How to Make Butter and Buttermilk the Easy Way: Good for Molds and Flavored Butters

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by Cassie on February 9, 2012

We wanted to share how to make butter and buttermilk quickly and easily! Making homemade butter is rewarding because you can make some pretty and creative displays and more – or just have fun making your own butter. It also tastes so creamy and fresh! There nothing like homemade fresh butter on a warm piece of homemade bread.  It is super-comfort food :)

All you need for this recipe is whipping cream – in fact, it can’t really be called “a recipe” because it takes just one ingredient and is so simple to make!

You will also need a way to whip the whipping cream vigorously.  Here are some fun and practical ways:

  1. A glass jar with a lid and shake it vigorously for 10-30 minutes.  Our kids like to help and they pass the jar and it is a fun experiment for them too.  They do tire out, even passing between 4 of them, so one of us usually finishes it off!
  2. A Blender
  3. A food processor (our preferred method).

The process for how to make your own butter and buttermilk is around 15 minutes total.  If you are using a food processor, there is not much hands on attention required and only takes about 8-10 minutes!

How to make butter and buttermilk the easy way:

  • Pour the whipping cream in the food process and start your machine.  Let it run for about 8-10 minutes or until it looks a little yellowish and separates like this:

  • Once it gets to this state, you will want to drain the buttermilk off into a bowl

  • Then I like to run the food processor for another minute or two after pouring out the buttermilk for any final separation
  • Once it has ran for another minute, I finish it off by squeezing the butter with a spatula to allow and final buttermilk to drain off.  I squeeze several different times after folding it over between each squeeze.

  • Then simply scoop the butter out of the mixing bowl and refrigerate.  It will be very soft, but it will set to a hard set once it is refrigerated (like butter from the store – hard from the fridge or turns soft on the counter!).  We store it in a BPA-Free plastic bowl with a lid.

Also, you can use the butter in this soft state to either make a flavored butter or to mold it into shapes that you would like! We like to make butter shapes for special occasions (and sometimes just because the kids love it!).  We like using the silicone food molds as they are much easier to work with and easier to release the butter, etc.!

We are using heart shapes since it is close to Valentine’s Day ;) You can make individual shapes, or even one large shape.  As an example in this case, we could have used a large heart cookie cutter on a glass square pan and filled to the top of the cookie cutter with the soft butter and then refrigerate until hard.  Then we would have one large heart shaped butter!

You can see a whole slew of silicone molds for your butter whether large shapes or individual shapes for all seasons and occasions on Amazon HERE.  Some of these are really great prices and include free shipping too!

Finally, we love to use flavored butters on our different homemade breads. You can literally make so many numerous combinations, but here’s what we gravitate to most often:

  • Garlic Butter – mix into your soft butter to taste with garlic powder or even fresh garlic minced!
  • Herb Butter – mix into your soft butter your favorite combinations of dried or even finely minced fresh herbs
  • Chive Butter – mix fresh or dried chives into your butter
  • Honey butter – mix honey to taste into your butter
  • Fruit butters – we have also mixed jams with the butters to make a fruity combination
  • The possibilities are endless!

So, the next question is……Is it cheaper to make my own butter vs. buying it at the grocery store??

This is a GOOD question.  If you want to buy fancy butter in different shapes – then doing this yourself will most likely always save you money.  But honestly, we don’t do this often.  Most of the time we are making butter, it is because it is CHEAPER and because we will eat it no matter the pretty shape.

Here’s the criteria for making your own butter to save money:  Find out whether the whipping cream on sale?  Is the butter on sale?

With the above process, we used one pint of whipping cream.  This normally sells for around $2 each pint but you can regularly get it on sale for at least $1.50 or less.  So how much butter can you get out of one pint of whipping cream?  This pint makes around 1 cup of packed butter (or a little more). This would be equivalent to 2 sticks of butter. In addition, you also receive that nice buttermilk, which ends up being around 1 cup as well!

So the REAL answer to the question of “Is it cheaper to make my own butter?” is really going to depend on the sales each week.  If your store has an awesome butter sale, then buying the butter will probably be cheaper. If your store has a great whipping cream sale – then stock-up, make your butter and freeze it which means lots of savings for the next month or two! Also, watch for markdowns on both the regular and organic whipping creams.  We see these go on markdown quite frequently and this means even cheaper butter when you find those deals!

And the final question is…..What do you do with your homemade buttermilk?

You can google “recipes with buttermilk” and you will get tons of ideas.  We are going to reserve this for the next post to share what we have made with it, but we also want to hear some ideas from you too!

