How Long Does Homemade Butter Last

Homemade butter was my intro to homesteading…in a sense. While I had a small garden, growing food was common in my family, and I didn’t see the beauty of it at first. We just did what we had to.

Making homemade butter opened up a whole new world of curiosity for me. For one, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and it was so delicious.

It adds a rich, creamy touch to favorite recipes and simply tastes delicious when spread on a warm slice of bread. I learned quickly, however, how long it lasts and the best ways to store it for optimal freshness.

Homemade butter is a shade different than store bought butter.

Without the additional preservatives that most of commercial butter contains, homemade butter can vary greatly depending on the season and quality of cream.

The shelf life of homemade butter is decidedly shorter then store bought butter, and needs to be taken into count,

In this article, we will explore the shelf life of homemade butter, discuss proper storage methods, and help you become more confident in making and using this delightful dairy product.

So, let’s dive in and learn how to make the most out of your homemade butter.

homemade butter on plate

Understanding Homemade Butter

What Is Homemade Butter

Homemade butter is a delicious, simple, and more natural alternative to store-bought butter. You can make it by simply churning heavy cream until it separates into butter and buttermilk.

This gives you more control over the ingredients, allowing you to avoid additives and preservatives often found in commercial butter.

Butterfat and Nutrition

Butter, whether it’s homemade or store-bought, contains a high percentage of butterfat.

Butterfat is a natural, energy-dense fat that is highly beneficial for your body when consumed in moderation. In homemade butter, the butterfat content typically ranges from 80 to 86%.

The rest of the butter comprises water and milk solids.

Homemade butter is known for being nutrient-dense.

It contains fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as minerals like selenium and iodine.

These vital nutrients add to good overall health, so including a moderate amount of butter in your diet has its benefits.

Homemade Butter vs Store-Bought Butter

The primary difference between homemade and store-bought butter lies in their origins and ingredients.

Homemade butter usually contains fewer additives, as it’s made from heavy cream without any preservatives. Store-bought butter sometimes contains artificial flavor enhancers, coloring, and emulsifiers.

In Canada, cows are also fed palm kernel oil which gives butter an even consistency. Store-bought butter holds its shape at quite high temperatures (and that isn’t normal!).

Here’s a brief comparison between homemade and store-bought butter:

AspectHomemade ButterStore-Bought Butter
IngredientsHeavy creamCream, salt, additives
FlavorFresher, richerStandard
Nutritional ContentHigher nutrient densityMay vary
Additives and PreservativesNonePossibly present
Shelf LifeShorterLonger

When making and consuming homemade butter, you’re making a choice for a cleaner, fresher, and more natural option. This lets you enjoy the rich, delicious flavor of butter without the added chemicals.

Production and Storage of Homemade Butter

Recipe for Homemade Butter

To make your own homemade butter, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of heavy cream (preferably not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (optional)
  1. Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
  2. Start whisking the cream at a low speed and gradually increase to medium-high. Continue whisking until the cream thickens, and butter and buttermilk begin to separate.
  3. Once separated, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the buttermilk. (Save the buttermilk for other baking recipes if desired).
  4. Put the butter back into the bowl and rinse with cold water, repeating the process until the water runs clear.
  5. Press the butter together using a spatula or wooden spoon, removing any excess moisture. You can also add salt at this stage if you’d like.
  6. Form the butter into your desired shape and wrap with parchment paper or wax paper.

Feel free to get creative and add your favorite herbs or spices to make flavored butter.

Here is a complete article on how to make butter from heavy cream.

Proper Storage Conditions

When it comes to storing homemade butter, the key is to protect it from exposure to air and contaminants. I wrap each stick of butter in plastic wrap, and then store in an airtight container.

Butter will sometimes take on other flavors in your fridge or freezer, so you want to double protect.

It’s essential to keep your butter in the right environment to maintain its freshness and flavor. For long term storage, freeze individual sticks of butter.

The ideal storage temperature for short term (2-3 weeks) is below 40°F (4°C).

Butter can be stored at room temperature for a short period if kept in a cool and dark area. Two days at the most.

If you have a source for raw cream, consider yourself blessed. Raw butter is pure gold!

Knowing how long it lasts will keep you from eating rancid butter. A bad experience with raw butter can keep you from enjoying it, so make sure to take the proper precautions, and keeping it in a cool place.