How to Make 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.
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!
❤️ 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.
🛒 Ingredient Notes
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
🍽️ 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.
❓ Questions About Making Your Own Butter
One quart of cream makes about one pound of butter, although it depends on how heavy (fat) the cream is.
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.
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.
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.
🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like
- Classic Homemade Mayonnaise
- Comeback Sauce
- Homemade Marshmallows
- Bread and Butter Pickles
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- Classic Vinaigrette
- Homemade Croutons
- Tomato Jam
- Home Canned Tomatoes
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
I’d LOVE to know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked it!
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How to Make Homemade Butter
- 2 pints heavy cream (1 quart)
- 1 tablespoon salt optional
- 4 drops yellow food coloring optional
- 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.
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.
— This post was originally published on April 2, 2009. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.
Is this butter able to be used in baked goods or is it just for spreading type purposes? Butter is getting so expensive so thought I would try this. Mostly my purchased real butter is used for baking/cooking while my tub butter, Melt (organic from plants), is used for other stuff. How would I thicken up the left over buttermilk for baking, or would I need to? Thanx for everyone’s reply.
I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking, Cindy. This is real butter. You use it just like any other butter. It’s the way butter was made from the beginning of time until it started being produced commercially just a few decades ago. The remainder is real buttermilk and can be used in any way you like.
I made better from 32 oz organic heavy cream. I only got 9 and 1/2 ounces butter. What am I doing wrong? It tasted like butter with no buttermilk taste
The amount of butter you get depends on the fat content of the heavy cream you use. If your cream contains less fat, it will produce less butter.
I just made a couple pounds of butter today. I’ve never heard of “ripening” the cream. Great post!
I have a question I hope you receive right away. I left the cream out to sit for 4 hours, but I didn’t have enough time to make it after chilling. I had to go out for the evening.
Is this going to be okay to use the next day to make the butter?
Thanks. I also appreciate your sharing the recipe!
As long as the cream hasn’t soured or curdled it should be fine.
I made butter!!! First time in my life. It was easy and delicious!! Thank you for sharing your experience ❤️
Good for you!
I’m TOTALLY doing this!!!
You’re going to love the butter you make!
I just found this recipe and thought it would be great fun for my kids and I to make it! It was delightful and delicious! I wish I could share a picture.
I’m so glad you and your kids enjoyed it!
Homemade butter looks so … so…… just so wonderful.
I want to try this….. and serve it with hot from the oven Buttermilk Biscuits. I make some pretty good biscuits!
I just made my homemade butter using a different recipe and it turned out wonderful! My husband found this site as he was amazed by how easy it was to do so he went looking. I’m in Canada so I used Quebon 35% whipping cream and I did not leave it at room temp but straight from the fridge to my kitchen aid bowl. Whipped it until it became a solid. It was a wonderful yellow colour not needing any food colouring. I did not put salt in as most of my recipes call for unsalted butter. The liquid that is left is good to use in any recipe where you need some liquid.
Hi, Lana ~
just read your wonderful-sounding oatmeal recipe today and decided to look at all of your recipes!
Will definitely make your refrigerator pickles (with carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, etc) and found your ‘how to make butter’ recipe.
I made homemade butter a few years ago – Alex Guarnacelli (from “Chopped”) has a recipe. She uses cream and sour cream as her base but squeezes the buttermilk out using a clean dishtowel to wrap it around the butter ball. I used my food processor and it made butter in a snap.
Soooo good! My 87-year old mother thought it was funny to see how excited I was, especially since it was her job to churn the butter as a child on her Indianapolis family farm.
Thank you for the inspiring recipe, as well as your other delectable foods!
Thank you so much for sharing, your not at all crazy! Here lately I’ve been reading more and more about how bad margarine is (I usually buy that over butter) and have been thinking about making my own butter but didn’t know where to start except with the heavy cream :) I’m only 25 and nobody in my family could help me out, so thank you!!
I have been making homemade butter in my Kitchen Aid mixer for about four years. I go to store that has sells thing from stores that did not order everything and need to get rid of it before it goes bad and they sell 16 oz of heavy cream for 50 cents. I just got 10 carton today so tomorrow will be butter day. I have a real deep sink on one side and I put my Kitchen Aid mixer and add the cream.I always put my bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes before. My step daughter and friends I share with love it and I do almost the same as you but I do not put the food coloring. Just wanted say it was nice to see your post.
Enjoy butter making day, Anna!
At the county fair next week I’ll demonstrate churning butter and will use the ceramic churn and butter press given me by Aunt Bonnie. Her mother gave those items to her when she left home to marry at age 18 in the early 1900’s. I learned how to churn 50+ years ago and still enjoy it. For the fair, I’ll use pasteurize cream from Jersey cows…yes it DOES make a huge difference!. For personal use I use raw milk that I get from a farmer up the valley. I also use sea salt and think it adds a great deal of flavor and would never. ever. consider using food coloring. Again, if you’re using rich milk fat cream, there’s no need to use food coloring.
Why would you use food coloring if you are using fresh raw milk it has it’s own yellow coloring naturally.
I used and showed in the photos commercial heavy cream purchased from the grocery store. I didn’t even mention “fresh raw milk” and I specifically said that the food coloring was optional.
Looks good. I make my own butter sometimes but I use my food processor. Never thought of the mixer.
I actually made my own butter on a regular basis. I kept goats, at one point I had 7, but only 6 girls.
Goat’s milk is a bit of a challenge as it is naturally homogenized. It takes some time for the cream to separate, a few days usually. The most important thing when working with dairy, is being impeccably clean. Raw milk is better than pasteurized as it carries good bacteria, which develops a better flavor in whatever you are making.
While it is imperative to work out all the water, it’s also important not to ‘stretch’ the butter. Try to just press it against the side of a bowl, wood is best, with a wooden spoon or spatula. Too much smearing will make your butter greasy.
I’m gonna try this! Love your step by step pictures! We love making things with healthier options like organic when we can. You could always leave out the food coloring if you wanted to avoid food dyes. Thanks for posting this, I think there is way more that a 0% chance people are going to make their own butter!
I loved it! Super easy instructions and pictures were really helpful. First time making butter and the taste was so amazing! I didn’t add food coloring (optional) but followed to the T with no issues. A staple for my household now. Thank you!
So glad you had fun with it! It really is easy and so delicious, isn’t it?
Thanks for sharing this on Katherine’s bloghop. This method is so much easier than some special tool I read online. I will have to get some cream from fresh milk and try it one day.
Thanks for the easy instructions and pictures. Today was the first time of making homemade butter. So worth it. I’m glad you also posted the butter could be rinsed in the mixer as well. I was having a hard time rinsing under running water. I’m also going to try your strawberry jam recipe too. I’m sure the pair will be unbelievable together.
Lana, thanks for much for not only the instructions, but the pictures. I make cheese and have annoto coloring (all natural) for making my cheddar yellow. I’ll put a drop into my butter when I make it. ….wish I had a cow!