder. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- In a separate microwave-safe bowl, scoop out 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter from the ½ cup of softened butter, and melt it in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.
- Add the dried parsley, dried oregano, onion powder, ground cumin, salt, vinegar, and ground black pepper to the melted butter and stir until well combined. Also, add the bloomed garlic mixture.
- Allow the mixture to cool and thicken for a few minutes.
- In a separate medium bowl, add the remaining softened butter.
- Add the melted butter mixture to the bowl with the softened butter and use a spoon or fork to mix all the ingredients together until well combined.
- Transfer the garlic butter to a small bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use. Enjoy!
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