How to Make Butter at Home




Introduction: How to Make Butter at Home

About: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write...

Making butter at home for our own use is very easy and does not require any specialized equipment other than a butter churner. In olden days our grandmother used to make butter from milk as well as from curd. Now a days we tend to buy readily available butter from the super market and hence the methods used by our ancestors are almost forgotten.

As we do not have a cow or buffalo, we buy our daily requirement of about 1-1/2 to 2 liters of milk from the local milkman. We also make butter in small quantities with this milk. You can extract butter from the milk and also from curd made from left-over milk.

This instructable will guide you with step-by-step instructions on how to make butter at home easily.

Step 1: Collect Cream From Boiling Milk

Collect cream from boiling milk

  • Heat milk over medium flame in an open mouthed vessel
  • When the milk is heated, you can see a layer of cream forming at the top. Do not allow it to boil over.
  • Now using a clean ladle, collect the bubbling cream from the top. You can collect only a small quantity from 1-1/2 to 2 liters of milk everyday. It is ok if little bit of milk also collected with the cream.
  • Allow the collected cream to cool and store it in the fridge or freezer.
  • Collect the cream everyday in the same container and store it in the freezer. As you can see in the pictures above, the container is full of cream after about ten days. Let it stay in the freezer until you are ready to extract the butter.

Step 2: Make Curd With Leftover Milk

Butter can be extracted from curd also.

In India, We consume curd regularly and use the leftover milk to make curd. If you have curd at home, then just add the leftover milk and leave it in a warm place overnight. In the morning the curd will be ready. Store it in the fridge to prevent over-fermentation.

Otherwise, you can also use a store-bought yogurt as starter to make curd.

Step 3: Equipment Required

Most of the equipment like open mouthed vessels, ladle, spoon and containers are normally available in every household. The only specialized item is the wooden butter churner we use traditionally to make butter.

The butter churner is stirred vigorously in both directions with the palms of our hands which will help in separating the butter from the cream / curd. Please watch the video on how to use the butter churner.

Step 4: Making Butter From Cream

  • Remove the collected cream from the fridge / freezer and allow it to liquefy if it is frozen.
  • Transfer the cream into an open mouthed vessel
  • Using the butter churner, beat the cream in a circular motion on both directions with the palms of your hands as seen in the video in Step 3.
  • Soon you will find the butter gets separated from the cream to the side of the vessel.
  • Scoop out the butter using a ladle and store it in a separate container. This may contain little bit of milk, but there is nothing to worry about that as we will make clean butter soon.

Do not throw away the leftover as it is milk only without cream and can be used.

Step 5: Making Butter From Curd

The method to make butter from curd is same as we did for milk cream

  • Transfer the curd into an open mouthed vessel
  • Using the butter churner, beat the curd in a circular motion on both directions with the palms of your hands as seen in the video in Step 3.
  • Soon you will find the butter gets separated from the curd to the side of the vessel.
  • Scoop out the butter using a ladle and store it in a separate container. This may contain little bit of whey, but there is nothing to worry about that as we will make clean butter soon.

Do not throw away the leftover whey as this can be consumed as a sweetened or spiced drink and also can be used in many dishes. In Southern parts of India, we call this as Buttermilk and use it everyday with our meals.

Step 6: Use a Spoon to Drain Out Milk / Whey From the Butter

we have collected butter from cream as well as from curd, but this still contains lots milk and whey.

  • Using a spoon, beat the butter repeatedly in a circular motion, and bring it to the sides.
  • Drain out the liquid. Repeat this process till all liquid is drained out from the container
  • By repeatedly pressing the butter with the spoon, you can drain out all the remaining drops of liquid
  • Now you got pure butter.

Watch the video on how to use the spoon to remove unwanted liquid from the butter

Step 7: Enjoy Your Home-made Butter

You can see in the above photographs both butter made from cream collected from milk and butter churned out from curd. Is not it very easy to make your own butter at home ?

