HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


DIY butter?

just read an article in NYT about the joys of making your own butter.
anyone ever try this, and is it worth it, aside from the because-i-can factor?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It'll be tastier and richer than any store bought butter you will every have. It's also pretty easy, but a time suck for such a simple product.

    1. It is insanely easy. Tastes really good. And it is a lot of fun.

      1. It's your normal kindergarten project where you pass around the bottle w/ cream and salt and let all the kids shake. Really easy.

        1. I've done it. And in a food processor it's almost too easy to even talk about. Go for it.

          6 Replies
          1. re: eLizard

            hmmm so it works just as well in a food processor? I've been drooling about homemade butter since I read the NYT article but I don't have a mixer.

            Does it take longer in a food processor vs. a mixer?

            1. re: mchan02

              it takes no time in the food processor. a few minutes. no more than 5.

              1. re: mchan02

                Mixer doesn't take long, just a bit longer than whipped cream. And you don't have to clean the processor!

                1. re: Kagey

                  but i don't get it. don't you still have to clean the mixer?

                  1. re: eLizard

                    Yeah, but I've got a hand mixer and all I'd have to clean are two ejectable mixing blades. The processor would mean cleaning the container, lid, blade, etc. And the parts can be fiddly, with hard-to clean places.

            2. I definitely want to make butter after that article! I just first have to figure out what to use it for.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JasmineG

                MMMM! What WOULDN'T you use it for!!??

                1. re: k_d

                  I have`nt made any since I was a kid, some 50 yrs ago, but ireally enjoyed makeing
                  it for my mothers fresh pancakes she would make for breakfast, as my father would
                  slice bacon off the slab for my mother to cook. brings back some great memories.
                  thanks. it makes me laugh when I think back about they way did things in those
                  day. back in the 40`s.

              2. I made it when my heavy cream was on it last leg. I used my Kitcheaid and my daughter and I had a blast watching it transform to butter.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mochi mochi

                  Hehe, it's not much of a blast when you're making a whipped cream frosting and it goes just a little bit to far though!

                  1. re: Lixer

                    True that, but we were aiming for butter so it was all good.

                2. I just made butter for the first time in about 90 seconds using my kitchenaid immersion blender chopping attachment. I couldn't believe how fast it was! I used TJ's pasteurized heavy cream (in plastic bottle). The butter is very mild and sweet; I think I may try to sour/culture the cream next time for more flavor. It's fun to know that it's possible to make butter so quickly, but I'd only do this if I had some leftover heavy cream lying around...

                  1. During World War II butter was hard to find in stores but my uncle had an ice cream factory so used to bring home cream which my aunt routinely turned into butter using the electric mixer. It's also a fun project to do with children. Homemade butter is especially nice on pancakes.

                    1. Does anyone bake w/ homemade butter? Is it worth doing?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chowser

                        I'm not much of a baker, but homemade butter is suppossed to be great for flakey pastry since it generally has a higher butterfat, around 86% - depending on the MF in the cream you use. Most generic store bought butters are standardized around 80% butterfat since that's the minimal amount allowable (in Canada). The higher fat allows the butter to be more plastic at cold temperatures, therefore easier to work into pastry cold.

                      2. just out of interest does it work out cheaper?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: smartie

                          Not unless butter is pricey or you've got access to really cheap cream. If I'm remembering right, last time I did this, I used a pint of cream and got approximately a stick of butter.

                          A package of butter at TJ's is about $2.50 in my area, and a pint of cream was like $1.50. So it's approximately 2.5 times more expensive.

                        2. This article confused me. I thought the difference between commercial butter and 'fancier' butter was that commercial butter is just made from cream as described in the article (but in larger volume), while gourmet butters were 'cultured,' or the cream was allowed to ferment first which gave more flavor to the end product, but implied more time and cost. Can anybody clear this up?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: dinnerbell

                            I googled around and found this:


                            "There are two main types of butter produced in the U.S. – sweet cream butter and cultured cream butter. The United States primarily produces sweet cream butter, which includes lightly salted, unsalted and whipped butter....

