Fresh, homemade butter is easier to make than you may think. See how to make butter and buttermilk from a container of cream.
The very first time I made butter I searched through seemingly endless websites and blogs that all droned on about how to make butter. Many of the posts were confusing and unnecessarily complicated.
Why? I wondered… why doesn’t someone make an easy to read, simple guide on butter making?
After all, making butter is one of the simplest things in the world, why must the instructions be so complicated?
This post may contain affiliate links - I may receive a commission if you purchase from the links.
Tips for Making Homemade Butter
1. Start with a quality heavy cream or whipping cream for making butter
Heavy cream and whipping cream contain between 35-40% fat. The process of making butter separates the fat from the liquid. The higher the fat content, the creamier your butter will be.
The best choice would be fresh, raw cream from local dairy cows. However, any store bought heavy cream without additives will work. The flavor of the butter will take on the same flavor of the cream, so choose a brand you like.
2. Let the cream warm before churning
Room-temperature cream, about 60˚F (15˚C) will separate faster than cold cream. Let the cream sit out on the counter for about 30 minutes before making butter.
3. Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment
This recipe uses a stand mixer to make quick work of separating the butter from the buttermilk. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can also use a blender, food processor, or consider this old-fashioned style butter churner.
Any tool that will agitate the cream will work, even shaking the cream in a covered jar. Expect it to take longer, between 5-30 minutes for the butter to separate, depending on the shaking.
How to Make Butter Step by Step:
Step 1: Gather up your materials!
You’ll need 1 quart of heavy cream or whipping cream and a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. If you’d like to make salted butter, you’ll of course need some salt.
Step 2: Pour the cream into the mixer and turn it on medium high.
You don’t want it up so high that cream is splashing out of the bowl, but turn that baby up as high as it can go before it starts splashing.
Step 3: Watch and wait while the heavy cream is in the mixer.
It will change drastically over the course of a few minutes. You’ll be able to clearly see the change from cream, to whipped cream, to crumbles of butter, to a solid piece of yellow butter with buttermilk in the bottom of the mixer. This will take 3-10 minutes. Drain the buttermilk and save for buttermilk biscuits or pancakes.
Step 4: Wash the butter.
Hold the butter in your hands under cold running water. Gently squeeze it and knead it under the water. This step removes the remaining buttermilk from the butter. If you don’t remove the buttermilk the butter will spoil quickly. When the water is running clear you’ll know all the buttermilk has been removed.
Step 5: Add salt to your butter
If you’d like salted butter, now is the time to salt it. Start by adding 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the butter and mix well. Give it a taste, if it’s not salted enough for you, you can always add more.
Form the butter into a ball, or use a spatula to place it into a container for safekeeping. Store the butter in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. Butter will last longer if all the buttermilk is removed. For longer storage, freeze for up to three months.
How to Make Butter Visually: If you’d like to download and print this guide for your own personal use, you can download the PDF here: How to make butter: A visual guide
How to Make Butter
- 1 quart heavy cream or whipping cream room temperature
- kosher salt (optional)
- Add the cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn to medium high.
- Continue mixing until the butter separates from the buttermilk, about 3-10 minutes.
- Drain the buttermilk and refrigerate for later. Use the buttermilk for buttermilk biscuits or pancakes.
- Wash the butter by squeezing and kneading it under running water to release the remaining buttermilk. Keep washing the butter until the water is clear, about 5 minutes.
- Optional: Add salt to taste. Begin by adding 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the butter and mix well. Taste and add more if desired.
- Store the butter in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. For longer storage, freeze for up to three months.
- This recipe makes about 1 pound of butter and roughly 2 cups of buttermilk.