Introduction: How to Make Butter (and Buttermilk)

Picture of How to Make Butter (and Buttermilk)

I am about to reveal to you an ANCIENT butter making secret, to make butter it requires, shaking, shaking, shaking, MORE shaking, lots of shaking, but the end result is FANTASTIC. Homemade butter can be fun to make (if you are a butter enthusiast).And clean-up is very easy, you only need a few things
Whipping cream (Can be normal or heavy whipping cream)
1 Jar
1 measuring device (not necassarily needed)
1 Fresh strong arms,able to withstand alot of shaking

the whole process takes about... 10-20 minutes, the majority of the time is shaking. The rest is prep time and finish

Step 1: Adding Ingredients

Picture of Adding Ingredients

First you will want to measure out how much butter you really want to make. At the beginning of the recipe I measured about 1 cup of heavy cream, in the end this recipe yielded about half a cup of butter, (the other half cup didnt go missing, just "turned into" Buttermilk)

After youve measured out the desired amount of cream, simply pour it into the jar, there are no other required ingredients (and i usually put flavoring for the butter in at the end)

Step 2: Capping and Shaking

Picture of Capping and Shaking

VERY VERY CAREFULLY put the cap on the jar. phew glad thats over.

then begin to shake,it will take awhile to shake this into butter but it is well worth it in the end.

Heres a picture of me shaking it in action :)

Step 3: Nearly Done

Picture of Nearly Done

Every about 3 minutes check the jar by taking off the lid and looking inside, once you see about the consistency in the jar you are nearly done, in the picture the cream is just before whipped cream, (yes thats how you make it)

Step 4: Butter Sweet Butter

Picture of Butter Sweet Butter

the cream will start to feel thicker as you shake it, making it MUCH harder to shake around, the easiest shaking method is to take the jar by the "neck" or the closest part to the lid, and shake downwards in a stabbing motion back and forth. Eventually the jar seems easier, and easier to shake, open the jar and peek inside, see butter? This is when the butter starts to seperate from the buttermilk, once you see the little clumps of butter inside the jar, begin to strain out the extra liquid (i recommend you save this, it is the buttermilk, and when home-made it tastes sweet, and is often used in baking i.e. pancakes,biscuits,etc; After straining the buttermilk you have the remeaining butter in the jar, just scoop it into a storage container and pat it down a bit, youll want to put it in the fridge to harden it a bit more so its easier to scoop and spread.

[the picture below is before straining out all of the buttermilk]

Step 5: Home-made Butter in Use

Picture of Home-made Butter in Use

I spreaded my butter on a soft tasty piece of bread, to go with my spaghetti and corn :D

This butter tastes much better than store bought because there are much less preservatives (only what was in the cream) and contains no extra oils or salts, and actually tastes good to eat plain. Hope you like your new home-made butter :)


harley587 (author)2017-07-27

I grew up making butter this way! On Thanksgiving Day, my mom would hand each child a jar with cream and our job was to make the butter for Thanksgiving dinner!

TeriJ8 (author)2017-02-04

What can you make with the leftover milk from making butter?

GoGmaGo (author)2016-09-01

Whatever machine the user decides to use to make beautiful butter from whole cream, keep in mind these things;

1) Keep the cream and vessel cold and from getting warm throughout the process. Warmth makes cream angry and it just won't behave well to make butter, and it's resulting buttermilk.

2) If using a machine (Food Processor, hand mixer, stand mixer, your hand with a whip in it), follow these steps: Freeze the vessel and whips prior to mixing (NOT your hand, though - that's an OSHA fine). Have the whole cream icey cold - but definitely NOT crystallized from partial freezing. While you may love to snap the key off a crispy cold, partially crystallized cola to drink at it's perfect temp and balance, starting whole cream that COLD will stall if not destroy the structures needed to build the cream into butter and it's remaining milk.

3) It takes longer depending on the temp in the room, temp of the whole cream, any transference of heat to the vessel from your machine, etc. Consider heat your enemy.

4) Drain the buttermilk from the butter using at least a 2x strainer. After draining, run the butter under cold tap water to wash away the residual milk. That can make it sour quickly and it tastes icky. Have fun! And, don't use words like icky when you are writing instructions.

