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How to Make Tarragon Butter

Tarragon butter is an aromatic, yet delicately flavored butter that is so easy to make! It is particularly good with grilled chicken but can be used on anything from corn on the cob, to your Thanksgiving turkey dinner.

Tarragon butter in a white bowl.
Tarragon butter.

How to make tarragon butter

Tarragon is a delicate herb that is often used in French cuisine. It makes a wonderful compound butter which is commonly served on chicken, meats, seafood, or vegetables.

You make a simple version just using softened butter and minced tarragon, but is it commonly made with butter, tarragon, lemon juice, pepper, and sometimes shallots.

Scroll down for the printable recipe card for making tarragon butter, or read on for all the details.


See recipe card below for all quantities.

Butter: Always use real butter, not margarine. It needs to be room temperature, so remember to get it out of the refrigerator 1-2 hours ahead of making this recipe. I normally use unsalted butter, but you can also use salted, just omit the additional salt from the recipe.

Fresh tarragon: Finely chop or mince the fresh tarragon. It is best to use fresh tarragon for this recipe, though dried tarragon will work in a pinch.

Lemon zest: I recommend using an organic lemon. Zest or finely grate the skin until you have 1/2 teaspoon of zest.

Lemon juice: Half a medium-sized lemon will give you approximately 1 tablespoon of juice.

Salt and pepper: you can add this to taste, though I have given the quantities I normally use in the recipe below.


Step 1: Finely chop the fresh tarragon leaves, zest and juice the lemon.

Step 2: Cut the butter into 6-8 pieces and place into a mixing bowl. Mash it with a fork until it softens up.

Step 3: Gradually add the tarragon, lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper to the butter, mashing it thoroughly with a fork to ensure that each addition is well mixed with the butter.

Step 4: Once all the ingredients are added and well mixed, transfer the tarragon butter to an air tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

See sections below for more ideas on using and storing tarragon butter.

Serving and using tarragon butter

Tarragon Butter can be used for cooking or serving with roasted meats, poultry, or vegetables. You can slather it on top of cooked food, or use it in recipes in place of regular butter or herbs. It is wonderful spread over a chicken prior to roasting, and also melting over the top of a dish full of roasted potatoes.

Lemon tarragon butter is a traditional accompaniment for chicken, but can be used on other dishes too. Lemon juice is the perfect pairing with tarragon for this recipe because it cuts the tarragon’s pungency.

Storing tarragon butter

Store the tarragon butter in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months (remember to label and date it!).

I normally store herb butter in a small bowl sealed with plastic wrap. But there are many other creative ways to store it, here are some fun ideas to try:

  • Roll into a log shape and store in waxed paper. You can cut coin-shaped pieces off as needed.
  • Use a piping bag to crease herb butter rosettes on a lined cookie tray, refrigerate until needed.
  • Place the butter between two sheets of parchment and roll it out to around 1/2 an inch. Refrigerate. When it is hard you can use a cookie cutter to cut the butter into shapes for serving.
  • Fill ice-cube trays and store in the freezer.

Tarragon butter recipe card

Yield: 5 servings

Tarragon butter

Tarragon butter in a white bowl.

How to make tarragon butter.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 stick/ 4 ounces / 125g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 tablespoon/ 15ml lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper


  1. Wash and finely chop or mince the tarragon leaves. Zest and juice the lemon.
  2. Cut the stick of butter into 6 or 8 pieces, and place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Use a fork to mash the butter until is softened.
  4. Slowly add the chopped tarragon, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Continue to mash the butter with each addition until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.


Tarragon butter should be stored in the refrigerator, and should last up to a week. For longer storage you can keep in in the freezer for up to 3 months. Use an air-tight freezer-safe container.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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