How to Make Butter with Kids in Five Minutes

So we all know that cows make milk, and that milk can make many delicious things–such as butter, cheese, and yoghurt–but how do these things get made? Let’s do a bit of kitchen science and see if we can make our own butter!cartoon cow

Kids: all you need is some cream and a jam jar.

Grown-ups: you only need to give 5-10 minutes of your time for this short but “wow” kitchen science experiment.


Stuff You’ll Needjar with cream

  • Jam jar with a lid that closes tightly (small kilner jars work too).
  • Double cream (sometimes called heavy cream).
  • Muslin or clean cloth.
  • Small bowl.


Did You Know?

Cream is like thick milk that rises to the top when milk is allowed to settle. Cream contains more fat than milk, which is why it separates away from the rest of the milk.

Let’s Get Started

Traditionally, butter is made by churning the cream that comes from milk. Factories today use massive machines to churn the cream, and in this experiment we are going to do the same thing, but on a smaller scale.

1. Fill your jam jar with cream until it reaches about halfway.

2. Screw the lid on tightly.

3. Put on some music and get shaking (OK, so the music is optional but it makes it more fun!).creamshake

Tip: Keep at least one hand holding the lid as you shake–the lid can easily come undone with all that shaking.


4. It will take between 5-10 minutes of shaking before your butter is produced. You can tell when it’s done when you start to feel and hear a light thumping sound. (If you take a look inside your jar about halfway through, then you’ll see that the cream has become much thicker–this means you are doing it right so keep on going!)

5. Ta dah! Once you hear that thumping sound, open the lid. What you will see is a ball of butter and some liquid left over. This liquid is called buttermilk.buttermuslin

6. Put the cloth over your bowl, and empty the contents of your jar on top–the buttermilk will run through the cloth. To get more buttermilk out of your butter, pull up all corners of the cloth so the butter sits inside. Twist the cloth around the top of the butter and squeeeeeeze to get out as much buttermilk as you can.

And that’s how you make butter with kids!


This butter will keep for about a week in the fridge. You can use it to spread on toast, and in baking, but don’t use it for frying as it’s likely to split. The buttermilk can be used to make yummy pancakes.


homemade butter on toast

How Is This Different to Butter We Buy?buttermilk and butter

  • Most butter we buy has salt added to it, but unsalted butter like the butter we’ve made, is perfect for baking.
  • This butter has a higher amount of liquid in it. No matter how hard you squeezed the cloth to get the buttermilk out, the machines that churn butter in factories can get out much more liquid–this is the reason that you shouldn’t use your homemade butter for frying.

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  1. That is a brilliant little activity. My boy would love to do that! Pinning now.

    • Wendy Finn says:

      Thank you Mel! It is honestly one of my favourites. It’s just like magic to kids (and to me, actually). And has the added bonuses of being quick and cheap to do.

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