How to Make Homemade Butter in a Jar

Close-Up Of butter

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Shake your way to fresh butter and buttermilk. Making butter is a great way to use up any heavy cream that you have leftover after making another recipe. Here are simple instructions for making homemade butter in a jar. This is a great rainy day project and it's lots of fun for kids. Try it with a scout troop or in the classroom.

What You Need

  • Heavy cream
  • Jar with a lid

Baby food jars work great for small batches while canning jars are good for larger batches.


  1. Fill a jar halfway with heavy cream. Then, screw the lid on tight.
  2. Shake the jar up and down until the cream thickens and forms a ball. Continue shaking until liquid separates from the ball of butter. This will take a good amount of shaking, but stick with it; it's definitely worth the effort (and it's a great work out, too).
  3. Open the jar, and pour the liquid into another container. The liquid is the buttermilk. Everything else is butter.
  4. If you don't plan to use your butter right away, knead it under cold running water for several minutes to work out any remaining buttermilk (otherwise the butter will spoil quickly). Note that this is kind of a messy job.
  5. Add salt to the butter, if desired.

Fresh butter tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Spread it on crackers or bread for a real treat. Refrigerate your homemade butter between uses to prolong its shelf lifeButter freezes beautifully, so make a bunch and tuck it in the freezer for later.

Making a Larger Batch of Butter

Use this method to make a bigger batch of butter than will fit in a jar. You can also use it simply to make butter faster and without having to provide the shaking action.

Pour heavy cream into the bowl of your stand mixer or blender, and whip it on high speed. It'll make whipped cream at first, but if you allow it to continue whipping, it'll turn into butter and buttermilk.

One quart of heavy cream will give you 1 pound of butter (that's the equivalent of 4 sticks), plus two cups of buttermilk. One-half cup of butter is the equivalent of 1 stick of butter.

Make Herb Butter

Add parsley, chives, dill, rosemary, thyme, or any other herbs that you like to create your own herb butter (also known as compound butter). Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs per 1/2 cup of butter. Herb butters are fantastic spread on hot rolls and are great to cook with. Just drop a pat in a pan to flavor vegetables and meats.

Does Making Your Own Butter Save Money?

Heavy cream is fairly expensive, so making your own butter probably won't save you any money unless you happen to catch cream at a deep discount. Of course, if you have leftover cream in the fridge, this is a good way to keep it from going to waste.

Sometimes making something from scratch isn't about the savings. Homemade butter is superior to store-bought in every way. That's enough reason to give this recipe a try.