How To Make Butter at Home

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So did you know it’s actually mind-blowingly easy to make your own butter? Like, the good kind you have at Zagat-rated restaurants with hand-milled sea salt or what-the-eff-ever? Guys. Seriously. The simple, quintessential joy and pride this project gave me is kind of sad, but to be able to say, “Hey, I made my own butter” – well, it’s a Scout Badge well-earned.

All you need: heavy cream, a mason jar, salt. THAT’S IT. Read on for instructions!

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1. Assemble your reci-posse. I got my mason jar, among other amazing kitchen trinkets, at Fishs Eddy, one of my absolute favorite stores in New York. 

For my butter-base, I used Trader Joe’s heavy whipping cream. If you can get your hands on some dairy-fresh raw cream, that’s the absolute best thing to use for making butter. I went to the farmer’s market to try and get some, but was out of luck. There are actually only 12 states that allow the sale of raw dairy in retail outlets, but sometimes you can drive straight to the farm and pick up bottled raw cream there. Here’s a convenient PDF that will let you know the raw dairy laws for your state!

Anyway, store-bought heavy cream will do fine, but remember that fresher is always better.

 2. Fill the mason jar about 1/3 with fresh cream. Make sure the cream is cold. I even stuck the mason jar in the freezer for a couple of minutes beforehand to make sure everything was easy, freezy, beautiful. 

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3. Shake it like a polaroid picture. And then shake it like you’re shaking what your mama gave you. And then shake your tail feather. Keep shaking according to whatever euphemism you choose. Keep shaking and don’t stop. Your cream will thicken fairly quickly. After about 5 minutes, you’ll have whipped cream. If you’re satisfied with just whipped cream and decide you’re going to chicken out on the butter, add some sugar and call it a day. If your culinary fortitude has not yet abandoned you, keep shaking.

After about 15-20 minutes of vigorous jar-shaking action, the thick mixture will very suddenly separate, leaving you with a thick, yellow substance (that’s the butter) and a cloudy liquid (that’s buttermilk). Shake a few more times until the butter and buttermilk are fully separated.

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4. Using a strainer, colander, or cheesecloth, drain the buttermilk from the butter. You can save the buttermilk to use later in pancakes, biscuits, a calming facial mask, whatever. 

5. Wash the butter. Yes, the butter needs to be bathed. Even when you drain it, milk solids remain behind in the butter and in order to preserve freshness, they have to be removed – otherwise you won’t be able to keep your butter for more than a day. You can either wash the butter in a bowl of cold water, pushing the buttermilk out with a spoon against the sides of the bowl, or you can actually knead the butter in your hands under a faucet until the faucet water runs clear. Both options are fun and greasy.

6. Add sea salt if you want, or leave butter unsalted. Don’t oversalt the butter (I kind of did…)! Add a very small amount of salt, taste, and continue to add if more salt is desired. This butter is going to taste way more flavorful than anything you’ve bought at the grocery store, unless you only buy the finest of fine butters, so a ton of salt is not necessary.

And that’s it! You’re a butter master! I hope it churned out great! It’s udderly delicious! Ok, I’m really milking it here….I’ll stop. I guess if you don’t like puns, I’m toast. But don’t I deserve a pat on the head for my efforts?


5 Comments on “How To Make Butter at Home”

  1. Wow! Awesome idea to make butter! Thanks for sharing!

    Never knew it was that easy to make butter. although there sure is a lot of shaking to be done!!


  2. Little Sis says:

    Nice one. And great pics. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Maggie says:

    I had no idea it was so easy… I think I’ve gone into shock about the great amount of money I have spent on store-bought butter… I will definitely only be making my own butter from this day forward (I solemnly swear). Great post!

    • Liz says:

      I thought the same thing! Butter gets so expensive, especially if you use a lot of it for baking and whatnot, and this butter just tastes sooo much better than store-bought.

  4. foodlattio says:

    I realised this when I needed to make Eton Mess and I mistakenly over whisked the cream lol

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