How to Make Butter in Less than 30 Minutes

Have you ever ended up with a half carton of heavy whipping cream after a baking project? In the past, I’ve always kept it around, just in case I found a use for it…and, 3 weeks later, it would end up in the trash. What a waste! But never again. I am here to tell you, all you need are the following 2 things to make homemade butter (and it’s so ridiculously easy!):

And if you don’t have a fancy stand mixer, any electric mixer will work. (Or a whisk, but it may take you a few hours…) After I learned you can easily turn heavy whipping cream into butter, I invited a friend over for the fun. (My text: “Are you free this afternoon? I’m thinking about making butter.” Jess: “Best text ever – what time should I head over?”)

When Jess was in the Peace Corps, she lived in rural Moldova, where they made butter by milking a cow and putting the milk into an empty gallon jug. Then you shake it, up and down, back and forth, up and down, repeating for a long time. And after all that effort? It didn’t taste good! So, while she was excited to see how we could do this the modern way, she was skeptical of how it would taste.

Step 1: Put heavy whipping cream into stand mixer bowl (I used the whisk attachment). Mix on high. Scrape down the edge of the bowl as needed.

After a few minutes, you’ll get whipped cream (see picture at top left). After a few more minutes, it will thicken even more (see top right). Keep going – after around 10 minutes it started turning slightly yellow and chunky looking (see bottom left). When you see liquid separating from the mixture (that’s buttermilk), you’re done mixing (see bottom right).

Step 2: Put whipped cream into a colander (if you want to save the buttermilk, place a bowl underneath the colander). Push a bit with a spatula. Don’t worry about getting all the buttermilk out – that’s what the next step is for.

(Pictured at left: look, it’s a rare picture of me! Although it’s my back. Not trying to be anonymous, I just never have a 2nd photographer. At right: the mixture will look like scrambled eggs at this point. It’s a little weird but I promise it will get better.)

Step 3: This is the fun part! Run cold water over the butter and squeeze out all the liquid. Repeat until the water runs clear and you end up with butter which feels like clay or play dough. Draw a happy face in your finished butter.

(More anonymous pictures of me! Here are my hands rinsing and squeezing the butter. It’s actually really fun to play with.)

Step 4: Enjoy! You can mix in salt if you want. Oh, and it tasted much better than the homemade butter in Moldova. It pretty much tasted exactly like store bought butter to us.

Also, I started with around 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream and got around 1/3 cup of butter.

So, now I have 1/3 cup of butter. What should I do with it?

23 Comments on How to Make Butter in Less than 30 Minutes

  1. LauraT
    January 6, 2011 at 11:40 am (11 years ago)

    That’s definitely a good use for extra whipping cream….what about extra buttermilk? same concept?

  2. Jessi
    January 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm (11 years ago)

    For butter milk combine 1:4 ratio of butter milk to whole milk, simmer on low to med heat for 15 min or so -NO STIRRING wait until the buttermilk starts to separate around the edges, you will see it. Then strain and you have beautiful ricotta. I like to stir in some honey and enjoy with nuts and berries for breakfast. Or and olive oil and a touch of lemon zest for a nice crostini topping.

  3. Medeja
    January 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm (11 years ago)

    Wonderful post 🙂
    I just last week threw old whipping cream out .. 🙂

  4. Stephanie
    January 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm (11 years ago)

    Jessi – thanks for the info! That’s great because buttermilk is the other thing I’ll often get for a recipe and not use up.

  5. Annie
    January 7, 2011 at 4:50 am (11 years ago)

    This is so cool! I never would have thought of making my own butter fun it actually looks like fun. I always end up with left over whipping cream that gets thrown away. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Belinda @zomppa
    January 7, 2011 at 5:04 am (11 years ago)

    I’m so going to try this. I ALWAYS have some partial carton sitting and don’t know what to do with it! That butter sure looks happy. Do you think this works with heavy cream?

  7. Stephanie
    January 7, 2011 at 10:14 am (11 years ago)

    Belinda – I think heavy cream would work just fine. As far as I know, the only difference between heavy cream and heavy whipping cream (if there is one) is a slight difference in fat content.

  8. Tiffany
    January 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh my! How awesome!

  9. Jess
    January 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm (11 years ago)

    Such delicious and happy butter! Such a great way to spend an afternoon. Looking forward to next weeks-

  10. Sarah
    January 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m so doing this with some whipping cream left over from the holidays. Looks awesome. Thanks for the process photos. Will totally help. (Did you paint your nails for this post? They look pretty.)

  11. Wheels
    January 11, 2011 at 9:50 am (11 years ago)

    That looks so good, Stephie!

  12. Trish
    January 15, 2011 at 9:47 am (11 years ago)

    What a great, informative post. I’ve always wanted to make homemade butter. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

  13. angi
    January 18, 2011 at 5:30 pm (11 years ago)

    I’ve definitely trashed my share of half-full heavy cream cartons but no more! 🙂 Thanks for this excellent post!

  14. hannah
    January 18, 2011 at 6:28 pm (11 years ago)

    omg steph you made my favorite food!!

  15. cyndlyn
    July 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm (9 years ago)

    So awesome, I LOVE butter and hate waste!!! Can the butter be frozen?

    • Stephanie
      July 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm (9 years ago)

      @cyndlyn – I don’t see why not, since you can freeze store-bought butter. Enjoy!

  16. Grace
    November 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm (9 years ago)

    Do you know if you bought organic cream and made butter, would it be cheaper or more expensive than buying organic butter?

    • Stephanie
      November 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm (9 years ago)

      Grace, I’m not sure – it depends on how much cream and butter cost where you live. I’d go to the store and compare prices (and take into consideration that 2/3 cup of whipping cream made 1/3 cup butter when I made it). Let me know if it ends up being cheaper or not for you – now I’m curious!

  17. Nova
    August 16, 2013 at 6:00 am (8 years ago)

    A tip; get two or three gallons of reverse osmosis water for rinsing and have a helper pour it slowly. Where I live it’s 25 cents per gallon in the fill-a-container water station in the soda aisle of our local grocery store. The last thing you want in your butter is toxic pollutants like fluoride, chlorine and general contamination.

  18. Wendy
    August 8, 2016 at 10:34 am (5 years ago)

    I will so have to try this…not to mention the homemade ricotta as well!


3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on How to Make Butter in Less than 30 Minutes

  1. […] week I made homemade butter, which turned out to be extremely easy and tastes just like commercial butter. I wanted to do […]

  2. […] crazy. (My coworkers even laughed at me.) But this weekend I was inspired by Stephanie (over at 52 Kitchen Adventures) to use that leftover Heavy Whipping Cream from the holidays and transform it into homemade butter. […]

  3. […] times for my family and they have loved it.  I usually make my own butter with it (which i learned here). […]

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