Homemade Butter and Buttermilk

I’ve been told many times that the happiest people are the ones who have figured out how to turn what they love into their career.  While I’m not sure that I’d go as far as to call my blog a career at this point, I am certainly blessed to be able to do what I love.

I have had many hobbies and interests over the years, but my love of cooking and baking goes beyond that. I love spending time in the kitchen, and I seem to have an unquenchable thirst for food related knowledge.  I read cookbooks from cover to cover and find myself especially drawn to the books that explain the hows and whys of cooking and baking.

What does all of this have to do with butter? Well, while I am well aware of the fact that I can purchase butter at just about any store that sells groceries, making my own homemade butter has been on my kitchen to-do list for quite a while. It turns out that it’s really quite simple, and its a great learning experience.  Sure, most people know that butter is a dairy product, but can they really tell you how to make butter? I personally feel that understanding where my food comes from (even if I don’t always make it myself) helps me to appreciate and place more value on the quality of the food that I prepare and serve. And, that is something that I hope to teach my daughter as she grows up, as well.

Butter is really quite simple. You start with heavy cream and you separate out the solids (butter) from the liquids (fresh buttermilk).  You control all of the ingredients.  I used organic heavy whipping cream this time around, but I am looking forward to making butter from fresh, local cream from the farmers’ market this summer.  If you prefer to have salted butter, you can simply add some sea salt. Want something a bit fancier? Add spices or sweeteners to your butter for a special treat. Regardless of how you enjoy it, I am confident that you will take pride in knowing that you churned the butter yourself. 

Homemade Butter and Buttermilk
Makes 1 cup butter and 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 pint heavy cream (preferably organic)
  • Sea salt (optional)

Pour the heavy cream into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it is very thick and starts to crumble.

Switch to the beater blade and continue to beat the crumbly cream on medium-high speed until you see that the milk solids are separating from the liquid. Drain the liquid (be sure to save it, this is your buttermilk!) and continue to mix, mix, mix.

Keep draining the buttermilk and beating the mixture until all you are left with is the creamy milk solids… Butter!  At this point, you can add sea salt to taste.  Enjoy!

You’ll notice that the buttermilk that you’re left with isn’t quite the same as the cultured buttermilk you typically purchase at the grocery store. The key word is cultured… Most buttermilk used for baking is fermented.  I won’t get into all of the details.  You can still use your buttermilk for baking (or drink it)… I just stir in a few tablespoons of plain yogurt for that tangy, thick buttermilk that makes perfect biscuits and pancakes. Yum!

37 Responses to Homemade Butter and Buttermilk

  1. Yum! I really need to give homemade butter a try. I have always wanted to make it in my mixer. The only time I every tried it was when I was a kid and we made it in school in a mason jar. This seems like a much better way :)

  2. wow, seriously? it’s that easy and all I need is heavy cream and sea salt?! What?! Wow, I am amazed . . and totally agree that the happiest people are the ones who have figured out how to turn what they love into their career. I also feel blessed that I am learning more about cooking and am able to bake, cook and write for my blog! :)

  3. I knew it must be pretty easy because I’ve also done it in a jar but now I’m excited to pick up some yummy grass fed cream. Oh the deliciousness that is coming! :)

      • I make butter this way all the time, it is the only butter we use and it works exactly like bought butter in baking… I use it for cakes, muffins, pancakes, scones, as a spread, and even in sauces like bechamel and alfredo… it’s delicious and easy :) I find that 300ml of cream makes exactly the right amount of butter AND buttermilk for a batch of cupcakes :)

  4. I can so relate; I think some of the simplest things have brought me great joy in the making…or maybe it’s great surprise at how easy some things are that I would never have thought of preparing at one time.

    Butter was once there as was bacon (if you have not you MUST!) and making liqueurs is about to force me to build a separate storage facility!

    It’s not just fun but the results are tastefully rewarding too…and this looks amazing Jen.

  5. Awwwww… I love this post for so many reasons. First, I’m so glad you are doing what you love. Life’s too short for anything else. And I’m totally with you on the homemade butter experience. I got lots of emails when I posted about it saying that it’s really not worth making it at home because it’s not really better. First off, it is… Because you made freakin butter! And because you can season it with just a touch of salt (if that’s your thing). Plus, you learn how butter is actually made!!! So, yeah, I’m loving this post

  6. I had no idea it took so few ingredients. Def gotta try this. I like there are no stabilizers, preservatives and guar gum added. Thanks so much.

  7. I don’t have a stand mixer and i literally burned up my handheld while making butter. It takes an hour of shaking in a mason jar by hand. This is why I buy store bought but fresh tastes sooo much better.

