Last updated on March 17th, 2016
If you’ve never tasted homemade butter, please take note: It’s delicious! It’s also fresher and creamier than store-bought butter. It’s easy to make, too. Just pour some heavy cream into your food processor, and you can acquire a cupful of bragging rights in exactly 10 minutes.
I was in the third grade at Adams Elementary School when I first tasted homemade butter. Our teacher, Miss Dokken, poured cream into a mason jar, and then let each child in the class shake the jar for 30 seconds. What fun! As the jar passed from student to student, the cream thickened and then separated into two components: watery buttermilk and solid butter. Dokken strained the butter at home. And the next morning, she presented us with the finished product, along with four loaves of delicious-smelling yeast bread, still warm from her oven. What a feast.
I know what you’re thinking. “That was a lovely story, Kevin. Now where’s the buttah?”
Alrighty then. Let’s get this party started.
First, select some decent cream. For the very best butter, use heavy cream from local, grass-fed cows. Such cows produce the sweetest, best-tasting cream.
Pour the cream into your food processor, making sure that you do not exceed the machine’s liquid fill-line. My 14-cup processor was able to accommodate 1 pint of cream, which resulted in an entire cup — or the equivalent of two sticks (226 grams) — of butter.
Now press the “on” button, and…
After 1 minute has passed, you’ll find whipped cream in the work bowl. Not that you have to remove the lid to check. I removed mine just to show you what’s goin’ on beneath the lid.
After 2 or 3 minutes, the whipped cream will dramatically thicken to the consistency of cream cheese. Also, the cream will pull away from the sides of the bowl.
In another 30 seconds or so, the thick cream will take on a craggy appearance. In other words, it will resemble Miss Dokken’s face.
Miss Dokken was a strict disciplinarian. Her warden-like personality matched her appearance: gray hair, no make-up, and a fashion sense that never exceeded a housecoat. I and my classmates were deathly afraid of her. That is, until the butter-making business. Then she morphed into the hippest woman on earth.
After processing for another 2 minutes or so, you’ll hear a “sloshing” sound. The sound indicates the cream has separated into clumpy solids and cloudy liquid. Stop the processor.
The liquid, by the way, is uncultured buttermilk.
Now place a fine-mesh sieve over a pale blue bowl…
And pour the butter “curds” and all of the liquid into the sieve.
Then transfer the strained liquid to a jar or measuring cup. As you can see, my cream produced nearly a cup of liquid. You can drink this uncultured buttermilk, or use it in breads, mashed potatoes, and the like.
Run cold water over the butter to firm it up. Do this at your faucet, unless you are taking pictures and require the light of a window.
Use your impeccably clean fingers to knead the butter as the water runs over it, to encourage any remaining buttermilk to escape. Keep kneading under cold water until the liquid runs clear — about 1 minute.
Then add a little salt, and knead it in. Salt will not only flavor the butter, but it will preserve it, too. You can store salted butter in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
You can, of course, knead in other ingredients, too. Like honey. Or chopped herbs. Or minced garlic.
Form the butter in whatever shape you like. Or, just pop it into a green ramekin.
Now grab a loaf of crusty bread, such as this homemade Sourdough Boule (recipe here).
Cut off a portion of the bread, spread it with the just-made butter…
And then tell me this isn’t THE best butter you’ve ever tasted in your life.
As you’ve just seen, butter is really very simple to make at home. It’s screamingly delicious, too. I hope you’ll try it some day.
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Here’s the printable:
You haven't lived until you've tried homemade butter. It's creamier and more flavorful than any store-bought butter. It's incredibly easy to make, too. You can make it in 10 minutes flat with the help of a food processor.