1 qt GV whole cream makes approximately 13.5 oz butter & 16 oz buttermilk prior to the curdling/souring process.

IanK72 (author)GoGmaGo2016-12-24

I'm sorry to contradict you but I have watched many tutorials, each having great results, and they all say that having the cream at room temperature decreases the time required to make butter significantly. They have also posted proof. You don't really have a leg to stand on.

AllPurposeCream (author)2015-12-12

Hi! I hope this thread is still alive. So I used All Purpose Cream instead of heavy cream and I've been shaking for almost an hour now, just stopped to post a comment here. Will this ever turn to butter or no? :(

BrandiT4 (author)AllPurposeCream2016-01-08

I have only found it to work with heavy cream

kwestphall (author)2013-04-01

I live on a sustainable ranch and finally got our milk cow last weekend. So after milking her out and collecting all the cream I started making butter this morning, ( Electric mixer for me as I have to many things to get done to shake shake shake, ) I put the cream in and started her up (expecting butter in no time flat) 30 minutes goes by so I start looking up why I dont have butter yet, well by the time I read all the posts on here and signed up an hour has gone by and still no butter, - WITH an electric mixer mind you, so I finally get signed up for this sight and sit down to ask WHY dont I have butter yet what am I doing wrong, and just now almost an hour and a half later I have butter, so I guess now my question has changed to WHY did it take so long? everyone else on here seems to have butter in no time flat. Anyone? Anyone? ok so gonna go enjoy my butter - looking forward to some feedback for easier times ahead.

sratcliffe2 (author)kwestphall2014-01-20

The problem is actually your mixer. By using a mixer, the blades are shearing the fat globules and preventing them from binding. I worked for an ice cream company and we ran into the same problem with a piece of equipment we were using.

DeniseS26 (author)sratcliffe22015-09-30

just make sure if using a mixer to place bowl and beaters in freezer for several hours ahead of time that is all u need to do before turning into butter with a mixer

into butter

kwestphall (author)sratcliffe22014-01-20

AHHHH! NOW you tell me!I dried up my milk cow in search of starting her fresh when I had more answers. She is due any day now (actually acquired 2 more milk cows) so glad to be back in the loop of ANY info people can give me for the most for my buck. :) I finally got Butter, riccotta, mozerella, sour cream, pretty well figured out, (Always room for learning though) Do you happen to have any helful hints for Cheddar? I made MANY wheels (11 If I remember right) and Everyone of them went caput before 2 months was even over. So learning endeavor for this year is Cheddar Cheese! HELP!!!! :)

ps - THANKS A TON for the feedback, I truly LOVE learning all I can about the process and every bit is filed away and Extremely helpful in growing.

DeniseS26 (author)kwestphall2015-09-30

[lace your bowl preferably metal bowl and the beaters in the freezer for an hour first and be sure the cream is good and cold!

atarmania (author)kwestphall2015-07-21

Hi...I extract butter all the time from the packaged milk we get these days! So like you, I collect all the cream once the boiled milk is cool and store it in the freezer till I get a substantial amount (about 5 cups or more) for the next step. When you are ready to make the butter, defrost the cream till its soft. Put it in a blender (2 cups at a time) and add about half a liter of ice cold water (this is very important if you live in warmer parts). Put the lid on and start churning! If after a few churns the cream is still too thick, add a little more cold water. Churen away, and you should have a lump of soft butter rise to the top! So basically what you were doing wrong was churning without that ice cold water:) Hope this helps.... do let me know!

shepler1 (author)kwestphall2014-07-11

I was brokenhearted when I read your follow-up post! I was here to research for a better cloth than cheesecloth to use for straining my butter when I read that you had let your cow dry up. BUMMERS!!! Anyway, I have ALWAYS used an electric mixer to make my butter. I believe the issue is the QUANTITY of cream you're using. I use raw cream from Jersey cows. I pull the cream off a couple days before I use it (keeping it refrigerated in mason jars). I have a VERY large "popcorn" bowl, and use my hand mixer. For one quart of cream, I can expect to mix at high speed for 30 min. By then, I have my butter, but have to kneed the rest of the buttermilk out. Found that I'm losing too much butter in the cheesecloth. Think next time I'll buy a linen towel for the purpose and see how that works. Here's hoping you start milking your cow again! What I wouldn't give to have my own!!! God bless!

