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How to Make Butter

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How to make butter
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Condiment Recipes » How to Make Butter

As a child, I didn’t have much of an awareness of where my food came from beyond the grocery store. I was an adult the first time I made butter and I was so amazed that you could do it yourself. There is a certain satisfaction that comes with making something yourself that you previously purchased from the store with little thought as to where it came from.

How Butter Is Made

Butter is made from the cream that rises to the top of whole milk when it is cooled. This cream has a milk fat content of at least 30%. By agitating the cream, the membranes surrounding the fat molecules are broken, allowing the molecules to stick together. If you agitate the cream for a short amount of time you will make whipped cream. If you persist, the whipped cream is eventually broken down and you will achieve butter.

I personally find it quite fascinating that you can take a liquid and turn it into a solid by simply agitating it. If you are a science geek like me, you can read more in depth about what happens to milk when making butter here.

Choosing Your Cream

In order to take full advantage of all of the health benefits of butter, it is best to use raw cream from grass-fed cows. If you do not have access to grass-fed raw milk, you can also make butter from organic whipping cream that you can buy at the store.

If using raw milk, refrigerate overnight or until the cream has collected at the top of the jar. Skim the cream by gently dipping a small ladle down into the cream until if fills the ladle by flowing up over the sides. It is best not to scoop as this can cause the cream to mix back into the milk. Continue to do this until all the cream is collected. If you begin to see the thinner milk sneaking into your ladle then you probably have as much cream as you will be able to get.

The milk leftover once you’ve removed the cream from the top is still totally drinkable. It’s now “reduced fat” milk.

See below for variations on flavoring butter.

Getting Ready:

  • I use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment for making butter.
  • Measure your cream. 2 cups of cream yields approximately ½ cup (1 stick) of butter.
  • You will need a fine strainer, a bowl, a wide spoon, and clean, cold water.
How to make butter

Homemade Butter Recipe

Butter is simple to make at home and a great project to try with your kids!
Calories 102kcal
Author Katie Wells

Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream preferably from raw milk or store-bought organic

Instructions

  • Put the cream into your mixing bowl. It is important to only fill the bowl halfway so it does not overflow as air is whipped into the cream. (Take my word for it!)
  • Turn mixer on low to medium-low at first to prevent splashing. Once the cream begins to thicken you can turn it up to medium.
  • Mix for about 15 minutes. This time can vary depending on how much cream you are using and what type if mixer you have.
  • As it thickens it will first change to whipped cream. After the whipped cream stage it will begin to deflate and break down. When this begins to happen, stay close. When it makes the change to butter it can happen very quickly. It will also start to splash again so you can hang a towel over the mixer if you’d like.
  • When you see the butter begin to clump and stick to your whisk, it is done mixing.
  • Put your strainer over a bowl and pour the contents of your mixing bowl into the strainer. The solids that collect in the strainer are the butter and the liquid that collects in the bowl is buttermilk. 
  • Now you need to “rinse” the butter. It is important to remove as much buttermilk as possible to keep the butter from going rancid. Put the butter back in your mixing bowl and cover with clean, cold water.
  • With the back of your wide spoon, begin pressing the butter into the side of the bowl. The water will get cloudy as the buttermilk is “cleaned” out of the butter. Pour the water off and add more cold water.
  • Repeat this process 4-5 times or until the water stays clear.
  • Done! Store in refrigerator or at room temperature if you will use it within a week or two.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Butter Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 TBSP)
Calories 102 Calories from Fat 104
% Daily Value*
Fat 11.5g18%
Saturated Fat 7.3g46%
Cholesterol 31mg10%
Sodium 2mg0%
Protein 0.1g0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Notes

You can easily make much larger batches to make more butter, just make sure your mixing bowl is only half full!
The buttermilk leftover from making butter can be used in recipes in place of water. Try it in almond flour pancakes.

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

Butter Variations

For salted butter, simply add a healthy pinch of salt per ½ cup of butter. Work it in with the back of your wide spoon.

For spreadable butter, whip ½ cup butter in your mixer with 1 teaspoon high quality olive oil.

For honey butter, whip ½ cup butter with ¼ cup raw honey until smooth.

Learn how to make herb infused compound butter here.

Learn how to make ghee here.

Make ice cream!

Fun For Children

The whole butter making process can be a great science lesson for kids. You can get them more involved by showing them how to make butter in a mason jar. Fill a pint mason jar halfway with cream, seal it tightly with a lid, and let them shake it. They will have to shake for quite a while, but my kids think it is so cool that they don’t mind at all. Eventually, you will see the same transformation you saw in your mixer take place in the jar. When the clump of butter comes together, simply follow the same steps for rinsing it and voila, you have butter!

Have you ever made butter? Will you try any of the variations?

Sources
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

35 responses to “How to Make Butter”

  1. Amy Avatar

    I have several jars of raw skimmed off cream sitting in my fridge for 1-2 months. Is it okay to turn into butter? Has it already cultured in the fridge or does it need to have culture added to it and sit out at room temp?

  2. Erin Avatar

    I read in another post about butter that you are using Kalona butter. ButcherBox currently has a waiting list. Can you recommend a different brand of grass fed butter ? 🙂

  3. James Avatar

    I don’t know about raw cream, I use pasturized dairy products. Same result, safer product.

  4. Natalie Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi! My butter turned out a little bit Chunky, not smooth like regular butter. Could it be that i mixed it for too long after it turned into whip cream?

  5. Naomi Aldort Avatar
    Naomi Aldort

    5 stars
    For those of you who can get raw milk, but it is in plastic jars, there is an advantage: Let it sit in the frig, motionless, to collet the fat on top. Then take it out gently without shaking it and bring to the sink. Stand it stable on the counter with part of it above the sink. (You can put a container in the sink if you want skim milk.) Stab the bottom without opening the top. Then open the top slowly till you have the speed you want. The whole thing will drain out with the cream. Watch it. When it reaches the cream, lift and turn to stop the stream. What you now have is cream. Pour into a container, then cut the plastic to get more or it out.

    Since I am a parenting author and public speaker, I want to add a point for the children: This is a “science” experiment for you home schooling parents and all parents. Children love watching this way of separating the cream and eventually can do it themselves and be helpful in a way they like.

  6. Cathy Avatar

    I just used the Chef’n Buttercup Butter Maker to make some butter for the first time for Thanksgiving. Put the cream in and shake it like crazy for about 3 minutes. You can tell when it’s thickened up, open it and drain it through the built in strainer, add cold water and rinse . I couldn’t believe how simple it was. Amazing butter

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