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How to Make Homemade Butter

DIY homemade butter from heavy whipping cream. If you've ever wanted to try making your own butter from scratch, here's your recipe!
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 7 hours
A container of homemade butter.

DIY Make Your Own Butter – heavy cream and salt are all you need to make homemade butter that is more delicious than any you ever bought at the grocery store. Spread some on warm bread for a heavenly treat.

Making your own butter is easier than you think! You just need two ingredients – heavy cream and salt. And the best part? It’s cheaper than store-bought and doesn’t have any additives at all. Plus, you can customize the flavor of your DIY butter to your liking by adding salt, herbs, and other spices.

A container of homemade butter.

In this recipe post, I’ll show you how to make homemade butter using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Let’s get started!

Okay. I know there’s a less than zero chance that anyone who reads this blog is ever going to make their own butter. I also already know that you think I’m totally crazy for doing it, too, so please don’t feel that you have to comment on that :-)  Thank you very much.

It was just one of those things I’d never done and I wanted to see if I could do it. You understand, right?

And let me tell you something…you have never, ever tasted butter that tastes like this! Oh. My. Gracious. Goodness. It’s so much sweeter, so much butterier than any I’ve ever had. And it only took about ten minutes from start to finish.

So, some weekend when you have nothing else to do, buy a quart of heavy cream and make yourself some homemade butter. Then spread it on some lovely warm bread. You’ll absolutely love it!

A container of homemade butter.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • This DIY butter only requires two ingredients – heavy cream and salt.
  • It’s the freshest tasting butter you’ll ever have – much sweeter and richer than store-bought.
  • You can customize the flavor by adding salt, herbs, and other spices to make a delicious compound butter for freezing.
  • It’s a fun and easy kitchen project to do with kids.

Ingredients You’ll Need


Ingredients needed to make homemade butter.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream (You’ll need cream that is at least 30% butterfat, or heavy whipping cream. I can’t find the percentage of butterfat on any of the cream at my grocery store so I just trust that heavy whipping cream will work. I typically purchase Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream for making butter.)
  • Salt
  • Yellow Food Coloring (Totally optional but it gives it a nice color.)

How to Make Homemade Butter


Before You Start

Before starting, you’ll need to “ripen” the cream by letting it stand at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. During the ripening, it will thicken and become just mildly sour. This helps to give the butter a good, rich taste. After ripening, cool the cream again in your refrigerator for about an hour.

Beat the Cream Until the Butter Separates

  1. Pour the cream into a large electric mixer bowl. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring, if desired. (I find that four drops are just about right.)
  2. Beat at high speed until flecks of butter begin to form. This will start to happen when it has passed the “whipped cream” stage. Just keep watching and you’ll see it start to separate.
  1. Turn the mixer to low speed until the butter separates from the milk. Watch to keep the spattering to a minimum. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as the cream whips. You’ll definitely know when it separates. All the butter will clump together and mass around the beater or whisk.
  2. Once the butter has separated from the milk, strain off the buttermilk. The buttermilk is what’s left when the butter separates out from the cream. Don’t throw that away, though! It’s great for making biscuits or pancakes, or anything that uses buttermilk.

Wash the Butter

  1. Now, “wash” the butter either by hand under cold, running water or in the mixer. If washing by hand, gather the butter into a mass in your hands and “knead” it very gently under cold running water until the water runs clear. You really have to wash out all of the buttermilk that was caught up with the butter. It will make your butter go bad much more quickly if you don’t.
  2. If using the mixer, place the butter back in the bowl and add very cold water, about as much as the amount of buttermilk you poured off. Let the mixer run at its lowest speed. Pour off the water; repeat.
  3. Return the washed butter to the bowl and add a scant tablespoon of salt. On the lowest possible speed, mix in the salt. Remove the beater(s), scrape off the butter with a spatula. Work out any remaining water with a spatula by pressing the butter against the side of the bowl. Be sure to work out as much water as possible.
A container of homemade butter.
  1. Mold the butter in a butter press or empty it into a container with a tightly fitting lid.

How to Store


Use a glass or ceramic jar or container to store the butter as it’s known to absorb flavors and plastic containers tend to have residue.

The leftover liquid that you poured off is the buttermilk. It can be saved for later use as well. You’ll just need to store it in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Store both the butter and buttermilk in the refrigerator.

