Make Butter





Introduction: Make Butter

About: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Mart...

Making homemade butter is surprisingly simple - even if you're name's not Heidi and you have no milkmaid experience! All you need is some heavy whipping cream, a few tools, and some elbow grease!

Step 1: Supplies

  • one pint of heavy whipping cream
  • one 2 cup / 500 ml wide mouth mason jar with lid
  • pinch of salt
  • small sieve
  • glass measuring cup

Step 2: Pour It!

Fill the mason jar half way with heavy whipping cream.

Add a pinch of salt, if desired. The salt isn't necessary for the process, so feel free to leave it out if you prefer. You can also add other spices if you'd like to get fancy. I've tried dill and it was delicious!

Place the lid on the jar and screw it on tightly.

Step 3: Shake It!

Now comes the magic....

All you have to do to make the butter is shake the jar for approximately 10 minutes. That's really it. If you have kids, this is a great thing to do with them as it really is kind of magic AND their excitement and stamina will save your arms from all the shaking. : ) It's also a big hit at a party.

But even if you're doing this project solo, the time passes quickly and you get a little arm work out to boot.

You'll be able to see when the butter is starting to form and separate from the buttermilk. It will go through a creamy phase - you can stop here and use it as whipped cream (adding sugar at the beginning makes this extra delicious) - or you can go for the gold and keep going until you achieve separation. (see last photo of this step)

Step 4: Strain It!

Place a small sieve over a spouted vessel of some kind and pour off the buttermilk*. What remains is the magic - smooth, creamy, and DELICIOUS butter. I think that the effort of making it yourself makes it taste even better!

I recommend using your butter within one to two days as this process doesn't remove all the buttermilk, which can go sour if left for much longer.

*Store the buttermilk in a sealed container in the fridge for use in pancakes or biscuits.

Step 5: Spread & Enjoy!

I might just be lightheaded after all the shaking, but I really think that my butter tastes better than the store bought kind.

Having said that, I really only make it for a special occasions, when there's at least one shaken butter newbie. Store bought butter is so cheap that it's hard to justify the time of making it for regular use butter.

But when in need of crowd pleasing magic, it's a winner!



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37 Discussions

Very nice! I did this once. I was a little disappointed in the color till I realized it was just missing the yellow dye. Also no salt. But that is easily fixed.

To have this keep longer press all the buttermilk out using cheese cloth. Wet the cheesecloth in COLD water and wring til almost dry. Place the butter in a bowl and using a wooden spoon--dampened in COLD water---the bowl should be COLD too---or a set of butter paddles--press and turn the butter until the buttermilk is squeezed out. then wrap it in the COLD cheesecloth and squeeze the last bits out. Reserve ALL the buttermilk for other uses such as--pancakes; dressings; marinades, biscuits etc.

Then WRAP the butter well in waxed paper or plastic wrap or other AIR TIGHT wrappings or place it back in the Mason jar for storage.

Usually the salt or seasonings are added at the last step not in the beginning.

You will also begin to hear the butter "come" as it forms solids when you are shaking---or having the kids roll it on the clean floor is another time honored way to do this!!!---it will make a soft ":chunk" against the side of the jar. If you live on a particularly bumpy road you can also prep the cream and the jar and stash it upright in your car trunk. IF you like a slightly more Euro style butter let it culture at room (cool) temp for a day or so to sour a bit and then churn it. It is actually pretty hard to churn really fresh from the cow cream!

I have always wondered if you could churn in an elec ice cream maker-----

3 replies

I've got an old glass jar butter churn with wooden paddles and a hand crank, I've often wondered if it would be suitable for making ice cream, since it is basically built almost identically to the hand-crank ice cream makers I've also got (just smaller.) So I don't see why an electric ice cream maker wouldn't work for making butter! ;)

Great idea and can you maybe expand to the flavoring?

I'm not a cook, but would love it if you or someone could come up with a recipe adding honey to it to make a really good and tasty "honey butter". I visited NC on my honeymoon and discovered I absolutely loved honey butter biscuits. I often buy the premade ones they sell in the roll, but that gets expensive. I did find some commercial pre-made honey butter in the grocery store recently, but it was way too sweet and not very good.

This works great for kids if you use small baby food jars and a clean marble or two to act as an agitator. Shake until you don't hear the marbles anymore, then continue to shake. Eventually you can pour out any liquid and smoosh the butter in a clean, wet cheesecloth. Store it in the baby food jar and it lasts quite awhile (if it doesn't get all eaten first).

We did this in kindergarten and I remember it to this day. We kids took turns passing the jar around to shake it. Then we sampled it on soda crackers. Great project for kid's kitchen science. Thanks for reminding me.

Nice instructable :-)

I've tried it. Depends on the ice cream maker. The higher end ones use a media locked in a freezable bucket with a external small plastic paddle mount that churns the milk into ice cream. Butter texture would probably snap it off.

If you're not into the arm workout; I actually use a 1 litre mason jar and bungee cord it to my bike rack (rear). Nice little ride through the local nature trail and it's halfway there.

I won't make butter due to the saturated fat, but I appreciate the article. I will say that I've started making my own peanut butter from organic, store-bought, roasted peanuts. It tastes so superior to store-bought, is a little less expensive, and lacks the additives of store-bought.

3 replies

If you go to an organic store for your peanuts they probably also have a peanut butter machine there. They just dump in peanuts and the peanut butter comes out. But this instructable was about butter and its a neat, clean and tidy way to do it. But I may cheat and take the jar to the local hardware shop and use their paint can shaker.

I know the difference between dairy butter and "peanut butter!" I am tending to limit the amount of animal-based, saturated-fat products in my diet. Amazingly, my blood sugar has dropped from about 139 to 119 when I do so. Soon I will stop taking my diabetes medication because I will not need to use it.

If you live near a PUBLIX grocery store you can buy their store brand of Natural peanut butter. It comes in a glass jar and the ingredients are Peanuts and salt. If you want to avoid the fat you can pour off the oil that rises to the top before you use it.

I add a little iced water and keep agitating/rinsing the butter till the liquid is clear then squeeze into some cheesecloth to remove all liquid…this process just helps the butter to keep longer, I think homemade butter is probably much better for you than all the chemicals that go into Margarine & some store bought butters.

Homemade butter is /delicious/
I always put the salt in just after the 'rinse and squeeze' process and it never seemed to make the butter salty at all.
next time I make it I will try adding the salt in the beginning.
thank you :)


4 years ago

I have done this several times but with mixer. About half way through you have to cover the mixer and the bowl with a towel because the milk starts slinging out and will soak the towel.

1 reply

i figured that out the hard way... oops.
I now use my guard that came with the mixer, and place the towel over the spout portion and secure it with a hair elastic. :)

fantastic, thx much paige. sounds like the reverse process i use to make heavy cream for whipping when i'm out of the store-bought kind. keep it up!

1 reply

Having made butter for many years, I know that letting the cream warm to 65 degrees or so, instead of just out of the fridge, will make butter much faster. Also, if you squeeze out the buttermilk and "wash" the butter with cold water by pressing it in your hands to remove the majority of the buttermilk will make the butter last longer before spoiling.