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Thanksgiving Butter Board

Replace your traditional centerpiece with my sweet Texas Roadhouse-inspired Thanksgiving butter board turkey. The festive dipping board is perfect for all the grazers in your family. Grab a buttery dinner roll or baguette, and get ready to dip and swirl!

Thanksgiving butter board in the shape of a turkey.

What is a Butter Board?

Why serve traditional bread and butter as an appetizer when you can make a Thanksgiving butter board? A butter board consists of softened butter spread over a wooden board and sprinkled spices, spreads, and toppings. It is served with slices of bread or crackers and eaten family-style with guests scooping the butter off the board with bread and other dippers.

The butter board first appeared in the 2017 cookbook Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables by Josh McFadden. It was popularized in 2022 by a video on TikTok by Justine that went viral.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Butter: Use high-quality, salted butter (like Land O’ Lakes or Kerrygold) to balance the sweetness of the other ingredients.
  • Powdered Sugar: Sweeten the butter and make it light and spreadable using powdered sugar.
  • Honey: Include honey in the sweetened compound butter. Plus, a drizzle of honey is a tasty garnish.
  • Cinnamon: To add a delicious fall flavor to your butter, add ground cinnamon.
  • Pear: A pear isn’t necessary, but you can use half of it as the turkey’s head and body. I top mine with decorative eyes to complete the spread. You can also slice the other half of the pear and serve it with the butter board.
  • Toppings: My favorite toppings for a holiday butter board are chopped pistachios, quartered figs, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and finely chopped fresh rosemary.

Additions and Substitutions for Butter Board Pairings

It’s easy to entertain your guests with a great-tasting butter board, and they are a fantastic way to show off your creative side with various sweet and savory butter board ideas. Here are some flavor pairings I love:

Sweet Pairings:

  • Honey, Figs, Fresh Thyme, Toasted Almonds or Pine Nuts
  • Pumpkin Puree Compound Butter, Maple Syrup, Chopped Pecans or Walnuts

Savory Pairings:

  • Sundried Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic, and Fresh Basil
  • Miso Compound Butter, Bone Marrow Butter, Scallions, and Chili Oil

More Topping Ideas:

  • Dates, Persimmons, Citrus Zest
  • Olive Oil, Chili Oil
  • Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds
  • Hot Honey, Balsamic Glaze, Tamarind Chutney, Fig Jam, Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries, Agave
  • Red Onions, Shallots, Chives, Edible Flowers, Mint
  • Sea Salt, Zaatar, Dukkah, Everything But the Bagel, Red Pepper Flakes
  • Crumbled Bacon, Chopped Prosciutto

How to Make a Thanksgiving Butter Board

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

Step 1: Remove the butter from the refrigerator for one hour before preparing the butter board. Then, combine the softened butter in a food processor with powdered sugar, honey, and ground cinnamon until it is spreadable.

Compound butter in a food processor.

Step 2: Scoop the cinnamon butter onto the board and use a butter knife to create the turkey feathers and body. Start with the outer layer of feathers, then add an inside layer and finish with the body.

Butter spread onto a wooden board.

Step 3: Decorate the feathers with toppings like chopped pistachio, dried cranberries, figs, dried cranberries, and finely chopped rosemary. For the turkey’s face I use a half of a pear with googly eyes.

Thanksgiving butter board in the shape of a turkey.

Expert Tips

  • Soften the butter so it is easy to spread. Let salted butter come to room temperature for at least 1 hour for the best results. Please don’t heat the butter or soften it in the microwave to get this consistency.
  • Always provide spreading instruments to avoid the dreaded double dipping.
  • Consider serving the butter board on a plate since they are easier to wash than a messy wooden board.

What Can I Serve With A Butter Board?

Encourage guests to dive into this sweet Thanksgiving butter board with crostinis, crackers, and French bread like pao de sal, focaccia, and naan. You can also pair the sweetened butter with a Thanksgiving favorite, like buttery dinner rolls, or why not try apple slices, graham crackers, or pretzels? For more ideas, here are my suggestions for the best crackers for charcuterie board

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Storage: Without toppings, the butter will stay fresh for up to two weeks. However, once you add the toppings, it is best to consume the butter within a few hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use instead of butter?

Dips and spreads aren’t a new invention, but presenting dips as a board is genius and perfect for entertaining. If you’re still unsure about the concept of a butter board, consider other spreads like hummus with fresh vegetables and air fryer pita cups.

You can also try labneh, Greek yogurt, apple butter, and Nutella, or how about a cream cheese board for a brunch-inspired board?

What is the best surface for a butter board?

I am a big fan of using what you have, whether you use wood, teakwood, bamboo, granite, marble, or a sturdy dinner plate.

What kind of butter for a butter board?

The butter is the star of the show. I mean, the name is in the title. I recommend using high-quality salted butter. I like Kerrygold butter.

Can I make this recipe in advance?

I get it. The holidays are busy, so it pays to prepare what you can beforehand. Make the butter board 1-2 days before you plan to serve it by making the compound butter and spreading it onto the board. Leave off the toppings until you’re ready to serve it.

Cover the assembled board tightly with plastic and refrigerate. Take it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to let it soften slightly and finish with your toppings.

More Appetizer Recipes:

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Thanksgiving butter board in the shape of a turkey.

Thanksgiving Butter Board

Tressa Jamil
Shape sweet cinnamon butter into a festive Thanksgiving butter board turkey. Then, grab a buttery dinner roll and get ready to dip and swirl!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Softening Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Servings
Calories 75 kcal
Equipment
Ingredients
  
For the Butter:
  • 3 sticks salted butter softened at room temperature
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Toppings (Optional):
  • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ½ cup figs, quartered
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig, finely chopped, plus some for garnish
Instructions
 
  • Remove the butter from the refrigerator for one hour before preparing the butter board. Then, combine the softened butter in a food processor with powdered sugar, honey, and ground cinnamon until it is spreadable.
  • Scoop the cinnamon butter onto the board and use a butter knife to create the turkey feathers and body. Start with the outer layer of feathers, then add an inside layer and finish with the body.
  • Decorate the feathers with toppings like chopped pistachio, dried cranberries, figs, dried cranberries, and finely chopped rosemary. For the turkey's face I use a half of a pear with googly eyes.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Soften the butter so it is easy to spread. Let salted butter come to room temperature for at least 1 hour for the best results. Please don’t heat the butter or soften it in the microwave to get this consistency.
  • Always provide spreading instruments to avoid the dreaded double dipping.
  • Consider serving the butter board on a plate since they are easier to wash than a messy wooden board.
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 Serving | Calories: 75 kcal | Carbohydrates: 17 g | Fat: 1 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 3 mg | Sodium: 12 mg | Potassium: 8 mg | Sugar: 17 g | Calcium: 1 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!
Recipe Rating




Melissa Wagner

Wednesday 8th of November 2023

I am so excited to try out this butterboard for Thanksgiving this year! I loved how easy it was to shape the sweet cinnamon butter into a turkey—an extra kudos because we are huge Texas Roadhouse fans.