kwestphall (author)shepler12014-07-11

OH! No brokenhearted Necessary! She had her calf, and the calf from two years ago had her calf, and the Dexter we got had her calf, so have been up to eyeballs in Experimenting. UNTIL we lost the jersey mama, and so we put her calf on to her daughter so just have the one to milk, BUT it was a heifer, so still have three milk cows now and soon in Milk galore again. :) All a matter of learning learning learning and being ever watchful, Love this life, feel free to visit anytime! :)

ajsapollo (author)kwestphall2013-10-28

It takes me about 45 min to an hour to get butter out of my raw "fork" cream.

prassh (author)2015-05-05

prassh (author)prassh2015-05-05

or you could get one of these to churn the milk

GoranUvDenRimboe (author)2012-06-18

There are a couple of things you might have left out.

Use a blender, it works faster and easier.
After you strain out the butter from the "buttermilk" you need to kneed the butter to remove the rest of the liquid milk from the butter. Otherwise your butter will not last very long.

What I do is place the butter in a metal bowl and try to keep the butter fairly cold. About 50-60 degrees. using a nice heavy spoon, mash the butter against the sides of the bowl while tipping the bowl slightly keeping the butter at the high end to allow the milk to drain off.

Once I think I've gotten most of the milk out, I then rinse the butter under cold water. This leaves the butter but washes away the milk. I'll rinse and kneed the butter a few more times until the water stays fairly clear. Since many people leave their butter out of the fridge, removing the milk keeps the butter from going rancid as quickly. As for some of the folks making a stink about the left over milk not being buttermilk, then adding cheese culture to the milk before making your butter will thicken the cream and will give you traditional buttermilk after you make your butter.

You can read a detailed description of making butter with cheese culture here:

In the 70's I could buy a gallon of milk out of the milking shed. I would let it set for 2 days, skim of the top cream. Let that sit for 5 days or so and dump in blender. It took maybe 2 mins of blending on high and then I would see chunks of butter. Drain very well as the previous poster says. This milk was obviously NOT homogenized.I loved mixing with honey! Never had a failure.

Justin Lam (author)2012-06-18

I'm definitely going to try this! How long will this butter last if left covered at room temperature? I like my butter easily spreadable for toast.

Litsehimmel (author)Justin Lam2012-10-15

If you like it spreadable, you could the try the recipe for Better Butter from Laurel's kitchen ;-) To 1 pound or 2 sticks of butter, add 1 cup of oil (olive, or other) 1 cup of oil or 1/2 oil, 1/2 water; 2 tbsp dried skim milk, & 1/4 tsp. liquid/powdered/granulated lecithin. Mix well in a blender. There's plenty of variations of this recipe to be found on the internet, find one that suits your tastebuds.
As for the "pro/con" remarks with regard to raw milk: an interesting facts is that kids who have a lactose intolerance, usually do very well on raw milk! This is because the particular enzym needed to break down the complex cow milk proteins gets distroyed in the heating process.
Our family drinks raw milk as well, and we make our own butter from it. The buttermilk left after the churning process is the best you can have. Of course we don't look to our fat intake, as we use wood stoves instead of central heating, and the temperatures we call fine are called ch-ch-chilly! by others ;-) Our bodies have restarted their inner thermostats, but those do need to run on fatty foods and plenty of carbohydrates. Eskimo's don't eat whale blubber for nothing, you know. It's literally fuel to stay warm.
Not only do we drink and use raw cows milk, we also use organic goats milk. I make my own (soft) goats cheese, and it beats any store bought cheese! As for bacteria and such ... modern people have become so over-sanitized that any bacteria will set off a reaction. Therefore, if you do decide to switch to raw milk, expect some 'internal discomfort' at first. Your system will have to get used to processing and digesting raw milk. Any diarrhea you might experience will mostly be from this new learning process, and not from bacteria. I'm afraid that distinction has gotten confused many times over.
Of course that doesn't mean you shouldn't practice good hygiene! As a matter fo fact, if you don't make sure you don't wash your hands and use clean utensils (both for collecting and processing milk) any end products will spoil very soon. It's just the nature of things.

shepler1 (author)Litsehimmel2014-07-11

AMEN!!! We've been doing the raw milk thing for over a year and we'll never go back. Been making my own butter for nearly that long too. Was a lot of trial and error at first, and I'm always learning something new. Haven't tried goat milk or goat cheese, but maybe some day! You're an encouragement!

