Why Do You Put Butter On Steak? A Chef’s POV

As a seasoned chef with years of experience, I can tell you that butter is the secret ingredient for taking your steak to the next level. But don’t take my word for it.

From my experience as a chef, using butter on a steak speaks for itself.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why you should put butter on your steak and how to do it like a pro.

Why Do Chefs Use Butter On Steak & The Science Involved

Butter on steak. Credit: Unsplash
Butter on steak. Credit: Unsplash

Before we dive into why butter is so essential to cooking the perfect steak, let’s talk science.

Butter has a lower smoke point compared to many cooking oils, making it less suitable for high-temperature cooking.

However, when used to baste or finish cooked meat, it adds a unique flavor that excites our taste buds.

Another thing to note is the composition of butter. It contains milk solids and water, making it an emulsifier.

As a result, it helps in preventing the meat from getting dry by trapping the juices inside.

How Butter Enhances The Flavor of Steak

Adding butter to your steak not only enhances the flavor but also improves the texture.

The fat content in the butter gives the steak a rich, smooth, and slightly creamy taste.

When the butter begins to melt, it seeps into the small gaps and crevices in the steak, helping to create a beautiful crust.

Now is the time to consider using salted or unsalted butter for your steak.

The Best Way To Put Butter On Steak

Now that we know how butter improves steak, let’s talk about how to use it in cooking.

Here are some tips from my years of frying steaks:

  1. Allow butter to reach room temperature before use.
  2. Use unsalted butter to prevent your steak from getting too salty.
  3. After cooking, let your steak rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to settle. Then, spread a dollop of butter over the top of your steak.

You can also make an herb or compound butter by mixing soft butter with herbs like rosemary or thyme.

Allow the mixture to chill in the fridge for a few hours before use to let the flavors meld together.

Butter vs Oil

Some people prefer using oil instead of butter to cook their steak.

While oil has its benefits, it doesn’t offer the rich, savory flavor that butter provides.

The use of oil on steak is also linked with the formation of carcinogenic compounds when heated past the smoke point.

On the other hand, butter has a lower smoke point, so it’s less likely to get to a temperature that produces harmful compounds.

Plus, butter adds a delectable flavor that oil can’t match.


Can I Use Salted Butter To Cook Steak?

It’s preferable to use unsalted butter when cooking steak. This allows you to control the saltiness of your dish. If you use salted butter, there is a risk that your steak could get too salty.

Should I Apply Butter To My Steak Before Or After Grilling?

It’s better to apply butter after grilling your steak. This is because butter has a lower smoke point compared to other oils. If you add butter before or during cooking, it may burn and become bitter, ruining the taste of your steak.

Can I Use Dried Herbs In My Compound Butter?

Yes, you can use dried herbs in your compound butter if you don’t have fresh herbs available. Just remember that dried herbs have a stronger taste and aroma, so use them sparingly.


In conclusion, it’s easy to see why butter is a chef’s secret weapon when it comes to cooking the perfect steak.

It enhances the flavor and texture of the meat while ensuring it stays juicy. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the taste of butter?

Next time you’re cooking steak, don’t be shy with the butter.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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