Easy Homemade Butter

5 Ingredients or Less, Cook, How-To, Learn, Try This at Home, Weekend Project

This post comes to us courtesy of Chi Dixon, blogger at Chi’s Food.

 

I love butter. Never mind its reputation for being fattening or otherwise a diet no-no — butter is one of those fats that adds an unmistakable umami to foods. Hang the diet, it’s worth the cheat.

 

It seems lately the trend is toward artisanal butters, hand churned, small batch, locally sourced and all that jazz. My local grocer carries more brands of butter than might be absolutely necessary – some with names that evoke milkmaids with wooden churning devices wearing clogs and smiling as they do the physical labor required to turn fresh milk into creamy homemade butter.

 

I am not that rustic.

 

Besides, making fresh butter is way easier than that. It takes all of maybe 15 minutes, start to finish, and most of that time is dedicated to expelling the extra liquid from the final product.

 

Easy Homemade Butter

 

One pint of heavy cream, not half-and-half – real heavy cream. The fat content of the cream is what smashes together to make the butter, so no substituting here.

 

Salt to taste – generally somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/4 tsp. is sufficient. You can always undersalt and add more later, but there’s no extracting salt from over-salted butter. I actually skip the salt altogether and add it back later during cooking or when mixing in flavors.

 

Pour the cream into a food processor and blend on the highest setting. First the liquid will turn into whipped cream, then as you keep going, you’ll see it begin to reduce in volume as the milk fats start to bind together. 

 

 

Keep a sharp eye on the process and you’ll see the butter start to form crumbles and you’ll notice a fair amount of liquid begin to gather — this is the BEST buttermilk you’ll ever taste; think of it as a little treat for the cook.
Once the crumbles start to form, your butter is done. Pour the contents from the mixer into a cheesecloth or cotton kitchen towel over a bowl and squeeze to compress the butter and strain the buttermilk. (I highly recommend chilling that buttermilk for a bit — it’s really delicious ice cold.)Fill another bowl with water and a bit of ice, plunge the cloth-wrapped butter into the ice bath and squeeze some more. You want to extract as much of the buttermilk from the solids as possible, as it’s the key to ensuring the butter will last longer; the ice water will help make the butter a bit easier to handle.
There you go – you now have a lump of deliciously sweet creamy homemade butter! You’ll want to use it up relatively quickly. I find that if I get all the liquid out and store it correctly (with a tight-fitting lid int he refrigerator) it usually lasts about a week to ten days. Alternately, you can wrap the butter in wax paper and stick it in the freezer to save for later use.

 

As a special treat, you can make spectacular flavored butters. Try one of the suggestions below and add as much or as little of the flavor elements as you like. Most importantly, have fun!

  • Lemon butter: Add the zest from one large lemon — fantastic with powdered sugar atop French toast.
  • Cinnamon and sugar butter: Add cinnamon and sugar and spread on a warm piece of whole wheat toast.
  • Chive butter: Add fresh chives, a clove of garlic, sage and flat-leaf parsley, all finely chopped. Serve a generous scoop on top of a rib-eye steak.
  • Honey butter: Add honey for a sweet treat to smear on fresh popovers.
  • Strawberry butter: Add crushed dehydrated strawberries, perfect for melting into the squares of a warm waffle.
  • Spiced nut-raisin butter: Add golden raisins, walnuts, sugar and 5-spice powder to make a savory schmear for a bagel.

 

Enjoy!

 

About the author: Chi didn’t realize she could cook until she was well into her 20’s – then she discovered that it was one of the things she liked doing the most! As a top 100 contestant on MasterChef season 2, Chi discovered her hobby was more of a passion and has been exploring this passion since. Her objective is to de-mystify cooking and make it approachable and fun for anyone with the desire to set foot in the kitchen.

16 comments about “Easy Homemade Butter

  1. Ally

    I’m sure this is a labor of love! Looks great and love the different butter flavors…but, I think I’ll stick w/buying it for now! Great job, Chi!!!! :) xoxo Allyb

    Reply
  2. Rebekah Garneau

    Hey Chi, You go girl. I will be your ardent reader. Looking forward to your blog entries. Love ya….

    Reply
  3. Kristin Chun

    yum! thanks for such a comprehensive explanation as well as the additional recipes!

    Reply
  4. KC Quaretti

    Wow Chi, I never thought of making my own butter but you have made it sound so easy! And your flavored butters sound wonderful! Chi, I also really enjoyed the way you write!
    KC

    Reply
  5. Judy Gould

    I plan on using this in my Adult Education cooking class. I’m sure they would love to learn this technique!

    Reply
  6. JoAnn

    I have been wanting to try making my own butter for a while and after reading this I am doing it in the next few days! Thanks!!

    Reply
  7. Liz Keen

    So with the food processor which blade do I use the sharp metal one or the plastic one?

    Reply
  8. Pat Brinker

    Haven’t made home made butter since I was a little girl. That was a long time ago, when I would turn the crank for my Mother and Grandmother. It is the best !

    Reply
  9. Chi Dixon

    @Liz – I use a chopper so the metal blade is the only one I have any experience with. The idea is to make the fats smash into each other till they solidify so honestly I can’t imagine it would be too different using either.
    @Matt – keep churning – you want to focus on the flavor more than the color, fresh butter is actually quite pale (my camera is not the best so the color might be off) – if you really want yellow color, you can add a couple drops of food color, but it’s really not entirely necessary!

    Reply
  10. Diana smith hill

    I never realized it was so easy to make butter! I will be making it now! Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Robbyn

    Butter is SOOOO expensive, but heavy cream is still reasonable – I have made my own cheese (pretty labor intensive) but this is something I could while doing other jobs in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  12. Nora

    Could I use a blender for this….and how much does this make? How much Heavy Cream do you use?

    Reply

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