- 1 pint (16 fluid ounces) heavy cream
- A pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon or slightly more, depending on taste)
- Tip the cream into a food processor, making sure it does not exceed the bowl's "fill-line." (If necessary, make the butter in batches.) Blitz the cream until it thickens and separates -- you'll hear a "sloshing" sound -- about 5 minutes. Pour the butter and its liquid into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, and let drain for 1 minute. Then transfer the strained liquid to a cup or a bowl. (This uncultured buttermilk, if covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days, can be used for bread baking.) Bring the sieve to the kitchen faucet, and run cold water over the butter, while you knead it, with your impeccably clean fingers, until the liquid runs clear -- about 1 minute.
- Add the small amount of salt, and knead it into the butter. The salt will help to preserve the butter. Form the butter into whatever shape you like, or simply scoop it into a bowl or ramekin. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
NOTE: For the very best-tasting butter, start with heavy cream produced by local, grass-fed cows. Cream from such cows is especially sweet and wonderful.
Also in Kevin’s Kitchen:
Herbed Cottage Cheese Biscuits
Linguine with Butternut Squash and Sage
Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Fresh Mint
Sherlie Magaret says
What a wonderful story with your teacher. I have made butter for years with cream that gets just past the “use by” date and it is always delicious and so useful. When I was growing up, we had a dairy farm and always made butter, had ice cream and fresh milk. It was wonderful. I miss those days so much. I enjoy your recipes, stories and gardening so much. Thank you for sharing with us.
Sherlie Magaret says
BTW, I always use the Kitchen Aide to make my butter. I didn’t know you could possibly do it in the food processor. Wow, I am impressed. thanks
Brenda Johson says
This sounds great cannot wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!!
Mary B. says
Thank you for this recipe. I will try it. I can butter and it lasts just about forever in canning jars in a cool location. Thanks for all your recipes. Looking forward to your book. You are always so cheerful!
Wow, Kevin, you never cease to amaze. I was inspired by both of today’s posts (butter and garden) and plan to try each. This morning as we sat at our dining room table, we watched two blue jays making their next in a tree next door. This is our eighth month of living the ‘retired’ life after spending forty years working overseas. Here in our zone 8b just outside Baton Rouge, we are learning and experiencing many new things as the days and months pass. Your articles bring sunlight to our days no matter what the weather! All the best to you.
I have recently started to unsubscribe several posts from my large list of sites. YOURS….I have kept. You are very informative, interesting and quite humorous. Thanks for taking the time to enlighten your many followers.
My students loved to make butter in baby food jar’s each year. We’d make it with corn bread around Thanksgiving. Thanks for bringing back happy memories.
Beverly Hasings says
Fond memories of making butter in our old Sunbeam mixer. Saturday morning was butter making and then at night we would fry pizza dough and use some of the butter.
So going to this.
When I am making whipped cream, and wondering around the kitchen doing other things, I am always afraid I will make butter with sugar in it. I now wonder if it would still be good, just different, with the sugar?
Dorothy Thompson says
love, love your messages. Could I make butter in a blender? Have no food processor and at age 93, probably wouldn’t use one that much although your recipes tempt me to buy one.
WOW, I had no idea it was so easy. I sometimes buy too much butter for a dinner part, then I do not use it quickly enough before it goes bad. Now I can make as much as I want and have a taste that will not sit in my fridge!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Dorothy – Yes, you can make butter in a blender. Have fun!
Ellen R. says
Susan, I’d add some cinnamon to the sweetened butter and make cinnamon toast! Enjoy.
Hey Kevin, I can’t wait to try this!
What a fun home science experiment with lovely edible results – so much more appealing than those horrid experiments with our grade nine chemistry teacher who almost burnt down our science lab! Or the dour and humourless Miss Jones (not Ms,, mind you Miss) who managed to teach us not one single useful thing in home ec. Thank heavens I have your site to learn from!
BTW, some recipes for the buttermilk would be awesome.
Teri D says
I know you can freeze butter. Never knew you could can it. Will have to look that up. BUT Kevin your story made reminisce about when my mother led my Girl Scout troop and we made butter like you in the mason type jar. We didn’t even add the salt and I don’t remember what we ate it on but I remember it so well. I love a good herb butter in the summer to add to a nice grilled steak, and honey butter on a hot biscuit is just great. Can’t wait to try your new method!
