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Simple Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce Recipe

Sometimes, it only takes a little bit of work to make something boring and everyday into something amazing. That is exactly what we are going to do today with our lemon garlic butter sauce recipe.

What is a Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce?

Lemon garlic butter is a combination of butter, garlic, lemon juice, and fresh herbs like parsley. It is commonly eaten with seafood or used to flavor poultry dishes like roast turkey or chicken. Lemon garlic butter can be served hot in liquid form or chilled to make it spreadable. 

Roasted artichokes on a plate with lemon garlic butter sauce

Our Approach to Lemon Garlic Butter

To make lemon garlic butter we want to extract all the flavor out of the garlic and give it to the butter. Next, we want to make sure we balance the heavy flavors and texture of the garlic butter with freshness. This is where the lemon juice and parsley come in. By adding fresh acidic juice like lemon we will cut straight through the butter. By adding chopped parsley, we add aromatics and texture to each bite. 

What Makes a Good Lemon Garlic Butter

The best lemon garlic butter has to have a nutty garlic flavor to the butter. When your garlic and butter begins to brown is when you know the flavor has developed. 

The Challenge with Lemon Garlic Butter

A common mistake for lemon garlic butter is making it TOO heavy. Often people will put the herbs and lemon juice in before or while cooking which ruins the fresh flavour. 

Our Solution to Balancing Flavor

Parsley, lemon, butter and garlic on a cutting board

Because the butter and garlic components are so heavy it is critical we balance the taste and body on our tongue with fresh and bright flavors like parsley and lemon.  

Developing Flavors

From just a few ingredients lemon garlic butter is a great example of culinary techniques and processes. First we’ll be heating the butter which will cause water to evaporate and concentrate the flavor. 

Next is the maillard reaction which will give the butter a nutty rich flavor. Next, the sugars in garlic will caramelize, this means it will become sweeter over time. Finally, as garlic contains fat soluble flavor compounds which are released under heat the garlic flavor will pass into the surrounding butter medium.   

What Pairs with Lemon Garlic Butter?

Lemon garlic butter pairs with all white meats and meaty vegetables. Classic uses of lemon garlic butter include chicken, pork, fish, lobster, and crab. You can also use lemon garlic butter on vegetables like green beans, broccoli (especially young broccoli), eggplant, and of course roast artichoke. 

Mixing butter, parsley, garlic and lemon in a saucepan

Tools Required

To make lemon garlic butter you will need a small saucepan, a knife and a cutting board. 

Roasted artichokes on a plate with lemon garlic butter sauce

Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons parsley

Instructions

  1. Wash parsley and lemon
  2. Cut garlic
  3. Chop parsley
  4. Slice lemon in half
  5. Add garlic and butter to sauce pan
  6. Cook on medium for 20 min or until garlic is golden brown
  7. Remove and add juice of one lemon
  8. Add fresh parsley
  9. Serve hot for dipping or allow to chill if you want to spread it

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. With inspirations like Alton Brown and Gordon Ramsey, Nathaniel focuses on simple processes to make amazing food.