Condiments Raw & Fermented

How to Make Cultured Butter

homemade butter in a white dish on a white table

Making raw, organic, homemade cultured butter couldn’t be easier. You can use 21st century equipment (a blender) to make light work of churning an ancient, traditional food.

If you wonder why anyone would make butter when it can so easily be bought at the store, there is only one answer really: TASTE. Homemade butter is better butter—much better. It is like tasting what butter used to be like, before it became a factory-made food.

In truth, butter is not the enemy Americans once feared. Researchers have upset the old-fashioned “lipid hypothesis” that blamed heart disease on animal fats. Humans have been eating animal fats for millennia without suffering heart disease, obesity or arteriosclerosis.

In fact, research is now showing us that it is the trans fats from margarine and the polyunsaturated fats like canola and soybean oils that humans have only been eating for the past 50 years that are really making our health worse.

Plus, we are now discovering how incredibly healthy foods from pasture-raised animals can be. Butter from grass-fed cows is higher in many nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, and K, beta carotene, and essential fatty acids like CLA and Omega-3.

And raw, cultured butter contains valuable, health-supporting enzymes too!

Related: The Inconvenient Truth About Canola Oil

homemade butter in a white dish on a white table

Homemade Cultured Butter

There can be only one reason to make butter at home when it can so easily be bought: TASTE. Butter churned from long-ripened cream is a delicacy, like a perfectly ripened fruit.
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CuisineAmerican, Fermented, GAPS, Vegetarian
Prep Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings32 Tablespoons



  • Pour the cream into a clean, sterilized bowl, add starter if using, and cover with a clean towel. Let sit in a cool area (about 55-60 degrees) or in the fridge until it cultures and thickens. Experiment with the taste of cultured cream. You can culture it as few as 8 hours or as long as a week; it's up to you.
  • The ripening cream should have a pleasant smell and develop a slightly tangy taste, sharpening with time. As the cream acidifies, it becomes hostile to toxic bacteria, but should the cream curdle, or smell or taste bad, discard it. The longer you ripen it, the more clear and distinctive the flavor of your finished butter will be. 
  • Once cultured to your liking, pour it into your blender. Blend for about 5 minutes on a medium setting. The cream will whip first, and you will need to stop the blender to knock it back into the blades several times.
  • After a few minutes of blending, the butter will "break" from the whipped cream and start to separate into butter and buttermilk. When you notice that happening, stop the blender and let things rest for a minute to let the butter rise to the top.
  • Pour the buttermilk into another container, using a spoon to press as much buttermilk out of the butter as possible. Blend again a bit more, then repeat pressing out the buttermilk. Enjoy the buttermilk in pancakes or biscuits tomorrow!
  • If you want your butter to last for more than a few days, you have to "wash" it. Pour about a cup of ice cold water into the blender and blend for another 30 seconds. Pour out the water and discard, using a spoon to press as much water out of the butter as possible.
  • Repeat the washing until the water runs almost clear.
  • On your last washing, you can use rosemary water, rosewater, orange water or any other flavoring you'd like to add to your butter.
  • When thoroughly washed, mix a little sea salt in with a spoon, if you wish.
  • Store in the fridge and enjoy for the next week or two.


*To taste the ancient taste of real butter, you have to use raw cream. Raw cream is biologically active: It comes inoculated with beneficial local bacteria and will not curdle, just naturally sour.
If you can't find raw cream, then you can use organic, pasteurized whipping/heavy cream, but you will need to buy an inexpensive starter culture to culture the cream.


Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 22mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 19mg
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About the author


Dawn Gifford

Dawn is the creator of Small Footprint Family, and the author of the critically acclaimed Sustainability Starts at Home - How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. After a 20-year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here.


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  • I love all the info and the comments above. I am 60. I am of Danish descent. I grew up on real (raw) milk and butter we made ourselves. raw, cultured Danish style butter. my dad worked at the dairy where we got our milk. fresh real (raw) milk every day. we shook it in quart jars until we made butter. now I have a handchurn, I inherited from my mother, who received it from her mother-in-law. homemade butter from real(raw) milk is the best. paired with homemade sourdough bread- fabulous. glad I found this site-so helpful for every age.

    • Kefir cultures are not the same as the cultures naturally present in milk that make cultured butter. You can certainly culture milk with kefir grains, but I think you’ll just end up with kefir, not butter. But give it a try and let us know how it works!

  • Butter Doctor! Can you help me? I have not quite figured out what I’m doing. I took things into my own hands. I took some of my raw cream and put it in a jar and put it in the fridge. I left it a couple of days, but thought, “nothing is happening; I’ll take it out, add some butter milk and leave it on the counter to culture like I always do with pasteurized cream to make creme fraiche, and see what happens.” I left it about 48 hours but it only thickened up a little (usually the pasteurized cream will thicken up well in 24-28 hours). I noticed there was some milk at the bottom of the jar. Maybe that contributed to the problem. So, I took it all out of the jar and tried beating it to see if it would turn into butter. I beat and beat but it only thickened up a little. It doesn’t smell or taste bad, only kind of sour like buttermilk. Any recommendations? I think I need to be more careful about taking just the cream. Or maybe I need to be more patient? I would be happy with either creme fraiche or butter or both. Maybe I should just start over with the raw cream, leave it in the fridge for several days like you said, and then try making butter, if that’s what works for you.

    • I am certainly no expert, but “Butter Doctor” made my day. 🙂

      The trouble was probably the addition of buttermilk. Buttermilk is a byproduct of butter—what is left over after making the butter.

      Don’t worry about the thickness of your cream as it cultures, which will vary greatly depending on the type, temperature, time, etc. Just make sure it isn’t spoiled (which you did).

      By starting with just cultured, (raw) heavy cream, when you put it in the blender, you will first get whipped cream or whipped creme fraiche. It will be airy and expand and elevate inside the blender, making it hard to blend.

      At this point, stop the blender and push the whipped cream down onto the blades. Pulse blend again. It will expand some more and move away from the blades again, but keep pushing that whipped cream down into the blades of the blender and eventually the buttermilk will “break” out of it, leaving the butter behind. This takes several minutes. Patience is key.

      Keep pulsing, stopping, and pushing it down until it breaks (you’ll know it immediately), then do it several times more until you get as much of the buttermilk out as you can. Follow the rest of the directions for draining off the buttermilk and washing the butter.

      Good luck!

  • As a side note, the longer you leave the cream in the fridge to culture, the more butter your will get out of the cream. If you make butter with fresh cream, you get very little butter from it. Great post! I was culturing the cream all along, but didn’t really know it. I though I was just procrastinating 🙂

  • hi! This sounds great and like something I could do. One question: I have started getting wonderful, raw, pastured-cow milk with loads of cream on top. Will this cream just culture on its own in the fridge with no starter? The milk keeps almost 2 weeks before souring. Do you think I could just leave the cream with the milk for a week, then skim it off and make the butter? Is that how you do it? I was thinking about using some to make creme fraiche (here’s my recipe: Now I am wondering how it works with raw cream instead of pasturized plus butter milk?
    Your blog is interesting. If I could figure out how to put link on my own blog, I would put one. Someday…

    • Anna,

      Thanks for your comment! I simply leave raw cream in the fridge for several days until it cultures itself (with no starter). The longer you leave it, the more the taste of the cultured butter deepens, which is a personal taste preference thing you can experiment with.

      If I were you, I might skim the cream off, then leave it to culture, separate from the milk. Creme friache is kind of on the way to making butter anyway. If you have enough, make both!


      Dawn @ Small Footprint Family

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