What recipes or ideas to you have that call for or use buttermilk? Also, share with us any of your own ideas for other  flavored butters you have made or molds you like to use.

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Alex & Cassie
 

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Desiree H February 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Thanks for posting this! Occasionally my 5 yo makes butter in a jar – but I never thought of doing larger batches and freezing it when cream is on sale. I LOVE that idea. Around how much salt do you guys like in it?

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thriftycas February 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

We actually don’t salt our butter. But salting does also help preserve it a little longer. I think just salting to taste or around a 1/2 tsp. for one pint.

We also go through it so quickly, that I don’t have to be concerned about going bad – lol!

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sarah shult February 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

i just Pinned this post! I LOVE reading your blog & just tried your detergent with the soap in the microwave and will also be trying making my own butter as well. Thanks for all the great money saving tips!

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Kiz February 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Very interersting. I might just have to try this.

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Sarah February 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I wonder if buttermilk freezes… I use “fake” buttermilk (milk soured with vinegar) in cakes and other baked goods, but it sometimes doesn’t work as well as others.

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Bridget February 10, 2012 at 6:42 am

Sounds great, I’m going to try it! Thanks.

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jennifer February 10, 2012 at 7:11 am

I love the recipes you guys share on here for homemade products. We will definitely try the homemade butter, and I am also going to try your laundry detergent. Thank you!!

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Judith February 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I love buttermilk all by itself – why waste it in a recipe where you can’t enjoy the great taste? :)

But here is a good recipe for Buttermilk Waffles from “Choices for a healthy heart” cookbook:
3 egg whites
1 egg yolk
2 cups buttermilk (it suggests 1%)
1 1/4 c. unbleached white flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp.salt
2 Tbsp. safflower oil

In a mixing bowl lightly beat egg whites and yolk. Add buttermilk and beat with wire whisk. Add remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth. Bake in a nonstick waffle iron until waffles are golden brown.

Enjoy!!! I often make these ahead and freeze them so I can pop them out and heat in the toaster or microwave for a quick healthy meal (or snack).

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Leslie January 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm

I agree, Judith! I love buttermilk all by itself, too. I was thinking of making the butter just so I could have the buttermilk. I wonder if I need to add anything to the buttermilk…

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momofsix February 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Biscuits, of course! :)

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Lewann Rice February 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Wow I never knew you could make butter from whipping cream! So I will be trying this very soon! Thank you!

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tamara March 5, 2012 at 11:11 am

Hi there a great use for the butter milk is to make home made butter milk pancake batter and you can store it in the fridge so all you have to do in the morning is shake it up, if it is a little thick add a bit of regular milk , heat your greased pan and there you go. So much healthier we make organic batter (buttermilk pankcakes with vanilla in the batter!) and now we will be making organic buttermilk to go in the batches and butter to go on them!
Thanks so much and love the laundry soaps!!
Tamara

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Dueley Lucas March 11, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I will definitely try this recipe for homemade butter as soon as i can get to the store and purchase the whipping cream. My family loves butter and this seems to be as close to the butter that my grandmother and mother used to make. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and thrifty ways to save.

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thriftycas March 12, 2012 at 7:40 am

We go through a lot of butter, but with this, we usually end up making a lot more and are able to freeze it as well to use later too!

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Pam @ Ramblings of a Happy Homemaker March 12, 2012 at 5:46 am

This is seriously cool! Thank you for sharing the idea about watching for sales on whipping cream verses butter sales. I try to use really good butter (Kerry Gold), but still buy regular butter for those times when I’m making a recipe that calls for quite a bit of it. I never thought that making it could actually be cheaper (and healthier)! I also usually have buttermilk on hand, too, so this would be a definite savings for me. I use buttermilk in biscuits, cornbread and pancakes mostly. Thanks again for a great lesson. :0)

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thriftycas March 12, 2012 at 7:38 am

Awesome! We are glad it sparked more savings ideas :) It is so easy, our 7 year old is actually the official butter maker and she loves it when we bring home whipping cream!

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Dueley Lucas April 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I loved this idea and went directly to the store for whipping cream. I bought 2 containers. I made 2 batches using my food processor. The first batch I used a pinch of salt. Whipped it as per your directions and it came out perfect. However, the milk that drained from the butter was too salty to use. The second batch I made I left out the salt and the drained liquid was fine and I can use it for other things. The butter from this batch was just slightly different in taste, but delicious!

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William Behun March 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

The trick is to salt the butter after its been processed so you don’t run off all the salt in your buttermilk.

Also remember that this buttermilk is different from “cultured buttermilk” which has been soured.

