How to Make Sage Butter

by Deb Powers

Sage buttter is a sophisticated topping for pasta dishes.

Francesco Dibartolo/iStock/Getty Images

Items you will need

  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 8 to 10 large sage leaves or
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons dried sage
  • Paper towels
  • Knife or mezzaluna chopper
  • Bowl
  • Electric mixer or food processor
  • Lemon juice
  • Waxed paper

The pungent earthiness of sage combines with the richness of butter to create a sophisticated flavor profile that brings out the best in pasta, poultry, fish and vegetables. Gardeners with a bumper crop of fresh sage get an added benefit: Freezing herbs in butter is a time-honored way of preserving their freshest flavors. If you don't have access to fresh herbs, you can substitute dried -- not powdered -- sage. Just use one-quarter to one-third the amount in your recipe. Whether you make a batch of sage butter to freeze or whip up browned sage butter on the fly, it's a savory addition to your recipe repertoire.

Easy Sage Butter

Step 1

Let the butter soften at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. It should be soft enough to spread, but not so soft that it has begun to melt.

Step 2

Clean stems from the sage leaves. Rinse them and pat them dry with a paper towel. Chop the leaves finely, using a rocking motion for more control and more even cutting.

Step 3

Combine the sage and softened butter in a bowl, stirring them together until the chopped herb is evenly distributed.

Step 4

Beat the sage butter at low speed with an electric mixer until it is creamy, adding in a dash of lemon. Alternatively, transfer the sage butter to a small food processor bowl and process it on low until the mixture is light and creamy.

Step 5

Scoop the sage butter onto a piece of waxed paper, shaping it into a log about the size of a stick of butter. Wrap it in waxed paper and store it in a resealable plastic bag in your freezer.

Step 6

To use, slice off the amount needed for your recipe and return the remainder to the freezer. The sage butter will keep frozen for several months.

Browned Sage Butter

Step 1

Remove the sage leaves from the stems, rinse them and pat them dry with paper towels. If you're working with small leaves, spread them in a single layer on 1 sheet and lightly press a second paper towel over them to absorb water.

Step 2

Chop the sage leaves finely, using a crisscross rocking motion to get pieces that are roughly even in size and shape.

Step 3

Place a stick of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Allow it to melt without stirring it. Keep cooking it over low heat for about 3 minutes after the butter is completely melted, until the milk solids form browned bits in the bottom of the pan and the butter has a nutty aroma.

Step 4

Add the chopped sage to the pan all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan, until the sage leaves are evenly distributed throughout the butter.

Step 5

Spoon the sage butter over vegetables, fish or meat just before serving.


  • A mezzaluna knife, with a crescent-shaped blade and a handle across the top, makes it much easier to get a fine, even, minced texture.

    Experiment with adding other ingredients, such as grated cheese or garlic, to sage butter to create your own flavor profiles.


  • Use a large saute pan when making browned butter with sage to prevent the butter from foaming over the edge when you add the fresh herbs.

Photo Credits

  • Francesco Dibartolo/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Deb Powers is an avid urban gardener who works with a community collective to promote sustainable urban agriculture and build partnerships between local business owners and community organizations. Powers serves as a social media and marketing consultant for local non-profits and businesses, and is collaborating with a coffee roaster to publish a cookbook highlighting coffee as a culinary ingredient.