Make Your Own Butter (Without a Cow)


When I was a girl, my mother was a saint. I was one of those children who talked contantly (Never saw that one coming, huh) and was always right up on her with questions and endless conversation. I can’t ever remember a time, even now, when I haven’t been trying to figure the world out, finding some new angle almost daily to view it through and gain a better understanding of the whys and what-fors of any given situation.

I was one to question, examine, and then declare my findings. Again, much how I do now. But folks, I can tell ya, My poor mama needed a break from time to time and she always came up with wonderful ways to keep me busy while giving me something else to figure out.

Most of these actiities have become habit for me now, ways I busy myself in the odd need to be doing multiple tasks in order to focus. My friend, Jyl is night and day different from me in this respect. She actually focuses on one thing at a time, just like my husband. Mama is like that, too, so I’m really surrounded by people who stand in place doing one appointed task while I buzz around them talking away with the speed of my thoughts. I imagine it leaves us both a little tired.

Recently I was on the phone with Jyl talking over some things I have coming up with Southern Plate and while talking to her, I walked into the kitchen and got all of the fixin’s out to make a little butter. I poured my cream into a mason jar, screwed the lid on good and began shaking away. ~swish swish swish~

After a few minutes of talking while I swished in the background Jyl asked, “What are you doing?”

“I’m making butter.” I declared, as I continued swishing while I walked around the house talking on the phone.

Did you know I can’t stand still or sit while I talk on the phone? Doing only one thing at a time is very difficult for me and always has been. Of course it’s ADHD but it is certainly not a disorder, it’s a gift, a talent, and a blessing. The only reason it is called a “disorder” is because other folks beat us to the punch in declaring themselves normal and us abnormal. If we wouldn’t have been so busy up and leaving Europe and creating an entirely new country based on an entirely new governmental concept, we could have gotten to declare the rest of the world “OTATD” or “O-Tats” for short, One Thing At A Time Disorder. ~grins and giggles~ But that is a post for another day so back to what I was saying about butter..

Jyl sounded incredulous “You’re doing what?”

“I’m making butter, I’m going to spread it on some saltines.”

“Are you talking about actually churning butter?”

“Yeah, but in a mason jar. Haven’t you ever made butter?”

This is when it occured to me that Jyl, being the quiet person that she is, most likely never annoyed her mother like I did and therefore was never given the fascinating task of making butter in a mason jar. Since I can’t see her ever being able to annoy people to the extent that I do, I guess it is up to me to take the initiative and show her how it’s done so this post was born.

Tomorrow begins National Dairy Month and this is a great post to help us kick that off so yesterday, me and the kids made butter. This is a GREAT activity to do with kids, or to let them do on their own to buy you a few minutes of quiet in the kitchen while you cook. Even adults enjoy the “neatness” factor of making your own butter with just some whipping cream and a mason jar!

All you’ll need is: Heavy Whipping Cream and a jar or two.

I usually use the larger jars but these little eight ounce ones are easier for little hands to hold and do just fine.

Fill your jar 1/2 to 3/4 full, but no more than that. Your cream needs space to shake around a bit.

Put the lid on well and then start shaking!

This will take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, but your butter will most likely be ready in twenty minutes or so. It all depends on how much you shake it. Little hands will take frequent breaks :)

Now let me tell you what is gonna happen here so you don’t think you’re shaking your arms off for nothing:

First, the liquid is going to completely coat the jar as you shake and you’ll hear it just a shaking back and forth

Then, the liquid is going to get really thick, still coating the jar, but as you shake you won’t really hear it shaking anymore and you’ll begin to doubt me. Hang in there, I promise there will be butter soon enough, just keep shaking on faith :). You can open the lid if you want and see that your cream is just really, really thick. Then…

After about fifteen or twenty minutes, you’ll notice the sides are no longer coated and it pulls away from the sides a bit.

You’re almost done!

A few minutes later you’ll feel solids shaking around in there and the liquid and solids will separate completely. Now your butter is ready.

When you open it up you’ll see this.

Pour that out into a strainer or colander so the liquid can drain out the bottom.

This is Brady and Katy’s jar both emptied.

Now adding a little salt is optional but I like to.

This is just a little kosher salt that I’m going to stir in.

You will need to add this to taste so start small.

Stir in salt, if adding it.

Spoon butter into small ramekin, cover, and refrigerate.

It will harden as it gets cold.


Doesn’t this look good? I love it on Saltines!

Making Butter At Home (Fun activity for all ages!)

