The Best Butter For Your Holiday Baking

Make all your holiday recipes taste better with the right kind of butter.

If you asked me about the top three items in my fridge, my answer would be "Butter, butter, and butter." But a more accurate explanation of its contents would be "Butter, butter, butter, butter, butter, butter, and butter." During holiday baking season, it's not only important to have a lot of butter on deck, but to have the right butter for the right occasion. So I've rounded up my favorites and explained their individual uses below. In my house, it's always butter season.

Plugra Unsalted Butter

This butter comes in three sizes: sticks, half-pound bricks, and one-pound blocks. I have all three styles in my freezer. When it comes to any holiday baking or cooking where butter flavor is front and center, this is my pick.


The higher fat content and lower water content make Plugra ideal for everything from biscuits to pie crusts, including puff pastry and butter cookies or shortbreads. Nothing beats this brand if you're looking to achieve a silky smooth buttercream frosting for your cake or a rich gravy for that holiday bird. And if you are making any old-school butter sauces like beurre blanc, hollandaise, béarnaise, bechamel, or mornay, this is your butter.

Plugra has a clean, creamy flavor and gorgeous texture. I use the sticks and bricks in baking and cooking, and it's easy to slice off slabs from the one-pound blocks to serve at the table with bread. Pro tip from our French friends: add some unsalted butter to your next cheese board. A little schmear of butter on your bread or cracker before you top it with cheese will make the cheese taste cheesier. Thank me later.


Lurpak Slightly Salted Butter

This is my butter of choice for any recipe calling for salted butter, or for bringing that little spark to a fast salted caramel or spiced nuts. It is also the variety I keep in my butter bell at room temp for toast, pancakes or any other bread that needs daily buttering.


If you are hosting guests this season and have a lot of homemade breakfasts on deck, pick this one up for sure—it will spoil them rotten. Lurpak has a terrific flavor and just enough salt to be seasoned without detracting from the taste of the butter itself. It is toast's platonic ideal of butter.

Land O’Lakes Unsalted Butter

If I am making bulk recipes—ten dozen holiday cookies, or trays of cupcakes or muffins, or three Bundt cakes at a time—I am unlikely to want to invest in higher-priced European butter. I want a great tasting butter that gets the job done, and no brand does it better than Land O'Lakes. The unsalted butter comes in full and half sticks for easy measuring. If I ever spot it on sale, I stock the freezer and am never sorry.


Land O’Lakes Salted Butter Balls

This time of year, the nice folks at Land O'Lakes know we are setting fancier tables, and the brand has our backs with these bags of adorable salted butter balls! They make serving festive and fun, and your guests will be super impressed with your level of elegance.


Black and Bolyard Brown Butter

A lot of fantastic holiday bakes call for browned butter. This usually means setting some butter over the stove and watching carefully as it cooks, awaiting the moment when it hits that perfect level of nutty brown without burning. Just the kind of project you want to undertake with a houseful of relatives and eleven baking projects on deck. (Kidding.)


Enter Black and Bolyard. This company has done the hard part for us, making perfect browned butter and putting it in a handy jar so we can melt and go. This product makes for fantastic financiers, elevated chocolate chip cookies, amazing browned butter cream cheese frosting, and the best pound cake you'll ever eat. As a bonus, it also comes in Salted Honey and Black Truffle flavors, which are great for making fancy popcorn as a cocktail snack.

Flavored Butters for Instant Fun

I love a well-done compound butter, and anytime a single store-bought ingredient can make my cooking both easier and more delicious, nothing will stop me from buying it by the dozen. Having flavored butter on hand is especially great during the holidays, to put a fun spin on your cooking. Here are some of my go-tos:

  • Kerrygold Garlic and Herb makes garlic bread as easy as unwrapping a stick. I'll brush my favorite dinner roll dough with melted garlic and herb butter before baking and again when they come out of the oven. The result is a perfect garlic herb roll that tastes like the ones you get at a great steakhouse. Using it as the butter in a biscuit or savory scone recipe is next-level—ditto in any cheese cracker recipe.
  • Isola Truffle Butter is my pick to make holiday sides instantly luxurious. Any steamed vegetable gets a perfect truffle boost, and it is wonderful tossed with rice or roasted spuds. My secret weapon side dish for dinner parties and holiday buffets alike is wide pappardelle pasta tossed with truffle butter, lemon zest, and chopped fresh herbs like chives, tarragon, or parsley. Amazing.
  • Churn Maple & Cinnamon Butter is the tub I love for holiday breakfasts. From toast to waffles, pancakes to pastries, a little anointment of this lightly sweet and spiced butter is the ideal topper.
  • 'Tis the season for butter, so go out there and spread some joy.