How Buttery Spell’s homemade compound butters went from pandemic project to supermarket shelf

Amanda Ratcliff began making pecan butter because it wasn't available at the store and she wanted to relieve her pandemic boredom.

by Marielle Songy
July 25, 2022

New Orleans native Amanda Ratcliff turned her pandemic pastime into a full-fledged business with Buttery Spell, her company specializing in homemade compound and nut butters.

The birth of Buttery Spell

Ratcliff has always had a passion for food. She’s worked in the hotel business, and her aunt was a dietician; her culinary instincts have always been in her blood. 

“I like to eat and I know what good food is supposed to taste like,” she said. “Being from New Orleans, we know how food is supposed to taste just by tasting it. I don’t have any official culinary training, but I’m a self-proclaimed foodie.”

Buttery Spell was born in July 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. Ratcliff was making pecan butter because it wasn’t available at the store and she wanted to relieve her pandemic boredom. After mentioning her homemade butter to a friend, word spread (pun intended) about Ratcliff’s butter, and orders started coming in.

She said, “When the orders first started coming in, it wasn’t a business. It was just something that I was doing to stay sane.”

However, after word started to get out about her homemade butter, people began showing interest in Ratcliff’s endeavor. She posted about her butter in the Facebook group Where Black NOLA Eats; from there, her business took off.

“In my first month I had fifty to sixty orders and week and since then it’s stayed the course,” she said.

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So, what flavors can you get?

Buttery Spell started with Ratcliff’s signature nut butter such as butterscotch white chocolate peanut butter, dark chocolate peanut butter, milk chocolate caramel peanut butter, and classic peanut butter.

A year later, she expanded to compound butter.

Ratcliff explained, “I was in the kitchen cooking and I thought that there had to be an easier way than chopping up ingredients that I needed like parsley and garlic.”

She said compound butter is commonly used up north but is not often used in the south. She makes the bases for her compound butter by hand and has gotten the process down to a science. 

Buttery Spell’s sweet and savory butter is perfect for cooking or spreading and includes flavors like roasted garlic and rosemary, strawberry honey, shrimp, three cheese garlic, and sweet and savory vegan butter. Ratcliff also offers a variety of vegan butter and granola bars.

Buttery Spell butter is available locally at Rouses Market on Freret St. and Tchoupitoulas St. and can be ordered through the Buttery Spell website. On weekends, Ratcliff sells her butter at Camellia City Farmer’s Market in Slidell and Harahan Farmer’s Market.

Buttery Spell’s latest triumph came when Chef Lenora Morrow, the owner of Monday, a new restaurant in Mid-City, reached out to Ratcliff about using her butter in some vegan dishes that the chef was planning at her restaurant.

“Chef Lenora is putting together some vegan items for her menu and she asked if I would do a vegan roasted garlic butter,” she said. “I’m not sure of the exact details yet, but I’m excited about it.”

Ratcliff’s goal for Buttery Spell is to have her butter available in all of the local grocery stores by the middle of 2023. She also hopes to work with more local chefs.

She said, “I know that chefs make their own butters and seasonings, but if I can sell them my compound butter it would eliminate a step from their process.”

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Marielle was born and raised in New Orleans. She thinks it's hard to grow up there and not let the culture and history of the city become part of you. Whether it be the jazz, food, of fabulous architecture, she thinks most would agree that things are a little spicer down here. You can reach her via email at [email protected]

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