Cultured Butter

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I love cultured butter! And it is so easy to make. Have you ever done it?

Culturing The Cream

Cultured butter starts with cultured cream. The “culturing” results from leaving raw cream at left at room temperature to spontaneously sour as its own beneficial bacteria proliferate OR it results from the (raw or pasteurized) cream being innoculated with a culture. I’ve done it both ways — and both are delicious!

The spontaneous culturing can happen in an little as 24 hours at room temperature in a jar covered with a cloth. You can also then move the cream to cool storage to let the culturing mature, for several weeks even. Note: This does not work for pasteurized cream; there are not sufficient beneficial organisms to proliferate.

To innoculate cream, use about 1/8 teaspoon of a mesophilic culture per 1/2 gallon of cream. Stir in the culture, cover the jar with a cloth, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Then transfer to the refrigerator to chill, or to continue souring.

On Facebook, Julie from Cultures for Health added: “There are a couple of easy ways to culture cream. You can use a Buttermilk or Piima Yogurt as a starter culture (a tablespoon or two per pint of cream) or you can use a bit of mesophilic cheese culture like Wardee has done here.” Thanks, Julie! And Anne mentioned that kefir grains can be used to culture cream as well. Thanks, Anne!

The cream, no matter how it is cultured, must be chilled to make the butter. Or at least for the butter to appear any time soon.

What About The Taste?

Well, some do not like the taste of cultured butter so much. One person in my family likes sweet cream butter better. To each his own — but give me sweet and sour, deeper flavor butter any day! đŸ˜€ I suggest you try it and see what you think. No matter what, give yourself time to adjust to it. You will. I think you’ll learn to like it, if not love it.

In Pictures: Making Cultured Butter

This article at Mother Earth News is a great place to start for instructions. The following picture tutorial is based off those directions.

In the case of the butter below, I received a 1/2 gallon of cream which was already somewhat cultured. I let it sour more in the refrigerator for about 8 days until it was … perfect! Mmm… I can still taste it.

Take your chilled cultured cream and pour it into a mixer, food processor, or blender. Don’t use a Vita-Mix or the mixture will heat up. Whatever your container is, fill it it to less than half because the cream will expand during the churning. (Think whipped cream.)

I used a food processor with an 8-cup capacity. I added 3 cups of cultured cream at at time and process in batches until my quantity of cultured cream is turned into butter solids.

Pour the cream into the food processor bowl with the regular blade. Put on the lid and turn on. The process of churning may take between 5 and 10 minutes. The cream will go through stages on its way to butter. First, it will expand its volume and become whipped cream.

Then the butter solids will start to clump together and separate from the liquid (buttermilk). The whole mixture will appear grainy.

Then the solids will clump together even more until you have big chunks of butter floating in buttermilk. Churn just a minute or so more to complete the process of clumping the butter solids.

Transfer the butter solids to a bowl. The liquid is buttermilk and can be used in baking, smoothies, for soaking grains, you name it.

Repeat the churning process with all the cream until it is all collected in the bowl.

Now it is time to wash the butter. Add cold, clean water to the bowl and use a hard spoon, such as this bamboo spatula, to press and fold the butter into the sides of the bowl. The water will quickly turn clowdy as the remaining buttermilk releases from the butter solids.

Change the water repeatedly. Keep washing the butter until the water stays clear. When the water is clear, you have clean butter! The cleaner the butter, the longer it will last. The washing water isn’t true buttermilk as it is too watered down. It makes good water for animals or the compost.

Pour off the remaining water. Press and fold the butter a few more times to release any trapped water. Mix in sea salt, to taste. Then transfer the butter to some kind of mold, or you can just shape it into a log or chunks. I happen to have a butter mold, but only because it was given to me. đŸ˜€

Scrape off the mold.

Release the butter from the mold onto a sheet of natural wax paper.

This is a little bit of extra butter that didn’t fit the mold the first time.

Wrap up gently — the butter is still soft. I used natural wax paper for the wrapping. Transfer to the refrigerator to harden fully. Then wrap it more securely for refrigerator storage. It should keep for a couple weeks in the refrigerator, and perhaps more if washed well. Mine never lasts long enough to test how long it would last!

