how to: homemade butter

When I was in elementary school we learned how to make butter. It involved shaking a baby food jar full of heavy cream until it turned butter. I remember it taking forever, and we were left with such a tiny amount of butter. Needless to say I was kinda turned off of the idea. I revisited making my own butter this spring when I came across an article in a magazine. It involved mixing cream and buttermilk, then letting it set in your counter overnight before whipping it with a food processor. The idea of letting cream sit on the counter for such a long time kinda turned me off, but I decided to go for it anyways. You also rinsed the butter off with your hands under cold water, which needless to say made a huge mess. The results were good, but not worth the hassle. I thought back to elementary school where we just used heavy whipping cream and agitated it. I decided to replicate the process in my kitchen aid mixer, and it worked. It still is labor intensive because you have to make sure to separate all of the buttermilk from the butter to keep your butter from going rancid in a couple of days, but by using a mixer you save your arms.


Ingredients/Tools needed:

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • cold water
  • salt (optional)
  • a mixer or food processor or large jar with a couple of marbles // I am going to give directions based on using a mixer, but you just agitate the cream until it separates into butter and buttermilk


  1. Pour cream into the bowl of the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the cream until it turns into whipped cream. If if you have a splatter guard, use it. Also, you can place a towel over your whole mixer to keep the cream from splattering  everywhere.
  2. Once it turns into whipped cream, turn off the mixer. Change out the whisk attachment for paddle. Turn up the mixer to medium-high and keep mixing until the butter starts to form. At the end it should look like this:
  3. Turn off the mixer, and remove the bowl from the mixer. The liquid is buttermilk, which is different from cultured buttermilk that you can buy at the store. Pour off as much of the buttermilk as you can by straining it through a mesh strainer. If you would like to keep the buttermilk, you can store it in a jar in the fridge. butter buttermilk
  4. Return any butter that has collected in the strainer to the bowl. Pour in about 2 cups of cold water.
  5. Using a spatula, smush the butter against the side of the bowl. As you continue the water should start to turn milky. The cold water will cause the butter to stick together, and flushes out the buttermilk. 
  6. Pour out the water. Repeat the process by adding in fresh cold water, and continuing until the water no longer turns milky.
  7. After pouring out the water for the last time, smush the butter again. You should see tiny water droplets forming on the butter. Drain off  much water as you can. 
  8. If you would like salted butter, add about 1 tsp of salt, and stir to combine. Pack the butter into a container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you would like to store it for longer, it can be frozen.

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