How to Make Brandy Butter

Two Parts:Making Brandy ButterVariations

Sometimes called "hard sauce" in the United States, brandy butter is the ideal topping for your Christmas pudding or mince pie. This simple recipe will taste better than anything you find on the shelf.


Serves 2–3; double for a large Christmas pudding

  • 60g (¼ cup) unsalted butter
  • 60g (½ cup) icing sugar or confectioner's sugar
  • Brandy to taste, up to 25 milliliters (2 U.S. tbsp)


  • 1 mL (¼ teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 8 mL (½ tbsp) orange or lemon zest
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Part 1
Making Brandy Butter

  1. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 1
    Let 50g butter warm to just below room temperature. It's easiest to make this recipe when the butter is still cold and fairly solid, but soft enough that the back of a spoon leaves an impression. The butter should reach this point after 30–60 minutes out of the fridge, depending on how hot your kitchen is.[1]
    • If you are using an electric mixer, you can throw in the butter straight from the fridge. Beat the butter on low speed for about a minute to soften it, then continue to the next step.[2]
  2. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 2
    Beat in the sugar. Pour in 60g (½ cup) icing sugar slowly as you beat it into the butter. Continue beating until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically with a rubber spatula.
    • If using an electric mixer, keep it set to medium or medium-low to avoid overheating the butter.
    • If beating by hand, use the back of a fork to slice the butter into thin ribbons. This saves you some effort by working more air into the mixture.[3]
  3. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 3
    Cream the butter-sugar mixture (optional). If you prefer a light, spreadable brandy butter, continue beating to incorporate more air bubbles. This creaming process makes the butter expand to almost twice its size and turn much lighter in color.[4]
    • This happens fast in an electric mixer — within a couple minutes. Take care not to beat too much, as you still have another ingredient to add. Over-creaming can cause the ingredients to separate into a greasy, gritty texture.
  4. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 4
    Beat in the brandy a splash at a time. Adding too much brandy at once will curdle the butter. Pour in about 5 mL (1 tsp) and beat to combine before adding the next spoonful.[5] Taste the brandy butter after each addition and keep adding until you achieve the desired flavor. Add about 10 mL (2 tsp) for moderate brandy flavor, or 25 mL (5 tsp) for a strong sauce.
  5. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 5
    Store in the fridge. Keep the butter in an airtight container or under plastic wrap so it doesn't absorb other flavors. Serve on Christmas pudding or other desserts within two weeks.[6]
    • You can freeze leftover brandy butter in an airtight container or cling wrap. Use within three months for best quality, letting it thaw in the fridge overnight.

Part 2

  1. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 6
    Switch to raw or brown sugar. These sugars have a deep molasses flavor that works well with alcohol and Christmas pudding. Raw, unrefined sugar such as muscovado works particularly well.[7] However, this will add a slight graininess to your brandy butter compared, unlike the icing sugar version.
  2. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 7
    Flavor with vanilla extract and citrus. After beating in the brandy, stir in 1 mL (¼ tsp) vanilla extract, and/or 8 milliliters (0.5 U.S. tbsp) orange or lemon zest.[8]
  3. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 8
    Toss in a pinch of holiday spices. A small pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg contributes to the holiday feel.
  4. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 9
    Mix in almond meal. Some households like to add a nutty flavor with roughly 25g (¼ cup) ground almonds. As always, stir in this extra ingredient at the end of the process, when the butter and sugar are already combined.
  5. Image titled Make Brandy Butter Step 10
    Freeze the brandy butter into molds. Press the brandy butter into candy molds and freeze into a decorative shape. When ready to serve, run lukewarm water over the back of the mold to help you lever the butter out. Even frozen butter will melt quickly on a hot Christmas pudding, so serve in a separate container or wait until the family has gathered before you put it on.[9]


  • Brandy butter is usually made with sweet cream butter, which is widely available in the United Kingdom and United States. You can also make it with European-style cultured butter for a tangier taste.


  • Don't try to warm the butter in a microwave. This can melt parts of the butter, leaving you with grease in the sauce.[10]

Things You'll Need

  • electric mixer, hand mixer, or fork
  • medium bowl
  • rubber spatula
  • serving dish (with cover if possible)

Article Info

Categories: Butter and Ghee | Christmas Cooking