We Tried the Viral Butter Board Trend—and Put a Very Martha Spin on It

It's bread and butter, but better—so we knew we had to try it.

composite image of spread butter and finished butter board with slices of bread
Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Schreiber

Food trends come and go, but there's one particular iteration that sees one reprisal after the next—and that's the grazing board. Since working at Martha Stewart, I've seen many artful arrangements overflowing with cheeses (cut into careful wedges or cubes), meats (folded into flower buds or rolled into spirals), and other accoutrements—think jams, honeys, nuts, crackers, and vegetables. But there's one ingredient I never thought would star in these crowd-pleasing assortments: butter.

Justine Doiron, however, knew that butter could be the next grazing board main character. Since the chef and content creator debuted her brainchild—the butter board—on TikTok (though, she credits chef Josh McFadden with the original idea), she has inspired home chefs and hosts everywhere to swirl pats of the beloved fat onto boards and dishes, apply a myriad of toppings (we've seen versions that run the sweet-and-savory gamut), and serve with crunchy, crusty bread.

It's bread and butter, but better—so I knew I had to try it.

Building a Foundation

While Doiron began with two sticks of butter and opted for salt, lemon zest, herbs, edible flowers, and honey as toppings, there's no single recipe or formula to follow—as long as you're working with tasty butter, flaky salt, fresh herbs or produce, and next-level bread, you can't go wrong.

I went in without a formed plan, deciding to stroll through the farmers' market for seasonal, local ingredients that also looked good together. I started with a slab of butter and fresh, warm country bread from a beloved vendor. Then, I turned my eyes to produce: After deciding I'd take a savory route, I scooped up a red onion, yellow heirloom tomato, chives, and basil.

blue cake stand with ingredients
Courtesy of Sarah Schreiber

An Elevated Vessel

If you've spent any time on Instagram or TikTok lately, you've likely seen butter boards constructed on everything from wooden planks (typically reserved for cheese and charcuterie) to sunken serving platters. I wasn't too keen on smearing a greasy fat all over a wooden board, and wanted something a bit more elevated than a simple dish.

So, I channeled Martha and opted for an antique glass cake stand, which our founder collects. The piece felt festive and entertaining-friendly—and, thanks to the stand's curved sides, also allowed me to prop up slices of bread for easy access.

butter board butter layer
Courtesy of Sarah Schreiber

Layering the Ingredients

When it comes to assembling butter boards, a strong foundation is key: How you apply the butter—which needs to be at room temperature for easy spreading—matters for a strong aesthetic result. Since I was working on a cake stand, I thought it would be fun to "swirl" on the butter like buttercream icing. (Other methods involve dabbing on the butter like tiny paint strokes.)

I recommend using a miniature spatula to apply an ample amount of butter to the base of your vessel—then sprinkle on a healthy layer of flaky sea salt.

Following Doiron's lead, I topped the butter with salt and herbs (chopped chives and basil) before adding fresh produce: I loved the color—and flavor—combination of the yellow heirloom tomato and red onion. A glug of olive oil completed the assembly process.

butter board
Courtesy of Sarah Schreiber

The Takeaway

If you're looking for a way to upgrade your dinner party's appetizer offerings, butter boards are a delightful new option. I could even see this working on a smaller scale—consider the individual butter pats that typically accompany bread baskets, for example. How fun would it be to make each attendee their very own butter board, instead?

butter board sliced bread
Courtesy of Sarah Schreiber

Going the individual route is also a way to bypass any potential germ-sharing—but popping a knife into a larger butter board will also encourage butter spreading, as opposed to dunking.

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