Homemade Butter and Buttermilk

Homemade butter and buttermilk

This morning, I went to the grocery store and got everything I needed to make my favorite chili to bring over to my parents’ house to watch today’s Seahawks game. At my dad’s insistence, I also needed to make some cornbread. According to him, you have to have cornbread to go with your chili.

I’m sure you know the feeling. You go to the grocery store. Get home. Put everything away. And then…you realize you don’t have an ingredient you need. In this case, I had no buttermilk for the cornbread.

Heck no, I’m not going back to the store. Not today. Not just for one thing.

After a quick online search, I learned you can easily make buttermilk at home, as long as you have  heavy cream and a jar.


And all you need to do is put the heavy cream in a jar with a lid and shake it until it separates? Really? The solids are butter, and the liquids are buttermilk? For real?

I can do that.

Or so I thought. After about five minutes of shaking, I could shake no more. Yes, I’m a pansy.

But that’s what husbands are for, right? Leave it to Casey to sit there and shake the darn thing for nearly 20 minutes.

The first 15 minutes are the worst. It becomes whipped cream fairly quickly, and then it seems to stay that way forever. Suddenly, despite our doubts, there was a change. The solids turned a yellow color and turned into a sort of clump in the middle of the liquid.

Ta-da! There it was. We had butter, and we had buttermilk.

It’s pretty neat, actually.

There was one problem. It didn’t make the cup and a half of buttermilk I needed.

That’s also what husbands are for. To go to the store when their wives are throwing a fit and buy buttermilk after he just spent 20 minutes shaking a jar of it.

But hey, we had homemade butter for our cornbread. Not too shabby.

Homemade Butter and Buttermilk
From About.com

Heavy cream (avoid ultra-pasteurized)
A quart-sized mason jar with a tight fitting lid and band

Fill a jar halfway with heavy cream. Then, screw the lid on firmly (a canning jar works well for this purpose).

Start shaking the jar back and forth. After several minutes, the cream will thicken and turn into whipped cream. Keep shaking until the whipped cream is replaced with a yellow glob (butter) and a separate liquid (buttermilk).

Pour the buttermilk out of the jar, and use it in any recipe that calls for buttermilk.

To Use the Butter: Knead it under cold water for a couple minutes to remove any remaining buttermilk (it will spoil very quickly, if you don’t). Then, salt (if desired), and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

Author: Adrienne | Categories: Home Cooking + Recipes | Comments: 4


  1. Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

    hmmm…sounds like you got a workout a la the shake weight! 🙂
    I am so impressed! I would have gone back to the store! ha! nice work!

  2. Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    Alex, Ha! That makes me think of the Shake Weight South Park episode.

  3. LMo
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    5 minutes in a food processor easily replaces the shaking in a jar, by the way. I just did this last weekend. Easy easy easy

  4. Posted January 29, 2013 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    Don’t tell my husband! He said the same thing, and I was like, “I don’t know, just keep shaking.” lol!

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