How to Make Butter at Home

homemade butter

by Kathy | Disclosure

First, let me say that butter is super simple to make. Ridiculously simple and foolproof. Everyone has seen pictures of great grandma slaving away at the butter churn, sweating buckets. From that we’ve all picked up the idea that butter is hard. Making butter manually is a bit tiring, though not exhausting. But making butter using a mixer, blender or food processor is easy peasy and not the least bit tiring. If Granny was making all her own butter without the help of modern tools we can make all our own butter too if we choose. At minimum all you need is a supply of cream. If you don’t have any of these tools you can still make butter with just a jar and some vigorous shaking.

How to Make Butter with a Stand Mixer

I’m using my Bosch Universal Plus Mixer to make my butter. I love this machine! It’s a mixer, blender and food processor all in one. Today I’m using the mixing bowl with the whisk attachments. I love it for it’s large capacity. I can make about 2 lbs of butter in about 20 minutes with it. This recipe though will make roughly one pound of butter depending on the butterfat content of your cream.

Ingredients:
  • 1 quart of good quality cream
  • a bit of sea salt, ground fine
butter bosch mixer

This is what it looks like after the butter separates from the buttermilk.

Tools:
  • Stand Mixer
  • Whisk attachment
  • Shallow bowl
  • Rubber scraper
Instructions:
  • Get your mixer all setup with the whisk attachment attached.
  • Pour the quart of cream into the mixer bowl.
  • Attach the plastic protector to the bowl. This is really important! When the butter separates the buttermilk will fly! If your mixer doesn’t have a plastic protector cover for the bowl you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap like this.
  • Turn the mixer to high speed
  • Watch the bowl now. You’ll notice the cream getting thicker and kinda clumpy, a little like cottage cheese. After a few more minutes the cream will suddenly explode into buttermilk and butter. Don’t worry you won’t be able to tell. You’ll see the buttermilk sloshing around in the mixer, splattering the plastic. Stop the mixer at this point.
  • Pour the buttermilk from the bowl into a separate container. Mark it with the date and save for baking.
  • butter ball

    And this is the butter ball ...

  • If you like your butter salted this is the best time to add it it.
  • Mix the butter on low for just a few seconds to mix the salt in.
  • Pour the butter out into a shallow bowl.
  • Form the butter into a ball. Press the ball to squeeze out any excess buttermilk. Since I add salt prior to this step I don’t save the little bit of buttermilk that squeezes out.
  • Put the butter in a container and refrigerate.

Quick and easy with a mixer!

Making Butter with a Blender or Food Processor

I haven’t made butter with a blender or food processor but it looks about as quick and easy in these tutorials.

butter finished

And all ready for the fridge!

And if you don’t have any of these appliances …

Making butter will be a little harder but still eminently doable. In both of these tutorial they are making a lot of butter using only the jar shake method.

This post is linked at The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesday at Cooking Traditional Foods, Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Gnowfglin’s Simple Thursday, Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health.

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Kathy lives just outside of Austin with her husband of 20 years Barry. She has two sons one in college and the other grown and married :-). While not a Grandma yet, with two grown kids she remains hopeful. Kathy wants a world where everyone has fresh wholesome food and feels that cookin' like a granny woman is the surest way to get there.


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly March 20, 2012 at 11:48 am

Hi! I just made butter for the first time last week. It was easy enough with my food processor, but the tutorial that I followed said to rinse the butter and knead in the water until the water was clear. It said this prolonged the life of the butter. I’m wondering how long your butter typically lasts, because if I can skip the rinsing step that would be just fantastic!

Reply

Kathy March 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Hi Holly! I do usually skip the step of rinsing since in our house butter disappears way before it would go bad. Getting all the buttermilk out with careful kneading and rinsing will indeed make your butter last longer. But it also takes longer, so I think it’s ok to skip if you use up your butter quickly. Typically we would use up a batch this size in less than 2 weeks so I can vouch for it lasting at least that long. Salted butter remains sweet longer I understand, so if you’re not salting it might go a bit sour before then. Also, the resulting butter has a touch more milk solids in it which you may notice if you’re using it on the stove. If that’s a problem for your use then you may want to take the time to rinse.

If you want to make enough to last longer than that rinsing is a good idea. I think I need to add a step for that for those who need butter with a longer life :-)

Oh, and I found this interesting thread where a few folks are arguing the relative merits of rinsing or non-rinsing of butter resulting in accidental cultured butter!

Reply

DIANE May 18, 2014 at 1:12 am

Years ago I found a website that taught how to make butter. It said she used regular whipping cream from the store, however the trick was to set the cream out overnight in a cool (not cold) place, and let it bloom.
From there you whipped it into butter, once you did that you wrapped it in cloth and squeezed out all the water. Then you kneaded in the salt. It suggested that you put the butter into little plastic containers, or candy molds, refrigerate, then freeze. Putting them in candy molds was a wonderful idea, especially to use at Thanksgiving, and other holidays, everyone got their own special shaped butter, and no passing!
I have made the butter without blooming it, but it just does not get the color of butter, nor that slight tang butter has!

