Butein (3,4,2′,4′-tetrahydroxychalcone) belongs to the chalcone family of flavonoids and possesses various biological activities. In this study, butein was synthesized through aldol condensation catalyzed by thionyl chloride (SOCl2)/ethyl alcohol (EtOH) for the first time. The optimal reaction conditions including the molar ratio of reactants, the dosage of catalyst, and the reaction time on the yield of product were investigated, and the straightforward strategy assembles the yield of butein up to 88%. Butein has been found to inhibit xanthine oxidase (XO) activity. Herein, the inhibitory mechanism of butein against XO was discussed in aspects of inhibition kinetic, fluorescence titration, synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy, and molecular docking. The inhibition kinetic analysis showed that butein possessed a stronger inhibition on XO in an irreversible competitive manner with IC50 value of 2.93 × 10−6 mol L−1. The results of fluorescence titrations and synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy indicated that butein was able to interact with XO at one binding site, and the fluorophores of XO were placed in a more hydrophobic environment with the addition of butein. Subsequently, the result of molecular docking between butein and XO protein revealed that butein formed hydrogen bonding with the amino acid residues located in the hydrophobic cavity of XO. All the results suggested that the inhibitory mechanism of butein on XO may be the insertion of butein into the active site occupying the catalytic center of XO to avoid the entrance of xanthine and inducing conformational changes in XO.