Mary Jouver says
Oh, Yum! Now I need to do this! 🙂
Linda A says
You say it keeps 2 weeks but my unsalted butter from the market seems to keep longer than that.
Or am I eating butter past its prime?
I’m going to try making my own and see if there’s a difference in taste.
Looks fun to do. Thanks Kevin (and if you can clue me in about how long butter
can/should be kept, let me know.)
Sometimes I freeze it but now I’m worried about what I keep in the frig!
SO WEIRD! My third grade teacher, Miss Erickson, made butter for us in class, too! She was also rather frightening, but never had any discipline problems in her class, which was run with military precision.
She also had her students bring in their pumpkinseeds from Halloween. For some reason, we had to bring them to school tied into the foot of a nylon stocking! My mom was incredulous, but I BEGGED her to follow the instructions, as god only knew what Miss Erickson would do if she wasn’t followed to the letter!
Miss Erickson took the seeds home and roasted them in her oven. She brought them back in a huge mason jar. We each kept an envelope in our desks and when we were deemed worthy of a treat, Miss Erickson would spoon a few seeds into our envelopes. If you ‘lost’ your envelope –too bad for you!– no pumpkinseeds!
Dawn Wiencke says
Every time I see that you have a new blog post my heart races until I read it! Just thank you for the brightness that you add to the days of so many and for all that you do and share! What an inspiration you are!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Linda A -I’ve read that commercial butter, whether salted or not, is treated with some kind of acid that increases its shelf life. Hence it lasts much longer than the home-made version.
Hi John – What a coincidence! Your Erickson and my Dokken were obviously cut from the same school-marm cloth!
Elizabeth Wiggins says
I enjoy your news so much, you cover so many different things that are so interesting to read about. I love butter on most everything, so I’m surely going to make me some butter, especially with the price of butter. Thanks for the recipe.
Brenda Johnson says
Have you ever had butter so good you had to force yourself to put it on something and not just eat it by itself? No? Try Kevin’s butter recipe and you will see exactly what I am talking about!!! Creamy, silky rich goodness- doesn’t get any fresher than this!!! Thanks for sharing Kevin!!!!!
Perfect timing, Kevin. Just thinking about trying homemade butter and I get the info delivered right into my mailbox … thanks 🙂
Mary in Iowa says
My butter addiction would never permit butter of any kind, particularly homemade, or the next best thing, Kerry Gold, to last two weeks in or out of the fridge. I almost need a scientific explanation for that incomprehensible concept..
Decades ago, roughly 1955, my mother was in charge of dessert at a meeting of a women’s church group. She and her helper went to the church kitchen to whip the cream and dish up whatever was destined to be topped with it. Mom was whirring away with the egg beater–yes, egg beater–all the while chatting with her companion, and when she looked into the bowl to add sugar and vanilla, the cream was–you guessed it–butter. We all learned from that hilarious story to pay attention when whipping cream.
Lillian plummer says
You always brighten up my morning with your lovely recipes and stories. Amazing how much influence our teachers had on us and the memories we retain. My hip teacher always wore colourful suede shoes in winter. I love shoes and remember all she wore!
I’m anxious to try your recipe Kevin, and even more anxious to taste it!!!!!
Mix a bit of orange marmalade into that glorious fresh butter and spread it on warm biscuits in the morning….or a sliced ‘coin’ of ice cold butter that has fresh herbs and finely minced shallots in it, plopped on a steak just off the grill. Yummmm.
Mary Ann says
That looks FABULOUS!!! Thank you so much!
Elizabeth Wiggins says
Kevin, I really lie butter very much, and I plan on using your recipe and making some. Thanks a bunch.
Alyce Grover says
This certainly beats a churn.
Pat Small says
I made butter in school too after a visit to a dairy farm. I remember that butter tasted soooo good! You have encouraged me to make some fresh butter again.
