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Bone Marrow Butter

Boast your chef skills by making savory bone marrow butter. Use the velvety smooth butter to flavor steak, chicken, fish, and vegetables, or spread it onto crusty bread.

Bone marrow butter in a small bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • With its umami-rich flavor, use bone marrow butter instead of regular butter in savory dishes like steak, burgers, potatoes, pasta, soup, and stew.
  • Making compound butter with bone marrow is easy and versatile, so feel free to include all your favorite mix-ins like fresh herbs and chiles.

What is Bone Marrow Butter?

Bone marrow butter is a delicious mix of grilled, smoked, or roasted bone marrow and softened butter that has a rich, nutty flavor. However, you can change it up and make it your own. Popular additions include fresh herbs, minced shallots, garlic, lemon juice, zest, and red wine vinegar. Experiment by adding different herbs, spices, and add-ins to discover your favorite flavor combinations, depending on what you’re serving it with. 

More Recipes with Bones:

What is Bone Marrow Butter Made Of?

  • Beef Marrow Bones: Beef Marrow Bones: I recommend purchasing and roasting more bone marrow bones than you may need so you can adjust the amount of bone marrow in the butter. Plus, you can use the extras for other recipes. 
  • Garlic: Roast a whole head of garlic with the beef marrow bones.
  • Olive Oil: Drizzle the bones and garlic with olive oil.
  • Butter: Use room temperature, unsalted butter to better control the salt in the marrow butter.
  • Herbs: Brighten the butter with herbs like fresh parsley and thyme.
  • Lemon Juice: Cut the creaminess of the compound butter with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Garlic: I am a garlic girl and love the sweet flavor of roasted garlic, but feel free to use fresh minced garlic if you want a strong, pungent taste.
  • Herbs: Experiment with fresh herbs by adding fresh rosemary, sage, or chives to the bone marrow butter. 
  • But Make it Spicy: If the chili flakes aren’t enough, add a dash of hot sauce or finely chop jalepeño or serrano peppers for a spicy kick.
  • Spices: I keep it simple with salt, but depending on what you’re making, consider adding different spice blends to beef up the flavor profile. Salmon or chicken would taste delicious with butter seasoned with Cajun spices, like my Slap Ya Mama Seasoning recipe. You can prepare the marrow butter with za’atar or garam masala for a lamb roast or shanks. And if you enjoy a smoky flavor, use smoked paprika or chipotle powder.
  • Caramelized Onion: For even more umami-flavor, caramelize onions or shallots before finely chopping them and mixing them into the butter.

Tools Used to Make this Recipe

All you need to roast the beef bone marrow is a rimmed baking sheet and a parchment paper. You can also grill the bones alongside whatever you want to serve them with. Use a food processorhand mixer, or electric whisk to whip the bone marrow butter until it has a velvety, smooth texture.

How to Make Bone Marrow Butter

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Add the bones to a large mixing bowl or stockpot and cover them with water. Add salt and let them sit at room temperature. Before turning in, replace the water and salt, cover it, and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Bones soaking in water and salt.

Step 2: Preheat the oven to 425°F (218℃). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, remove the bones from the refrigerator and pour off the salted water.

Step 3: Arrange the head of garlic and bones onto the baking sheet with the marrow side up. Coat them with olive oil.

Bones and garlic on a baking sheet.

Step 4: Bake for 15-20 minutes until the center of the bones are bubbly and soft.

Tip: If the bone marrow needs more time, continue roasting in 5-minute increments until it softens.

Bones roasted in the oven.

Step 5: Remove the bones from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. Use a small spoon to scoop the marrow into the food processor.

Scooping marrow out of the bone.

Step 6: Add the softened butter and roasted garlic cloves and process until smooth.

Bone marrow and butter in a food processor.

Step 7: Stir in the red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, thyme, and fresh lemon juice.

Herbs added to bone marrow butter.

Step 8: Taste and season with salt. Then, prepare a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper and transfer the butter mixture onto it. Shape it into a log, roll it tightly, and twist the ends to secure it.

Bone marrow butter wrapped in plastic.

Step 9: Store it in the refrigerator until it hardens. Then, slice it into rounds and use it just like regular butter.

Bone marrow butter cut into rounds.

Expert Tips

  • What is the best way to soften the butter? Leave the butter on the countertop at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour to soften. 
  • Do you have to soak the bones? Depending on where you purchase the bones, you will need to soak them in salt water overnight until all the blood leaves the marrow. The salt brine removes impurities and traces of blood from the bone and the marrow.
  • What is the best ratio of bone marrow to butter? The best-tasting ratio comes down to personal preference. I prefer a 50:50 bone marrow and butter, but you can adjust the flavor according to your tastes. The first time you make this recipe, I recommend roasting more marrow then you need so you can add more. You can also decrease the amount and add more as you go. 
  • I enjoy roasting a whole head of garlic along with the bones. Squeeze the end of the garlic head into the food processor using tongs (they will easily pop out).