                            Cultured butter, a rich butter made from cultured cream, is popular in Europe and is now being produced in the U.S. It is available in most regions of the country. As with lightly salted and unsalted butter, it’s available in both sticks and tubs."

                            Cultured butter isn't 'better' or 'gourmet' - it's just a different type of butter.

                            1. re: screetchycello

                              I've seen cultured butter only at gourmet shops, where, you can imagine, it is quite a bit pricier than the butter you find in the super market. And, in my opinion, it is better. It has a much more buttery flavor than sweat cream. That's why the article confused me. I don't know why making your own better would all that different than the kind you buy.

                              1. re: dinnerbell

                                Part of the appeal (especially for those of us who can buy milk directly from farmers) is making butter from good cream, or cream whose origins we know, as well as being able to, say, culture it to our own particular taste. (Now if we could only locate some areas of the country where the cows weren't eating dioxins from the petro-energy fallout... Butter is still the largest everyday source of dioxin.) But if you know your cream source, at least you know what *else* is in it -- and how fresh it is, etc. And a lot of the local milk sources don't *make* butter (as in the original NYT article -- it's hard to come by). I'm planning to skim some jersey milk next week -- it's high fat, but not high enough that my hopes are very high. (I'll let you know)

                          2. Does anyone know whether there would be a difference if you use the kind of cream that you often find overseas that is sold in UHT-type packages? Does the UHT process prevent the butterification of the cream??

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: James G

                              You might be able to find a dairy that sold raw milk (many states allow raw milk to be purchased at the dairy), skim the cream yourself, and make butter with it.. if the cows had a good pasture diet, might get some nice flavors.

                            2. This is amazing and insanely easy. I read the article last Sunday and my SO and I finally tried it tonight. We used a food processor since we don't have a stand mixer and it worked perfectly. It ended up taking about 8-10 minutes or so to get to the stage where the butter separates from the buttermilk, which is longer than the article said it took with the stand mixer.

                              But still, 10 minutes is a short amount of time to wait for what's a fantastic result - really creamy butter.

                              1. I made butter by accident by freezing heavy cream. Upon thawing the cream, I noticed that the buttermilk sank to the bottom and chunky, clotted cream floated to the top. I heated it up in a double boiler, poured the liquified mixture into a clear container and put it in the refrigerator. Clarified butter floats to the top and the buttermilk stays at the bottom. Poke a hole into the corner of the hardened butter layer and pour out the sweet buttermilk. The sweet buttermilk is the best part about making homemade butter... it's so rich, yet lowfat, and tastes like the sweetest milk you've ever tasted

                                1. Ok, reporting in on skimming milk for anyone still interested in butter -- it does work! (yes, I know people have been doing it for thousands of years, but that doesn't necessarily translate to it working as predicted on this list in a mixer with tiny amounts -- and there were the skeptics who argued that it would only have 4-6% fat, but it must have considerably more, given the amount of butter I'm getting.) I've been skimming jersey cream and when I don't have enough I've been mixing it with heavy cream. But the jersey gives it a very distinctive taste. Now I just have to develop more of a taste for the leftover skimmed milk...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: colintine

                                    I also read the NYT article and I have finally made homemade butter. I had one 8 oz carton of heavy cream that needed to be used today; the amount was so small that I didn't bother with a mixer, I just used a jelly jar. It took a surprisingly short amount of time of shaking, maybe 10 minutes. The results are fantasic; the butter is smooth, creamy and sooo rich tasting, I'm sorry I didn't have a pint of whipping cream! The best part is the buttermilk...it's not a large amount but it's enough to make one loaf buttermilk bread.

                                  2. DIY butter is insanely easy in a food processor.

                                    Chill the cream until crystals start to form in the freezer, approx 1 hour. Pour in a food process and process on high for 1 minute, or until the butter separates.

                                    Remove the butter(straining the buttermilk for the smaller particles) and squeeze out the excess moisture, wrap tightly in plastic, chill and use.

                                    Salt can be added of desired.

                                    It is great for fresh use or for baking purposes.