I never thought butter could be this exciting. This is likely my favorite frugal experiment yet: Homemade Butter in the food processor.
I’ve been putting this off for ages because making something as basic as butter is oddly intimidating. But, it’s actually quite simple. It’ll be even easier for you after you read about my mistakes and how to avoid them.
Because this is a frugal experiment rather than a traditional recipe, I will share the following in this post:
- The good and the bad. Including my first impressions and any mistakes I made.
- The cost breakdown and cost comparison to purchasing the store-bought version.
- Whether I think it’s worth the time to do this on a regular basis.
🍽️ Why This Recipe Works
It’s Frugal | I will give you a breakdown of the costs of making your own butter.
Tastes Good | You don’t want to make something that isn’t tasty, but you will be happy to know this is pretty yummy!
Heavy Cream – This is the major ingredient. The agitation process outlined below will separate the fats in the cream from the milk. It is those fats that will form the wonderful butter. Keep the leftover buttermilk for any number of recipes.
Salt – You only need a pinch. It does make a difference, but you really don’t need more than a tiny pinch. This is one of those times when less is more!
Step One: Pour one pint of heavy cream and salt (to taste – I recommend using a light hand) into the food processor and start it up. I learned the hard way to cover the top of the food processor with a tea towel because the cream went flying everywhere!
Step Two: Continue running the food processor. Five minutes in, the butter will start to form. In the photo above, you’ll see the clumps of butter and buttermilk.
Step Three: Strain the buttermilk using a cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Keep the buttermilk for other uses!
Note: This is where I went wrong. I neglected to separate the butter from the buttermilk the first time I tried this and just kept the food processor going for a solid ten minutes. It made it much harder to strain the buttermilk as it had reincorporated back into the butter.
Step Four: Pour off any excess liquid and move the butter around the food processor by pressing the spatula into it for about a minute. And, there was my homemade butter!
Before storing, rinse it off in cold water to remove any remaining buttermilk.
💡 Recipe Tips
As I noted above, the first time I made this didn’t separate the butter from the buttermilk. As a result, it mixed back together. I was able to fix it using these steps.
Add ice water to the combined butter and buttermilk mixture and pulse the food processor several times. The cold water helped to separate the ingredients and I was able to then strain it.
I was surprised how well this worked, and how forgiving the butter was. Of course, it would have been easier to strain it earlier in the process, but this is a great tip if you make a mistake.
We slathered the butter on fresh-baked muffins. Try it.
And now it’s time for my favorite part: Let’s talk money.
💰 Cost Breakdown
- Heavy cream (16 oz.): $1.95
- Salt: Negligible
- Yield: 8oz of butter + buttermilk
- Total Cost: $1.95
- Cost per Ounce: 24¢
- Cost of comparable store-bought butter*: $2.51 (8 oz.)
- Cost per Ounce: 31¢
*Cost averaged over three comparable brands for accuracy.
- Total Cost: $1.95
- Cost per Ounce: 24¢
- Per Ounce: 7¢
- Per 8 oz. package: 56¢
- Per Year*: $29.12
* Assuming a purchase of 8 oz. per week.
Infuse Herbs Into Homemade Butter. You’ll need to add the herbs and spices to the butter when it’s softened. The best way to soften the butter is to set it on the counter for a little bit and let it warm to room temperature. Use an electric mixer and add the extra ingredients. Here are some ideas:
- Garlic – Use garlic butter on steak, eggs, or even a slice of toast. It’s heavenly!
- Chives – Chop up some chives and add them to the butter. This is wonderful with veggies or a baked potato.
- Sage – I like to add sage and use with seafood. It’s beyond incredible! Plus, it tastes good on a freshly baked biscuit too.
- Basil – This is a favorite to add to chicken or eggs! I love the flavor it gives my food, and it goes so well with the creamy butter.
There are many other flavors you can add to the butter. It’s important to note that you need to let the butter absorb these flavors for a while before using it. I like to let mine sit for 3-4 hours whenever possible, but it’s your call.
📌 Recipe FAQs
As long as you properly prepared the butter, you should have no problem with it lasting around two or three weeks. This is wonderful because it takes so little time to make and lasts a long time. You always have it handy when you need it.
Yes! If you’re like me and hate wasting anything, then you will love this idea.
Use it to make fried chicken, pancakes, waffles, salad dressings, and baked goods. Think outside the box. You can also freeze it for later. Pour it into an ice cube tray so it’s in convenient sizes whenever a recipe requires some. Just thaw it in the fridge the night before, and then add it to all your favorite recipes.
If the buttermilk goes bad, you’ll notice that it smells terrible and has a more chunky texture to it. The color of the homemade buttermilk will also change too. If you ever notice anything odd, it’s best to pour it out.
Yes, while it seems like something you could skip, rinsing the homemade butter is vital to making it last. When you rinse the butter, you are removing any extra buttermilk, so it doesn’t become rancid quickly.
Store the butter in a plastic or glass container with a lid. Keeping it airtight will help it last longer. It can sit on your counter for a few days. If you don’t use it all by then, place it in the fridge.
I learned that it’s vital to get all of the buttermilk removed from the butter before storing it. If not, the butter will only last around one week before it goes bad.
Yes! Now that I’ve practiced making it many times, I will make much larger batches so I can freeze some for later. Freezing the butter makes it last so much longer, and you can just grab out what you need.
On average, most homemade butter recipes will last around one year in the freezer. This is especially useful if you have access to a good sale and want to stock up! Then you can make as many batches as you want and have fresh butter on hand anytime the need arises.
I know it seems like it wouldn’t hurt to leave this step out, but if you want the best quality butter that lasts, this is the only way.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
How to Make Butter in Food Processor for $2
- 1 pint Heavy Cream
- Salt pinch
- Pour one pint of heavy cream and salt into the food processor and start it up. Pro Tip: I learned the hard way to cover the top of the food processor with a tea towel because the cream went flying everywhere!
- Continue running the food processor. At around the five minute mark, the butter will start to form.
- Strain the buttermilk using a cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Keep the buttermilk for other uses!
- Pour off any excess liquid and move the butter around the food processor by pressing the spatula into it for about a minute. And, there was my homemade butter!
- Rinse off the butter with cool water before storing. This will remove any excess buttermilk.
Ginny Collins is a passionate foodie and recipe creator of Savor and Savvy and Kitchenlaughter. Indoors she focuses on easy, quick recipes for busy families and kitchen basics. Outdoors, she focuses on backyard grilling and smoking to bring family and friends together. She is a lifelong learner who is always taking cooking classes on her travels overseas and stateside. Her work has been featured on MSN, Parade, Fox News, Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and many local news outlets. She lives in Florida where you will find her outside on the water in her kayak, riding her bike on trails, and planning her next overseas adventure.