How To Make Butter

Luke Gilliam / Flickr (Creative Commons)

There’s nothing more delectable than a smear of creamy, fresh butter on warm bread.

homemade butter on dish with knife
Marlene Ridgway / Insteading

Whether you’re baking French pastries, sautéing green beans, or serving hot popcorn, you’ll want butter within easy reach.

Skip The Supermarket

Real butter, not margarine or butter substitute, can get pricey, especially if you do a lot of home baking or cooking.

You can save yourself a lot of money if you buy your cream in bulk and freeze any butter that you won’t use immediately. Freezing butter does not change the texture or taste, and it allows you to save a little on quality butter.

Know Exactly What You’re Eating

If you make your butter at home, in your own kitchen, you know exactly what is going into your food. There won’t be any added chemicals or unknown ingredients slipped in.

Why Choose Butter Over Margarine?

Margarine is processed and chemically created. Some people also prefer the taste of real butter made from cream, rather than oil. Other health benefits include an extremely absorbable form of vitamin A, which is necessary for good health. Butter had also been said to help fight tooth decay and be a good source of quick energy.

Making Butter At Home

You’ll need a few easy ingredients and tools to make your butter. The best part is that most of these items are common household staples. If you don’t have these items on hand, they are easy and inexpensive at almost any supermarket or grocery store.

butter making tools and ingredients
Marlene Ridgway / Insteading


  • 1 medium-sized mason jar with a lid that attaches securely. (If you do not have a glass jar, a plastic container works just as well)
  • 1 glass marble (optional: to make mixing easier)
  • Colander
  • Paper towels


  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream or heavy cream (either one can be used)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (if you are making salted butter)
  • Ice cold water for rinsing

Any jar or container that has a sealed lid will work for this process. As long as you are able to shake the whipping cream comfortably, you can use plastic or glass. When you’ve found the jar or container that you are going to use, you’ll want to test it out with water to make sure the seal is tight.

The glass marble makes the shaking process easier. However, you do not need this to be successful. Your arm will get an extra workout without a marble though.


  1. Begin by gathering your materials and let the cream reach room temperature.
  2. Measure out 1 cup of whipping cream into your jar or container. The jar should not be more than half full, as it will make shaking more difficult if there is too much cream.

    butter in jar
    Marlene Ridgway / Insteading
  3. Add the salt if you are making salted butter. This would also be the time that you would add other ingredients for different flavored butters.
  4. Secure the lid tightly and begin shaking the jar rapidly back and forth. The process of shaking should take between 5-7 minutes, depending on how quickly you shake your jar.
  5. The cream will first become whipped cream, so keep shaking.

    whipped cream
    Marlene Ridgway / Insteading
  6. Next, the cream will become hard to shake and start separating from the walls of the jar or container; keep shaking.
  7. You will know when the butter is nearly ready when the buttermilk and the butter separate. Continue shaking for another 15 seconds after the butter and milk separate.

    buttermilk and butter seperated
    Marlene Ridgway / Insteading
  8. Drain the excess liquid. This is buttermilk, so you can save it and use it in other recipes.
  9. Use a colander to rinse the butter with ice cold water, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  10. Make sure that you carefully rinse your butter, squeezing it gently into a ball to remove the buttermilk. If you do not remove all of the excess buttermilk, your homemade butter could go rancid more quickly.
  11. You can wrap your butter in plastic wrap to shape it or you can store your butter in any container in the refrigerator.
butter finished and wrapped in plastic
Marlene Ridgway / Insteading

Now enjoy your fresh butter!

Added Flavor Made Simple

It’s easy to make your butter take on a whole new flavor from sweet to savory. It is best to add your other ingredients before you start shaking to evenly incorporate the flavor.

homemade butter in mason jar
Luke Gilliam / Flickr (Creative Commons)

If you want to split your batch and create more than one flavor, you can easily separate the butter and mix in your ingredients later. However, the flavor may not be as evenly distributed.

Sweet Cinnamon Butter

  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon; adjust to liking.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey

Savory Fresh Herb Butter

  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs.

Freelance writer Marlene Ridgway grew up in rural West Virginia, cooking, keeping chickens, stacking firewood, picking blueberries, and gardening.

Written by Marlene Ridgway

Freelance writer Marlene Ridgway grew up in rural West Virginia, cooking, keeping chickens, stacking firewood, picking blueberries, and gardening.


Leave a Reply
  1. I made my own butter for many years. I would milk our cow, then let the cream rise in the jar that the milk was stored in. Then pour of the cream. Put it in a blender. Pour cold water into the blender in small increments . The butter and the butter milk separate. This is so easy to do.

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