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How to Make Homemade Butter

It’s easy to make homemade butter if you have the right tools. Although you can shake the ingredients up in a jar, there’s a much easier and faster way.

toast with butter beside a bowl of homemade butter

There are only a couple of simple steps before you wind up with fresh homemade butter that tastes much better than any you can buy in the store. 

Plus it’s a fun activity you can do with your kids and grandkids. I’ve always looked for teachable moments in the kitchen with my daughters and now my granddaughters. And they learned to appreciate the process.

Churning Butter the Easy Way

Back in the day, pioneers made butter by churning it for hours. It was a long, arduous process that required quite a bit of physical effort.

Now that we have all kinds of wonderful gadgets in our kitchens, we can whip up a batch of butter in just a few minutes. It only takes a few minutes to get the best butter you’ve ever had.

bowls of homemade butter

Homemade Butter Ingredients

You only need 2 things to make homemade butter. However, if you want extra flavorings, you can add those as well.

Here’s what you’ll need for basic homemade butter:

  • Heavy cream (also called whipping cream)
  • Salt (optional)
carton of heavy whipping cream

You actually don’t need salt if you want unsalted butter. But I like it with just a tiny pinch of salt to bring out the delicious flavor.

shaker of Himalayan pink salt

The tools you’ll need are a food processor (or high speed blender), strainer, and either cheesecloth or a paper towel. I would normally use cheesecloth. 

But apparently, that’s another thing that didn’t survive our last move. So I used a paper towel.

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.

Sometimes I enjoy serving flavored butter for special occasions or with certain types of meals. Here are some things you can add:

  • Vanilla extract
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Strawberry preserves

I recommend adding the additional flavorings after you make the butter. Otherwise, you’ll wind up wasting some of it.

I’ve brought strawberry butter to potlucks, and it’s always a hit. People love this special treat on their dinner rolls and bread.

Steps to Make Homemade Butter

This is so easy you’ll wonder if you’re missing something. But trust me, you’re doing it correctly as long as you follow these super easy steps.

First, get a strainer ready so you can pour out the liquid (buttermilk) that has separated from the butter. If you make unsalted butter, save the buttermilk for baking

Now pour all of the cream into your food processor. 

You can make as much or as little butter as you want. I used 2 cups of cream to make enough butter to last my husband and me a week.

pouring cream into the food processor

Next, sprinkle the salt into the milk if you want salted butter.

Use just a little bit of salt because if you oversold it, you can’t take it away. You can always add more if needed.

adding salt to the cream

Use the blade attachment and cover the food processor.

Turn it on and process the cream for about 2 minutes. It should now be whipped cream.

whipped cream in the food processor

This lets you know that it’s getting close to becoming butter.

Put the lid back on the food processor and turn it on. Run it for about another 5 minutes or until you see the butter separating from the liquid.

butter separated from liquid in the food processor

It’s pretty obvious when that happens. Not only will you see the butter clumping up, but you’ll also feel the vibration as it knocks around in the food processor bowl.

Final Step

After you have butter, pour out the bulk of the liquid. If you didn’t add salt, save the buttermilk for baking biscuits or pound cake.

Pour the butter and residual liquid into a cheesecloth or paper towel lined strainer. Gently press on it to remove the excess liquid.

straining buttermilk off the butter

I also lift the butter and knead it a little bit to get rid of even more liquid. There’s something very satisfying about that.

Now your butter is ready to eat. I love it on toast, muffins, or cloud bread. But you can add it to anything you like.

butter on toast beside a bowl of homemade butter

Should You Wash the Butter?

You can rinse the butter after you make it. The butter isn’t dirty, but there is another reason that many people prefer to wash it.

Washing it helps remove the residual buttermilk that may cling to the butter. Getting rid of the buttermilk keep it from going rancid.

However, I don’t normally rinse mine because we typically eat it within a few days. This step is completely up to you.

How Long Can You Keep Homemade Butter in the Refrigerator?

You can keep butter in your refrigerator for up to 10 days, as long as you cover it or put it in an airtight container. 

However, if the people in your house like butter as much as we do, it won’t last that long.

Can You Freeze Butter?

Yes, you can freeze butter for up to 3 months. Wrap it in plastic and then place it in a freezer bag.

butter wrapped in plastic wrap

Before you use it, thaw it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. I typically put it out of the freezer the night before I plan to use it and let it thaw overnight.

What is the Liquid that Separates from the Butter During the Process?

That liquid is real buttermilk. You can use it for baking, or you can drink it. I only keep it if I don’t add salt.

Is Homemade Butter Better for You than Store Bought Butter?

I like to think it is. After all, when you make it yourself, you control what goes into it. And everything I add (cream and salt) is easy to pronounce, so you know what you’re getting.

Make Your Own Homemade Butter

It’s so easy to make your own butter at home, and the results are absolutely delicious! 

bite taken out of buttered toast

If you have a little extra cream in your fridge, give it a try. I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Get the family involved. Have them pour the cream into the food processor. Encourage them to check on it when it turns into whipped cream. 

Then let them see the magic unfold as it turns into yummy butter that they can put on their toast or popcorn.

toast with butter and bowls of homemade butter

See this recipe shared at Weekend Potluck and Full Plate Thursday.

More Recipes

I like to offer butter with a wide variety of dishes—especially when I serve any type of bread.

Your homemade butter will come in handy with these recipes:

Southern Style Cornbread – Make this flavorful cornbread in an iron skillet for a crispy outer layer and soft inside. Add a pat of homemade butter, and you’ll quickly discover the joy of southern deliciousness.

Cloud Bread – There’s not a speck of flour in this cloud bread. Serve this whenever you’ll have someone at the table who is on a gluten-free diet.

Jalapeño Corn Muffins – Spicy and so yummy, these corn muffins go with anything from soup to meat and potatoes.

Easy Soft Dinner Rolls – You’ll love how easy it is to make these delightful dinner rolls from Back to My Southern Roots!

Basic Chaffles (flourless waffles) –  These waffle-like delights will have everyone asking for seconds!

2 bowls of homemade butter

Homemade Butter

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Homemade butter is easy to make, and it's better than anything you can buy at the store!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare a way to strain the butter by placing cheesecloth or a single layer of paper towel over a metal strainer with small holes. Set aside until you need it.
  2. Pour the milk into your food processor with a blade attachment. Add salt if you want salted butter. Put the lid on the food processor.
  3. Turn on the food processor and run it for about 2 minutes. It should be whipped cream at this point.
  4. Now put the lid back on and run the food processor for another 5 or 6 minutes, until the butter separates from the liquid. You’ll be able to see and feel when this happens.
  5. Pour the buttermilk off of the butter and pour the butter into the strainer. Gently press on it to remove excess liquid.
  6. Using your hands, knead the butter and squeeze it until all of the liquid is removed.
  7. Now the butter is ready to enjoy!

Notes

You can rinse the butter to remove additional buttermilk that remains. It isn’t a necessary step unless you won’t use the butter right away. 

You can stir in some extra flavorings if you like flavored butter. Some that I’ve tried are vanilla extract, honey, maple syrup, and strawberry preserves.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 202Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 67mgSodium 33mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 2g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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