How to Make Butter

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A friend recently gave me 4 gallons of cow’s milk. We’ve always kept dairy goats, but the cream from the Jersey cow was a special treat. I turned that 4 gallons of milk into yogurt, mozzarella cheese, butter, buttermilk, and whey. And, of course, we got to drink fresh, raw milk.How to Make Butter | Everything Home with Carol

How to make butter is a lot easier than you would think; especially if you use your mixer. I have a Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine but you can use any mixer. First, pour 1 – 1 1/2 quarts of cold cream into the mixer. Using the wire whips, turn it on high. After about 3 minutes you will have fresh whipped cream like this:

But if you want to make butter, don’t stop here. Keep it going. You will eventually begin to see the little globules of fat start to separate. Like this:

It is a good idea at this point to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as the solids will creep up the sides. Keep going until you start to hear the milk splashing. If you look, you will see it splashing up on the lid of the mixer bowl like this:

When it looks like this, you are done:

To get to this point takes between 15-25 minutes. It varies depending on how cold your cream is, the room temperature, and the quantity of cream in the bowl. This batch took me 25 minutes because I kept stopping it to take pictures; and I had almost 2 quarts of cream in there.

Once the fat has totally separated, pour the contents into a colander resting over a bowl and strain out the buttermilk. You may want to use your spatula to scrape the sides.

Once strained, remove the colander with the butter and place under cold running water. Work the butter with your hands, squeezing and folding to wash it and remove all the buttermilk. Buttermilk left in the butter will cause it to sour faster so do this step until anything that squeezes out of your butter is clear. This is the step where you add salt, too. I just sprinkle salt out of my salt shaker, squeeze and fold, sprinkle again, and do this a few times. Remember to keep it under the cold, running water or the warmth from your hands will cause it to melt on you.

Once you feel confident that all the buttermilk is extracted, mold the butter into a nice shape and place on a plate. My Corelle cereal bowls overturn on the small plate perfectly to form a cover. Maybe someday I’ll invest in a round butter dish.

That’s about it. The whole process only took me about 30-40 minutes and the guys just loved having the fresh butter. What about you? Have any tips to add on how to make butter? Please share with us in the comments.


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How to Make Butter — 18 Comments

    • Thanks for asking Cheryl. Maybe that could be a future post but I’ll explain briefly here: Let the milk sit overnight in the fridge. Ours is in 1/2 gallon jars. Then, using a small ladle that will fit through the mouth of the jar, I dip it out. You can see the separation line on the side of the jar. If your milk is from a Jersey, you probably have at least a couple inches of cream on top. If you go too deep and get a little of the milk, that’s okay. The longer the milk sits, the thicker it will be and the easier it will be to dip out. Hope this helps.

  1. Great post!
    Roughly how much butter do you get out of the 2 quarts, and how much buttermilk would you get as well?

    • You know, Chayne, I haven’t gotten raw cow’s milk from my friend in a while, so I can’t quite remember how much buttermilk resulted. But that 1 1/2 quarts of cream gives the butter you see on the plate–which I estimate to be about a pound.

  2. I have never made butter with a mixer, I will have to try it. My grandmother taught me to make butter with a quart jar and a marble or two. She would put cream (from our cows) into the jar, drop in 1 or two marbles, put the lid back on nice and tight, then we would shake the jars back and forth from bottom to top so it would literally ‘churn’ the butter. We would talk about whatever was on our minds while we shook our jars. It didn’t take long either, maybe 20 minutes and suddenly the liquid became solid. Then she would open the jar, drain the milk out and ladle the butter into a bowl that she would cover and placed in the refrigerator.

    I taught my daughters to make it like this too. And once a few years back I was taking a college writing class with a bunch of young people. We had to write instructions to make something then have the class do it with only the instructions you had written. So I wrote how to make butter in little baby food jars. It was so hard not speaking to them while they read my instructions and made the butter. None of them had ever made butter or seen it made before so they could only rely on my written instructions to do it.

    They all successfully made a little jar of butter. Once complete I passed out some fresh baked bread I had made earlier in the day and we all enjoyed fresh made butter on home baked bread. I got an ‘A’ on that assignment 🙂

    • I’ve done this, too, only without the marbles. Congratulations on the assignment. Sounds like a wonderful accomplishment–and a chance to expose some young folk to some old-fashioned skills. 😉

  3. Since I don’t drink cream in my coffee, I have been making butter this way for years. This is a great tutorial!! It’s so simple and yummy, and my family absolutely LOVES having fresh butter often, that I thoroughly enjoy the entire process. For all who are new to making butter: Please Remember: Making butter is like doing anything else in the kitchen or on a farm. It gets better, faster and easier with practice, so try not to get discouraged if it takes longer than the recipe calls, or you don’t get all the milk out the first time. It’s still tasty and you will get better at making it each time! Have fun making butter.

  4. I am in love with your site! Have you tried freezing your butter or your buttermilk? If so, what was the turnout? Thank you!

    • Thank you, Stephanie! I’ve never had enough cow’s milk to make enough butter to freeze. (We have goats, not cows, so I don’t get to make much butter.) However, I do freeze store-bought butter and you cannot even tell. As for buttermilk? Again, not enough to want to freeze it.

  5. Don’t have a comment about butter, other than its just the best to eat.
    Do have a comment about cleaning the shower, 1 part household bleach with 2 parts water in a squirty bottle/spray used lightly in the shower recess occasionally and presto, nice clean shower. Not sure about the chemicals in bleach, but a fine mist goes a long way, great for mildewy places.

    • No, Kady. You make butter with cream, not milk. With raw milk, the cream rises to the top after sitting awhile and you skim it off. In store bought milk, much of the cream is removed. What is left is shaken to the point that it incorporates it into the milk without ever rising again. This process is called homogenization.

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