I hope you’ll give cultured butter a try. It is especially healthful when the cream comes from animals feasting on rapidly growing green grass. That butter is rich in fat-soluble vitamins.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the first in the new Probiotics: Every Meal series. We’re covering breakfasts. Be ready to link up as many old or new posts of yours with probiotic breakfast ideas. If you’re not a blogger, you’re welcome to add your ideas to the comments. Even a meal that uses cultured butter (not heated) counts! I look forward to seeing your contributions. I will tweet and facebook all added links. :) Click here to read more about this series.

I’m sharing this post with Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet.

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. says

    What a great post! I hope to have enough cream again to do this. As you know, I actually was able to culture the cream with a bit of kefir!

    I have a half gallon of raw cow milk that has soured. This usually doesn’t happen here since we drink it fast. What do you usually do with soured milk? I was debating on leaving it out to separate, but I just stuck it back in the fridge.

    • says

      Wardee, I attempted to make butter in my blender tonight. It started to look like it should, thicker and more yellow, but not yet clumpy, and then it turned back into looking like cream. Any ideas why? And now what should I do with it? It isn’t butter, and I have no idea how I can use it or if I can use it for anything.



      • says

        Julieanne — What temperature is it now? I wonder if it heated up in the blender? That would prevent it from “breaking” into butter. I’d try chilling it and then using a mixer or food processor to try again.

        • says

          I looked online again, and none of the tutorials’ photos anywhere looked anything like my “butter” did tonight. Also used the rest of my cream to try to do this in the KitchenAid after looking at tutorials for that. Same thing happened. No butter. Well, after I rinsed it all, I think I ended up with 1 tsp. of butter, from 8 cups of cream. I feel so badly – this was a very expensive mistake and a waste of my evening. :( Sometimes when I try to do things healthier and right, they don’t turn out, and I feel like giving up. Especially after using the cream from 3 gallons of raw cow’s milk, and having nothing to show for it.

          I was so frustrated that I threw it all out. I wish I knew how to make butter so that it would work for Kelsi. She’s fine with the raw cow’s milk that we are now able to buy (!!!), so I was hoping she could use that butter so I wouldn’t have to buy trash margarine for her to use in the baked goods we make. We don’t need it very often, because I dislike using it so much, so I was really hoping that this would work for us.

          It was strange. In the KitchenAid tutorials I saw, the cream got thick like whipped cream, and then did what I would expect it to do – get clumped a bit with obvious butter and buttermilk that were generally separate. But mine never did that at all.

          I stored the bottles of milk in my fridge overnight without disturbing them so that I could skim off the full cream. I stored the cream in smaller pint jars in the fridge.

          Everyone told me to take the cream out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before using it to make butter, so I did that.

          It just never looked at all like any of the photos I saw online. I can’t think what I might have done wrong. It isn’t rocket science, you know! :)

          Oh, well. I just feel like I’ve got to figure this out, though, because I really would like us to be able to eat raw butter instead of buying organic butter from the store. I could cry right now, but I’ll pray about it and trust that with the Lord’s help I’ll figure out some way to make butter in the future.

          Thank you, Wardee,


          • says

            It is best either cold or just 15 to 30 minutes out of fridge. In summer it can get too warm fast out of fridge. Also only the heaviest cream makes good butter. If the cream is too light it won’t make butter. I usually skim only the top firmest cream for butter and the rest is creamer for drinks or ice cream.

          • says

            Julieanne, I have had this happen a few times..Two things..One let yer cream culture for a few days..Let it get just a little tart smelling..and Keep it chilled. The mixer method DOES warm it up and basically what happened is you were beating at too high a speed and it warmed up and collapsed..N it is NOT ruined..Put it in the freezer for twenty minutes and mix at low speed. Mine usually reocovers from this treatment. I have had it take as long as an hour to do so. I also use the marble in a jar method and same thing HAVE to keep it cool. The fat sticks together and the milky stuff seperates. This is caused by centrifugal force(in other words gravity. DO NOT use high speed to make yer butter unless it is VERy very cold. I have only used low speed since learning this and i does not take as long. Good luck Lady and hope it turns out better for you.

  2. says

    Tara – I would bake with it, or turn it into soft cheese. You can add rennet and let it set up, then drip it out through cheesecloth like the Fundamentals eCourse lesson. If you let it separate, you can drip it out then for cheese.

