How to make Butter Step by Step (with Photos!)

Believe it or not, making butter at home isn’t a complicated task at all. Focus on getting the following basics right, and you’re all set.

How is Butter Made Step by Step Process

Step 1

Use fresh, heavy cream.

Heavy cream has the highest fat percentage, making it easier to turn into butter. For a distinctive flavor, try buying raw cream from your local dairy store.  If you can’t find this, vat-pasteurized cream will give you the best flavor, followed by pasteurized cream, with ultra-pasteurized cream as a last resort.

Use Sugar-Free Cream

The fat percentage on the cream will tell you how much of the cream will turn into butter. We recommend a minimum of 35%.

Step 2

If you have an electric mixer, chill a large bowl of water. A colder bowl can prevent the butter from melting. You can also chill a second container at this stage, especially if your tap water is on the warm side.

Step 3

Pour the fresh cream into the bowl. Don’t fill it all the way. That’s because the cream will expand with air before turning into butter.

Step 4

Add cultures for a bolder flavor and easier churning. If you miss this step, you’ll end up with sweet cream butter. This one is a mildly flavored variety that you find in all commercial butter sold in USA and UK.  If you want a stronger flavor, similar to butter sold in Europe, introduce a light, acidic fermentation to make “cultured butter”. This acid also helps speed up fat and liquid breakdown and shortens the churning time.

Here’s another good option:

Add either plain yogurt or buttermilk with added cultures. You can use one tablespoon of these ingredients for each cup of cream.

Alternatively, you can buy mesophilic cheese culture online. Mix in ⅛ tsp for every liter of cream.

Step 5

Leave the cultured cream at room temperature. If you added cultures, let the cream sit for up to 72 hours. The cream is cultured once it is thick, foamy, and smells tangy.

Step 6

Churn or shake the cream.

Churn the handle for up to 10 minutes. Churning is quite easy and efficient with a properly built butter churn. You can also buy an electric mixer and use the whisk attachment on low to prevent spatter. Otherwise, seal the cream in a jar and shake it. Mixing takes up to 3 minutes, while shaking takes roughly 15 to 20 minutes.

Protip: To speed up the shaking process, drop a small glass marble into the jar before shaking.

Step 7

Look out for changes in cream consistency. Here are the main stages as you mix it:

  • Frothy or thick cream.
  • Soft peaks.
  • Stiff peaks.
  • The cream will start to look granular, and become pale yellow.
  • Finally, the cream will suddenly break into butter and buttermilk.

Step 8

Pour the buttermilk into a different container, and save it for use in some other recipes. Continue to mix the butter and pour off more buttermilk s it appears. Stop churning once the mixture looks and tastes like butter.

Step 9

Mix in salt or herbs (this is purely optional). Add sea salt to taste if you enjoy eating salted butter. Homemade butter is delicious on its own, but you can try some ingredients for variety. Consider dried finely minced garlic or dried herbs. You can also make a sweet spread by mixing in honey until smooth.

Be aware that these flavors may taste stronger after freezing and thawing the butter.

Step 10

Store the butter in the refrigerator or freezer. Homemade butter can stay fresh in the fridge for at least a week, and up to four weeks if pressed out all the buttermilk.  In the freezer, unsalted butter will stay fresh for about five or six months, while salted butter can last as long as ten months before the taste is affected.

Additional Info: Butter Making Process

Let us now learn more about the butter making process and whether it’s good for your health

1. Skimming cream from milk: In previous times, milk would be left for as much time as required for the cream to reach the surface. It rose because it is made of fat and is comparatively less dense than other milk components. However, it was impractical to wait around when technology could speed up this step. Nowadays, to be more time-efficient, factories use centrifugation to separate cream from milk.

2. Churning: This is the process of shaking up cream till the milk fat sticks to each other in clumps (butter. When this happens, you’ll notice the fat separates from the liquid portion, better known as buttermilk. You drain the buttermilk and churn the butter even more till it’s ready to be packed and stored in a refrigerator. 

Potential Risks of Butter

Butter is quite high in calories and fat — including satured fat, which is associated to heart disease.

Use butter sparingly, especially if you have heart condition or are looking to cut back on calories. The American Heart Association’s recommendation is to limit consumption of saturated fats.

What Alternatives Can You Opt?

If you’ve decided to lower your butter intake or quit it entirely, we have ample other options for you. However, each of these depends on your use – cooking, baking, or to have with toast.

1.   Olive Oil

Olive oil is an exceptionally healthy alternative for butter as it mainly contains monounsaturated fats. These reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, unlike saturated fats found in high amounts in butter.

When working with a recipe that requires cooking on the stove, you can easily use olive oil in place of butter. And when you’re lightly charring meat or vegetables, they turn out amazing. Keep in mind: you don’t have to use olive oil in the same ratio as butter. Even a little of it goes a long way!

2.   Applesauce

If you’re looking for a baking substitute, applesauce is the way to go. It is a low-fat source of vitamins and thus healthier than butter.

We recommend replacing half of the amount of butter with applesauce when baking cookies, muffins, etc. However, when baking bread, you can swap applesauce entirely for a more moist loaf.

3.   Avocado

Avocado is another nutritional supplement for butter, not only for your morning toast but even baked goods. It replaces butter’s saturated fat with monounsaturated fat and is thus super healthy for your heart.


1. How much is one stick of butter when melted?

One stick of butter equals about eight tablespoons or ½ cup.

2. Is margarine healthier than store-bought butter?

Yes, margarine is healthier than butter. It’s derived from vegetable oils, so it contains unsaturated fats. These include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Consuming these instead of saturated fat in butter will help in reducing bad cholesterol.

3. Is store-bought butter healthier than oil?

No. Oils like canola and olive are healthier options compared to butter and even margarine. We suggest you use these oils as replacements, but make sure to watch the amounts as calories add up rapidly.

4. Does store-bought butter need to be refrigerated?

Yes. It’s best to keep whipped, unsalted, or unpasteurized butter in the refrigerator to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. Plus, it also delays oxidation, which makes butter go bad.

5. Can melted butter become solidified?

Yes. When you melt butter, you will notice foam develop at the surface. These are milk solids (that give butter its taste) after they separate from the fat and rise upwards. This solution will definitely solidify upon refrigerating. However, it won’t have the same texture as a stick of butter.

6. Is all butter the same?

No. All butter isn’t the always same as it differs in both taste and fat percentage. If your butter is sweet, it came from fresh milk. On the other hand, if it has a slight tang, then it came from curdled milk.

7. How can I tell if my butter is spoiled?

If your butter has gone bad, it’ll give out a foul smell. You’ll also notice some changes in its texture and color discoloration from yellow to brown. Another good indicator of spoiled food is mold.

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