Homemade Butter

May 1: National Butter Day

When Islander was in elementary school learning about food and dairy products, she and her classmates were divided into little groups and given jars of cream. Each student in the group would take turns shaking the jar until parts of the cream solidified into butter. After draining the buttermilk, everyone enjoyed spreading butter onto crackers and eating snacks together. It was a lot of fun and energetic way to learn about making butter from scratch (she wonders how she would have gotten through that lesson now since she has developed lactose intolerance in college; she takes pills for it).

We decided to make butter at home—after our inattentiveness to beating heavy whipping cream turned out to look like a mess of light yellow wet cheesy curd. But that was just the butterfat separating from the buttermilk. We continued beating it further, then straining the liquid, and came out with real butter. A little Hawaiian sea salt and more beating gave us a creamy, spreadable, fresh and tasty butter. What a deliciously yummy mmmmm-mistake!

Now we overbeat the cream on purpose so we can have some homemade butter. Instead of shaking the cream in jars (or using a traditional churn), we simply let our Kitchenaid mixer whip up a batch of butter and buttermilk. This is a fun experiment with kids and a delicious way to observe National Butter Day.



  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • ice water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt


In a cold mixing bowl with cold beaters (such as the Kitchenaid balloon whisk), pour the cream. Beat on low for a minute, then increase to medium speed and whip until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high and beat for another 3-5 minutes.

Scrape the sides and cover the mixer with a towel or splash guard. Beat on high for another 3-5 minutes until the solids separate from the liquid. Place a strainer over a bowl and pour the liquids out from the butter; reserve the buttermilk for another use.

Transfer the solid butter to another bowl and squeeze out more liquids by rinsing with ice water until clear. Return butter to mixer and change to the whisk to the paddle attachment. Add sea salt (or other flavors) and beat until creamy. Store in a covered container for two weeks.


  • After straining the butter from its milk, return to the mixer and whip with some herbs, citrus zest or honey for different flavored butters.
  • Spread fresh homemade butter on bread/biscuits/toast/scones, use in recipes or make buttercream frosting.