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how to make butter

Posted by aleta under how to make...


Homemade butter is easy, relatively quick to make and amazingly delicious. If it cost less than buying butter at the grocery store, it would be too good to be true, which is why this is not the case. All things considered, though, I still think it’s well worth it.

This stuff is precious, so I think the best use of it is not in baking, but rather, on top of freshly baked, still warm, bread, muffins or crumpets.

Are you ready for this? It’s intense.

buttercream on the edge

We begin with cream. I used superfresh local stuff, but the carton at the grocery store will do just as well. The important thing is to use cream at room temperature. The difference between doing this with cold cream and room temperature cream is the difference between an hour of churning and ten minutes.

Next, get a container with a tight-fitting screw-on lid that will not spurt cream all over your kitchen when you shake it vigorously. It also needs to hold at least twice the volume of the amount of cream you’re using.


Begin shaking the container up and down in a rhythmic pattern. After 3 minutes, it’ll start feeling less like you’re shaking a jar of liquid and more like you’re shaking a jar of whipped cream, because essentially, you are.

3 minutes.

The next 3 minutes will feel like you’re shaking a brick. This is the hardest part. You will wonder “is this doing anything?” Just keep at it.

6 minutes.

All of a sudden, within just a few shakes, the jar will begin going “shuk shuk shuk” and you’ll be able to feel the butter separating from the buttermilk. Keep doing that for about four minutes until you have lots of buttermilk in there.

10 minutes.

Next (not pictured), cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth and pour off the buttermilk, which can be used for a great many delicious items, but most notably, all the best pancake recipes call for buttermilk. It’s a truth.

After that, let the faucet water get as cold as it gets, then fill the jar to just under the top of the butter. The water needs to be very cold, or else the butter will melt as you replace the cheesecloth and pour the water out into the sink. Repeat 7-10 times until the water drains completely clear. This cleans the butter and keeps it from going rancid as quickly as it will otherwise.

Also important is to drain the butter. I have pictures of this part.

the birth of butter.

All that water puddling under the butter needs to come out. The best way is with a marble cutting board, but since I don’t have one of those, I used a wooden one. Simply squeeze the water out of the butter with a wooden spoon or spatula. The latter will double as a scraper to regroup between squeezings. To do away with the drained water, tilt the cutting board and/or use paper towels to absorb it.


If you feel like the butter is getting melty at all, just stick it in the fridge for a few minutes before going back at it.

If you want to salt your butter, add about 1/4 tsp salt and stir into your finished butter. I think the reason to do this last is that it doesn’t interfere with the draining process by absorbing water and embedding it in the butter.

And that’s it! Beautiful, beautiful butter.


I used one pint of cream to make just under 6.5 oz of butter and almost a cup of buttermilk. These amounts will vary from batch to batch, but is a decent estimate.

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  1. Sanford Hall Said,

    This sounds like some interesting stuff, how did it go?
    It just goes t show how much fat there’s in the Milk that we drink.

  2. Christina M Said,

    Instead of waiting for the cream to reach room temperature you can add either sour cream or live yogurt (3 teaspoons)… and then whip with an electric mixer. I just made some and drained it all by hand using spatulas…but next time I’m DEFINITELY getting a cheese cloth! We made 3 seperate flavors; lightly-salted, garlic-rosemary (made w/some dried seasoning blend I had on hand to make olive oil dips) – and a Cinnamon-sugar one. They all taste amazing, I can’t decide which one I love the most!

  3. Christina M Said,

    BTW that was 3 teaspoons of sour cream/yogurt – to ONE LITER/QUART of Heavy Cream.

  4. Madi @ Sit Down and Eat Your Peas! Said,

    Wow! The patience that must have gone into this post is incredible! Beautiful butter and I love the idea of mixing together your own flavors of butter. I’ll have to try this one!

  5. LEGIT Said,


  6. Janis Said,

    OMG! I’ve never even thought of making my own butter (duh), but I just did! It took longer (because the cream was still a bit cool), but it finally came together and I have beautiful, creamy, light yellow butter resting in my ‘fridge. Thank you so much for the inspiration and the great directions – I almost gave up – almost. Kept coming back to read and just kept at it and it’s wonderful!

    All I can say now is ….. Parkay my aaas…..uh……eye! :>D

  7. LisaM67 Said,

    I’m am ABSOLUTELY AMAZED! It worked! I feel so proud of myself!

  8. Zoe Said,

    Have you ever tried doing this with raw milk?
    Fantastic by the way, thank you

  9. How to Make Butter Said,

    […] many of us use everyday and several times throughout the day.  Until reading this post by Aleta of Omnomicon, I didn’t realize how easy it was and it looks O, so yummy!  Making a batch of fresh butter […]

  10. Ericka Said,

    I remember doing this in Kindergarten. We all sat in a circle and passed around a jar of cream, taking turns shaking it. Wow, saying it out loud really makes me doubt our school system. . . I’m going to have to try this now that I’m all growed and stuff. (See? I turned out just fine)

  11. Jenn @therebelchick Said,

    I had no idea it was that easy to make butter!

  12. Lorie Said,

    I use my food processor for making butter. I just pour the top cream off my farm fresh milk and in 10 minutes or less I have butter and a bunch of (non-cultured) buttermilk. YUM!

  13. It’s A Piece of Cake - Off The Grid News Said,

    […] Omnomicon has a great illustrated step-by-step description of this process. Not only does it tell you exactly what to look and feel for as you shake the carton of cream, it also provides some delicious-looking pictures of the final product, in case you needed any added incentive! […]

  14. Willie Parihar Said,

    Interesting but I am not sure if I agree with it.

  15. Brian Quach Said,

    Interesting but I am not sure if I agree with it.

  16. Sandra Cook Said,

    Growing up in rural TN, we made sour cream butter. We let it sour, then churned it. It has a stronger butter flavor, and the sour cream buttermilk made such wonderful biscuits and corn bread. I can’t find anything except sweet cream butter at the grocery. The process is more time consuming..guess that’s why producers don’t go to the extra trouble.

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  18. Kim Said,

    HELP!!!! I made a batch from store bought cream turned out fantastic. Used the exact same carton to make more and after over an hour of mixing with my kitchen aid I can not get the fat to separate. I have what taste like butter in the bowl but with a whipped consistency and have only gotten about 1tbs of milk off it. Why???

  19. Rena (An Ordinary Housewife) Said,

    Is it possible to do it too long? I got it to the “sloshy” stage, kept going, and then it stopped “sloshing” after a few minutes.

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  23. tammoura Said,

    Hi , I have been making homemade butter for yrs now, here is a few hints. Once your butter starts turning, add in a teaspoon of honey, the continue to shake, it is ok if some is poured out with the whey, you will have the flavor. You can also add in some sugar and cinnamon so you can have the yummy butter on toast.
    I add in garlic salt before I beat the milk with a blender just stir in the milk till dissolved, you end up with wonderful garlic butter to slather on french bread. I also do a Chile butter, add in one to two teaspoons of red Chile pepper found in the spice isle at the store to the milk, then beat, you have some nice butter to saute meats in. For the holidays, I add in a teaspoon of rum extract to the milk before mixing, you can add a nice flavor to buttered dinner rolls. Also look up butter bells online to find containers to store your butter and keep it fresh longer if you need to make larger batches. You don’t have to refrigerate butter either, I keep it right on my counter, if you store in a butter bell you can keep it for weeks, you can tell butter by looking at it if it goes rancid, it is grainy and a bitter taste. Plus I put cellophane in ice cube trays and put butter in the cubes and wrap in pretty coloured cellophane for a holiday present, they love the flavored cubes of butter.

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