How to Make Shaped Pats of Butter for the Holidays

Written by jeffrey brian airman
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How to Make Shaped Pats of Butter for the Holidays
Warm, softened butter fills the butter moulds completely for more sculptural detail. (Butter image by Cornelia Pithart from

You can shape pats of butter to add an edible decoration to the holiday table. Traditional holiday butter shapes like turkeys and trees can be formed from softened butter then firmed in the refrigerator. Butter moulds must be prepared to prevent sticking that can cause the formed butter to lose its shape. Butter pats can be moulded well in advance and removed from the refrigerator moments before service. Give holiday guests an added treat by moulding pats of butter into custom shapes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plastic tub or large bowl
  • Ice
  • Running water
  • Butter moulds
  • Waxed paper
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) salted butter
  • Rolling pin
  • Silicone spatula
  • Air-tight, plastic, food-safe container

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  1. 1

    Fill a plastic tub or large plastic bowl half full of ice, then pour in cold water until the ice begins to float.

  2. 2

    Lower the butter moulds slowly into the container of ice water until they are resting on the bottom, and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes.

  3. 3

    Remove the butter from the refrigerator, then place it on top of a sheet of waxed paper and on a flat, stable surface like a counter or table.

  4. 4

    Cover the stick of butter with another piece of waxed paper and use a rolling pin to roll the butter to between a quarter-inch and an eighth-inch in thickness.

  5. 5

    Remove the top layer of waxed paper and allow the butter to warm up for 30 to 40 minutes.

  6. 6

    Scoop pats of softened butter from the waxed paper with a silicone spatula, and smooth them into the cold, wet moulds right after they are pulled from the icy water.

  7. 7

    Cover a chilled sheet pan with a piece of waxed paper, then place the filled moulds onto the waxed paper with the exposed butter facing down.

  8. 8

    Slide the sheet pan holding the filled butter moulds into the coldest part of the refrigerator and give them two to three hours to get firm.

  9. 9

    Lift the filled moulds up off the waxed paper sheet about an inch and use the tip of a butter knife to pry out the formed butter. Choose a spot to pry out the butter pat that does not greatly effect the design if a small amount of damage is caused during extraction.

  10. 10

    Store shaped butter pats in an airtight, plastic, food-safe container with small pieces of waxed paper stacked between them for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Tips and warnings

  • Serve individual butter plates so that each holiday guest is able to enjoy the shaped butter pats before they are smeared.
  • Formed butter pats will start to lose their shape and detail after about 30 minutes at room temperature.

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