Tweety0099 (author)2014-03-16

I have been making home made butter for years, in school with the children, we have tried adding other ingredients to make different flavor butter. The one flavor everyone loves is garlic, we use 1 tsp of garlic powder and 1/2 a tsp of salt per 2 cups of heavy cream, add it at the beginning so it'll blend it nicely, it is awesome. It always takes me about 30 minutes of shaking, shaking, shaking for a 2 cups of heavy cream.

Remag1234 (author)2012-06-03

Spaghetti, corn with bread and butter.......UGH! Make that 2 UGHs!

Spaghetti alone yes, corn NO, bread and butter NO.

Treasure Tabby (author)Remag12342012-06-18

Could have been garlic bread? Just not toasted.

Boygasmo (author)2012-06-18

I made this few times when I was a kid in the 80’s. I enjoyed experimenting and watched it transform into thick gelatinous butter then into soft creamy butter. It was fabulous on bread and crackers. YUM.

BTW, people need to check their facts before sprouting b.s. Don’t agree? Move on, and stop wasting our time with your postings.

schumi23 (author)2012-06-18

Would I be able to use an electric beater, like when I make whipped cream, to make this?

lissa0130 (author)2011-05-29

I have to say that it has been very interesting to read the attacks on here. It really discusted me. On another note, my family has been dairy farming for over 60 years. There have been many changes to the regulations on these types of farms and the farmer has to comply or loose their source of income. There is an extreme difference in what the farmer gets paid and what the conglomerates get paid. It's like there on different planets, even in the sale of beef but that is a whole nother story...

I grew up haveing nice slightly warm milk brought in straight from the milk house. It was the best milk I ever tasted and I still hold fond memories of it! The texture/weight was considerably different than the crap my parents tried to pawn off on us once. (Skim...ewwwww!!!) If we weren't drinking it. we were making ice cream with the crank or shaking butter with Gram. She had the churn but it was easier to keep all the kids occupied by handing us a container with cream. There is no comparison... I was a well mannered, well tempered, healthy child back then. I had no health problems, nor did my siblings or cousins.By the way, did I tell you my great grandfather lived to be 103? My grandpa died from skin cancer caused by sun poisening but her has 84. His wife my garnmother is 89. They all were walked with no assistance, maintain perfect hearing, sight, and had/have no signs of alzheimers or dementia what so ever... Great grandpa was still repairing german coockoo clocks when he passed away from old age! Gram is still out there maintaining a 200 head dairy farm with her son and a garden 2 acres large... It wasn't until many years later as we all moved away from the farms to make our own lives that we started developing allergies, heart conditions, asthma, ect... Is there a basis for the arguments listed below??? Sure, but I can tell you from experience that the best life I had was fresh home grown, home raised. ect...

I live in an area where I am able to be a self sustaining household for the most part. I grow my own produce now and If I have a poor season, then there are other farmers I can get from. We work on a barter system sometimes too which helps the pocket book. We are healthy people now. I but my beef from the herd 3 miles away and know what they are being fed, A cousin raises the the pigs and it is the best pork for over a hundred mile radius, our chickens produce well... Our grains come from the co-op... Life is good and healthy and it is my hope that our children learn from our lives and continue on when we are gone.

Nexuszen (author)lissa01302012-03-04

very cool. my grandfather was a farmer but I didn't get raised in that life I only had summer visits.

jm6387 (author)lissa01302012-01-08

Sounds idyllic. Wish I could be a self-sustaining household.

jbarton7 (author)lissa01302011-10-28

I love your comment! I grew up on a farm. we milk the cow every day for fresh milk. pick eggs every mornin. are meat came from cows, chickens, pigs,deer, frogs much more that we butcher our selfs. we knew where our food came from and It didn't cost a arm and a leg. So as soon as we move back to the states. buying land and I will show my husband and our 7 kids how much we can save on food and the good empact we have for the life that is around us. as for now I am stuck paying $4.80 every half gallon of milk.

