The Homemade Pantry's Butter

Photograph: Jennifer May

Butter is one of those staple ingredients that we don't really stop and think too much about. Where does the stuff come from? The market, obviously, but before that, a butter factory? A churn? These vague ideas about butter making lead us to Alana Chernila's Homemade Butter recipe from The Homemade Pantry, a very rewarding kitchen experiment that cleared up all of our butter related queries. Well, not all of them, we'd still like to visit the butter factory.

To make butter from the comfort of your home kitchen, all you need is a stand mixer, a pint of cream, and a pinch of salt. Over the course of just about 15 minutes, the cream whips, stiffens, then separates into butter and buttermilk. A little kneading later and your left with fresh butter: spreadable, just salty enough and packed with everything that's so great about butter to begin with.

What Worked: Even if you're not going to make butter from scratch all the time, this is one DIY that you should try at least once.

What Didn't: Heed Chernila when she warns about the spatter factor; before the cream transforms into butter you could very easily end up with a big cleanup.

Suggested Tweaks: Herbs, spices, chiles—throw them in. The sky's the limit when you're churning your own.

Reprinted with permission from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. Copyright © 2012. Published by Clarkson Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Makes: 12 to 16 tablespoons

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  • 1 pint (16 ounces) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Combine the cream and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer

    fitted with the paddle attachment and cover with a dish towel to prevent splattering. Beat at medium to high speed, peeking in every 20 seconds or so. In 1 to 3 minutes, the cream will be whipped and airy, then it will stiffen. After that, the cream will break, and you will have both liquids and solids in the bowl.

  2. When the fat separates from the buttermilk, pour the buttermilk into a jar and refrigerate to use within 3 days.

  3. Run your hands under cold water, then squeeze the butter together, kneading it in the bowl. Place the bowl in the sink, rinse the butter in cold water, and squeeze it again. Repeat this process until the water runs clear and the butter does not release any liquid when you press on it.

    Storage: store at room temperature, in a covered container or butter bell for 5 days in the fridge. Or roll and cut into sticks, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for 3 months.