Alex Guarnaschelli’s Tip for Serving Restaurant-Quality Bread and Butter Couldn’t Be Easier

published Aug 25, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Diptych of Alex Guarnaschell on left and Cooks Illustrated dinner rolls on right.
Credit: L to R: Squire Fox; Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Renowned chef, Food Network star, and all-around culinary genius Alex Guarnaschelli seems to have an endless amount of helpful cooking tips. Recently, Guarnaschelli took to Instagram to bestow a simple-yet-delicious (and also semi-fancy!) trick for serving bread and butter to guests.

While you might be tempted to simply put out a basket of dinner rolls or a loaf of warm bread alongside a plain stick of butter, take a cue from Guarnaschelli: Simply place a stick of unsalted butter on a board or small dish, and sprinkle it all over with flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Let it come to room temperature so it’s spreadable (if you’re in a rush, we found the best way to soften butter, by the way) and set it out with a knife for spreading on crusty bread. This restaurant-style upgrade really couldn’t be easier but, as Guarnaschelli notes, it’s “so good that people think you cooked all day.”

This idea may be simple, but it’s a great way to add some extra flavor and texture to plain butter. It’s almost like making a compound butter, but with even less effort — no mixing required. And you don’t have to stick to just salt and pepper — try mixing things up and use some of your favorite seasonings instead. I brainstormed ideas with my fellow Kitchn food editors, and we came up with a bunch of ideas we think would be delicious, including lemon-pepper seasoning, BBQ seasoning, za’atar, dukkah, different varieties of furikake, ranch seasoning, everything bagel seasoning, and Italian seasoning, just to name a few!

I tried it out for myself and used a mixture of sea salt, cracked pepper, and ranch seasoning blend. It was an easy and tasty way to add a little bit of flavor to simple bread and butter.

Credit: Cory Fernandez

Whatever seasonings you happen to choose, you’ll be sure to impress your guests just a little with this slightly elevated, Alex G.–approved tip!