How to Make Butter from Cream

It is October 2020 as I write this. In the UK we were locked down for 6 months earlier this year due to COVID-19, and some products became difficult to get. Knowing how to make butter from cream is a handy skill to have when fresh products are in short supply.  And the way butter prices are rising, it can work out cheaper than shop bought, depending on where you buy your cream. But the best reason of all to make it is: homemade butter is delicious!

Making Butter at Home is Simple

Making butter is a very simple process. In fact it's so simple, you may have accidentally made it in the past without intending to. I posted about our homemade butter on Facebook and my friend told the story of how he worked as a commis chef when he was young. And how chef wasn’t impressed one day when he was supposed to be whipping cream, but my friend had a hangover and forgot to keep an eye on the mixer. So he ended up with 5 litres of unsalted butter instead! Which probably gives you a pretty good idea of how to make butter...

So it's a simple skill, yet almost a forgotten one. You don't need a butter maker a churn or anything like that. In fact you need very little equipment, and you probably have it all in your kitchen cupboards right now.

Making Salted Butter

The ingredients for salted butter are simply cream and sea salt. In addition to making the butter taste saltier, salt in butter prolongs its shelf life because the salt acts as a preservative. 

You can make unsalted butter of course. If that's what you want to do, simply leave the salt out. 

Added Bonus: Buttermilk

When you whip double cream to make butter, you also end up with buttermilk as a side product. Buttermilk is wonderful for baking quickbreads and in salad dressing.

Presenting your Homemade Butter

If you're in a hurry, you can simply shape your butter into a roll and wrap it in greaseproof paper. But you've gone to the trouble to make beautiful handmade butter, so let's push the boat out a bit. Why not use butter pat paddles to shape your butter? There are some beautiful vintage paddles on Etsy, or you can use new paddles if you prefer.

You can also mark your butter with a butter stamps. These were a traditional tool butter makers used, often a plant or flower design etched into a wooden stamp.  Simply dip the stamp in cold water, press it into your butter and it will look stunning. What a beautiful and unique gift to take when you are invited to a friend's house for dinner!

Finally, you can simply seal your butter in greaseproof paper with beautiful labels. If you don't fancy designing them yourself, you will always find someone on Fiverr who will be delighted to do it for you.

How long does Homemade Butter last?

If you make unsalted butter, it will last a few days in the fridge. If you add salt to it, the salt acts as a preservative. So salted butter will last more like 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

You can either make small amounts to last you the week, or larger amounts as butter freezes well. Just take out the amount you want from the freezer and it will defrost in a couple of hours.

How to make Butter from Cream

Makes about 300g of butter and approximately 240ml of uncultured buttermilk


600ml Fresh Double Cream

Sea Salt (optional - see above)


Hand mixer or stand mixer

Large Mixing Bowl


Butter Muslin to line the colander

Small basin into which to drain the buttermilk.

Bottle for the buttermilk.

Bowl or jug with cold, clear water to rinse the butter

Greaseproof paper in which to wrap the butter.


Pour the 600ml of cream into the large mixing bowl.

Whisk the cream with the hand mixer or in the stand mixer until it starts to look like scrambled eggs (see video below). This takes about 7 minutes with our hand mixer, depending on the cream.

Slow down your mixer from about 5 minutes onwards because as the butter milk separates, it splashes around quite a lot. Saves quite a bit of mess :)

When you have butter around your beaters and buttermilk sloshing around in your bowl, scrape the butter down into the bowl and give it a final mix.

Line the colander with the butter muslin and put it over the small bowl. 

Put the butter and buttermilk into the colander and drain out the buttermilk. Leave it to carry on draining for about 15 minutes.

Shape the butter in the muslin into a ball, squeeze the muslin so get out the remaining buttermilk.

Put the ball of butter in the muslin into the jug of cold water multiple times to rinse. Keep changing the water until it remains clear. That means there is no buttermilk left.

Pour the buttermilk into your bottle and label it so nobody puts it in their tea by mistake :) 

Wrap the butter in the greaseproof paper, and I like to put a label it with the date I made it.

Here's a video of Andy making butter in our kitchen.

Making your own butter is such a satisfying thing to do. Go on, you know you want to have a go!

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  • This is so cool, I did not realize how easy this would be to make!

  • Hi Anja, sooo simple and so good!

  • I love these simple to follow instructions! I’m planning to make my own butter very soon.

  • I always love a tutorial that reminds us how easy and simple some things can be. This is one of them!

  • Oh fab Suzy! Start them early! It’s a great skill to have :)


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