  3. says

    When I said bake with it, I meant use it for soaking my baked goods. I don’t cook good raw (even soured) milk without a very good reason! It would also be good in a smoothie.

  4. Katherine Collings says

    I just recently took my heaving cream that was souring too much for my tastes in coffee, but I thought might make tasty butter, and put it my food processor. I knew it was thick, but was surprised when it turned to butter in less than a minute! It was mostly butterfat. And man, oh, man, was it some tasty stuff. I cooked some sliced carrots in it and then added a bit of chicken broth to feed to my toddler. Yummy! It really made plain carrots into something special.

    Do you ever make butter from you goat milk? I’ve read that separators are expensive.


  5. says

    Love this idea your taking on “Probiotics” every meal each week. Great direction!
    Now maybe my husband won’t think me a little tetch in the head for all the times he’s found me eating sauerkraut for breakfast with whatever else I’m having….LOL!! What can I say, I love kraut.
    Enjoyed this post…….I had a failure with the cultured butter I did yesterday. Live and learn. The pig enjoyed the failure though! Nothing ever goes to waste if you’ve got a pig or chickens.
    Just called my farmer gal “keeper of the grass fed jersey cows” to see if I can get an extra 2 gallons tomorrow on my milk run so I can have extra cream on hand for butter making. Although I may have a fight on my hands for the cream to be made into ice cream, but I think the butter will win.

  6. says

    Pamela – Here’s hoping the butter wins! Quite a difficult decision – butter or ice cream. So tough!

    Sorry your last butter attempt didn’t work.

  7. Heather H. says

    I been doing this for a long time, and my husband loves the butter. His question to me is always this: “Can’t you just make butter with the raw milk and leave it out on the counter? Won’t it ferment after its turned into butter?”

    I don’t have an answer for him on that one. What do you think Wardee?

    • says

      Heather – That’s a great question. I think I’ll have to ask someone to know for sure. I do know that there’s a problem with butter oxidizing when it is exposed to the air. That’s why a butter keeper is so good to keep butter fresh at room temperature. Perhaps suspended in milk, the butter solids are more protected from oxidation? I am really just guessing here. I think I’ll ask Julie @ Cultures for Health what she thinks. :)

  8. Emilee says

    If you have kids you can let them make butter but putting the cream in a mason jar, put a tight lid on and let them just shake shake shake it! It’s fun to see all the changes too and feel it how it goes from milky to the thick frothy stage (where you almost can’t shake it), till you start to feel the butter forming and jumping around in there then you see the lump of butter and milk. I did that recently with just a small leftover pint of cream I had in the fridge and I just wanted to try making butter with it. I just poured the “butter” milk off into another jar and saved it and just put it in pancakes ( I realized later that it’s not true buttermilk, I guess you have to culture it afterward?) but it was fun and the butter was delicious.

  9. says

    Hi Heather,

    Wardee is correct, butter oxidizes and spoils at room temperature. The reason this happens to butter and not the original cream has to do with the size of the water droplets that are emulsified with the fat to form the butter. With raw cream, the bacteria in the cream is able to build and naturally culture the butter but the small size of the water droplets in the butter cause the butter to instead become rancid.

    Hopefully that helps, but let me know if you have further questions :)


  10. Jami says

    I had an interesting cultured butter experience…

    I was a bit tired of the cultured taste and so I added some store bought buttermilk to my cultured cream and left it over night to develop. Then I chilled it and made the butter. It was strangely whiter in color but it was soooooooo good in flavor.

    Nothing ever goes bad at my house any more…. it just ferments!

  11. Jami says

    BTW – I kept this butter in a container in the refrigerator. It melts/softens real quick unlike store bought butter, so it isn’t a problem. Reminds me of how coconut oil behaves – from hard to soft real fast with just a little heat.