  • Whipping Cream
  • Mason Jar
  • Salt (optional)

Fill jar 1/2 to 3/4 full with cream. Place lid on tightly. Shake for ten to thirty minutes, or until you hear solids shaking around and can see through the glass that the solids have separated from liquid (read up in post for more details of what the shaking stages will be like). Pour into colander to separate liquid from butter. Place butter in a ramekin or bowl and stir in salt, if desired. Refrigerate until hardened. Enjoy!

Did your Mama have creative ways to keep you busy as a child?

My Mama Reed used to have her grandkids shuck corn and snap beans on the front porch. They loved feeling needed!

I’d love to hear what your parentsand grandparents did in the comments section below!

We had a WONDERFUL time this past weekend when we got our own private tour of a working dairy farm in Alabama.

Stay tuned to my next post for details and photos!

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What you DO speaks loudly, I can’t hear what you say.

~A quote Nick Saban used in his book, How Good Do You Want To Be?

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  1. melanie says

    I have a dumb question. Would this butter be good to bake with? Now sit down Christy because I am about to give you the shock of your life, are sitting? ok here goes I don’t eat butter I hate the taste of it my family thinks I am crazy because I will only eat margarine, but I do bake with butter so that is why I asked and Yi am always running out of butter but I will have heavy cream in my fridge because I make homemade ice cream. As always thank you Christy.

    • pam dority says

      oh how I remember when my mama would get bushels and bushels of corn, green beans, black eyed peas and aunts and cousins would come over and we would all work on putting up all the food bounty. when we would start to complain they would just tell us that we would like the food we put up in the winter. now that I’m grown , every time I shuck corn or beans I thank my mama for teaching me how to do this. I now wish I could have learned all I could about canning, my mother was a firm believer in it. mama is gone now but these memories are mine forever.

  2. Wanda says

    Can remember as a child sitting under my Grandparent’s willow tree with my cousins and making butter. My Grandfather would milk the cows in the morning and my Grandmother would separate the cream from the milk. She would tell us stories as we rolled, shook and banged the jars of cream to butter. Then we would get to help her put the soft butter in the molds. Great memories.. I have her butter mold and always think of her and those good times when I look at it.

  3. Momto4pups says

    Thank you for considering ADHD a blessing. I was recently diagnosed at the age of 51, am now on meds and have finally kicked anxiety attacks and a very deep depression. It took 51 years to feel happy with who I am and why I do the things that I do.
    Thank God for that!


  4. PAMELA says


  5. Violet says

    When I was 12 and my brother was 10, we had moved to Oklahoma to live with out grandparents. My brother learned how to milk cows and I could never get the hang of it. Grandma would take the milk and put it into large jars and set on the kitchen counter to let the cream rise to the top of the milk and then
    scoop out and put into another large jar and then hand it to one of us to shake
    back and forth and when I got tired of shaking I would hand it to my brother to shake for awhile and we felt so proud of ourselves when we saw that butter for
    the first time. We were so excited about that. Grandma would plant a large
    garden and then have my brother and I go to the chicken coup to shovel
    chicken manure to bring up to the garden and that’s what grandma put on the garden as fertilizer. I also loved gathering the eggs and also finding some of
    their hiding places as those eggs were fertile and grandma taught us how
    to know if they were fertile. I remember when some eggs hatched one time
    that out of all those little baby chicks a black one was in the mix. That became
    my pet. I thought of the ugly duckling and I wanted that chicken to know it was

  6. Sally Wilcox says

    Did you read my comment to my daughter this morning???? I just told her I was going to try making butter!!!!!!!! And here you are with the “way.” Thank you! I LOVE your posts and stories! Keep up the great work!

  7. Kathy says

    I will try this with my two granddaughters ages 3 and 5. I remember when I was that age I used to help my Grandmother churn butter. I used to think it was the best thing when she would make great big biscuits and we would eat the butter I helped churn. I still have the old wooden butter mold that would put a pretty flower on top of the butter. Maybe if we make butter I will use it for our butter. Thanks Christy for giving me a idea of how to make a memory.

  8. Janet says

    I have always loved real butter, but my Mom only bought Oleo, so this is going to great for me. It seems to me that the butter you buy in the stores today does not taste anything like the butter I remember.
    When I was a little girl my aunt and uncle bought me a pound of butter and can of grapefruit for Christmas, that was one Christmas I will never forget.

  9. Marilyn says

    Just made this with my granddaughter when they were here last week….we put 2 marbles in with the cream. Shake till you don’t hear the marbles…then continue shaking till you hear them again, and…you have butter!! Tired arms, but fun!!

