Homemade Butter!


Some things are meant to be. There is simply too much energy screaming love surrounding them for them not to be. This recipe was among them maybe because I could just eat butter straight up or maybe because all the signs pointed to me making it.

It started innocently when a cook at a newly opened tasty eatery in Boulder was telling my friend (and skilled photographer) Jen about his work in the kitchen. He was glowing with excitment explaining to her that they just spend their hours in the kitchen making everything from scratch, curing bacon, churning butter… I was intrigued. And a little jealous. Maybe very jealous would be more accurate. Churning butter: it sounded thrilling.

Not even a week later, the local food shop I love, In Season Local Market, posted something about heavy cream sourced from the dairy I love, Morning Fresh and what a local chef I also love (he doesn’t know) suggests to do with it in his weekly Denver Post column. I bought the cream and was warned by Shannon at In Season that making butter will become addictive. She was right.

I did not think it possible: making butter at home. But I swear it is first the easiest thing you can imagine and second a total miracle. The transformation is miraculous- quick and almost implausible to the cook who is used to cream being cream and butter coming from the store in a squarish box containing four individually wrapped 4 ounce sticks.

Ingredients: 1 quart Morning Fresh heavy cream, 1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional, of course)

Equipment, etc: KitchenAid mixer, whisk attachment; cheesecloth; wax/parchment paper.

Begin by whipping the cream on medium speed for about 5-10 minutes. Nothing fancy happens here-the cream slowly becomes whipped cream. As it hardens into stiffer whipped cream, it reaches a consistency close to that of a very light butter.

Keep mixing but stay close because there is a moment in which the cream becomes butter. Buttermilk will start splashing out of your bowl and you won’t even know what happened. Notice the magic that occurred in your bowl- the butter separated from the buttermilk. Turn off the mixer.

Drain off the buttermilk and reserve it. I used mine in these scones. Do keep in mind, however, that this beautiful homemade buttermilk has a thinner texture than the stuff you buy at the store. I added a few drops of lemon to mine to thicken it just a little. It worked great, but I still subtracted a couple of tablespoons of the buttermilk from the recipe to make sure my dough was not too runny.

Remove the butter from the whisk and the bowl and place it in strainer lined with cheesecloth. With a spatula, press on the butter to remove as much liquid as possible.Less liquid yields a creamier texture on the butter.Tie up the cheesecloth and hang the butter under its own weight to drain for about 20 minutes. Gently squeeze excess liquid or press again with a spatula to remove it.


If you want to use salt, place the butter in a bowl and work in the salt with a spoon.

Shape the butter into a log with a piece of wax paper. A quarter cream will yield about 10 ounces of butter. Store tightly wrapped and use in your favorite dishes!

Photography by Jennifer Olson

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  • Le

    Nice job making the butter! I remember back in school they use to make us make our own butter by simply shaking the cream in the bottle until it formed. I swear it took forever!

  • The Cilantropist

    Oh this is a great post. I have some recipes on my list that use buttermilk and so making the butter and using the reserved milk would be a perfect combo. :)

    How quickly does it turn? (to butter I mean, is it possible to overdo it?) I can't really remember making this in school, although I know I did…

  • Anonymous

    Might try this, although I don't have a mixer. Maybe I'll try the old-fashioned shaking method! I'll let you know how long it takes…


  • Andra

    I think the old fashioned method does take a while. In the mixer, about 20 minutes. It is a very fun twenty minutes watching the transformation.

  • lisasfoods

    I love homemade butter. When I worked on an organic farm/school several years ago, we used to teach the kids to make butter by pouring cream into a Mason jar and shaking it. It took about 30-40 minutes. Using a mixer would be so much easier!

  • LawMama

    I actually have a vintage glass jar butter churn but the kitchen aid is too wonderful an invention to ignore. I'll have to try this with the children soon!

  • Anonymous

    Ha, ha, Le, I remember making butter at school, too.