    • Let the cream set out until it’s room temperature or overnight. Then it only takes about 10 minutes of shaking it in a mason jar. I make mine from raw milk that I get from a local farmer. If the cream is just a little bit old (just a few days) it seems to make easier and have more flavor, too. After you get as much buttermilk out of it as you can, rinse it with cool water (working it, like you did to get out the buttermilk) until the water runs clear. It won’t keep as long in the refrigerator as store bought, (but mine doesn’t last long, anyway! LOL) because we aren’t as efficient at getting out all the buttermilk.

    • Kim – I know of people who have made butter in their blender, so I think it is possible. I haven’t tried it myself, though. My biggest concern would be that if the blender motor isn’t powerful enough, it might burn the motor once the butter separates out.

  8. LOL……..I accidentally made butter once while trying to make whipped cream for dessert…..it was yummy! It only took a few minutes, too.

  9. This works great. I have kitchen aid mixer and it made it pretty quickly. But unless you have access to free cream, not any cheaper than buying butter. I paid $3.50 for a pint of heavy cream. Of course it tastes wonderful. I added a little local honey.

  10. We’ve made butter before too, as a project with our daughter when she was 4 years old. We put cream and a marble in a mason jar, and she shook it gently until it turned into butter. She was amazed and we baked fresh bread to go with it. It was a lot of fun, I think we need to do it again.

    • Anita – It really doesn’t matter… I use the whisk attachment until it goes just beyond the point of being whipped cream… Probably about 5 minutes on my mixer. It will vary by the mixer and also by the cream that you are using (how old it is, temperature, etc).

  11. I have done this with the food processor. Very little time and same great taste. Funny the comment about being surprised there were so few ingredients!

  12. I let my kids make homemade butter with cows milk! All you do is take the stuff that is on top of the milk after you let it sit in the fridge overnight, put it into a jar….and let the kids shake the heck out of it! The kids had SOOOO much fun (and they were wore out) once they got it turned into butter! Then we homemade bread and they put it on there! It was absolutely delicious…just needed to add a bit of salt!

  13. I remember making butter when i was young in Ala. the aunts would set the milk out to get warm and clabber. then take it and put in the old fashioned butter milk churn… after the butter became solid they would pour the buttermilk into jugs and rinse the butter until it was free of liquid. add salt and put in fridge…umm i did a lot of that churning wish i had one now.

  14. Some people commented, wondering how hard it is on the blender motor. I make my butter from raw milk from the dairy in a very inexpensive blender. I spoon the cream off the top and put it in the blender with a little bit of sea salt. It’s not hard on the blender, bc once the blender separates it into buttermilk and butter you are done. It doesn’t have to do anything to the butter. Most of the time it’s in the blender, it looks like whipped cream (so, if you don’t salt your butter, you can take advantage of that stage and use the whipped cream). But just past that, it separates out, and then you remove it from the blender. I use the lowest speed as well, and it takes 3-5mins depending on the temperature of the cream. The colder the cream is, the longer it takes to separate. My gallon of raw milk is $4.50, so it’s considerably cheaper to make my own butter and end up with fresh buttermilk as well.

  15. Oh My Gosh – I haven’t made my own butter since childhood. Have to start doing this again with all the food prices jumping so high. Thanks for the reminder on how easy this really is.

  16. I use heavy whipping cream, sea salt, olive oil, and sweetened condensed milk, and whip it up in my food processor. Unfortunately right now the whipping cream costs more than a gallon of milk!!!!

  17. I have a Kitchen Aid 600 Professional Mixer. I will freeze the stainless steel bowl, and then add the cold whipping cream to the bowl. I’m sure it will turn out yummy!

  18. Way back when I was a child we lived on a small family farm. My dad had cows, pigs etc. So my mom used cream for butter all the time.She used a large woodenbowl and a flat wood spatula like tool and worked the buttermilk out of the butter, then rinced it with cold water.
    During world war 11 we sold mik by the gallon and cream quarts and pints.My dad delivered it on small trailordoor to door in town. We had a seperator[sp?] 5feet tall, washing it was not fun on Saturday, my day to do it. We had lots of good times with the first cake mix,with real! whipped cream for get togethers at church. When I married we found a gallon churn and a homogenizer, one of our boys had a slight temp and the Doctor thought it was from raw milk. He is still here after 50+ years. Sorry if this is long! Memories!

  19. Hi Jennifer – Do you have any idea how long the buttermilk will stay good in the fridge? I work at a living history museum and we make butter here in mason jars with kids, and I’m trying to figure out what we’re going to do with the buttermilk once we have it! Thanks!