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Nancy W. August 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I will have to try this for sure. I like to add cold buttermilk to a bowl with some cornbread in it and moosh it all up to eat together. Sometimes I’ll add a bit of honey. I think I did that the first time after reading the book “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”. One of the characters did that, and it sounded so good!

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Sherrie April 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm

My mom used to eat cornbread and buttermilk after dinner. She loved it! She actually gave my (then) 2 or 3 year-old niece a very tiny bite from the bottom of her coffee cup (my niece walked up to her and wanted a bite) and that poor baby gagged and coughed for what seemed like an eternity!!

Mom has been gone for almost 16 years and my niece is now grown and an amazing mother of two but I still love reminding her of how she gagged on Mamaw’s after dinner “dessert” LOL! Thank you for reminding me of this Southern tradition! It brought back good memories!

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Lori at Frugal Edmknton Mama September 15, 2012 at 12:03 am

What a great idea for these molds. We have ten of these I use for everything from up cycled crayons to ice!

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Cassie September 15, 2012 at 7:59 am

I hadn’t thought about using them to make crayon shapes. We actually recycle our old crayons in an old muffin tin and make “cookie crayons.” The kids love it! I might consider trying them in the molds too though. That would be fun. Thanks for that idea!

Here’s our cookie crayons post: http://thethriftycouple.com/2010/10/28/thrifty-kids-thursday-recycled-cookie-crayons/

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renee January 25, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Question? How do you get it out of the molds? and how do you get it to set up in the molds to be able to get it out without turning it into a blob lol?

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William Behun March 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

Easy answer: freezer! Butter freezes nicely, and this will allow you to turn the butter out of the molds with no problems.

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Sherrie April 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm

I use whipping cream A LOT for cooking but never made butter (I actually knew you could do this from culinary school but never did it…how silly of me)! I’ll be buying an extra pint or two (but most of the time I buy the quart containers) to make unsalted REAL butter (I use unsalted real butter all the time, the fake butter is nasty and it’s getting to be really expensive). My plan for storage is to use recycled sour cream containers for smaller batches (16 oz) and for larger batches I’ll most likely form them into 8 tablespoon “logs” to use like sticks of butter and wrap with wax paper and freeze until needed. Thanks again for the great ideas!

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Cassie April 22, 2013 at 8:02 am

Good ideas! I haven’t thought about using recycled containers for storage, but I do make my own “logs” and freeze in wax paper and plastic wrap and then store in a container in the fridge when I am using it.

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KP February 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm

How much buttermilk comes from processing 1 pt of heavy cream? I was thinking of starting to make my own homemade salad dressings. This might be a nice use of the buttermilk…

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KP February 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Oops. I just looked again and saw the answer. Do you have any good homemade buttermilk ranch recipes??

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Cassie February 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Hi KP – This is our favorite homemade dressing made with Buttermilk: http://thethriftycouple.com/2012/04/02/homemade-buttermilk-ranch-recipe-easy-to-make-and-yummy-to-eat/

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Edith Ann Mayberry-McGill February 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Its very interesting ..

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Anne Gunn February 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm

I like butter as much as the next person. I also like Wikipedia. It took me just seconds to confirm that diabetes, heart disease and cancer have been known to men and women since at least the time of the Greeks. I hope you’ll change your post.

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Cassie February 20, 2014 at 8:07 am

Hi Anne,

Thanks for your comment, but I am confused as I don’t see anywhere above about us talking about any health issues or Wikipedia? Can you please tell us what you are reading here on this post?

Thanks!

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Bree July 9, 2014 at 10:47 am

She is referring to this i believe, not your article (silly anne!) i put as my website, which is how a bunch of us found this

i for one love this idea! thanks for sharing it!

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Judy April 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

Like this, I had forgotten about making butter this way. I have a recipe that calls for whipping cream, and you use your mixer to mix it just till it starts to turn to butter, then add a little powdered sugar, and 1 pint of strawberries, to make strawberry butter. You could probably omit the sugar or sub. honey if you want it sweeter. It is terrific. Thanks for jogging my memory!

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Susan P June 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Try using the buttermilk to make Crème Fraîche. :)

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Dejah July 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Thank you tremendously for posting this! I have often wondered how this was done aside from the old-fashioned churner!

Question: though we store our sticks of butter in the fridge, we always have a covered butter dish on the counter that remains at room temperature for spreading on toast or such. We’ve never had it go bad (at least that we’re aware of!) but know knowing this particularly simple recipe, I am wondering if the room-temp storage is a big no-no. Your thoughts?

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Judy July 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Hi, I do not have a food processor so could you please give me the recipe using a blender. Love your posts. Thanks.

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