Homemade Butter


A little while ago, when I was gloating about my fantastic lipids profile, I promised you a recipe for homemade butter.  Butter has long been one of my favourite foods, and it’s a trait I come by honestly, as my mother would say.  My dear, perpetually fit and slender mother has a boundless love of the creamy yellow stuff.  We used to tease her mercilessly about the way she would slab huge amounts of butter on her crackers and bread.  Even though I loved butter myself, I was slightly horrified, having bought the standard nutritional advice about saturated fats hook line and sinker.   Oh how times have changed.  I’ve had to eat my words…which, quite frankly, I don’t really mind because as long as those words are covered in huge slabs of butter, they taste great.

As a low carber who has a completely new take on nutrition, I feel free to eat butter with abandon.  But I do worry some about all of the chemicals and hormones in standard storebought butter, as many toxins taken in by animals store primarily in the fatty tissues.  So I make an effort to use organic, and when I can get my hands on it, grass-fed butter.  Now that stuff tastes like heaven!

But the idea of making my own butter started when I received a cookbook I’d won on another blog, The Whole Family Cookbook.  It’s a cookbook devoted to whole foods for kids, and it employs a lot of fun ideas for kids to help out in the kitchen.  The cookbook ended up buried under a mountain of other books and magazines on my bedside table, but the idea of making butter stayed with me.  And when I finally made it out to a creamery that sells un-homogenized whole cream (pasteurized still, but none of the fillers that keep it from separating), I bought a half-gallon with the specific idea of making my own butter.

There are a number of ways you can beat your cream into butter that don’t involve having an old-fashioned butter churn (remember those things?  The sort of wooden barrel with a handle that you inevitably see in places like Colonial Williamsburg or Black Creek Pioneer Village!).  I know you could probably do it in a stand mixer or a food processor.  But I decided to have fun with it and do it the way the kids’ cookbook suggested, which was simply to pour some cream in a jar, put on the lid, and shake the heck out of it for 20 minutes or so.  Turned out to be great exercise for my arms, too!  I tried to get the kids involved, but they are a little young for being able to sustain that kind of constant shaking motion for very long.

I’ve now made my own butter several times and it’s absolutely heavenly.  Freshly churned butter has no equal.  I’ve learned a few things along the way, so here are a few quick tips to help you out:

  • Don’t fill the jar more than half full.  The cream needs room to whip and expand and take on air and it can’t do that if you fill the jar to the brim.
  • You will be able to tell when you’ve got whipped cream, because suddenly the cream is no longer sloshing around in the jar.  Keep shaking after that if you want butter.
Almost there! It’s now clotted cream. Keep shaking a bit longer.
  • You will be able to tell when the butter is starting to form, because the buttermilk comes out of the cream and starts sloshing around again.  Keep shaking for a bit longer to really bring the butter together and get out all the buttermilk.  Once you have one smooth lump of butter in the bottom, you’re done.
It’s smoother now. Looks good but keep shaking a little bit more.
  • If you like salted butter (I do), a little pinch of salt will be enough.  And don’t bother drinking the buttermilk if you salt the butter…it gets REALLY salty and tastes awful.
There you go. That’s butter at the bottom, surrounded by buttermilk.
  • Consider adding some fresh chopped herbs to the freshly churned butter…the butter is really soft when it’s first formed, and you can stir in anything you want very easily (I did one version with cilantro).  It will harden when you put it in the fridge.
  • The more cream you put in the jar, the longer it will take to become butter.

Homemade Butter


  • 1/2 to 1 cup whole cream (preferably non-homogenized, but if that's not available, just be sure it has no fillers like carageenan)
  • Pinch salt, if desired
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped herbs to add at the end, if desired.


  1. Pour cream into a clean jar with a tight lid (for 1/2 cup, use a half-pint jar, but for any more cream, use a larger jar)
  2. Add salt, if using.
  3. Seal the jar and shake the heck out of it until it stops sloshing (has become whipped cream).
  4. Keep shaking until it starts sloshing again (buttermilk has come out of the cream).
  5. Keep shaking a bit more until the butter is one smooth lump at the bottom.
  6. Pour off buttermilk.
  7. Add any herbs and stir.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. says

    This is a great intro to making homemade butter, but it doesn’t make much. I think you’ll get a lot of folks to try it. It looks like fun! But if you want more finished product, i.e. more butter, and easier, use a food processor with more cream. And if you make homemade creme fraiche with the cream first, you can make cultured butter, which is a step up on the dreamy scale, lol! Here’s a link to how to do it: http://lifeonthefoodchain.blogspot.com/2012/02/dairy-in-your-kitchen-cultured-butter.html?spref=bl

  2. Lisa Hiatt says

    Glad to see you can use a mixer or food processor. I think I’m definitely going ot give this a try this weekend! I LOVE butter!

  3. Dawn says

    We did this in a jar a while back and found that the kids could just slide the jar across the table to one another. It works, it just takes longer.

    • Carolyn says

      Hey, that’s a good idea. Another idea from the book was to wrap the jar in a towel and put the whole thing in a big coffee can. Let the kids kick the can around in the yard for a while!

  4. says

    I did this once when I was in grade school and I still think of how delicious that butter tasted. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make it again. Maybe I’ll make 2 big jars and shake them at the same time and tone both of my arms. :)

  5. Paula Lynch says

    If you intend to store homemade butter, it should be rinsed under cold water first or it will turn rancid in a few days.

  6. Lisa Hiatt says

    OK I just couldn’t stand it, I made the low carb “popovers” and NEEDED butter. I literally whipped up a little bit using a hand mixer. It worked!!! Thanks for the directions!!! It was SOOO YUMMY!!!!!!

    • Lisa Hiatt says

      This was a great article. Thanks for showing the instructions! I didn’t know about washing the butter either. I only made a tiny bit to try it out, but I’ll remember this when I make a real batch.

  7. says

    Too funny–I was just telling my son last night that we could make our own butter, and he got super-excited about the possibility! I did not know that once salted, the buttermilk is no good–I would’ve saved it to use in baking. I also didn’t know you had to rinse it for storage, so thanks for all the tips!

  8. Nikki says

    My son and I just made this–we had a great time. He is 8 and had fun making the butter. Our reward was our fresh butter on low carb toast. YUMMY!!

    I read the other comments about washing the butter…i did that, but really don’t think it will last long enough to spoil.

    Thanks for a fun, simple, tasty idea.

  9. says

    Yes I love my butter! I ate at a place recently where they served amazing crusty bread and bright yellow butter alongside some smoked flaky sea salt. Sprinkling the salt onto the butter and then with the bread was so good it should have been illegal…I’m digging making my own butter!

  10. says

    You made your own butter???? I’m high fiving you all the way from Indiana…I have been having a love affair with butter my whole life and need to make my own, too.

  11. Nancy says

    To speed up the process using a jar, throw in couple marbles. We had a jar and marbles we used exclusively for butter making. Now that kids are older, I just do it in the Kitchenaid. Also I pour the buttermilk off before I add salt. That way I can use the buttermilk too.

  12. Surabaya Lisa says

    As a teacher who makes butter in jars with her young students….I have found that putting a clean marble or two in the cream jar adds extra friction so the butter forms quickly. Also, when the marble no longer makes noise you know when you can stop shaking the jar! With really little kids we all sit on the floor and roll the jars to each other. Again, the marbles help with the friction, so it doesn’t take very long at all! Great recipe! Yippee for butter! :)

  13. Linda Parsons says

    Lisa, this may sound like a stupid question but what is whole cream and where can you get it? I assume this isn’t heavy whipping cream is it? Do you have to go to a dairy to get it?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *