How To Make Homemade Butter By Shaking Cream in a Jar

My friend Ms. Addy gave me a gallon of fresh milk today. The first time that I ever tried it was at her house. It was… different; I’d definitely have to get used to the flavor. It’s a little bit creamier than store bought, and a little bit salty tasting. I only had a couple of tiny sips, since I’m pregnant and it wasn’t pasteurized or anything.

*Update: I have since learned that cow’s milk can be affected by what they’ve grazed on. Evidently, hers were eating wild onions. Normally, fresh milk will not taste salty at all, and isn’t an acquired taste!

I thought it was so cool that she just gave me a whole gallon, cream and all, and I was anxious to get it home and make butter with it the way that she had showed me. Once I got home I realized that I would need cheesecloth, but I didn’t have any. I asked my husband, who was out running errands, if he would pick some up for me. He looked several places, and could not find any cheesecloth. He called his mom, and she had some that she was kind enough to let me have.

Once he brought that home, I was ready to begin. Here is what I did:

making butter

Here’s the gallon of fresh milk. Can you see the cream on top? It’s about an inch thick, and just a shade lighter than the rest of the milk.

making butter

Next I tipped the jar, and scooped out as much cream as I could. A large spoon is useful for this, but the best I had was a measuring spoon.

making butter

I filled a little less than a half a quart jar with cream. The next step is to screw the lid on the quart jar well, and SHAKE IT! It takes about 15 min. of shaking. I kept having to switch hands, as they kept getting tired. You don’t necessarily have to shake really hard, just keep it going. After a while I looked in the jar and saw the butter forming!

making butter

The cream began to get thicker and turn into clumps, and after a little more shaking yellow butter could be seen floating in the milk.

making butter

I spread the cheesecloth over a bowl and poured the leftover milk off.

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I squished as much of the liquid as I could out of the butter.

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Next I filled a bowl with water, and put the cheesecloth into it. I then put the butter on top of the cheesecloth, and rinsed it and squished it around to get all of the milk out of the butter. I did this until the water ran clear. Otherwise the butter would be sour. I then picked up the cheesecloth with the butter in it, and squeezed out the remaining water.

making butter

Here is what I got! Some beautiful homemade butter. It only made about 1/4 c. of butter, but it was enough that I could use both of these things to make some yummy banana bread muffins for the kids. And they couldn’t get enough! I was so proud of myself. Pretty cool, huh?!

And if you’d like a more “modern” way of making butter, check out this post on how to make butter in a blender.

About Kendra 1104 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. I know this is an old post, but I just found it.

    I found cheesecloth in the fabric (sewing notions) department at Walmart. I use it for lots of things in the kitchen. They say (on the package) that it is washable, but not sure I would want to use it again!

  2. I know this is an old post and you may know this by now, but cheesecloth is usually in the home improvement section of the store – generally with the painting stuff. We looked in the cookware/kitchen gadget section, couldn’t find it, asked an employee and were directed to latex wall paints. We laughed and said, “Guess we’re the only ones left who use CHEESEcloth to make CHEESE.” He looked at us like we had two heads.

  3. Funny I was just given 6 quarts of heavy cream. We made Butter and whipped cream! Nothing better then fresh and even better FREE!! My hands were killing me! I was also given 50pds of carrots the same day so busy hands i have had.. Bean

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