Kip Morrissette says
I can’t remember the last time I saw milk sold in glass bottles. I LOVE my milk ice cold and I always add ice cubes to a glass of milk. I would buy my milk in a glass bottle (hate plastic) if I could. Guess I need to visit an antique shop and buy some quart bottles. I remember the days the milkman delivered milk and you had to get the milk into the house soon after or else they’d freeze. I can still picture a bottle of frozen milk running out the top with the little cardboard lid sitting atop the frozen milk.
I buy our delicious butter for $10.00 for a 2 lb roll and the only ingredients are cream and salt. I could eat it with a spoon it is so good. I am going to have the granddaughters over and we are going to MAKE this recipe….they’d LOVE IT.
Like many others, I just enjoy your emails so much….I can always depend on getting a laugh.
We kept a couple of Guernseys at home, but after left home, I wanted a Jersey. A neighbor with a Jersey dairy wanted to get rid of a little Jersey that was too small to go through the barn and kept turning around in the elevated stalls. I paid $160.00 for this registered heifer who promptly had a bull calf. Her name was Loverly. I hand milked and made butter, buttermilk cakes, custard pies and ice cream. What good times that little cow gave me. I made the butter in the Vit-a-mix.I thought I was pretty good at hand milking so I entered a contest. I got next to last.
Hi Kevin. We love getting your newsletter. You make cooking/baking/gardening so much fun! Can’t wait to try this.
Catherine Louise says
Hi Kevin! I LOVE reading your articles. Not only are the recipes GREAT but, I literally Laugh Out Loud as I read your comments. Perhaps it’s my overactive imagination but, somehow, I can clearly picture Miss Dokken and the incident you describe. (It’s as if I were there) haha Adjectives are a wonderful thing! Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try this recipe. (Note to self-get a food processor) <3
Sam Wayman says
I made mine in an ice cream maker, just poured in the cream and some salt. turned it on and let it run, took about an hour but it was worth it.
Marysia Kleynen says
Haven’t even got my Kitchen Aid out of the box, but this is going to be my first project. Homemade butter to go on, what else…buttermilk cornbread! Maybe we will start a new St. Patty’s tradition tomorrow! LOL
Carol Ann says
Homemade butter is delicious. I made it by mistake once. Accidentally over whipped the cream I was planning to use for a dessert. Instead, I ended up with some delicious butter.
Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says
I have seen the butter-in-a-jar shaking trick many times.
As a kindergarten teacher, my class field trips for years visited the local Conservancy where there was a Pilgrim Program. A walk through the woods highlighted ways the Pilgrims used nature for survival. At the end, baby food jars of cream were passed continuously around our sitting circle, all taking turns shaking vigorously as we talked over what we had learned, and gradually became butter. It was immediately spread on cornbread muffins and devoured by 25 – 30 hungry munchkins. I was not aware of the rinsing part, which of course we did not do out in the woods. The butter was always delicious and kids, chaperones and teachers alike were very impressed with the process. Thanks for a walk down memory lane.
Thanks so much for the great story Kevin. I had a teacher who made a similarly strong impression. She was my Grade 5 teacher, Sister Louise (also very stern and straight-laced). She brought a hot plate and a kettle into the classroom. She put a tiny bit of water into the kettle, set it on the hot plate which she turned on high and boiled the water until it turned to steam and vacated the kettle leaving a vacuum inside. We all watched in amazement as the kettle crumpled in on itself and we all learned first-hand just exactly what air pressure was. On the butter front…I’ve been making butter for a while now and I even invested in an antique butter press to shape my butter into a perfect block with a pretty pattern on top.
I was blessed with a 3rd grade teacher named Mrs. Ruby, I can still see her face. Because of this teacher our class made homemade bread & butter. I’ll never forget that slice from 51 years ago!
