Give Now

A Moment of Science

Butter Experiment

Here's a fun butter experiment. If it goes well, you'll end up with a delicious result!

butter on a mixer

Photo: Rebecca Siegel (Flickr)

You can also make butter using a stand mixer or food processor.

This is a simple butter experiment. If you want to learn more about some of the basic science behind butter and have links to the advanced chemistry and explanations, the longer post is here.

a jar, heavy whipping cream a measuring cup

Some of the supplies you’ll need for this experiment.

What you’ll need:

  • At least 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • A jar that can be completely closed. The jar should be able to hold at least three cups.
  • two bowls of ice water (if you want to eat your butter and want it to last longer than a few days)
  • a bowl
  • a plate

You’re going to bring one cup of heavy whipping cream to room temperature. You’ll let the other cup stay cold in your refrigerator. Before you start, consider which one, room temperature or cold, you think will be easier to make into butter. Why do you think that?

Pour the room temperature whipping cream into the jar. Shake it, continuously, as long as you can.

A gif of shaking heavy cream in a jar

Making butter in a jar

After you’ve finished and let your arms rest for a while, clean out your jar, and pour in the one cup of cold whipping cream. Try to make butter with that.

Pay attention to the amount of time it took to make both kinds of cream into butter. Was there one that wouldn’t turn into butter at all? Did one take longer? Was there a difference in texture between the results? Was there the same amount of buttermilk left at the bottom of the jars?

If both cups of cream turned into successful butters, and you want to eat them, make sure to do the following. Separate out the butter and the buttermilk. The additional bowl listed above is for you to pour the buttermilk if you want to use it (biscuits, fried chicken, cake, etc.).

a small thing of butter on a plate

Butter!

Submerge your butter into the ice water and knead it gently, making sure to get out as much of the remaining buttermilk as possible. This will help the butter last longer.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science