This 8-minute lemon garlic butter sauce is the BEST garlic butter sauce to add to baked steelhead trout, perfectly steamed shrimp, boiled lobster tails, or grilled steaks. Minced garlic is fried in melted butter, then lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley are added at the end.
What You Will Love
This easy garlic butter sauce recipe can be used in many different ways, and it immediately up-levels any recipe by adding so much flavor!
Use this silky sauce as a dipping sauce for french bread or seafood recipes like steamed crab legs and boiled crawfish. Or, spoon this simple garlic butter sauce over grilled sirloin steaks or oven-roasted salmon.
- Unsalted butter: Use high-quality butter, preferably unsalted butter, to adjust the different salt levels. Salted butter is a substitute.
- Fresh garlic: I recommend using fresh garlic cloves to give this butter sauce some zing.
- Lemon (or lime): Use fresh lemon juice or lime juice, not anything canned.
- Italian parsley or curly parsley (optional): This fresh herb is optional but compliments the garlic butter sauce. Italian parsley looks a little bit like cilantro. Curly parsley is a substitute.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
Steps 1 - 4: Gather the ingredients. Mince the garlic, chop the parsley (if using), and slice the lemon.
Steps 5 & 6: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Fry the minced garlic for about a minute, then squeeze in the lemon juice.
Steps 7 & 8: Add the parsley and stir for another 30 seconds.
How To Make Garlic Butter
Peel and cut the end off the garlic cloves. Mince the cloves of garlic finely.
Remove the leaves from the fresh parsley bouquet. Chop the fresh parsley.
Cut the lemon in half.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium high heat.
Fry the garlic in melted butter for about a minute or until the garlic starts to turn golden.
Squeeze the lemon juice into the garlic butter.
Immediately add the chopped parsley.
Stir the lemon garlic butter sauce for another 30 seconds on medium-high heat.
Serve immediately while this delicious garlic butter sauce is hot. There are many ways to use this buttery garlic sauce. One way is to spoon this flavorful sauce over some steamed shrimp and lobster tails.
Tips and Tricks
- Use good quality butter. My favorite butter at the moment is Kerrygold butter or European slow-churned butter.
- Use the right amount of butter. I prefer not to use too much butter, like a whole stick of butter, because it's a rich sauce. I like my homemade butter sauce to be chunky, so it's got more flavor ratios.
- Adjust the amount of garlic to butter ratio. For garlic lovers, I recommend one clove of garlic to one tablespoon of butter. If you are garlic adverse, cut the garlic in half.
Variations and Substitutions
- Add red pepper flakes to this homemade garlic butter sauce to add some spice. Fry the red pepper flakes at the same time as when you fry the butter.
- Use a garlic press or mortar and pestle to crush the garlic rather than mince the garlic. Crushing the garlic into a paste allows the garlic to disperse more evenly in the butter.
- Substitute olive oil for butter. This means this would be garlic olive oil rather than garlic butter sauce, but both taste great.
- If using salted butter, skip the pinch of salt until you taste the sauce to make sure you have the right amount of salt.
- Experiment with fresh herbs like cilantro, thyme, oregano, and sage. I recommend trying the herbs independently first.
- Use lime instead of lemon. I prefer lime for baked fish, like this roasted steelhead trout with garlic lime butter.
Garlic Sauce Variations
If you are looking for some garlic sauce variations, try this lemon garlic aioli (uses mayonnaise) or Lebanese garlic toum (an emulsified garlic sauce). Garlic aioli is great for blanched asparagus. Lebanese toum is what you use for chicken shawarma or chicken shish tawook.
This sauce is best served right away but can also be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat the sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave using a microwave-safe bowl. I do not recommend freezing this sauce.
Most garlic butter sauces are made with butter, finely minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and a combination of fresh herbs.
Aioli is a garlic sauce, but not all garlic sauces are aioli.
Garlic Butter Recipes
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Homemade Garlic Butter Sauce
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoon butter unsalted
- ½ whole lemon
- 2 tablespoon parsley freshly chopped, Italian parsley or curly parsley
- pinch of salt
- Peel and chop the ends off the garlic. Finely mince the garlic.
- Wash and remove the leaves from the parsley. Chop the parsley.
- Cut the lemon in half.
- Add the butter to a small saucepan. Once it's melted, add the minced garlic and stir. Fry the garlic in butter for about 1 minute or until the garlic starts to change colors.
- Using a lemon squeezer, squeeze the lemon half into the garlic butter.
- Immediately add the chopped parsley.
- Mix the garlic butter, chopped parsley, and lemon juice for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
- Substitute salted butter for unsalted butter. Omit the pinch of salt until you taste the sauce.
- Use lime instead of lemon.
- Substitute olive oil for butter or a combination of both.
- Curly parsley and Italian parsley can be used interchangeably.
- Substitute other fresh herbs for the parsley, like cilantro, thyme, oregano, sage, or rosemary.
- Add more butter if you want the sauce to be less chunky and more buttery.