These simple buttered leeks are a quick and easy side dish that are delicious served up with a roast dinner. Melt in your mouth buttery leeks, with slightly charred crispy edges are a great way to use leeks and you only need a few ingredients to make it.
This is probably the easiest way to cook leeks, and it really allows their incredible flavour to shine. Buttered leeks are something a little bit different to serve as a side, especially with a roast dinner. The best part is, they are ready in under 15 minutes and only need a few ingredients.
Why you will love it
- A delicious way to use leeks - There is so much more you can do with leeks than just use them in a soup. Cooking them like this really allows the flavour to shine.
- Budget friendly - Leeks are in season in the UK in the winter months and they are usually pretty cheap at local markets and supermarkets. This makes this a budget friendly side dish, which is good if the main is quite expensive and you want to bulk it out with some cheaper, but still delicious, sides.
- Quick and easy - These buttered leeks are ready in under 15 minutes and are as simple as cooking the leeks in butter with some herbs and seasoning.
- A new side dish to try - If you are bored of serving up the usual side dishes of boiled vegetables, then give this a try.
- Leeks - The star of the dish! Make sure that you wash these really carefully, as the dirt can get right down the leaves.
- Butter - This is what makes them really creamy and delicious. We used unsalted butter, but you could use salted and then you would just need to adjust the amount of salt added. Try to use the best quality butter you can, as you will be able to taste the different. You could use oil, but then this wouldn't be called buttered leeks.
- Thyme - This is optional, but we think a little bit of fresh thyme adds so much flavour.
- Seasoning - Sea salt and black pepper for flavour. Season it to taste.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat.
Two: Add the chopped leeks to the pan. Stir well so that all the leeks are coated in butter.
Three: Season and add the thyme. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring regularly.
Health benefits of leeks
Leeks belong to the same family as onions, shallots, scallions, chives, and garlic. They kind of look like a giant spring onion (scallion) but they have a much milder flavour. They almost have a sweet and creamy flavour when cooked.
Whilst you might not think of leeks when you think of healthy vegetables, they are actually nutrient dense as they are low in calories and fat, but high in vitamins and minerals.
Leeks are a good source of Vitamin A, which is important for vision, reproduction, immune function and cell communication. They are a good source of vitamin K1, which is necessary for blood clotting and heart health and vitamin C, which aids immune health, tissue repair, iron absorption, and collagen production. They are such a good source of vitamin C, that they offer around twice as much as the same quantity of oranges.
Leeks, like onions and garlic in the same family, have shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke and they contain several beneficial compounds thought to lower inflammation and protect heart health.
How to prepare leeks
Firstly, trim the root off. You can then careful peel back the layers to make sure they aren't full of dirt. Then slice them in half lengthways and separate and wash all the layers thoroughly.
Then slice off the very end of the dark green bits off (just the wilted parts) and then slice up the rest of the leek. Don't discard the end dark green bits though, as they can be used to make a delicious homemade stock.
What to serve with buttered leeks
We would eat these leeks on the side of pretty much anything (maybe not dessert), but they go really well with a roast diner. Something a little bit different to serve up with a roast, rather than just the usual roasted vegetables, but quick and simple to make.
When it comes to potato sides, we have got you covered there too. Why not try our Easy Hasselback Potatoes, Crispy Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Easy Roast Potatoes, Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, Air Fryer Roast Potatoes or Vegetable Mash?
We could all do with some more greens in our life, right? We have lots of delicious green sides dishes too that would go perfectly with these buttered leeks. Why not try our Garlic Spring Greens, Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli, Garlic Green Beans, Air Fryer Broccoli, Slow Cooker Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Lemon Asparagus?
Frequently Asked Questions
You can chop the leeks a few hours in advance and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
These are always best cooked from fresh, which is okay because they are so quick and easy to make. However, if you do have leftovers then they will keep in the fridge in an air tight container for 2 days.
Yes, you can freeze cooked leeks, however we don't think they are as nice once they have ben defrosted. They change texture a little.
To reheat them, I put them in a pan with a little butter and heat through. However, my favourite way to use leftovers is on cheese on toast. Toast and butter some bread, and then add the leftover buttered leeks (cold) and then top with cheese and put under the grill until the cheese is bubbling. You could also use leftovers to put on top of soup.
Because of the butter that the leeks are cooked in, these are not vegan. However, you can get some great plant based butter alternatives that cook really well and that could be used instead.
Yes, this is a delicious gluten free side dish. Just make sure that there is no cross contamination.
• Leeks can vary in size greatly, however that won't make much of a difference to this recipe. If you have really big leeks, then you will just need to use a bit more butter.
• You can cut your leeks lengthways and then chop them, like we did or you can slice them into rounds.
• If you find that your leeks are burning, firstly make sure that they are being cooked on low. You can also add a little olive oil to the butter, which will stop them from burning.
• Make sure that you don't overcook the leeks, as they can get a strange texture and go a bit slimy.
More leek recipes
If you’ve tried these buttered leeks, or any other recipe on the blog, then let us know how you got on in the comments below, we love hearing from you!
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- 400 g leeks - sliced
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 sprig fresh thyme - leaves removed, stalks discarded
- 1 pinch sea salt and black pepper
- Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat.2 tablespoon butter
- Add the chopped leeks to the pan. Stir well so that all the leeks are coated in butter.400 g leeks
- Season and add the thyme. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring regularly.1 pinch sea salt and black pepper, 2 sprig fresh thyme
- Leeks can vary in size greatly, however that won't make much of a difference to this recipe. If you have really big leeks, then you will just need to use a bit more butter.
- You can cut your leeks lengthways and then chop them, like we did or you can slice them in to rounds.
- If you find that your leeks are burning, firstly make sure that they are being cooked on low. You can also add a little olive oil to the butter, which will stop them from burning.
- Make sure that you don't overcook the leeks, as they can get a strange texture and go a bit slimy.