  12. Ashley says

    I was culturing (with a little bit of cultured raw buttermilk) some raw cream to make creme fraiche (sp?) and accidentally left it longer than the 20-24 hours. I actually left it about 34 hours and it looks like it is just starting to separate. My question is will it be okay as creme fraiche or should I try to make cultured butter with it? Or, is it bad since I left it longer than I was supposed to? I’m brand new to raw milk/milk products and culturing, so any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • says

      Ashley – I think it is probably fine. It might be a little more grainy than smooth — but try mixing it a bit to see if you can smooth it out. You can make cultured butter out of it, but I think it is still fine. Try eating it and seeing if you like the texture. If you want to thicken it, you can “drip out” the buttermilk through a cheesecloth. Or you can make butter. But I think it is fine. :)

  13. Heather H. says

    Thank you Wardee and Julie for your answers. That makes perfect sense. My husband was satisfied with that answer, he’s one of those ‘why?” people.
    It really isn’t any more trouble to make it the traditional way anyway. We are so lucky to have an awesome source of milk from grassfed cows. The cream line is more than 1/2 way down the gallon. I plan to make ALOT of butter this spring and freeze it up for winter. mmmmm

  14. Diana says

    This sounds great! I will try it really soon, unfortunately I can only by mainstream pasteurized cream. The uncultured butter I can buy is grass-fed but no grass-fed cream available :-(
    Will see what we like best. Or just culture every now and then or so.

  15. says

    Im embarrassed to say that I was actually throwing out my raw cream when it began to culture as I thought this meant it was off. Boy do I have a lot to learn! Heehee.

    • says

      Kamille — Do you mean a 1/2 gallon of cream? It depends but generally you can expect half as much butter as cream. In terms of pounds, I’m not sure what that would be. If you had 1/2 gallon of cream, you’d end up with about 4 cups of butter.

      • says

        Oopps–I meant cream, not milk. In the post you wrote that you started with 1/2 gal of cream and I wanted to know the ending results. 4 cups would be about 2 lbs. thanks!

  16. Esther N says

    Hi! I have a question for you. I just made some cultured butter from grass fed cream that I added some homemade yogurt to culture it. After I strained the buttermilk out from the butter(I used a clean pillowcase since I don’t have cheesecloth) there was a really thick cream left in the with the butter and on the sides of the cloth it looks a lot like the cheese you get when you strain the way out from yogurt. Is it really cream cheese or what is it? Thanx in advance if you can help me!

  17. Julia says

    I’m so sad : ( I broke my food processor making butter last night! I’ve made it several times before. This time, I was about 2 minutes away from the butter chunks forming when the sound of the motor changes and the blade stopped spinning. The top piece of the lid that presses down into the central tube that turns the blade got so hot that it melted onto the metal spoke, essentially rendering it useless like a stripped screw. This is the 2nd food processor I have broken in a year! I tried transferring the cream into the blender but that didn’t work. So I finished whipping it by hand and got the butter to form. I just invested in a slow cooker finally this week, so I don’t have the funds to replace my food processor right away. argh, but thankful to have nutritious food and praising the Lord for his goodness anyway !

  18. mardi says

    Is anyone else having trouble with this website being really slow or is it my computer? Anyway…it is a very helpful site! So, I tried making butter in my Vita-Mix on low and it didn’t work, It barely did a thing after 1/2 hour. I can make whipped cream in seconds in it on high, so we had, after trying low and medium, tried high to see if it made a difference. Nope. And it started to heat up. We rechilled it and tried again, and got a sour cream consistency but that’s all it would do. So then I read not to use a Vita-Mix. So will re-chil and try again in a blender with a wisk attachment, though I must say, the sour cream is tastey anyway. QUESTIION: I read elsewhere about what to do if a mold blob appears on top of soured milk, but I forget what it said, though it said the milk was still useable. If ever find this blob, do I mix it in, or take it off? QUESTION: Also, can I leave the jar of milk on the counter with it’s lid on to further sour it, or must I use a cloth cover? Is this what is called “clabber” . I read that this clabbered milk was good to obtain but foget what to do with clabbered milk. Thanks!

  19. Kinzi says

    Hi, I’m wondering if the resulting buttermilk from the cultured butter can then be used as a starter to make more buttermilk using it and raw whole milk??

  20. Misty Nikula says

    I would like to try some cultured butter, but I don’t have raw milk. I DO have lots of water kefir – I don’t do dairy kefir, since I avoid dairy, but butter/milk fat is okay. Do you think that it will work to culture the cream with water kefir?