Enjoy your home-made butter...

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    20 Discussions

    I still make homemade butter like this today, including my mom and my mom in law. However, I churn the curd in a food processor with a whisk and even at times in the juicer, and it comes out just fine.

    My only issue sometimes is the leftover whey is sour if I leave the curd out for too long.

    I also never remove the cream like you say. I usually boil milk and let it cool, and the cream when cooled forms a perfect disc which is easily removable with a spoon.

    2 replies

    Hi, I want to make butter from curd like mentioned above I have a question since you make this often, I want to know how much curd is required to get good amount of butter say at 300gm, if you can reply pls I'll be grateful...

    Thanks for sharing your method!

    My father in the past mentioned using something similar to this in his village :

    Sadly, safe to say the majority of that village would think you're crazy for wanting to do this today. To be fair, the Village just got fully electrified only about 8 years so I can understand the aversion to anything not powered by electricity.

    4 replies

    Update from my father: You don't need the hose clamp if you want to do the above method. You just need to tie rope near the bottom (to prevent your split from traveling all the way up) and split the bamboo into basically a giant whisk. you can also use additional bamboo to keep the tines splayed apart.

    yes, it was being done the way you have shown in our villages also. I have seen this being done in our milk man's home. Now a days everybody uses electrical appliances only for even a small jobs also

    Thank you for showing your method and giving me the opportunity to find something new about my Dad's village days!

    Mr. Antoniraj, thank you for this (and your other) instructables. In the US there is so much that my generation (born in the 70s) and the generations that have followed me have been sheltered from learning either by intent or accident. My wife and I have tried so hard to teach our kids how to make the things that they need from scratch and how to survive if the power went off in all of the world. Your instructables are very well written and I think they are very dearly needed. My hats off to you sir.

    3 replies

    thank you very much sir. Not only in US, in our place also kids do not want to learn the methods used in the olden days. It is my humble effort to document what our grandparents used to make things from scratch without electricity and all other modern gadgets

    Funny enough I find myself in the opposite camp; Parents who grew up on a rual farm and farming village respectively, but came to the US and was glad to adopt the conveniences of modern appliances. Myself trying to bug my folks on techniques, tools, methods and traditions that they're trying to remember from 50+ years ago from an environment that doesn't exist anymore.

    To be fair I believe in the modern world we're allowed to take up hobbies and pursue these bygone traditions in our own time, There's a reason there was a village blacksmith and not everybody in town being skilled knife/tool makers in villages across the world. I still think preservation of the aforementioned is paramount and as communities review case studies that are making some ground such as the traditional hand tool woodworking community and Japan's government placing importance and aide exporting traditional crafts.

    just a couple thoughts from a 20 something-year-old.

    thank you for sharing your views. in my childhood, there was no electricity. then the street lighting came. gradually the system changed and today we can not live without electricity.

    Thank you Mr. Antoniraj, I remember helping my grandfather back in the late 1970's and early 1980's make butter, but I was to young to rember how to make it myself, thank you and god bless you Sir. :-)

    1 reply

    My grandmother never made butter from whey, she said that there wasn't enough cream leftover to make butter worth her while. She let cows milk set at room temperature overnight (sometimes it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside). She strained the cream from the whey. No fancy butter churner needed. She put the cream in a Mason jar. For the next 4-6 hours, she got her bored grandchildren to shake it back and forth. voila! instant butter! Recently, I heard another method using heavy whipping cream that can be substituted for the cream. Thankfully, it didn't take nearly as long to churn. I was pleasantly surprised when the results turned out the same.

    1 reply

    we never make butter from whey, but from curd. The leftover whey is used to make drinks and used in some dishes

    I'm going to give this a try. Hopefully my arms won't fall off during the churning process. LOL !

    1 reply

    My brother and I took turns cranking the hand churn before our mom started making butter in the electric mixer. She also made cottage cheese. I'm getting homesick now. :(

    My Mother always make it