  10. Patsy says

    I remember my Mom making butter in a gallon jug. She would sit and shake it in her lap. She let me try it a few times but I mostly couldn’t sit still long enough. The pint jar would have worked for me though. A great idea! Your Mom is a smart woman!
    I did all the usual canning things that you mentioned. I snapped beans, shelled peas, shucked corn but mostly I remember shredding cabbage in that big ceramic jar for sourkraut. Lots and lots of sourkraut. I would shread a while, then put in some canning salt. On the top Mom would put grape leaves and put a clean rock on top to hold it down, then tie a cloth over the top.
    I really had fun as a child but back then I just thought it was work. Precious Memories! Thanks for reminding me!

  11. Tricia says

    When I was 3 or 4 I remember helping my grandmother churn butter in a crock. That was 60+ years ago. I cherish that memory because we moved from Kentucky (my birthplace) when I was 4 & I only saw my only grandparent once a year. She died when I was 19. I feel I lost a lot by not living closer to “Mamaw”, as I called her, but I have the butter memory & a few others. The next time my two grandchildren (5 & 8) visit I’m going to let them make butter using your recipe. Love your blog & recipes, Christy.

  12. Patricia says

    I remember doing this in kindergarten. The teacher filled a jar with whipping cream and then each child took turns shaking the jar. When it was done, the teacher spread it on saltines so that everyone could have a taste. We thought it was magic!

  13. Beulah says

    I remember those days of churning butter in the jar, do you wash yours with ice water after you drain the liquid (buttermilk) off? We always did and i still do. But now i churn it in the food processor. I like drinking the liquid (buttermilk) but do not like what one can buy in the grocery store. Have a wonderful day!

  14. Reneé says

    When I was a little girl, we had a Jersey cow and mom would take the “top” milk and put it in a gallon jar and I would shake and shake and make butter. Now I always was a bit of a talker, in fact they bought a book about this doll that talked so much she wore her tongue out and they used to try and tell me that it was gonna happen to me if I didn’t shush some! LOL! It didn’t work – I still talked a mile a minute and could ask 1,001 questions! Thanks to you, now I know why I was a “butter shaker”!

  15. Kathy says

    Save the liquid you drain off the butter, especially if you make a lot. That is delicious buttermilk. If you don’t want to drink it you can use it in your cornbread.
    I always helped my grandmother churn butter but it was in a large crock. I would sit on a high stool and churn away. It got tiring going up and down and up and down over and over but it was worth it. That was the best butter and the best buttermilk I have ever had. I still miss my grandmother and I am now 64 myself.

  16. MARSHA G says

    I remember making butter when I was a little girl but we used a churn with lots of cream at a time so we worked our arms off. It seemed to take hours even though I know it wasn’t that long. We would put the butter in a wooden mold that once the butter was pressed down in the mold and the after sitting up would have a pretty design on the butter. We always called it fresh cow butter even though that was the only kind of milk we knew or had

  17. Judy says

    The Youth Director at my church collects baby food jars to use for the little kids to “churn” their own butter for the Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) church pancake supper. What a fun idea!

  18. Annette in Maryland says

    I thought preschool for years and my class would always make butter to take home for their Thanksgiving feast! We used the bigger baby food jars! My youngest is now 20 so I haven’t made it in years but, this past Thanksgiving my best friend and her granddaughter came to visit and we made butter! So. Much. Fun!

  19. Barbara Miller says

    lol, i tried this with half and half for some reason and after step one and two worked it turned back to normal half and half. oooppss!!!!i feel like a dummy…oh well, that just leaves more for coffee but i need heavy whipping cream added to my grocery list. lol

  20. Cheryl Bone says

    Churned my own when home as a child. Had my kids do this method with quart jars. Then when I taught sixth grade, I had a room full of “special” students who had not had an unusual teacher like me… We used food to learn everything because it got their attention. We made a lot of butter that year, biscuits, cookies, meringue, anything that required energy. Did math with cooking, etc. My son was ADD and cooked from age 2 to keep him involved like your mom did. Sometimes wish schools would look at the curriculum I made for those kids.

  21. Gale says

    Hi Christy! It is very cold here this morning so we made biscuits. My grand daughter and I also used your recipe to make homemade butter. It was so much fun and was delicious on our biscuits! Thank you for making an ordinary morning so much fun!


  1. […] In about 15 minutes, you will have this. Yes it did take me 15 minutes and it got a little discouraging along the way. But I’m glad I didn’t give up. And fun fact, if you continue whisking you can make your own butter! I wasn’t feeling that adventurous but it does sound like an interesting activity for the future. I’ve also heard that you can recruit your kids to make butter by putting whipping cream in a small glass jar and letting them shake away ( […]

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