Homemade Butter

Make Your Own Butter

This is an easy and low-tech way to make a small quantity of butter and buttermilk. It makes a fun activity at Thanksgiving for the kids and adults. The butter can go right onto the table and the buttermilk makes a great addition to mashed potatoes. Photo by Erin Feinblatt.

Makes approximately 3 tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup of buttermilk

4 ounces fresh heavy cream (preferably raw cream)

8-ounce glass jar with lid

Salt (optional)

Place cream into jar and screw lid on tightly. Begin shaking vigorously. After about 3–6 minutes, it will start to feel solid—at this point you have whipped cream.

Keep shaking. After another few minutes, you will see that it has separated into liquid (buttermilk) and a blob of butter. Shake for a little longer to make sure it’s fully separated. Then open the lid, and you have butter!

Next pour out or strain the liquid buttermilk from the solid butter. Press the butter with a spoon or knead it for a little bit to press out any remaining liquid. The liquid that is left over is buttermilk and you can drink it fresh or use it in recipes (such as Ranch Dressing).

Add salt to the butter to taste if you like and put into a crock or covered container. Use right away or refrigerate and use within a few days.


Krista Harris is the editor of Edible Santa Barbara.

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