How to Make Cultured Butter

Butter is delicious. We’re talking real butter, butter that is golden and luxuriously rich, butter that is made from high-quality cream, freshly churned and sprinkled with some flakey salt. Those pale waxy bricks from the supermarket can’t compete. And when you take the time to culture your cream first and develop all those tangy, deeply nuanced flavors. Well, that butter: cultured butter is unreal.

But for all that flavor, cultured butter could not be easier to make. This recipe calls for only two ingredients and a little bit of waiting. The process of cream turning into butter is so much fun to watch. And as a bonus you get fresh buttermilk in addition to the best butter you’ve tasted.

Cultured Butter - Adding Kefir
Cultured Butter in Food Processor
Cultured Butter - Churned
Cultured Butter Washing


  • 1 pound butter

  • 2 cups buttermilk


  • 4 cups heavy cream (pasteurized is fine, but don’t use ultra-pasteurized or cream with additives)

  • 1/2 cup kefir

  • salt (optional)


  1. In a half-gallon jar add cream and kefir, whisk well to combine. Cover and let ferment at room temperature for 12-36 hours. The longer you let it ferment the tangier the flavor will be.

  2. Chill in fridge for two hours prior to churning. You want the cream to be between 55°-60°F.

  3. In a food processor, or mixer add half of your cultured cream. Churning requires a bit of space so we do this step in batches. Turn on and churn continuously. You’ll see the cream thicken and then start to separate. You can stop when you see or hear splashing. Pour off liquid (buttermilk) into a jar and save for another recipe. Reserve butter solids for next step. Repeat with second half of your cream.

  4. In a bowl lined with finely-knit cheesecloth (called butter muslin). Add butter and create a sack with the cheesecloth. Squeeze the butter to extract additional buttermilk. Buttermilk can cause your butter to spoil faster so the next steps are to get out as much remaining buttermilk as possible.

  5. In a large bowl, make an ice bath. Knead the butter in the ice water to extract additional buttermilk. The water will turn milky. Repeat in a fresh ice bath to make sure all the buttermilk is out.

  6. Transfer butter to a bowl and blot dry with paper towels. If you’re using salt, add in now and knead to combine. Butter can be enjoyed immediately or rolled into a log and wrapped in wax paper and stored in fridge.