Homemade Butter


How to make butter in a food processor

Homemade butter.  It sounds like a delicious luxury, doesn’t it?

Our great grandmothers who had no choice but to sit at the butter churn if they wanted butter would probably laugh at us.  You have it so good now!  The luxury is in being able to go to the store and buy it!

Sort of true I suppose.  But it’s also true that there’s a somewhat hidden sense of luxury in being witness to this age-old process. It’s almost magical how the butter comes together.   A little cream, a little shaking around, and viola!  Butter!

It’s one of those little kitchen adventures that’s hard to resist.

Why Are We Resisting?

If making your own butter is so magical and hard to resist, then why are so many of us not bothering to do it? Probably because you don’t save any money.  If you have a cow, well then it might be a different story.  But if you’re going to the store and buying heavy whipping cream to get started, you’ll actually be paying more.

Two cups of heavy whipping will produce about a half pound of butter (or 2 sticks for American cooks). Here are the prices I saw on a recent shopping trip:

2 cups Heavy whipping cream = $2.69
1/2 pound of butter = $1.69  (1 Lb @ $3.39 divided by 2)

How does the price of homemade butter compare to store bought butter

OK, maybe you don’t save money, but do you end up with a superior product?

No, not really.  Homemade butter really doesn’t taste any different than store bought butter.  When I looked at the list of ingredients on my package of store bought butter it said “Cream, Natural Flavorings”.  Perhaps we save ourselves being exposed to some mysterious “natural flavorings” but other than that, I could not find much difference if you’re going to make your butter with store bought heavy whipping cream.

Try It – It’s Fun!

Even though you won’t save money and your final product won’t be that much different than the store bought product, I’m still going to encourage you to give homemade butter a try.

Why?  Because it’s fun.  And satisfying.  And yes, kind of magical.

Modern day kitchen appliances have made it super simple to make your own butter too.  I made my homemade butter in my food processor in 5 minutes. I’ve also read about people making butter with a stand mixer, a hand mixer, a blender, or even just a jar with a tight fitting lid!  Amazon sells this specially designed butter making jar for the low tech people of the world who don’t want any fancy gadget for the job {and the reviews say it works!}

And that makes sense because you just need to keep the liquid moving around until the fats begin to separate.  That’s how you make butter.

I was inspired by the book “One-Hour Cheese” to make my own butter.  Even though it’s a book primarily dedicated to making your own cheese (which I hope to start trying soon!) it includes a few other projects with milk and cream, one of which is making your own butter. This is a great book filled with excellent step-by-step photos and instructions. My tutorial below is based on what I learned from the One Hour Cheese book.

How to make butter in a food processor


How To Make Your Own Butter

You Will  Need:

  • Food Processor or Mixer
  • 2 cups (16 ozs) Heavy Whipping Cream

(The following instructions will be for the food processor method I used)

1.  Pour the cream into the food processor and put on the lid.

How to make butter in a food processor


2.  Start up the food processor.   My food processor has two speeds and the lower speed worked just fine.

3.  The heavy whipping cream will go through several stages as it swirls around the food processor.  It will first turn into fluffy whipped cream, then it will start to get a little more grainy, then it will start to clump up a bit.  Finally it will form into larger chunks (or even a single chunk) with the leftover liquid splashing around which means the process is complete. This should take about 5 minutes.  If you’re curious you can turn off the processor a few times and open the lid during the process to check how things are coming along.  I know things are done when the liquid starts splashing up on the cover of my food processor and I can’t see what’s going on anymore.

How to make butter in a food processor


4.  Drain off the liquid, which is true buttermilk.   You will probably have about 3/4 cup of the liquid buttermilk.  You can save it to use later if you want (it works great in homemade pancakes!).

How to make butter in a food processor


5.  Scrape the butter out of the food processor and place in a bowl for rinsing.   The “rinsing” or “washing” step helps preserve the butter a little longer.

6.  Pour a cup of very cold water over the butter in the bowl.  (I use water that’s been in my refrigerator.  This keeps the butter from getting too warm and squishy during this step.) Use a spatula or large spoon or even just your hands, to press on the butter to wash it.  You should see the water turn cloudy.

How to make butter in a food processor

7.  Drain off the water, and then repeat the washing step again as needed until the water looks more clear when drained off.

8.  At this point you can add a little salt to your homemade butter if you like.  (I did not add salt to my butter).

9.  Transfer your fresh homemade butter to a covered container and store in the refrigerator.  It will probably only keep for about a week.  You can keep your buttermilk in a covered container in the refrigerator for about a week too.

How to make butter in a food processor

As mentioned above, you can use various kitchen gadgets to make your butter.  If you use a kitchen stand mixer or a hand mixer however, you will most likely discover at the end of the process that the buttermilk starts splashing everywhere.  You may find it helpful to cover the bowl with a towel to keep things from getting messy.

This is why I think the food processor method works really well.  The lid on your food processor keeps everything contained and the machine does all the work.  No shaking or churning on your part.  Just watching and waiting a few minutes for some awesome butter to appear!

How to make butter in a food processor



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  1. after reading this I will say this ……I miss home made butter and I have noticed a lot of store brands list water as an ingredient . True butter made only from heavy cream has a richer flavor and I tend to need to use less. I will have to try this on my day off

  2. I use to make butter from fresh milk from the farm. Of course we cannot get this where I live anymore. I will try this. THANKS

    1. I can imagine that butter from fresh milk on the farm was pretty awesome Vicki! I hope you like this version if you give it a try.