The Internet Is Obsessed with Butter Making—Here’s How to Make Your Own
Wondering how to make butter at home? Spoiler alert: You don't need a butter churn!
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In the introduction to her cookbook, The Homemade Pantry, Alana Chernila confesses that, before she learned how, she always wished she was the kind of person who made homemade butter. It seemed like such a daunting task.
That sentiment really touched me because I, too, love making pantry staples from scratch. Like Alana, I’m always looking for ways to stretch my grocery budget. I was intrigued by her simple, two-ingredient recipe for how to make butter, so I had to give it a try—and I’m not the only one. Plenty of TikTok creators like @thecornerplot have been making homemade butter, too.
3 Ways to Make Butter from Scratch
There are a few other methods when it comes to making butter: to get the fat molecules to separate from the liquid, you’ll need to agitate the cream using a stand mixer, a high-powered blender, or a Mason jar. A blender is hard to clean, and you have to shake a Mason jar by hand for 5 to 10 minutes, so I was stoked that The Homemade Pantry‘s recipe uses a stand mixer. It’s easy to clean and even easier to use!
Find the best stand mixer for this task (and plenty of other recipes).
Recipe for Homemade Butter
This recipe makes about 1/2 pound of butter. That’s 16 tablespoons or two traditional sticks.
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
I love that this recipe requires just two ingredients! But, when shopping for heavy cream, I couldn’t help but notice that a pound of value butter cost just 99 cents, or I could upgrade to Kerrygold for $5. Since a pint of heavy cream ran me just under $4 and made only half a pound, making butter at home isn’t exactly as economical as buying store-bought butter. I wondered if it would really taste that much better than the stuff at the store.
Step 1: Combine the cream and salt
I followed the directions in The Homemade Pantry. I started by combining the cream and salt in my stand mixer, fitted with the whisk KitchenAid attachment.
The author recommends covering the bowl with a dish towel to prevent splattering (which turned out to be fantastic advice). Then, I turned on the mixer, starting on speed 1 and gradually increasing it up to 8.
I peeked under the towel every 20 seconds or so to see how things looked. After about 3 minutes, the cream started to stiffen and had the look of whipped cream. I let the machine continue to run and, two minutes later, I heard a loud “sploosh.” The cream had broken, separating into solid fat and liquid buttermilk. I was on my way to homemade butter!
Step 2: Pour off the buttermilk
I poured off as much buttermilk as I could, reserving it in a jar in the refrigerator to use in one of these tasty recipes. Then I collected the butter into a large ball.
Step 3: Rinse the butter
It seems weird, but the next step is to rinse the butter with ice water, squeezing it to release as much buttermilk as possible. Any excess buttermilk can cause the butter to sour, so you want to make sure to get it all out! As a bonus, your hands get nice and moisturized as you go.
I placed the bowl in the sink and rinsed the butter under cold ice water. After rinsing, I discarded the water in the bowl, squeezing and gently kneading the ball a few times. I repeated this process about six times until the water ran clear and the butter didn’t release any liquid when I squeezed it. All in all, it took about five minutes.
Step 4: Pat dry
Then, I simply patted it dry with a paper towel and placed it in my butter crock. Or, you can roll it into a stick and wrap it in plastic wrap or parchment paper. If you did a good job at squeezing out the excess buttermilk, your homemade butter is good for five days at room temperature on the counter, a week in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.
Is Making Homemade Butter Worth It?
Would I spend this amount of time and effort to make butter for baking cookies and cakes? Probably not; it’s neither economical nor an effective use of time. I’m not sure if I could taste the difference in a baked good anyway.
But, for serving with hot toast or homemade biscuits, I would absolutely do this again!
The homemade butter was richer and creamier than the stuff from the store, and I loved its slightly grassy flavor and bright yellow color. It tasted good with the pinch of salt I added at the beginning, but turning it into a flavored butter really took things to the next level. Next, learn how to cream butter and sugar the right way.