This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
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!
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.
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
Ingredients 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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're using salt, put the butter onto a plate and sprinkle the salt over the top then mix it into the butter.
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.
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:
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:
- Buttermilk Panna Cotta
- Creamy Lemon Buttermilk Dressing
- Creamsicle Orange Sherbert
- Apple Pancakes
- No Yeast Bread
- Classic Broccoli Coleslaw with lemon buttermilk dressing
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.
Can I make homemade butter last longer?
The key to making longer-lasting homemade butter is to rinse it really well under cold water. It is the cream that spoils, not the fat. But the cream also makes the butter taste amazing so you'll need to decide what is most important to you … flavor or storage.
Can I flavor homemade butter?
Yes! You can mix in fresh or dried herbs or any of your favorite seasonings!
- 2 cups whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
- 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
- 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.
- Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and carefully pour the liquid through it.
- 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.
- 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
- Store the butter either wrapped in waxed paper or in a jar in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.
More Homemade Condiments
If you love making your own special condiments, try these recipes!
This bacon jam recipe is easily the best in the world. Bacon, onions, brown sugar, coffee, and balsamic are slowly simmered until thick and jam-like.
A slightly spicy, smoky sidekick for your favorite dishes, this harissa mayo will have you coming back for more. It makes a great dip, condiment, or sauce.
If you like whiskey, you'll love this bourbon BBQ sauce. It's perfectly sweet, a little smoky, and generously flavored with bourbon.