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Why do you spoon butter on a steak?

Many people wonder why it’s common to see a spoonful of butter melting over a sizzling steak at a steakhouse. While the practice may seem unusual, there are some good reasons for spooning butter on top of steak while cooking or serving.

What is the Purpose of Spooning Butter on Steak?

Here are some of the main reasons butter is spooned over steak:

Enhances Flavor

Butter is rich, creamy, and full of flavor. Melting a spoonful over a hot steak allows the butter to bathe the meat in its delicious taste. The butter also blends with the natural juices of the steak, creating an irresistible sauce right on the meat. This ramps up the flavor significantly.

Keeps Steak Moist

A common problem with steaks is that they can become dry and tough. The melted butter helps keep the steak nice and moist as you eat it. The lubricating quality of the butter prevents the meat fibers from getting chewy.

Provides Contrasting Textures

In addition to flavor, the melted butter provides a lovely contrasting texture against the crusty seared exterior of the steak. Each bite delivers a taste and feel that plays off the tender interior of the meat.

Adds Visual Appeal

Melted butter sauce dripping down the sides of a steak simply looks appetizing. The glazed and glistening presentation enhances the visual appeal of the dish. This adds to the enjoyment and satisfaction of the meal.

Types of Butter for Steak

While ordinary butter tastes great on steak, there are some other options to consider:

Compound Butter

Compound butter blends butter with herbs, garlic, citrus, and other ingredients. It adds unique flavors that complement different cuts of steak.

Flavored Butter

Flavored butters like honey butter, bacon butter, blue cheese butter, etc. also pair well with steak. They provide familiar flavors that enhance the steak experience.

Grass-Fed Butter

Butter from grass-fed cows offers a richer taste with heart-healthy omega-3s. It’s a smart choice for buttering steak.

When to Spoon Butter on Steak

The ideal time to spoon butter on steak depends on whether you want flavor infusion or temperature contrast:

During Cooking

Spooning butter on the steak at the beginning of cooking allows the melted butter to really permeate the meat. This infuses the steak with deep, delicious flavor.

Right Before Serving

Waiting until the cooked steak comes off the grill or pan and spooning over butter right before serving creates more of a temperature contrast. The sizzling butter over the hot meat provides a nice textural difference.

How to Properly Spoon Butter on Steak

Here are some tips for spooning butter on steak like a pro:

– Use a cold spoon so the butter doesn’t immediately melt when spooning it.
– Cut the butter into spoon-sized pieces from a stick for easy scooping onto hot steak.
– Spoon butter along the top margins of the steak so it melts down the sides.
– Feel free to add more than one spoonful over especially thick steaks.
– Spoon butter on steak just before serving to allow the sauce to pool around the steak without cooling too quickly.
– For added flavor, use fresh herb butter or compound butter loaded with garlic, blue cheese, etc.


Spooning butter on top of a sizzling steak is a simple way to take the flavor and satisfaction factor over the top. The melted butter not only enhances taste, but keeps the meat moist and adds visual appeal. Use high quality butters and spoon it on at the ideal times for maximum impact. This small touch can really take your steak nights from great to glorious.