Here's everything you need to know about making homemade butter the old-fashioned way. It's a surprisingly simple skill to learn and tastes so much better than store-bought. You'll be looking for excuses to spread this creamy butter on everything!

Enjoy a smear of homemade butter on a slice of our easy whole wheat Irish soda bread or chocolate chip walnut banana bread.

a close up of Homemade Butter next to a plate of buttered toast

We're taking a deep dive and sharing all about how to make delicious creamy butter at home. You'll see how easy it is to do with just whipping cream and a stand mixer or electric mixer. It's a satisfying process that will make you feel like a kitchen rockstar, and the mixer does all the work!

Sometimes we like to take shortcuts in the kitchen, but making homemade butter is so darn delicious that it's worth the extra effort. It ranks among one of those worthy kitchen tasks along with homemade spice blends and chicken stock.

It tastes so much better than store-bought that you may never go back to buying conventional butter again. It's also a fun and easy activity to do with kids!

What is homemade butter?

Butter is quite simply heavy cream whipped past the point of whipped cream. It separates into the butter fats and the buttermilk.

Homemade butter using a high-quality cream tastes fresh, creamy, and slightly sweet. It can be used in the same ways you'd normally use butter like in cooking, baking, or smearing onto breads and pastries.

A wonderful by-product of making butter at home is buttermilk. You can drink this slightly sour-tasting milk on its own or use it to make tender baked goods and creamy sauces and dips.

Homemade Butter and toast on a plate

Why you'll love homemade butter

  • It's easy to make
  • It's made from wholesome ingredients
  • It tastes better than store-bought
  • It keeps well for up to 2 weeks in the fridge
  • It's versatile for cooking, baking, and enjoying on bread or baked goods

What you'll need

You only really need one ingredient to make homemade butter – whipping cream. We like to add a little sea salt, but that's a personal preference and totally optional!

  • Whipping cream – this is a time for finding the best quality cream you can get your hands. Like anything with food, the higher quality the ingredients, the better it will taste. Organic, grass-fed cream will yield butter with the best flavor, color, and nutritional profile. But even conventional cream will give you delicious tasting butter.
  • Sea salt – the salt is optional, but it's delicious and enhances the flavors. It can also act as a preservative and extend the shelf life of your butter.

For kitchen equipment, you'll need: a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid, a fine-meshed sieve, a mixing bowl, a spatula, and a stand mixer with whisk attachment (although you can also use an electric mixer, food processor, or even shake it by hand).

How to make homemade butter

With the right tools and a high-quality cream, it's easy to make homemade butter. We're sharing detailed steps to show you what the cream will look like at different stages, and what to watch for in the process.

Prepare it using the stand mixer

Begin by pouring the cream into a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat it at medium-high speed until it becomes thick whipping cream.

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Now, reduce the speed and keep churning until it separates. You'll know you're onto something when the butter starts to stick to the beaters. The liquid is the buttermilk!

Tip: you may want to cover your bowl at this point to prevent splatters.

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Strain with a fine-mesh sieve

Now it's time to strain off the buttermilk. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and carefully pour the liquid through it. Make sure to pour the buttermilk into a jar or container and store it in the fridge.

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Next, it's time to rinse the butter. Place it into a clean bowl and pour cold water over the top. Use your hands or a spatula to knead the butter and rinse away any remaining buttermilk. Drain and repeat this process until the water is clear.

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If you're using salt, put the butter onto a plate and sprinkle the salt over the top then mix it into the butter.

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Storing and wrapping your butter

Voila! Your butter is ready! You can shape it using your hands and either enjoy it right away or store it wrapped in waxed paper or a jar in your fridge for up to two weeks.

Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.

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Tips for making the best homemade butter

While making butter at home is simple, here are a few things to consider in the process:

  • There's no need to complicate matters by using cheesecloth or muslin. A fine-mesh sieve works perfectly well for draining the buttermilk from the butter.
  • Higher quality cream = better butter. We use a 36% milk-fat cream for a creamier texture and more delicious taste.
  • If you're eating the butter right away, you don't need to rinse it. A little buttermilk in it actually makes it taste amazing. If you're storing it for any length of time, we recommend rinsing it because it will keep it from spoiling and extend its shelf life.
  • You can flavor your butter with citrus zest, minced garlic, or freshly chopped herbs.

Ways to use homemade butter

Homemade butter is fresh, creamy, and full of flavor. It's perfect for using any time you'd use regular butter in cooking or baking. It has a higher fat content which also means the butter will have a higher smoke point. This makes it more stable for cooking at higher temperatures.

Our favorite way to enjoy it is simply to spread it on fresh bread or biscuits with a bit of jam, like our rhubarb strawberry chia jam. Here are a few other recipes that taste great using homemade butter:

a close up of Homemade Butter next to a plate of buttered toast

FAQS

Can you keep homemade butter on the counter?

It's best to store homemade butter in the fridge. It will keep on the counter for up to 2 days at room temperature, but storing it in the fridge prolongs its shelf life.

How long does homemade butter last?

Homemade butter will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Store it in a sealed jar or wrapped in wax paper.

Recipes using buttermilk

This butter recipe will leave you with some wonderful fresh buttermilk. Here are some of our favorite buttermilk recipes to use it up:

a brick of homemade butter beside pieces of buttered toast

Tasty butter recipes

Homemade Butter and toast on a plate

How to make homemade butter

Here's everything you need to know about making homemade butter the old-fashioned way. It's a surprisingly simple skill to learn and tastes so much better than store-bought. You'll be looking for excuses to spread this creamy butter on everything!

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

4.96 stars (23 ratings)
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, optional

Instructions 

  • Pour the cream into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat the cream at medium-high speed until it becomes thick whipping cream.
    2 cups whipping cream
    image for recipe instruction
  • Reduce the speed to medium-low and continue to beat the cream until it separates and the butter sticks to the beaters. You may want to cover the bowl during this step to prevent splatters.
    image for recipe instruction
  • Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and carefully pour the liquid through it.
    image for recipe instruction
  • Put the butter into a clean bowl and pour COLD water over the top. Use your hands or a spatula to knead the butter to clean any remaining buttermilk. Drain the water and repeat this process until the water is clear.
    image for recipe instruction
  • If you're using salt, put the butter onto a plate and sprinkle the salt over the top then mix it into the butter.
    ½ teaspoon sea salt
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  • Store the butter either wrapped in waxed paper or in a jar in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.
    image for recipe instruction

Notes

The liquid that you drain off is fresh buttermilk. It’s delicious to drink as is or to save for another recipe.
Homemade butter will keep for up to 2 weeks in your fridge. The better that you wash the butter, the longer that it will last. If you're unsure of whether it's ok to eat, give it a smell. If it smells funny then it's time to put it into your compost. 
Serving: 1 tablespoon, Calories: 102kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 101mg, Potassium: 3mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 355IU, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 1mg
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