How to Make Butter on Your Homestead: 2 Easy Ways

Butter is one of those items that almost everyone has in their kitchen.

We use it as a spread on sandwiches, crackers, or toast and put it in our pans whenever we are frying something up.

How to make butter on your homestead

But have you ever made butter yourself?

I have not.

I used to think I needed access to fresh milk, and a large wooden churn and spend hours mixing it and preparing it. 

The traditional way of making butter may have been a bit labor-intensive but I recently read an article on how to make homemade butter and I was shocked at how simple it was. 

The article was posted on Toriavery.com and her article can be viewed here. The article did a good job of briefly explaining the history behind butter and the process for making it at home. 

Now, there are several different methods or recipes for making butter at home and some are more involved than others. 

However, since I have never made it before I wanted to use the most basic method.  

After reading the above article, I was very dubious that making butter at home could be so simple and I had to give it a try. 

I hope you enjoy the following account of me making butter at home for the very first time. 

Making Butter at Your Homestead: 2 Simple Methods

Prep Time= 5 minutes 

Cook Time= Up to 30 minutes

What You Will Need

  • Mixing Bowl 
  • Mixer 
  • Spatula 
  • Container with ice water 
  • Container to put the butter in
  • Salt 

Mixing it All Together

Once you have all the supplies gathered and ready to go, it is time to make some homemade butter!

The first thing I did was pour one pint of heavy whipping cream into the mixing bowl. 

Place the mixer into the bowl and turn it onto the low setting.

I used a hand mixer but if you have access to a stand mixer, I recommend using that instead. The only reason for this is that it is easier to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula when using a stand mixer.  

Mix the heavy cream until it begins to thicken and starts to look like meringue.

Another way to tell that the cream is thickening is to quickly pull some out with a spoon. If the spot you pulled it out from forms a peak of cream that stands on its own, you know the mixing is progressing. 

This first stage of thickening probably took about five minutes of mixing.

From here, I bumped the mixer speed up to medium and continued mixing everything. 

If you have a hand mixer like me, you may need to periodically stop and use a spatula to scrape the sides down. While I did not stop mixing for long, I did notice that the total mix time seemed to take me longer than what I read about.

Eventually, as the butter and buttermilk separate you will notice the mixture will start taking on a yellow color. The yellow is the butterfat. 

From the initial thickening of the cream until the butter began separating took around fifteen minutes of mixing. It took another ten minutes of mixing before it was completely separated.

Since this was the first time I have ever made butter I was not exactly sure when to stop, but I took a pretty good guess. 

The mixture will go from heavy cream, which is a bit fluid, to a thicker consistency like meringue.

Then the butter and buttermilk begin to separate, this is when I first noticed the mixture turned yellow.

To finally the butter and buttermilk completely separating. 

When the butter is completely separated the fat will condense into solid yellow globs.  

Also, when they are separated the liquid buttermilk will start to make a big mess if you continue to mix and it is at this point, I knew I was done mixing. 

Rinsing the Butter

The last step in the recipe is to remove as much buttermilk as possible and to rinse the butter with ice cold water. 

I used a spatula to hold the butter in the bowl while I poured the buttermilk off into another bowl.

The buttermilk can be poured down the drain or it can be saved and used in another recipe. Some people will drink it and I decided to give it a try. Maybe it is just me, but I thought it tasted like skim milk. 

Once the buttermilk has been poured off, scrape the butter out of the mixing bowl and place it into a separate container.

Use a spatula and press the butter down to help separate any remaining buttermilk. 

Now, to get rid of as much buttermilk as possible, it needs to be rinsed with ice-cold water.

To do this simply pour some ice water over the butter and use a spatula to press down on the butter.

At first, the water will turn a milky white color as any remaining buttermilk mixes with it, but eventually the rinse water will stay clear. 

Pouring off the rinse water is easy because the butter sticks to the container while the milky colored fluid is poured off.

Repeat this process until the fluid is clear. I had to rinse the butter in this manner four times before the fluid became clear. 

When the rinse water stays clear, drain off the remaining liquid and transfer the butter to a new, dry container.

Season to Taste!

All that is left is to add the desired amount of salt and mix it in with a spatula. 

I ended up adding approximately one- and one-half tablespoons of salt. 

The result is an incredibly super creamy butter that truly melts in your mouth. 


Alternative Heavy Cream Method

If you find yourself without a mixer or wanting to use this method in a low-tech way, this can be done without any power. 

In fact, a similar process to this was how butter was made for a long time. 

All you will need for this technique is the heavy whipping cream and a jar with a lid

A glass jar works best because you can quickly see the progression of the mixing process. 

Pour the heavy cream into the jar but be sure to leave a little headspace. 

Tightly seal the jar and begin shaking. And shaking and shaking. 

Eventually, this will separate the butter from the buttermilk just like the above process.

But it does take a lot of energy and time and maybe sometime soon I will try this method. But for now, I will stick with my mixer.  


Wrap Up

It has been a few days now since I made my first batch of homemade butter and it is going quick! 

Every time that I go into the kitchen, I cannot help but spread a little more butter on some crackers or a piece of bread. 

I think part of its appeal is that I made it, which I will admit put a smile on my face. But homemade butter really does taste amazing!

If you enjoy butter and are curious about making it, I highly recommend this super easy recipe. In all honesty, if I can do it, anyone can! 

Thanks for reading! 

Have you ever made butter at home? What do you think of the process or what recipe did you use? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!



Written by Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. Recently, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide and Paracord Projects For Camping which is scheduled to be released March 2, 2021 Read more of Bryan's articles.