Deb Zillich says
This homemade butter sounds wonderful. If only my aunt’s dairy farm was still around so I could use fresh cream instead of store-bought! Years ago I watched her use the butter churn to make yummy homemade butter to slather on her warm homemade bread. I can’t wait to try this modern process.
Ann of PA says
Oh, Kevin, you’re a bad bad man! You got me hooked on the cold brew coffee and I was a situational coffee drinker before and now I drink it every morning. And this butter looks down right delicious! What’s a person to do?!? I guess I’ll go make some no knead bread for tomorrow ; )
Vicki Orr says
I can’t remember how I found your site, but I am SO glad I did. Such great content and brings a smile or laugh every time! I’m going to try the butter and the boule!!!
Also can’t wait to try the boxwood cuttings for my friend. Hope it’s not too hot here.
Have a great Spring!
This looks so delicious!!! I will try it this weekend. BTW, to the people touting canned butter, there is no recognized safe method, you can research that. As a person who worked in a neuro ICU and has seen botulism first hand, I have no idea why people would try an unsafe method. Don’t learn canning from Pinterest. Use a Science based organization and don’t take chances with your families lives.
I just made this Kevin it is amazing!!!!!!!’ Mmmmmm good
We went to a dairy farm this past week and I got fresh cream OMG!!!!!!
Luv this stuff!!!!!!
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Irene – So glad the butter worked out for you!
I have been copying/pasting, printing your recipes for the last couple of years now, AND, have had good success. I particularly love your bread recipes ( I do need to by a blue bowl, though…), the garlic scrapes, the heavenly chocolate in ramekins. I want to make your butter and the gorgeous crusty boule in today’s recipe offerings. Oh, my husband, Jon, is now brewing his coffee for iced coffee with your let it sit for a while, not using boiling water method, and he likes it better this way. I love your infused humor in your writings. Looking forward to THE cookbook!
When we was little my grandma would give us a jar with a lid while we watched tv and we would shake it to make butter. I already sent one text but this is so much more simple to do. I can’t believe I never thought to do it this way. I have my grandma’s two different churns but this was so much faster!!!!!! I have sent this to all my family and friends. It is AWESOME!!!!!!
Just wanted to say thank you again!!!!!!!!!!!
I even made pancake batter yesterday out of the “buttermilk” that was left. I love to cook and try different things. Your site is awesome!!!!!
Pat G. says
We did this in my classroom. The kids really enjoyed shaking their jars. Some even talked about solids and liquids which we had previously covered in science. My only mistake was that I used sourdough bread instead of another type of crusty bread. Lots of 3rd graders were not used to sourdough, a favorite of mine.
Wow! A great project to do with my grandsons this week.
Wonderfully clear recipe, Kevin, and thank you. Just one comment regarding your description of your teacher: No make-up and gray hair represents a healthy lifestyle that men have, in their distinguished gray heads, followed for years. I love how you eventually saw beneath the superficial and your teacher may have avoided the blood cancer that has been linked to hair dye and the lead that is used to manufacture lipstick, so good on her.
Beverly Nolan says
Thank You Kevin! We are lucky to be able to buy fresh milk from a neighbor. Now I will do butter too.
Kevin, it must have been on the third grade lesson-plan-of-the-year…I lived in France then and our class made butter the same as yours did. Pass around the mason jar and shake, shake, shake!
Thanks for pulling up that memory from long ago.
Judy S says
Kevin, how about some suggestions for all that uncultured buttermilk? I’ll use some in bread baking, but in fairly small quantities. Does it freeze well?
Well Kevin it was great and I got double my moneys worth because I used the buttermilk to make waffles and put the fresh butter on them. Double YUM!
Your recipe is for sweet cream butter, but there’s another type: European (soured) cultured butter. Your recipe for homemade sour cream is essentially the preparation…ferment for up to 16 hours, depending on desired taste and tartness, then process as for sweet butter.
Nancy Gibson says
When we were younger and “helped” make butter as kids with our mason jars, (many years ago ), we called blue john. It was years later when I learned that it was actually skim milk. There are some things back in “the day” that I will miss forever. I am thankful I got to live them and not just read about them.
