Updated January 2020. 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 simpler 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.
Homemade Butter in the Food Processor
I poured one pint of heavy cream and salt (to taste. I recommend using a light hand) into the food processor and started 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! This is what the consistency looks like at the 3 minute mark.
I started to hear thumping coming from the food processor at the five minute mark. This means we have butter. See the liquid? That’s buttermilk. At this point, you’re supposed to strain out the buttermilk (save it) and then “rinse” the butter to remove any remaining buttermilk.
This is where I went wrong. I neglected to separate the butter from the buttermilk and just kept the food processor going for a solid ten minutes.
Leaving the buttermilk in the butter makes it more likely that your butter will go rancid. So I was worried when I realized that I slipped up.
I tried to strain it out anyway, hoping to remove any extra buttermilk. But, it was well incorporated into the butter at this point.
So I tried rinsing the butter anyway (noticing a trend here? I’m rather stubborn), thinking that there was a very slim chance that it would work. And, to my surprise, it worked quite well! I simply poured the butter back into the food processor, covered it in ice water and pulsed 10 to 15 times. So this is a possibility for troubleshooting if you’ve slipped up like I did.
I then poured off the liquid and moved the butter around the food processor by pressing the spatula into it for about a minute to remove any excess liquid. And, there was my homemade butter!
We slathered the butter on fresh-baked muffins. Homemade butter is good. Homemade butter slathered on top of a homemade something else is better. Try it.
I’m sure there’s still some buttermilk in the butter itself considering my mistake. But ya know what? The butter has been in the fridge for 6 days and all is well!
And now it’s time for my favorite part: Let’s talk money.
Homemade Butter 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 3 comparable brands for accuracy.
- Total Cost: $1.95
- Cost per Ounce: 24¢
Savings if Homemade:
- Per Ounce: 7¢
- Per 8 oz. package: 56¢
- Per Year*: $29.12
* Assuming a purchase of 8 oz. per week.
How Long Does Homemade Butter Last?
As long as you properly prepared the homemade 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. That way, you always have it handy when you need it.
Can I Use Buttermilk For Other Recipes?
Yes! You can absolutely use the buttermilk for other recipes. If you are 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. Or freeze it for later. You can even pour the buttermilk into an ice cube tray, so it’s in convenient sizes whenever you want some. Just thaw them 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.
How Do You Store Homemade Butter?
Store the homemade 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.
Can You Freeze This Butter Recipe?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze this butter! 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.
Do You Have To Rinse Homemade Butter?
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 getting any extra buttermilk out of it, so it doesn’t become rancid quickly.
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.
Can I Infuse Herbs Into Homemade Butter?
Yes, you can infuse herbs into this butter recipe. You will 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. Then using an electric mixer 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 put the butter with my 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.
How Do You Make A Butter Roll?
After some trial and error, I found the easiest way to turn the butter into a roll is by placing all the butter on a piece of wax paper. Then roll up the wax paper, slowly guiding and forming the butter into a log. You can tie the ends of the wax paper to keep it in place and refrigerate the butter. Then when you are ready to serve, just slice off pieces and enjoy!
Is it Worth the Effort?
Considering how simple it is, there’s no reason not to make homemade butter. It takes very little effort and saves your precious cents. And, we can’t overlook the fact that you get a fresher, higher quality product.
With that said, I’m not sure if there would be any cost-savings if you were to use organic cream, which would likely be considerably more expensive. But, you’d still get the benefit of freshness, quality and control over the final product.
Have you ever made homemade butter in the food processor, or using another method? I’d love to hear what you thought about your results in the comments below!
Looking For More Easy Recipes?
Take a look at a few of our reader favorites! Each recipe is made to help you save money and be simple.
- How To Make Coconut Milk – This is a quick and easy way to learn how to make your own coconut milk at home. It only takes just a few minutes and a couple of ingredients to make a batch.
- Strawberry Mango Freezer Jam – I love making my own homemade jam and find that the freezer jam method is the easiest way to do it. There are only a couple of ingredients and it takes just three minutes to stir this up!
- Homemade Pistachio Butter – Homemade Pistachio Butter is so delicious if you are looking for an alternative nut butter. Don’t let the green color turn you off of this one! So yummy!!!
- Homemade Almond Butter – Homemade almond butter is so good! Put this on a slice of toast, crackers or a long piece of celery. It stores great in a sealed container in the refrigerator.