How Do You Make Homemade Butter?

Making homemade butter is easy!

You can make butter at home in just a few minutes with the easy steps below!

(Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Making homemade butter is a GREAT introduction to making your food from scratch!

It takes very little time.

Plus, it doesn’t take a lot of ingredients to make and you control what ingredients go into the butter you make.

Have you ever tried to make whipped cream and let it go too long? You know — to that point where it started separating and looking really yuck?

Don’t throw it out next time that happens? Why? You were on your way to making butter.

Homemade butter with two swirls of butter on wheat bread in front of it.

What does it take to make your own fresh butter at home?

Here’s what you will need to make your own fresh butter:

  • A pint of Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream 
  • Something to agitate the heavy cream.
  • A bowl or sieve to wash your butter.
  • Container to store your homemade butter in.

That’s right! There is just one ingredient needed to make plain homemade butter — heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.

There are several different ways to make your own homemade butter.

Gone are the days of spending a lot of time using a heavy churn to make butter.

You probably already have what it takes to make fresh butter in your kitchen.

One method that is used when making butter is to put heavy cream in a jar and shake.  It doesn’t matter what size jar. Just remember you need to fill the jar halfway so that the cream has room to churn. This is a good activity for the kids. It will give them some exercise plus teach them how to make butter.

Another method is to use a mixer. This is a great method if you have a stand mixer. But if you don’t, then a hand-held mixer will work also. If you have a hand-held mixer, it will help to have someone take turns mixing the heavy cream.

A food processor is what I use to make butter. It’s easy and there is very little mess using this method. If you don’t have a food processor, then a blender will do the same thing.

Black & Decker food processor, pint of Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream, and a measuring cup sitting on gray and white countertop.

What is the best cream to use when you are making butter?

Since there is only one ingredient in homemade butter, you want to use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream that has a higher fat content.

There are several different types of cream — pasteurized, non-pasteurized, non-homogenized, homogenized, organic, and non-organic. Each one will give a different quality and taste to your butter.

One advantage to making your own butter is you know exactly what ingredients have been added.  Additives help stabilize the cream. The cream will then be harder to churn or agitate into butter.

Our tip for making homemade butter is to choose a high-quality cream that does not have a lot of additives. As you can guess, this will make the cost of your homemade butter higher than if you buy butter off the shelf.

How to Make Your Own Butter Using a Food Processor

Steps to Making Your Own Butter

Step 1:  Pour the carton of heavy whipping cream into the food processor container.

Black & Decker food processor with pint of cream poured into the base.

Tip: A pint of cream is two cups. You don’t have to mess up a measuring cup to measure it (unless you just want to make sure there is two cups of cream in the carton).

Step 2:   Place the lid securely on the food processor and turn on high.  Here’s what the heavy cream will look like after it starts spinning.

Food processor with heaving whipping cream in the beginning stages of homemade butter.

Step 3: Check the cream to see if the cream is forming the butter. You can tell this if the milk is separating and making buttermilk.

You can see the water starting to separate close to the blade in the picture below.

Photo of inside food processor showing butter starting to separate and make butter and buttermilk.

Step 4:  Your homemade butter is “churned” when you see two products in your container — the butter and a thin liquid that is buttermilk.

Tip:  Save the buttermilk to add to pancakes or biscuits.

Churned yellow butter inside food processor.

Step 5:  Scrap the sides. Remove the solid into a bigger bowl and wash the butter under very cold water. Knead the butter until the water coming off the butter is clear. 

Step 6: After the water runs clear, make sure to drain the butter.  Line the drainer with a cheesecloth or paper towel.  I used a paper towel.  The butter didn’t stick to it and came off just fine.

Important Tip:  If you do not get all the buttermilk washed off the butter, the butter can go rancid quicker.

Step 7:  In this step, you can add flavors to your butter — salt, honey, chives, garlic, etc.  Knead any added flavors into the butter.  

Most recipes call for salt but we are on a “reduced salt” diet so we left the salt out.

Step 8: Get your butter ready for the refrigerator.

You could put it in a butter crock or you could shape it into a couple of sticks of butter to store in a butter dish.

Small mason jars are also a great alternative to use for storing your homemade butter.

We wrapped our fresh made butter in parchment paper.

Step 9:   Write the date that you made your homemade butter. Dissolvable food labels are great for this.

Why write the date? Homemade butter doesn’t tend to keep as fresh as store-bought butter. Writing the date helps you remember when you made it.


How long does fresh butter last?

Fresh homemade butter should last between 2 to 3 weeks. Notice I said, “should”! This depends on whether you get all the buttermilk out of the butter during the rinsing stage. If you don’t get all the buttermilk out when you are rinsing, the fresh butter will go rancid very quickly.

The Frugal Housewife’s tips for success!

  • Choose a good quality cream.
  • Try one method of making butter and if it doesn’t work for you, then try another method. Example — shaking the cream in a jar wouldn’t work for me because my arms would tire out too quickly.
  • Make sure you rinse the fresh butter to get all the buttermilk out.
  • Try some flavors in your finished butter.

Sure is easier than using a churn!

When I make my homemade butter I think about my Grandmother.  She was a homemaker and raised her seven children in the early 1900s. 

One of my fondest memories is the stories she would tell me when I was younger.   She would tell us how she would have to go milk the cows and bring the milk back to the house. 

Then she would sit and churn butter in the butter churn.  She had seven kids and they went through a lot of butter so it would take her quite a bit of time to make enough butter to last them through the week.

Just imagine all the time she would have saved if food processors had been around back then!

Are you going to try and make your own butter?  If you do, are you going to try to add flavors?  Our favorite is honey butter. 

What is yours?  We’d love to hear from you!  Leave us a comment!

Originally published on Aug 3, 2014. 

Disclaimer:  The Frugal Housewife was not compensated in any way by Organic Valley.   The opinions expressed by The Frugal Housewife are expressly her own.  

2 thoughts on “How Do You Make Homemade Butter?”

  1. Pingback: Simple Slow Cooker Green Beans and Ham - The Frugal Housewife

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