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Bone marrow butter in a small bowl.

Serving Suggestions

Spread bone marrow butter onto a crusty slice of sourdough, or cook it with fried or scrambled eggs. You can stir a knob into roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes, risotto, or cooked pasta for creamy texture. Of course, there is always steak. Add a dollop of rich bone marrow butter to juicy ribeye or slather it onto burger patties as they finish cooking.

If you’re looking for a more out-of-the-box idea for the butter, add it to a decorative bowl and feature it on a charcuterie board with cured meats, cheeses, bread, and crackers. Plus, butter boards are trending, so you can use bone marrow butter to replace regular butter.

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  Store the compound butter in an airtight container for 4 days.
  • Freeze – After you wrap the butter in plastic, add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. The butter will freeze for two months.
  • Thaw – Defrost the butter in the refrigerator overnight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy bone marrow?

It was harder than I thought to find marrow bones, but after talking with the butcher at my local grocery store, I found out you can buy beef bones or marrow bones in the freezer section at most stores (often labeled soup bones). They are usually cut in half or chunks rather than canoes. If you strike out at mainstream grocery stores, visit a butcher shop or try your local Indian or Middle Eastern stores.

What type of marrow bones are the best to use?

You can use elk or venison bones to make bone marrow butter, but beef marrow bones are easier to find. Plus, they tend to have more marrow in them.  

Unsplit bones take longer to cook, about 25-30 minutes, but they are less likely to leak marrow into the baking tray. Split rounds (like the ones I use in the pictures) take 15 to 20 minutes. They are the easiest to find at the grocery store but leak marrow as they cook. Bone marrow canoes take less time to cook and don’t leak as much, but they are harder to find and usually come at an extra cost. 

What can I do with the leftover bones?

When you make bone marrow butter, you will have bones left over, but don’t toss them out. They have a lot of life left in them. Follow my recipe for yakhni using beef bones instead of goat. Bone broth is known for its nutrients and flavor and can be used as a base for soups and stews, or pour it into a mug and drink it as it is. 

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Bone marrow butter in a small bowl.

Bone Marrow Butter

Tressa Jamil
Boast your chef skills and make savory bone marrow butter to flavor steak, chicken, fish, and vegetables, or spread it onto crusty bread.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Soaking Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Course Sauce, Topping
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Tablespoons
Calories 174 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 2 beef marrow bones
  • 2-4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 head garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons butter, unsalted, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
Instructions
 
  • Add the bones to a large mixing bowl or stockpot and cover them with water. Add salt and let them sit at room temperature. Before turning in, replace the water and salt, cover it, and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (218℃). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, remove the bones from the refrigerator and pour off the salted water.
  • Arrange the head of garlic and bones onto the baking sheet with the marrow side up. Coat them with olive oil.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the center of the bones are bubbly and soft.
    Tip: If the bone marrow needs more time, continue roasting in 5-minute increments until it softens.
  • Remove the bones from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. Use a small spoon to scoop the marrow into the food processor. Add the softened butter and roasted garlic cloves and process until smooth.
  • Stir in the red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, thyme, and fresh lemon juice.
  • Taste and season with salt. You can use it right away or prepare a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper and transfer the butter mixture onto it. Shape it into a log shape, roll it tightly, and twist the ends to secure it. Store it in the refrigerator until it hardens. Then, slice it into rounds and use it just like regular butter.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • What is the best way to soften the butter? Leave the butter on the countertop at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour to soften. 
  • Do you have to soak the bones? Depending on where you purchase the bones, you will need to soak them in salt water overnight until all the blood leaves the marrow. The salt brine removes impurities and traces of blood from the bone and the marrow.
  • What is the best ratio of bone marrow to butter? The best-tasting ratio comes down to personal preference. I prefer a 50:50 bone marrow and butter, but you can adjust the flavor according to your tastes. The first time you make this recipe, I recommend roasting more marrow then you need so you can add more. You can also decrease the amount and add more as you go. 
  • I enjoy roasting a whole head of garlic along with the bones. Squeeze the end of the garlic head into the food processor using tongs (they will easily pop out).
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Tablespoon | Calories: 174 kcal | Carbohydrates: 1 g | Protein: 1 g | Fat: 19 g | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g | Trans Fat: 0.4 g | Cholesterol: 24 mg | Sodium: 539 mg | Potassium: 22 mg | Fiber: 0.2 g | Sugar: 0.05 g | Vitamin A: 381 IU | Vitamin C: 3 mg | Calcium: 12 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
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