reddnekk (author)2012-02-17

Store bought buttermilk is fabricated, and is NOT from butter making. When you make your own butter, any milk left over is skim milk--all the butterfat has been removed. It tastes just like regular skim (no-fat) milk because that's what it is. Do NOT make butter expecting to get buttermilk similar to store-bought.

spacebase1 (author)2011-07-24

I lost all my buttermilk also. Did I over shake? I wanted the buttermilk (not the butter), can I strain it out with cheese cloth or something?

kirkat (author)spacebase12012-01-24

From my experience, if you lost your buttermilk, you didn't shake long enough. It takes me 18 minutes of vigorous shaking. I add 8oz of whipping cream to a pint jar with a little salt. For the first 16 minutes or so, the inside of the jar is coated white. then it just separates and becomes easier to shake. This leaves me with one lump of yellowish butter and the buttermilk.. The buttermilk actually taste like whole milk to me. I'm using store brand heavy whipping cream. Hope this helps out.

nicknamednick (author)2008-04-15

My wife and I just found a local dairy that sells raw milk cheap! With today's milk costing close to $4/gal, we were excited to get our first gallon of really fresh cows milk this week for nearly half that amount. It is going to end up saving $$$. You might try checking in your area for the same thing. The milk is not homogenized, so the cream will separate overnight in the fridge. Ladle it off and make butter. Be warned that raw milk does not keep as long as store-bought. It is not pasteurized. But if you go through a gallon in short time like my family it shouldn't be a problem.

gingerlee (author)nicknamednick2009-05-18

Pregnant women and children shouldn't drink unpaturized milk. Please be careful.

EVERYONE should drink raw milk - the health benefits are amazing and it is exactly as nature intended. Unfortunately, the big multi national conglomorates don't want you to know that and have paid off the FDA (just look at who is in power at the FDA and what their former jobs were) and we now have rules that support big business.
Even if you can't find raw, try to support your local dairymen and women. Of the $4 a gallon, they see about 30 cents. Maybe.

mandyj67 (author)willowsedgefarm2010-09-25

" is exactly as nature intended." Yeah, exactly as nature intended it to be FOR BABY COWS. I'm not against people drinking milk, not in any way. I am however against dopey comments.
Unless you can somehow explain to me how and why on earth nature would ever plan and intend for humans to drink another mammals milk?

jbarton7 (author)mandyj672011-10-28

Im not trying to be mean. but the sad fact is we are at the top of the food chane and we will consum every resource until there is nothing left. We are teaching our children to be selfish like we are. destroying the future of every living thing. bottom line go green put life back in our planet. treat every life form as you would treat another human. sorry about the rant

Mira1358 (author)willowsedgefarm2011-06-15

Bovine tuberculosis was once a common cause of tuberculosis in humans, Bovine TB is carried by infected cows and passed to humans through the consumption of infected raw milk.

I grow up on a farm in southern Ontario and still make my own and I am not going to deny that there are health risks drinking unpasteurized milk.

Trilads (author)Mira13582011-10-25

This is why we test for Tb and cull those cows

There's not any peer reviewed data to support the claim that there health benefits, and I doubt you can cite any evidence that the FDA was paid off. In fact, pasteurization costs dairy companies MORE money, so they would have no motive to pay off the FDA, unless they were paying them off to try and prevent it from being required. The FDA is far from perfect (if anything, it's far too lax), but this is a rather silly conspiracy theory.

I have nothing against people drinking raw milk if they choose, but you are increasing your risk of getting a food-borne illness. It's a small risk, but it is present. It's a similar risk to eating a burger that's pink in the middle, which is something I'll do, because I like the flavor, and judge the flavor to be worth the minor risk.

scari (author)Mistwalker2011-03-23

There's plenty of health benefits of unpasteurized milk and the FDA along with other govt. agencies are all paid off case in point the ethanol lobby that paid their way into making sure govt. pushed their product. The FDA is full of these same type of people that have ties to specific industries. However if you sheeples believe everything the govt. feeds you so be it.

wowreally (author)scari2011-06-26

ethanol lobby comparing pasturized milk to bio-fuel really? And do you know that ALOT of farmers planted crops of corn in place of other vegetables to profit on the increased price of a bushel of corn. And that most economist pre the lobbing of bio fuel in 2007 warned about the effect of using a food item to produce bio-fuel will have on a world wide scale. They warned us of food shortages and higher prices on meat, milk, surgar, egss, breads etc. Due to the fact that corn is also used in feeding animals, making other food items as corn sugar which is used many food items. And the consumption of corn going into bio-fuel will cause world hunger these studies were publish in 2000. They said we would start seeing the effects of using feedstock in 10 years.They were right it's been 10 years and here we are. Also scientists were saying that it takes just as much energy to create bio-fuel as it saves, cars of that time will get less gas mileage with ethanol being added. The whole go green and bio-fuel was a ponzi scheme. People make Billions off the stupidity of others every day.