A buttered biscuit with a bite taken out.

Serving Suggestions


Besides freshly baked bread, homemade butter goes great in all types of recipes from savory to sweet. I recommend trying it in my Champ (Irish Potatoes), Cheese Grits, and on top of my Cheesy Chile Cornbread!

If you’re looking for a decadent dessert, go with a Mississippi Mud Cake, Saltine Cracker Toffee, or delicious Classic Peanut Brittle.

A container of homemade butter.

Questions


How much butter does one quart of heavy cream make?

One quart of cream makes about one pound of butter, although it depends on how heavy (fat) the cream is.

What can I do with the buttermilk?

Buttermilk is great for making biscuits or pancakes! It also works well in any recipe that calls for regular milk, such as homemade macaroni and cheese, lazy daisy cake, and more.

Do I have to let my heavy whipping cream sit out before making the butter?

No, you can make butter with cold cream but the flavor will be much richer if you let the cream mellow at room temperature before you begin.

Can I make butter in a food processor?

Absolutely! You can use a food processor. Just make sure to watch the butter closely for separation and once that happens, turn off the processor.

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Here’s a beautiful, classic way to store your homemade butter!

Ceramic French Butter Keeper With Lid
Ceramic French Butter Keeper With Lid

from: Etsy

(Disclosure: I’m an affiliate and will receive compensation if you purchase. This does not change your purchase price.)

Recipe

A container of homemade butter.

How to Make Homemade Butter

DIY homemade butter from heavy whipping cream. If you've ever wanted to try making your own butter from scratch, here's your recipe!
5 from 12 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Condiments and Extras
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours
Servings: 32 servings
Calories: 102kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 pints heavy cream (1 quart)
  • 1 tablespoon salt optional
  • 4 drops yellow food coloring optional

Instructions

  • Ripen the cream by letting it stand at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. It will thicken and become mildly sour. This helps to give the butter a mild, good taste. Cool cream again in refrigerator for about an hour.
  • Pour cream into large electric mixer bowl. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring, if desired. Beat at high speed until flecks of butter begin ro form. Then turn to low speed until butter separates from milk. Watch to keep the spattering to a minimum. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as the cream whips.
  • Pour off the buttermilk.
  • Now, “wash” the butter either by hand under cold, running water or in the mixer. If washing by hand, gather the butter into a mass in your hands and “knead” it gently under running water until the water runs clear. If using the mixer, place the butter back in the bowl and add cold water, about as much as there was buttermilk. Let beater run at lowest speed. Pour off water; repeat.
  • Add a scant tablespoon of salt. Let beater mix it into butter. Remove beaters, scrape off butter with spatula and work out any remaining water with a spatula by pressing butter against side of bowl. Be sure to work out all of the water.
  • Mold butter in a butter press or empty it into a container with a tightly fitting lid. Store in refrigerator.

Notes

One quart of cream makes about 1 pound of butter, although it depends on how heavy (fat) the cream is.
One serving = 1 tablespoon.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 22mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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A glass container of butter.

— This post was originally published on April 2, 2009. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

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50 Comments

  1. After watching a Youtube video on how to make butter, it inspired me to make my own due to the simple process that you don’t need any special tool besides a jar with lid, some cream, and some shaking. I poured the cream into 3 separate ziploc containers so my two kids can do their own shaking. My son ended up dropping his container and it broke, but my daughter’s and mine made it and everyone agreed that the butter was way better tasting than store bought.

  2. I enjoyed your article on making butter. We have our own cow, so we have 3-4 gallons of fresh Jersey milk every day. I love making butter, it’s so fun to get this awesome result from throwing some cold cream in a mixer! I make some of the most awesome buttermilk biscuits and using the fresh buttermilk and fresh butter makes them even better!
    Keep at it! It’s so much better for you and the vitamins in butter help stop a huge array of diseases and health problems. I wish people would stop giving butter such a bad name, it’s not what they make it out to be! Have fun!~

  3. Just wanted to let you know, I’m totally going to go out and do this! I found this article researching the functions butter serves in baking because I want to learn to make my own recipes from scratch, but you’ve inspired me to make my own butter from scratch too! Thank you!