  21. KLB says

    I have been making butter from cultured cream now for over 12 months. I also have been making cultured sour cream among other cultured milk and cream products.

    I have found that on occasions from one batch to another from the same farmer I’ll find that the cream just wont culture quite right. some times it just doesn’t seem to work.

    any thoughts on what is going on? I am getting frustrated with it because when it works it is wonderful but i can’t figure out why it is working some times and other times not.

    Please help!!!

  22. Heather says

    So if I have raw fresh cream, do I need a starter or at all? Could I just place that on a counter for 24 hours…? Thanks!

  23. Andreas says


    We bought our first organic raw milk 2 weeks.

    Of the plastic bottles we poured some cream into a stainless steel milk can. We took some of this fresh cream to try and make butter, but it did not beat well the first day. Why? Then we let the rest sit in the fridge.

    Looking at it today it has a brownish skin in parts and has already separated into curds and whey it seems. The brown skin looks a bit intimidating and even though the smell from the can is not too bad I would almost think to have to toss the brown skin or not?

    We would be honoured if you could reply to this. Thank you.

    Andreas and family

    • says

      Hi Andreas,
      I do remove the brown skin. It sounds like your cream is well cultured and ready to turn to butter. Be sure it’s well chilled before you start the process. Warm cream doesn’t work well for becoming butter. :)

  24. Kerilyn says

    I was making cultured butter from raw cream for 2 years. I then started getting raw cream and milk from a local farmer who had only a few cows instead of 200. They are grass fed Jersey’s instead of oat and grain fed Holsteins. For some reason, the cream will not culture and it does not churn into butter as successfully.
    Do you have any thought’s or suggestions on this issue?

  25. Erika says

    Hello!! This is a great post, as usual. I’m sorry if you had already explained this. Can you please give me some advice, and in turn help anyone else out there as clueless as I am (if that’s even possible! lol) in regards to culturing naturally?

    If a person has access to raw cream, then they don’t need to get a culture starter, right? I leave the cream out for 24 hours (covered with a cloth) as you’ve mentioned above?

    So, after the allotted time, I transfer the raw cream to the refrigerator. to slow down the culturing process and to make it cold enough for butter making? maybe an hour or so?

    The resulting buttermilk from that cultured raw butter is now cultured raw buttermilk? Something I can then use as a cultured buttermilk to make future batches of cultured buttermilk or to culture fresh raw cream faster? Over and over?

    I also have the option of culturing slowly, by buying the fresh raw cream and immediately putting it in the fridge, not leaving it out. Leave the raw cream in a glass jar with a screw on lid in the refrigerator for anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2 weeks (undisturbed) and it will automatically be cultured cream?

    • says

      Hi Erika,

      You can leave raw cream out to culture naturally. 24 hours should work unless your house is very cold then it may take longer.

      Yes, after the allotted time, move it to the fridge to cool for ease of butter making. I usually move mine over in the evening to make butter the next day.

      The buttermilk that comes off of butter is different than a cultured buttermilk. It doesn’t really work to make future batches of buttermilk. You can drink it (tastes great with a little salt) or use for baking, soaking grains, salad dressing, etc.

      Yes, you can culture slowing in the fridge. Enjoy!

      Traditional Cooking School Support Team

      • Erika says

        Wonderful! Good to know that I can also soak grains with the resulting buttermilk, even if that buttermilk isn’t the cultured kind that I hoped it would become. Thank you so much for your help!!! :)

  26. Edie says

    Dear Wardee, I am new to fresh milk. We make yogurt regularly. I’ve made Ricotta cheese by adding vinegar, using the whey in our bread. But the cream! Are you saying that the cream that is starting to turn when stored in the frig a bit too long is what you call “cultured”? Can I make butter from that? Or does it have to have the yogurt or kefir? I’ve ended up making biscuits with the “sour” cream, but I’ve not been brave enough to eat it. Thanks for helping.

  27. says

    Edie — Yes, that cream that is beginning to turn can make delicious cultured butter! Usually, off flavors wash away during the wash stage. Give it a try, I think you’ll like it. :)

  28. Edie says

    Thank you so much, Wardee. Does that also mean that all those quart jars of “off” milk I have in the freezer are also able to be used for cultured butter? This is so exciting!!

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