Making Butter At Home – Part One

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Making butter at home is really easy and will save you a lot of money if you have your own supply of milk. If you don’t have your own milk supply you might be able to find a farmer nearby that supplies farm fresh milk with the cream. Let’s make some butter!

homemade butter in the colander


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Over here we don’t have regular TV so we tend to watch a lot of old Andy Griffith shows on dvd. The boys love them. I happen to love the vintageness of them. Is that a word? Sometimes I find myself so amazed at how realistic all of the vintageness seems… and then I realize it was real.

I know you are wondering what Andy Griffith has to do with making butter, but I’m getting to that.

I just love it when the egg and butter man comes by to chat with Aunt Bee and drop off her eggs and butter for the week. How much better does it get than having the egg and butter man pay a weekly visit?

When I was growing up we still had milk delivery. I remember  the milk man left a glass gallon jar of milk by our back door a couple of days a week.  My mama always put the empty jar out by the door the night before so that he could pick it up. I’m pretty sure I still have one of those old milk jars somewhere.

Things sure have changed a lot since way back then.

But at our house the milk man still brings a gallon of milk to our door every morning.

Here he is headed out to collect the milk.

Headed out to milk the cow

I milk occasionally, but my job happens to be to take some of that luscious cream and turn it into butter.

See, I told you we’d get to butter making.

So here is how I make my butter at home.


I’m just going to say here that we have our own milk cow and we drink our milk raw. My husband grew up milking a cow and drinking the milk, but I did not. I was totally a city girl when we married.

Since I grew up drinking milk that appeared by the back door twice a week, I thought that we probably should be “safe” and pasteurize our milk. At that time I knew nothing about how much that harms the milk or how much healthier raw milk is for you.

Some friends of ours had a milk pasteurizer that they were not using so they let us borrow it. I tried pasteurizing our milk one time and decided it was to much trouble so raw milk it is for us. I’m so glad now that it was to much trouble for me to pasteurize the milk.


The very important first step in butter making is separating the cream from the milk. I let the milk settle for at least 24 hours in the fridge then I use a handy ladle and scoop that cream right off of the top of the milk. Since I collect cream for 3 0r 4 days before making butter I put the cream in another container to stash in the fridge until I am ready to make my homemade butter.

scooping cream off of milk

Can you see all of that cream on top?

Over the years I have experimented with different ways of collecting the cream and found this scooping method to be the most efficient method for me, and the easiest clean up. I’m all about easy clean up.

scooping cream off of the top of the milk

I get about 1 quart of cream from every gallon of milk, so after I collect cream for 4 days I have around 1 gallon of cream to make butter .

The morning I am ready to make butter I hunt through the fridge, round up all of the cream and get ready to make my butter.

A lot of people say you should let your cream warm up before you make you butter and I have tried it both ways straight out of the fridge or warmed to room temperature and pretty much everything in between.

I find that the warmer my cream is the less butter I end up with. I think that when it is warm the  butter doesn’t separate as well from the milk, I also feel like I lose a lot of my butter while I am rinsing it and working it to get the buttermilk out because it is so warm and soft. So I usually make my butter with cold milk.


If you have a cow and will be making a lot of butter for your family. A butter churn is a great investment.

I have learned over the years that having the right tool for the job makes the job easier and more efficient. That being said you can use other things to make butter at home.

One advantage of having a butter churn is being able to make a lot of butter at one time. And not having to “babysit” the churn. I can just turning it on and go about the other things I need to be doing. You learn to hear when the butter is ready, as the sound the churn makes changes. So I don’t have to be watching it constantly.

I chose the churn that I have because it has a large 2 1/2 gallon jar which hold a lot of cream and makes a lot of butter for times when cream is plentiful. It also came with the option to purchase a kit to convert it into a 1 gallon butter churn for times when cream is not so plentiful. It is really easy to convert back and forth.  So again I can have the right tool for the job that I need.

You can find the big 2 1/2 gallon butter churn I have and the kit to change it into a 1 gallon churn here.

In case you are wondering, the amount of cream changes with the seasons and with what the cow how to eat.

Milk in the butter churn

Over the years I have made butter several different ways and I have to say this butter churn is by far the easiest method. I love this big butter churn.

Butter in butter churn

I just let the churn do its job and Viola! There you have it –  beautiful, unadulterated, homemade butter. Yum!

You can watch the whole process here:

homemade butter in the colander

Check back to see where we go from here, in part 2 of my butter making series I am going to show you what I do with my homemade butter after it is made to store it and make it user friendly for cooking and daily use.


making butter at home graphic

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