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Do I Need a Churn to Make Butter? (Video)

I love butter made of cream from cows raised on pasture. I can’t find it in stores without spending a fortune, so I want to make it at home. Do I have to purchase a butter churn to do so?

You’re in luck: You don’t need a fancy butter churn or special equipment to make butter. You can easily produce 1 or 2 pounds with an electric blender, food processor or mixer. Some folks take the no-tech route and simply shake the cream in a glass jar until the butter separates. One quart of heavy cream will yield about 1 pound of butter.

If you want to make larger amounts of butter or like the idea of using an old-fashioned butter churn, you can find a nice selection of such implements online at Homesteader's Supply. Prices start at about $100 for a 1.7-quart hand-crank model and climb up to $8,650 for a 30-gallon electric churn.

Butter Churn 

For information on how to make your own batch of fresh butter, see Homemade Butter: The Best You’ll Ever Have.

To find sources for fresh, local cream, check out Local Harvest or ask people in your area by posting a query on your state-specific Facebook page.

Photo by Flickr/Molly Sheridan: You can easily whip up butter with your mixer.


Robin Mather is a senior associate editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and the author of The Feast Nearby, a collection of essays and recipes from her year of eating locally on $40 a week. In her spare time, she is a hand-spinner, knitter, weaver, homebrewer, cheese maker and avid cook who cures her own bacon. Find her on Twitter, Facebook or .

linda.dicks1
1/31/2015 9:50:12 AM

I just use a quart jar, a pint of heavy cream and shake it. Doesn't take too long and you have butter. Before pressing out the last of the buttermilk, add a tiny bit of salt to work into it. Use the butermilk for baking or pancakes. No special equipment and not much of a clean up.