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How to Make Butter from Whipping Cream

Updated on December 1, 2011

Homemade Butter: Easy and Delicious


There is a satisfaction that comes with the cultivation of a simpler lifestyle, particularly in the midst of the 21st century's morass of frustrations and complexities. It can be deeply soothing to engage by choice in the same activities our ancestors once performed from necessity, even when we execute those old skills with the aid of new technologies. If the idea of a slice of homemade bread, spread with butter and fruit preserves made from scratch is one you find attractive, read on to learn how to make butter (sans the cow) at home.


It is fun to imagine who first discovered that cream can be turned into butter. Was it a traveler, carrying cream via mule back to a neighbor, jog, jog, jogging along, riding over hill and dale, finally arriving only to discover that the cream had separated into butter and buttermilk? Today we can but speculate.

There are but two necessities in producing butter. One is heavy cream (most often marketed in the supermarkets of America today as "heavy" whipping cream) and the other is motion. The motion can be provided by a butter churn, a whisk, a food processor or a mixer. I most often reach for a hand mixer simply because I enjoy watching the process unfold, and a hand mixer yields butter in a relatively short amount of time ... approximately fifteen minutes or so.

The Process

A cup of heavy whipping cream yields approximately a half cup of butter and a half cup of buttermilk. Work out the proportions for the amount of butter you would like to produce. I most often use about a quart and a half of heavy whipping cream, which yields a pound and a half of butter and three cups of butter milk, which I save for later use.

To start, pour the whipping cream into a deep bowl. You may chill the bowl first, but it isn't really necessary. The bowl needs to be deep enough to minimize splatters, but not so deep as to prevent the incorporation of air. If you like salted butter, add salt to taste at this stage.

Run the mixer on high, whipping the butter until it turns into whipped cream. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl with a cake spatula or spoon. Continue to whip. The butter in the making will go from the consistency of whipped cream to the consistency of overwhipped (dry) cream. Keep whipping. As you get closer to the butter stage, the color will change from white to yellow. Continue whipping until suddenly (and it does happen rather suddenly) the consistency becomes stiff, and buttermilk begins to accumulate at the bottom of the bowl.

Pour off the buttermilk and continue whipping until no more buttermilk forms and the butter is firm.

Washing the Butter

Washing butter is fun.

Residual buttermilk in butter hastens spoilage, so it is important to whip the butter until buttermilk no longer readily forms. At this point, pour off as much buttermilk as possible, and turn the butter into a bowl and rinse under cold water, kneading the butter with clean hands until the water runs clear. This can also be done in a blender, but it can be difficult to dig the butter out from the blender blades ... it is quicker and easier to do it by hand.

When the water runs clear, shake the excess from the mass of butter and dry it with a clean, lint free cloth. Press the butter into a storage container, and wipe away any water that rises to the top.

The taste of freshly made butter is beyond compare! Homemade butter can be used and measured just as "store bought" butter.



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    • Brett Winn profile image

      Brett Winn 4 years ago from US

      You are most welcome ... I wish you great success in your butter making venture!

    • Kalmiya profile image

      Kalmiya 4 years ago from North America

      Thanks very much for your tip on washing the newly made butter in a bowl by pouring water over it. I'm planning to make butter in my blender and was contemplating the rinsing stage in the blender but would much prefer to do it in a bowl where I can see it more clearly!

    • profile image

      Erin 5 years ago

      wow very yummy thanks for the recipie it was very imformitive we had guest round for dinner and the whole batch was gone very quickly so thankyou :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Interesting -- I didn't realize you could do that with whipped cream -- though logically, they are just different forms of the same product. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • TheEstore007 profile image

      TheEstore007 5 years ago from USA

      Wow...very informative!

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 5 years ago

      Brett Winn, you have brought back memories of my mother making butter. Up, useful and awesome

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

      Definitely delicious and tempting to have more of. Great hub.

    • instantlyfamily profile image

      instantlyfamily 5 years ago

      There is nothing like the taste of real butter on homemade bread. I think I will try making this to go with my next loaf.

    • profile image

      rgspruill 5 years ago

      what a great how to article...have to try this!