Lisa in CO says
Your post answers questions about whipping cream to different stages more concisely than what Grandma could have shared if she was still living. Thanks so much, Kevin. And a very bright and cheery HAPPY SPRING to you and yours! BTW, we were 10 degrees F this morn, and though the frost line is workable, it still feels a bit too cool to plant my snow peas that I usually put in ground by St. Patty’s Day!
I am absolutely going to try this. And the bread. Thank you!
Lisa in CO says
p.s. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! You have brought sunshine to my life for years!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Irene – So glad you enjoyed the butter. Easy, yes. And fast!
Hi Gloria – Waffles! Great idea for the uncultured buttermilk.
Hi Judy S – Yes, you can freeze the uncultured buttermilk.
Hi CCTX – The cultured butter sounds wonderful!
Hi Lisa in CO – Thanks for the “blogiversary” wishes!
Linda BP says
Like the poster above, I have used my mixer to make butter, but not the food processor. I’ve also used my great aunt’s hand crank butter churn, that she used on the farm before they had electricity. I use that one with children attending historical camps, and they love it! I did learn something about churning by hand. You can’t do it as easily if the cream is really cold. Commercial establishments churn much colder than you can do at home. It needs to be left out to warm up to about 60 degrees if you want it to turn to butter in a reasonable amount of time. Those machines can handle much colder cream!
Another great inspirational message-and just in time for 2 family get together events! My processor’s been begging for attention so can’t wait to impress everyone.
Nancy Gibson says
I used to have some of the butter molds. I had one that had a daisy and the other one had a cow embossing in the bottom. When you put your churned butter in there and stuck it in the refrigerator to cool you would then take it out and turn it upside down on a saucer. The imprint of the daisy, or whichever one you had, was then on the top of your butter making it look nice.
Just love your humor & colored bowls. Such a joy to see your emails.
Wish you were my neighbor.
Sounds wonderfully tasty. My dear friend had an antique butter maker; large glass jar with screw on top that had (wooden?) paddles and a handle. That has to be a lot of cranking to get butter; I’ll stick with the Cuisanart.
I’m glad I found you! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful Garden” ! I will try this recipe, it seams so easy!
Vicki K says
I never knew how easy it was to make butter. This is why I love your Blog because I always learn new and neat stuff. I printed off this recipe and plan to try it. Thanks!!!!
Can’t wait to try this, I’m glad the recipe does not include dealing with the cow.
Cheryl Strickland says
Thank you for all the beautiful and fun things you send to the mailbox. 🙂 LOVE everything~~ <3
Wow, this takes me back. I used to help churn butter at my Granny’s house when I was a little girl. The. Best. Ever. Must try your method! Thanks!!
Lynne Brown says
Kevin!! Just tried this…..I can’t believe how easy and delicious this is!! Totally amazed! Thank you!
the sw33tchef says
If I unsubscribed from the bulk of websites yours would stay! Kevin, your posts are so clear and simple, yet visually art worthy. I appreciate you! I make many of your recipes and have never had anything but perfection with them. Please never retire!
Oh my goodness, just made my own butter! My Big Bee and I are anxiously awaiting the beep from the bread machine so we can smear some on a slice a fresh raisin bread. Kevin you Rock!
Hi Kevin, I’m going to make some. We work the farmers markets in the summer, my husband is a french baker, and his bread is delish! I just wish he did gluten-free. I suffer from gluten. But it’s too good to not eat just a slice! And now with fresh butter! Thank you Kevin, I wish you could come help me decorate my house! It needs help so badly. Let us know if you ever run a contest.
Love your web site, God Bless!
to despina – I buy lots of butter when it’s on sale. It freezes well so you don’t need to waste it. Just put a stick in the freezer and it will thaw in no time in the refrigerator.
I’ve always wanted to make fresh butter …. now maybe I will, it looks easy.