  4. Went to make an Applefest Apple Pumpkin Cake (www.food.com) for our Lifespring’s meeting tonight and was out of butter, but had 2 pints of heavy cream in the (carton) fridge so Iwent to ask .com. “How much cream to make a pound of butter.” and here I am, what a nice idea! Thanks for your help! I’v always wanted to try making butter also.I can rember my grandmother churning it when I was a child, the large pans of bread dough also, Hot bread and butter, yummmmm. I rember my grandmother freezing the blocks of butter. Any idea how long it will keep in the freezer and what best to store it in? Freezer paper? Why does the butter need to cure before churning? Huggs and Butter, Bernadette

    1. Bernadette, I don’t know exactly, but I would expect to be able to freeze it for up to six weeks. And the “curing” part is just to allow cream to develop a very slight tangy flavor.

  5. Homemade butter takes a bit of work but is totally worth it. Made as a child with cream from our own cows. Have tried it again recently when I found a raw milk dairy locally

  6. I’m not sure how many people have read this post, but if it’s less than 100 then I just blew the percentage. I enjoy making butter, but never thought of using the kitchenaid. Instead, a mason jar was always the tool of choice.

  7. I made ur butter just as u instructed. Excellent outcome. I can taste the outcome. Thanks a million. Always wanted to do this, thanks 2 u I now kno how. Cheers

  8. I just randomly happened on this post while looking for images of butter molds LOL

    We love making our own butter… we do the shaking in a jar method :)

  9. I wouldn’t want to use a manual churn, either, but my 11 year old is desperate for me to get one for her. I am looking for a small used one, but in the meantime, she’ll get to try using her ice cream ball. She’s probably going to bring a pint or so of cream to school, then she and her friends can toss it around for 20 minutes until they have butter!

  10. I happen to have two and a half jars of raw milk in my fridge waiting for me to scoop off the cream and let three excited children make butter! I was looking online for more information about different ways people culture their cream first and ran across your blog. If you’re enjoying making butter, see if you can find something at realmilk dot com, because fresh raw milk is even yummier than carton cream! The stuff in my fridge was in the cow less than 24 hours ago!

  11. Fabulous! I really want to do this… actually I’ve done the first part once or twice by mistake.. ;-)

    Great blog NanaLana!

    1. Give it a shot, Colleen. If you mess up it’s only a couple pints of cream. Really, you can hardly mess it up and you won’t believe the difference in the taste. Be sure to buy the best cream you can get your hands on for it.

  12. You technically shouldn’t have to add any food coloring, unless you are making non-milk based spreads. Cream naturally contains beta-carotene and the churning or beating process in butter making breaks open the fat globules which release the beta-carotene and causes the pale yellow color natural to butter.
    Without adding food coloring you will know you have “beat” the cream long enough when it generates the pale yellow color.

  13. here’s another crazy soul who makes butter at home, but i like it white.
    you have a nice blog , keep it up.

  14. I was surprised at how easy it was to do with a mixer. I wouldn’t want to churn by hand, though :-) I’m glad I know how to do it now.

  15. Hi Trina. It does seem unique to us today, but hasn’t been all that many years since this was the typically way you got butter! Especially for those living on farms. They had to first milk the cow, then cool the milk and let the cream “rise” to the top and skim it off before they could even start to churn the butter. They used a manual churn, of course, and it took from 30 to 45 minutes of constant, vigorous churning for the butter to separate. Aren’t we lucky to have the conveniences we have today?!?

    1. Thanks, jenn. I really couldn’t believe how easy it was to make and how much better it tastes than store bought!

  16. Have not seem butter made since I was a child. Did not remember that you had to wash it. This is a great project to entertain grandchildren when they visit.
    When I was a little girl my grandmother and I made butter with an old hand cranked churn. This brings back a lot of memories.

  17. My sisters both make their own butter, but I haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for explaining how it’s done. 8)

  18. My husband and I used to make our butter, but the harder way. He worked at a cheese factory back in the day when we were homeschooling our children. One of their homework assignments was making butter…shaking it up! LOL Takes a lot longer than mixing it, but after a day of passing the jar on to each other, they made butter!
    We’re going to make crab butter this summer with the grand children!
    Good blog! Thanks for bringing back some fond memories!
    I’ll be buzzing you!