I remember when I had a discussion of this same topic 10 years ago after reading some articles from these Economic studies with co-works. And sharing some of what they predicted, I was told that i need to stop reading the junk on the sites I was looking at.

Can't blame this totally on the FDA, people jumped head first over the global warming Al Gore was promoting and how bio-fuel is a great way to conserve the depleting source of fossil fuels. If people would take the time and research these issue and not take the word of all the talking heads we wouldnt be in the mess we are in now

this was kind of off topic but still dont get the connection of ethanol and pasteurized milk or non pasteurized. I do agree with your last sentence "if you sheeples believe everything the govt. feeds you so be it." I just dont buy into the whole non pasteurized milk thing vs pasteurized.

Mistwalker (author)scari2011-03-24

Yes, I don't buy your ill-evidenced claim, so I must "believe everything the government feeds me". This is known as an ad hominem argument, in which someone attacks a person instead of their argument, and is the last resort of someone who's run out of arguments that are worth a damn. Since you seem more intent on badmouthing anyone who disagrees with you than showing any evidence for your tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, I think I'm done talking to you.

Also, "sheeples"? Isn't that insult rather played out?

scari (author)Mistwalker2011-03-24

No evidence, how long has milk been pasteurized? people didn't drink milk before then you think? Have you ever tried milk from a cow not machine processed and non-hormone induced cows? I doubt it but if you think it's bad for you you have no idea just how bad processed milk is and what they put in it. I wonder how humans lived so long before the machines in this case since it's so bad for us to drink it fresh from cows. Don't get me wrong I have to buy store milk too the key word is HAVE to if I had a source for non pasteurized milk I'd be buying it as a child I had it as we had a dairy cow. My intention wasn't to insult anyone just pointing out ill informed comments such as "raw milk is bad for you" which is a baseless and has no EVIDENCE of being true.

wowreally (author)scari2011-06-26

It is documented that as early as 1568 the Japaness had been pasteurizing dairy. And sure people drank lots of non pasteurized milk pre this time and all over the rest of the world up until the present day. It was one of the main source of food and still is. poor people lived off of a diet of milk and bread with very little meat and vegetable. but thier lift expectancy was only 21 years old unless you were wealth and you may have lived to 59. And there is a ton of EVIDENCE that raw milk CAN cause health issues. appearantly you're not looking very hard. Or just stuck in a one thought process and don't really want to admit it.

wowreally (author)scari2011-06-25

you do realize that the dairy manufactoring companys don't injest the cow with hormones right? They buy it from farms.... but they do test for drug residue. And the only thing that is put into the milk is vitamin A and D which both are monitored very closely, its against the law to even add excessive water to it this is also monitored very closely.. So my point is if you get it from the farm staight out of the cow from the farm where they may have injected it with the rBGH that you are so knowledgeable, how do you know the milk is free of drug residue and other contaminates? The only true evidence is that raw milk can be bad for your health due to high levels of bacteria and raw milk containing drug residue may be fatal to some people.

scari (author)wowreally2011-06-25

family farms don't inject their cows with rBGH, only farms setup to actually sell their milk en masse but thanks for playing

wowreally (author)scari2011-06-26

Really no family farms sell thier milk to manufacturing companies? ever hear the word co-op usally made up independent farmer pooling thier milk together to sell in bulk... and yes some small family owned farms do inject their live stock. other just feed them with non organic feed, which contains antibiotics or hormones (by the way the key word here is some). now if you had said organic farms dont inject thier live stock with rBGH or other growth hormones and only feed their live stock with organic feed, without antibiotics or hormones I'd have to agree with you. Since the USDA set up very strick regulation for any Dairy product labeled with the word "Organic"

and thanks love to play games with people that are less informed

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