How To Make Homemade Butter

Make your own homemade butter, you’re thinking?  Yes, I freely admit it…sometimes I wake up purely and simply obsessed with making something that is completely available in large stacks in the supermarket.  A little while ago it happened to me with fresh ricotta, which one day I inexplicably NEEDED to make, and you know what?  It was easy, and fast, and fabulous.  So when the urge to make homemade butter struck me, I did it.  I went all Laura Ingalls Wilder and Made My Own Butter.  And once again…easy, fast and fabulous.  Here’s what happened.

So, I’ve flirted with making butter for a while, because with the possible exception of bacon, there’s nothing I like better than really good butter.  But for some reason, I thought it would be hard.  For one thing, I thought it would involve getting some of these.

And since one perpetually hungry dog is pretty much all I can deal with, those were out.  But then I started asking around, and it turns out that all you need to make fantastic butter is some regular old heavy cream, a little sea salt, a stand mixer and about 15 minutes.  No actual farm animals required, at least not on the premises.  So, away we go!

First of all, the cream.  When I started my butter-making adventures, I spent a ton of time hunting down fresh cream that had been pasteurized as little as possible.  I scoured farmer’s markets and Googled “local fresh cream” and thought again about the whole cow thing.  And when I finally tracked some down, it made great butter.  Then I tried it with regular organic heavy cream from the supermarket and guess what?  It also made great butter.  So while I love a good farmer’s market outing, you can absolutely do this with regular organic heavy cream.

Pour two cups of it into your mixer with the whisk attachment.  Now, here’s one of the most important things I learned: Cover Your Mixer With Plastic Wrap.  Not only will you be happy you did this at the beginning when the cream is still liquid, you will be even happier at the end when the butter solids separate from the whey and whey starts splashing out of the bowl.  Trust me.

Now, crank that mixer up to high and let it rip.  After a few minutes your cream will start looking like fresh whipped cream.  (By the way, YUM.)  Then it will look like fresh whipped cream that has been whipped a little too long.  Then after about 8 or 10 minutes it will look like this.

There will be all these lumpy looking chunks floating around in something that looks like watery milk.

This, my friends, is BUTTER!  Now comes the fun part.  Pour it all into a strainer, letting the liquid drain off of the solids.  (I always keep the liquid around for a little while, wishing there was something I could do with it, but it’s not regular cultured buttermilk and so far I haven’t figured anything out, so I eventually give it to the dog, who then acts like she has won the lottery.)

Now pick up the solids and squeeze it in your hands until you have gotten as much of the remaining liquid out as you can.  At this point I know that some folks rinse it in ice water.  I don’t.  I like the taste of it exactly as is, but try it both ways and see what you think.

Now, if you like your butter unsalted you are all done.  If you are a salted butter lover like me, take about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and sprinkle it on top of your butter and squish it around some more.   Taste a little and see if it’s salty enough for you…if not, add more in 1/8 teaspoon increments until you like it.  And voila!  Butter.  Butter!!  You could even take things a step further and add in some nice fresh chopped herbs, and then you will have herb butter!!!  It’s almost too much to take in.

I have only two more things to add.  First, now that you have spent a little time squeezing butter with your hands, even after you wash them you will be amazed at how smooth and soft they feel…butter-making side benefit.  And the other thing is that once you have made your own butter, you pretty much have to make this to go with it.

Warm crunchy bread that requires almost no kneading.  Homemade bread with homemade butter.  Life does not get any better than that.

Happy butter-making!

How To Make Homemade Butter

Serves: About 4-5 ounces

Ingredients
  • 2 cups organic heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1. Pour cream into stand mixer with whisk attachment. Cover outside of mixer with plastic wrap to prevent splashing and turn mixer on medium high.
  2. 2. Beat cream until the solids have separate and turned yellow, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. 3. Strain solids from liquids using a fine mesh strainer. Take solids on your hands and squeeze until you have gotten as much liquid out as possible.
  4. 4. If you like your butter salted, add sea salt in ⅛ teaspoon increments until it has the flavor you like.
  5. 5. Store in covered container in the fridge - butter will keep for about 5 days or so.

Hungry for More?

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Comments

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  1. I love trying everything from scratch!! I make homemade whipped cream all the time…it’s one of my faves. I love seeing your pictures of how the butter separates. I’m always wondering at what point I’ve gone too far and it’s more like butter. Now I see…I’d definitely be able to tell.

    Heavy cream is so expensive…so while this tastes divine, did you find that it’d be less expensive to buy butter at the store? Just curious!

    • It’s definitely a little more expensive than the supermarket brand, but equal to or cheaper than the fancy butters…and it tastes SO good!

  2. thank you for showing the yucky part!!! i knew there would be a yucky part and didn’t try it for the fear of the yuck. this made it seem not so bad! i am definitely trying this, making that bread and then locking myself someplace quiet away from the hubby and my 3 year old :)

    • You are a girl after my own heart…I think that it’s only fair that person who makes the bread AND the butter gets the first warm delicious piece. And the second…and… :)

  3. We used to make butter all the time as kids in mason jars. I keep meaning to try it in my stand mixer- looks so much easier than shaking a jar- ha.

