Homemade Cultured Butter

Skip the sticks, and make your own butter that's both healthy and easy to process.

by Lori Rice

This basic recipe for cultured butter is easy to make, just be sure to plan a day ahead—the culturing will take 8 to 24 hours. The buttermilk produced during the process can be reserved and substituted for store-bought cultured buttermilk in any recipe.

Yield: 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup buttermilk


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 T. plain yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. fine ground sea salt (optional)


In large bowl, gently whisk together cream and yogurt. Cover with clean dish towel and let sit at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees F) for 8 hours. Cream is ready when it begins to thicken and foam on surface. It will also develop slight sour smell. If it’s not ready, allow it to sit longer, up to 24 hours.

Place cream in refrigerator for about 1 hour to cool to 60 degrees F.

Pour cultured cream into bowl of large food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Secure lid and turn to medium. (Low is fine if you only have low and high settings.) Let cream churn until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. It will become grainy after about 3 minutes. Continue to churn cream until a mass of butter forms and separates from the buttermilk, which can take up to 5 more minutes.

Cover medium-sized colander with large piece of cheesecloth (any grade) or clean, thin dish towel. Place colander over bowl to catch buttermilk. Pour buttermilk through colander and allow butter mass to transfer to colander, as well.

Gather cloth at top and squeeze butter with your hands to extract as much buttermilk as possible. Transfer butter mass to clean, medium-sized bowl. Pour buttermilk into storage container. Store in refrigerator and use within 2 days.

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Add 1/2 cup ice-cold water to bowl with butter. Use your hands or spatula to press butter into water, kneading it gently. Water will turn cloudy as more butter milk is extracted. Drain water and repeat process three to four more times until water is no longer cloudy.

Mix in salt.

Press butter into jar and seal with lid, or place butter on large sheet of parchment paper (about 10 by 12 inches) and roll into log, twisting each end and securing with tie or rubber band. Store in refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks, or freeze up to 3 months.

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