Reply

Holly March 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Interesting, thank you! We seem to be going through it pretty fast here, and I am letting it sour naturally before making butter anyhow, so a little more culture is fine by me. Well I think I won’t put it off so long anymore, now that I know I can just whizz it up and be done. Thanks again!

Reply

mrswesh April 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I was just wondering what kind of cream you recommend… I live in a place where raw milk is not available…believe me, I have looked! It is sooo sad! Thanks for your time!

Reply

Kathy April 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I’ve had some trouble gathering up enough raw cream myself. When I run out I use cream that has been simply pasteurized NOT ultra-pasteurized. There is a very big difference in quality. Ultra-Pasteurized dairy products do not require refrigeration and have a shelf life of about 6 months :-O when unopened! In the US it is refrigerated at the store, but in Europe they simply put it on shelves. So it doesn’t pass the “Eat food that rots, but eat it before it does” test. I hope to write a more detailed post on this soon.

Reply

Meghan @ Whole Natural Life April 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

Mrswesh, in addition to what Kathy said I wanted to add that grass-fed cream is your next best option if you can’t find raw cream. I can’t afford raw cream (it’s ridiculously expensive here) so I’ve been buying grass-fed cream made by Kalona Supernatural. It’s sold at one of my local health foods stores. Here’s the website if you want to try to find it in your area: http://www.kalonasupernatural.com/our-products/organic-milk/organic-whipping-cream/

I’m sure that there are other dairies selling grass-fed cream, but this is the only one I’ve been able to find that sells where I live in Colorado. Hope this helps!

Reply

Kathy April 17, 2012 at 11:42 am

Thanks Meghan! I mention Kalona in another post … I was thrilled to find it as a fill in source.

Reply

Sarah April 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Sorry, i am new here and just have a lot of questions. Can you freeze butter when you make it? Would it require any particular steps to keeping it frozen for a while?

Also, do you have any tips on measuring it out when it’s just in a ball like that? Does it get hard like sticks of butter at the store? Or is it softer so you could just mash it into a measuring cup and then scoop it out into the recipe?

Thanks in advance for the help!

Reply

Kathy April 19, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Don’t apologize for asking questions :-) Happy to answer …

You can indeed freeze butter and no special preparation needed. I do it pretty often myself. As for measuring it is still hard like store butter. You can let it sit out a bit to soften before measuring. Then it’s easy to mash into a measuring cup or spoon.

Reply

Angela Watts May 19, 2013 at 1:11 am

I make my butter in my stand mixer. I read through the arguement on rinsing vs not rinsing making cultured butter, as thats most often the type I am making. Cultured butter to me tastes more like how I think butter should taste. Nice and flavorful. I do rinse mine pretty well though and salt after the water is clear. Watery buttermilk goes to the dogs over their kibble.

I had the plastic wrap slip once, painted my entire kitchen with buttermilk. Dogs had a blast helping clean up.

I don’t have the budget and access to grass fed or raw cream (I also seldom get to the store early enough for grass fed cream where I can find it) and have used the pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized cream out of necessity. What irks me is all the organic cream I can find is ultra-pasteurized. Which means I end up using the store brand based on that fact. One day I will have my own cow to fix the problem.

Reply

Shiony September 26, 2013 at 10:11 am

How do you rinse butter after you make butter?

Reply

Kathy September 26, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Hi Shiony … after you’ve poured off the buttermilk you can add some ice water to the bowl and pulse the mixer a few times, then drain.

Reply

Megan January 1, 2014 at 8:07 pm

How many ounces f butter does a quart of cream typically make? I’m trying to determine how much I buy at a time.

Reply

Kathy January 2, 2014 at 10:24 pm

I’m not sure how many ounces really but I’d guess around a half pound or so? Anyone else care to share? It’s been a little while since I made a batch since I’ve been having great luck finding grassfed butter lately.

Reply

Teresa March 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Looking forward to trying this new idea as I have been trying to “raise my game” in living a more natural, chemical free life. Are there any health/nutrition benefits (or cost benefits) to making your own vs buying butter?

Reply

Beverly November 11, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Hi, I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts of added a different flavor to the butter. If so could you please share your recipes. Thanks

Reply

Sandi Jones November 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I’m very interested in doing this, as unsalted butter, which I use for baking, is horrendously expensive. Does it matter if the milk is cold, or room temperature?

Thanks!

Reply

Kathy November 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Hi Sandi … I usually make butter with cream straight from the refrigerator :-)

Reply

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