    KK

  4. You can actually use whey instead of water or milk in bread. Works great :)

    Where I’m from whey is also the main ingredient in a sweet spread and a cheese. You simply boil the whey for a loooong time until it starts to thicken and become beige. Once it thickened a bit, you remove the pot from the stove and stir until it’s cold. (That’s the important bit. Without the stirring it’ll crystallize and even if it’ll taste the same it doesn’t look fun when it’s grainy.)

    To get cheese, just boil it longer, stir until it cools off a bit and pour into a cheese mold.
    For the spread it’ll take about 5 hours to boil about 2 gallon of whey….although, that’s a lot of butter to make before you end up with 2 gallon of whey :p

    Whey spread and whey cheese has a distinct sweet flavor that you won’t find anywhere else…and it’s good for you too :)

  5. My gran makes butter and uses the whey in her scones. Replace the milk in the scone batter with this and then spread your delicious home made butter on your delicious home made scones.

    • My mom makes the best scones – I’m going to see if she will do this together with me next time she makes them with the whey. Thanks!

  6. Whenever I used to make whipped cream from scratch my mom used to forbid me from whipping too much because I’d turn it into butter…guess she was right!

  7. I love fresh butter. It can be quite alarming if you aren’t expecting the chunk thing, though, so good that you included those pics.

    Ricotta and cottage cheese, too, IIRC, are traditionally made from whey, but like Christa’s cheese, it takes a lot of whey to get much cheese. Thus, the home recipes use milk. /;) You can also add it to soups, or pancake batters. Just about anywhere you use liquid. Although, why deprive the pup? It’s the cook’s pet’s treat. ;)

    • I know – the dog is probably whimpering at the whole idea of me getting all these great whey suggestions!

  8. I made butter with my kids, when they were younger, all the time. Just put whipping cream, only a little bit, in a container with a tight lid and told the kids to shake it, vigorously for a couple minutes. The kids drank the ‘ buttermilk’ right away and used the butter for breakfast next day. We all had great fun doing that :)

    • I can imagine it being a super-fun thing for kids. Not sure I can talk my teenager into it…but I do have a year old nephew I could recruit!

  9. I love homemade butter and was super surprised to find out how easy it was. It was a YouTube video that taught me! ;) Anway, I have a zero waste tip for you…use a kitchen towel to cover your mixer instead of plastic wrap. That way you simply wash the towel and there’s no plastic wrap in the landfill! :)

  10. Thanks, Kate! I will try this today, including the part about giving the whey to the dog.

  11. Your are an amazing woman! Homemade bread and homemade butter? You are right it does not get better. I feel like calling my mother for some reason. A lovely post. Thank you.

  12. The liquid that separates from the butter is traditional buttermilk. Buttermilk you buy in the store is cultured product that more closely resembles yogurt.

    Try using the buttermilk you have left over from making butter for recipes that call for buttermilk (pancakes, biscuits etc.) I think you’ll be surprised how great it make them taste.

    • Someone just mentioned the pancake option to me just this morning…I’m definitely going to try it. :)

  13. I love this post. Who knew butter was so easy to make?

  14. Stan Wheeler says:

    OMG…I may never buy butter again. I bought a quart of organic cream from my local farm for $4. Then, instead of using a stand mixer I used my food processor, which is enclosed so no need for draping plastic or a towel over the mixer. Also, it’s MUCH faster… a minute and a half or two. The quart yielded over 3/4 pound of fantastic butter.
    Now I’m waiting for tomorrow to finish the no-kneed bread that accompanied your post, but I bought some local sourdough bread for tonight.
    And yes, that liquid is not whey, it’s buttermilk, and very good in biscuits, pancakes etc.
    I love your posts. Keep ‘em coming!

    • Thanks Stan – I feel the same way! And today I’m going to try your food processor version…sounds even better! Happy bread and butter. :)

  15. Charlotte Timmons says:

    I’m so glad I found this butter tutorial! We get a half gallon of raw milk weekly from a friend with milk cows. I skim off almost a full cup of cream from each half gallon! I have used it in cooking, but often, the cream goes to waste because, well, that’s a lot of cream for two of us. The butter option is divine. My cream whipped almost 30 minutes before it resembled your photo, but it strained great and tastes amazing. I will try this again until I perfect the technique. (Thanks for the plastic wrap idea, the splatter may have made this a one-time try!)

    • Hi Charlotte! First, what a great friend to have! Second, try it next time in your food processor and see how that works – I tried it based on one of the comments below, and while the butter was a bit softer it was a LOT faster (about 2-3 minutes) and it was the same delicious flavor! Maybe that will make yours a little speedier.

  16. i find the leftover buttermilk to be absolutely delicious in mashed potatoes.

  17. I just discovered your blog, and I’ve pinned practically every recipe! I was also wondering how long the butter keeps after you make it? I would love to try this!

    • Hi Chelsea and I’m so glad you found me! As for the butter, I’v kept it for a week at a time (it doesn’t last longer than that in my house because everybody eats it up!) and it’s been just fine. :) And thank you for all the pins, hurray!

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