How To Make Homemade Butter

Yes, you should make your own from scratch

Butter is the golden child of the food world. Irresistibly creamy and smooth, it improves everything it touches, from crusty slices of bread to perfectly seared cuts of steak. Sure, you can easily pick up a tub at the store, but nothing beats the taste of fresh butter you make yourself.

Luckily, it's shockingly simple, surprisingly fun and incredibly satisfying to whip up a batch whenever a craving strikes—no churn required!

All you need to get started is heavy whipping cream; ice water; a food processor, stand mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment) or hand mixer; and a deep bowl. Choose the appliance with the most capable motor; small food processors designed for basic prep aren't always up to this task.

Mix the cream on medium speed for four to five minutes. It will thicken to a yogurt-like consistency before it begins to separate. When it starts to look like feta cheese, you're almost there. 

 Keep going until you see clumps of fat solids and a good deal of liquid splashing around in the bottom of the bowl. 

Add one and a half tablespoons of ice water and mix for another 30 seconds.

④ Scoop the clumps out of the bowl and squeeze any excess water out using your hands or cheesecloth. This part is fun but messy, so use gloves.

⑤ Finally, sprinkle some salt on the butter and store whatever you don't immediately spread onto toast in an airtight container. Don't dump the liquid: That's buttermilk!

You could stop there, but it takes only a few extra minutes to transform your creation into something even more delicious: homemade compound butter, or butter that's mixed with something else to enhance it. Here are five ways to spread some love.

Make It Sweet

Swirl in brown sugar and cinnamon. Start with two tablespoons of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of spice for every one-third cup of butter, and adjust to taste. Apply generously to roast sweet potatoes or carrots, or slather on the biscuits or pancakes you make with that reserved buttermilk.

Make It Savory

Top fried fish tacoscorn bread and popcorn with smoky homemade butter that's been blended with chipotle chiles and roast garlic.

Make It Salty

For a salty spread that instantly adds intrigue to baked potatoes or sheet pan steak and veggies, combine homemade butter with diced bacon and blue cheese crumbles.

Make It Herbaceous

Mix in parsley, chives and lemon zest for an aromatic spread that enlivens egg noodles, smashed potatoesroast vegetables or fish.

Make It Your Own

Get creative. Sun-dried tomatoes, honey, pesto, minced chile peppers, cocoa, mustard, olives, nuts, herbs, citrus zest and berries: They're all excellent additions to homemade butter. After all, when you make the butter, you make the rules.