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How To Make Butter at Home. A Fun Activity - No Special Equipment is Needed!

Updated on January 19, 2012

You'll Never Look at Butter the Same Way Again!

Something funny has been going on with the butter I've been buying as of late. I have come to the conclusion that the powers that be (in this case the butter makers of this country) have been sneaking non butter substances into what is supposed to be pure butter – and there is nothing like a hint of margarine to ruin an otherwise great pat of butter.

Well, if you can't fight em', you might as well join em'! And thus I have begun a new chapter in my life - as a part time butter churner!

We have decided to produce all of the butter we need for the restaurant ourselves, and we are doing it the old fashioned way – which means lots of muscle power is needed (which is also probably a good thing, as I've been looking more buttery than muscley as of late…)

But although the making of butter without machines does take a little elbow grease, there is nothing all that tricky about it – anyone with a little determination can do it.

So if you're not satisfied with the quality of your butter – or if you have access to more cream than you know what to do with, or you just want to try out what is really a neat activity – churn out some butter!

How to Churn Butter

By churn I mean shake up, as I have no butter churner and neither, in all probability, do you!

  • 1 quart of heavy or whipping cream
  • A couple of pinches of salt
  1. Let your cream sit out exposed to the air (opened) in a warm spot in your kitchen. 12 hours should be enough time to give your cream the slight sour tang that is delicious in butter. You can omit this waiting step, but your butter flavor will be milder.
  2. Pour the cream into a large container with a tightly sealable lid.
  3. Shake the cream up vigorously, and keep shaking it until the cream has separated into butter and buttermilk (15 to 20 minutes is a good guess on time). It takes patience and endurance, and it's good to have a partner to trade the shaking duties with. Don’t get discouraged if after about 15 minutes it still just looks like thick cream – it will separate, it just requires time and agitation.
  4. Keep shaking until you have a ball of butter sitting in a pool of buttermilk.
  5. You can consume this immediately, but if you plan on keeping it for days or weeks, you need to rinse it well to remove all traces of the cream (if any buttermilk remains in the butter it can sour the butter quickly).
  6. Knead the butter gently in your hands as you hold it under running cold water. A minute or so should be sufficient to clean out all traces of buttermilk.
  7. Salt to taste if desired (about ½ tsp). Salted butter will keep for longer. 1 quart of cream will yield about 1 lb of fresh sweet homemade butter!


Making Butter in a Food Processor


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      Charlene 6 years ago

      I recently purchased a butter churn,and I am so excited about trying it for the first time,I like to make things myself if possible rather than buying them...I like to know what is in the food i'm feeding to my children,and making it myself allows me to do just that....Margerine is very unhealthy,and is chemically one step from plastic,do we really want to feed that to our children???NOT ME....Thank you for the instructions,i'll post about my results....Oh and how long will the butter last for and should it be refridgerated??/

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      Cookie 6 years ago

      I just tried this and it was awesome!

      Did not realize you have to get all the buttermilk off. Will have to update my post. Thanks!

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      Ken Weston 6 years ago

      Butter can, of course, be made from milk as well as cream. The result is that there is a great deal more buttermilk produced and there is the need for quite a lot more milk than cream, but the process is exactly the same. Continental butter is often 'cultured', which involves the addition of a lactic culture (bacteria) to the milk or cream, and adds a tangy flavour, although in the UK butter is rarely cultured. The stage in the home recipes where cream is allowed to stand for up to twelve hours at room temperature adds the culture effect to the butter and makes the taste a little more tangy, but this stage is not essential for 'ordinary' butter (English style). If price is your criterion, though, you are better off buying ready made butter - even the more expensive brands are cheaper than making your own.

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      Dairyking 7 years ago

      Butter is a combination of cream, water and salt. Codex standards also describe butter as butter. Nothing else is added. The differences that people do notice is from the different methods of butter manufacture between the Fitz process and the Ammix process.

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      oneblockeast 8 years ago

      I Love ,I Lover it!!

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      C. C. Riter 9 years ago

      Oh my, you bring back so many memories of butter making many years ago as I was a farm boy. Nothing quite as good. We used a gallon jar and I seemed to always be the one to shake it. All of our neighbors had some sort of churn, not us. Then we'd drink the 'butter milk' left, or use it in baking.

      I purchased fresh cream a few years ago from an Amishman and made it for my wife. She loved it. thanks