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How to Make Cultured Butter


Making cultured butter at home can be easy and rewarding. While most recipes call for simply agitating cream until it turns into butter, culturing the cream first yields an even tastier butter. 

Step 1: Culture the Cream

Use one of the following options to culture the cream. Cream may be either raw or pasteurized cream for all methods except the last one.

  1. Yogurt or Buttermilk
  2. Direct-Set Sour Cream Starter Culture
    • Heat cream to 77°F
    • Add 1 packet starter to 1-4 quarts cream. Mix well. 
    • Culture at 74°-77°F for 16-18 hours.
  3. Mesophilic Aromatic Cheese Cultures
  4. Milk Kefir GrainsKefir Starter Culture, or finished milk kefir
    • Add 1 teaspoon grains or 1 packet powdered starter culture to 1-4 cups cream. If using finished milk kefir, add 1 tablespoon milk kefir per cup of cream.
    • Culture 12-24 hours. 
    • If using kefir grains, remove grains from cream before agitating the cream to make butter.
  5. Raw cream only
    • Leave cream to culture at room temperature for 12-48 hours.  


Whichever method you use, when the cream is cultured, put it in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours to halt the culturing process.


Step 2: Turn the Cream into Butter

  1. Remove cream from refrigerator.  
  2. Agitate to form butter:
    • Stand Mixer
      • Place bowl in freezer for a few hours prior to making butter.
      • Place cold cream in bowl and turn the mixer on as high as possible without splattering the cream, monitoring carefully. 
      • Within 1-2 minutes, the cream will have thickened a bit. At this point, increase mixer speed.
      • Continue to monitor closely, as butter may set quickly. 
      • Once butter pieces begin to form, reduce mixer speed to allow butter to further clump together.
    • Agitate by hand
      • Pour cold cream into a large jar with a lid. 
      • Shake the cream vigorously (good job for kids) until small balls of butter form. 
      • Slow down the shaking so small balls of butter can clump together.
  3. Pour butter into a small bowl.
  4. Wash butter with filtered water, pressing out any remaining buttermilk with a spoon. 
  5. When the water runs clear, the butter should be free of buttermilk. Leaving buttermilk in the butter will cause the butter to spoil quickly.
  6. Salt the butter and add herbs, if desired. 
  7. Wrap butter in wax paper and store in the refrigerator or freezer.


Stick of butter on a wooden cutting board

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Buttermilk Starter
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Mesophilic Direct Set Culture
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