tomato compound butter

Capture the flavor of ripe summer tomatoes in this rich tomato compound butter. The butter is mixed with a cooked down tomato jam, thyme and a touch of garlic. Slather it on crusty bread, sprinkle it with flaky sea salt and discover one of life’s simple pleasures.

  • Author: Indi Hampton
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes (or any ripe tomatoes)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a heatproof bowl with ice water and set aside. Use a paring knife to lightly score an “X” on the bottom of each tomato. 
  2. When the water boils, generously salt it then add the tomatoes and cook for 30- 45 seconds, or until the skin just begins to curl and peel away from the “X”. Immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice water to stop the cooking. Let them cool for a few minutes, then drain and use your fingers or a knife to peel off the skin. Discard the skin and transfer the tomatoes to a saucepan.
  3. Add the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, black pepper and garlic cloves to the saucepan and use a fork or wooden spoon to smash the tomatoes and release their juice (roughly chop the tomatoes if larger than cherry size). Cook over medium heat, smooshing tomatoes against the wall of the pot to break them up as the mixture simmers. After about 10 minutes, when the liquid has thickened and cooked down, stir constantly to prevent scorching. Simmer until almost all of the liquid has cooked off and tomatoes are thick and jammy, about 20 minutes total. You should have about 1/2 cup of tomatoes. Let cool completely.
  4. Transfer cooled tomato jam to a food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Add butter, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and process until smooth and completely mixed, scraping down sides as needed. Taste; season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate. Alternatively, scoop onto waxed or parchment paper, shape into a log, roll tightly and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.


makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • The tomato butter can be used right away or chilled for a few hours until firm. Butter will keep for up to 5 days refrigerated and up to 3 months frozen.


Keywords: tomato compound butter