Homemade Sweet Cream Butter: Easier Than You Ever Imagined

Make your own sweet cream butter at home—it’s easier than you think!

Homemade sweet cream butter with a pitcher of cream.

Making homemade sweet cream butter is easier than you might think!

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1. For the most delicious sweet cream butter, start with high-quality cream. To find a local dairy near you, check the state-by-state listings at Eat Wild.

2. Whip the cream by any means necessary. You can sit down at an old-fashioned butter churn or simply switch on your KitchenAid or hand mixer. As you mix, the cream will transform into whipped cream. But don’t stop there unless there’s an ice-cream sundae nearby! Keep going, and you’ll see that the fluffy cream begins to get a bit yellow and grainy. Keep going, and the butterfat will eventually separate out of the cream.

3. Drain off the liquid and use this low-fat buttermilk in your next baked goods, smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal (it will keep in the fridge for a few days). Continue mixing and draining until you no longer see trails of white buttermilk seeping out of your butter. Add some cold water and beat a little bit more until all the water weeps out.

4. Add salt if you like, to taste, and refrigerate. Voila—homemade butter! Homemade sweet cream butter stays good refrigerated for about a week.

If you want to get a little fancier with your homemade butter, try culturing the milk first for a tangy European-style butter, or shape the rendered butter into molds. Learn more in How to Make Butter and Buttermilk.


Old-fashioned cooking allows you to use real ingredients and savor deeper flavors. Find out more in our Old-Fashioned Cooking Guide.

rebecca sewell
2/14/2013 3:16:26 PM

When I lived in the Colorado mountains and was milking several goats and a cow twice a day, every day, for months at a time, I would strain and pasteurize it to 165F (sorry, I'm not into drinking raw milk that's had bits of hair and manure floating in it, and there was NO WAY to keep it out when hand-milking in an open, dusty barn without spending hours grooming the animals), then set the milk in a gallon straight-sided pitcher in the fridge to cool. By the next milking, there would be a thick layer of cream on top, which I could skim off with a spoon and save for butter-making. (The skimmed milk made great goat-milk soap, which takes a lot of milk to do!) When I had a couple of quarts saved, I'd fill my kitchen blender about 2/3 full - I'd already tried the butter churn and shaking some in a jar, both cold and at room-temp - they all took too much time and energy, and I had more important things to do than sit for hours and shake or crank. I'd turn the blender on WHIP and leave it there until the cream was fully whipped, then just leave it running until the butterfat started to gather in clumps. I'd pour the buttermilk (essentially skim milk) back into the milk pitcher for drinking later - it didn't affect the flavor at all - then keep blending the butter, at slower speeds, until it was nothing but a ball of pure butter with a little milk running around in the bottom of the jar, which also got poured off. Once the butterfat was all gathered into the ball, I'd dump it into my antique wooden butter bowl and work it with the wooden paddle (you could use a wooden cutting board and wooden spoon) until there was no more milk in the butter - you push it back and forth to squeeze out all the buttermilk. Salt it lightly if you wish and work that into it evenly, and you're done! I tried using my family-heirloom antique wooden butter molds, but if the temperature of the butter wasn't just right, more would stick to the mold than come out easily, so I just packed it in small plastic tubs and froze what I couldn't use right away - it spoils within a week or so, and small containers make sense unless you're cooking with a lot of it, or have a large family.


linda livengood
2/8/2013 5:55:16 PM

you can also put the cream in a jar and shake it...and shake it...and shake it...a really fun project for kids( as well as adults, I may add)