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Homemade Butter

Age range: 6-10
Time required: 15 minutes
Cost of materials: $5-15

You don’t have to live on a farm to make fresh, creamy butter. By following this recipe, you’ll see just how easy it is to make your own and learn a bit of science along the way. Older children may want to check out our advanced recipe video for making cultured butter. opens in a new window


  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6-7 clean marbles (wash with soap and hot water before beginning)
  • Plastic container with tight lid (screw-top is best)
  • Strainer or dish towel

SAFETY: Marbles can be a choking hazard – use caution around young children!

Step-by-step Instructions:

  1. Measure out the heavy whipping cream and salt and pour into the container.
  2. Add the marbles to the container with the cream and salt.
  3. Place the lid securely onto your container. A screw-top container is best since it makes a tight seal.
  4. Vigorously shake the container with the marbles. You’ll need to shake for about 10 minutes, or until the butter reaches a whipped consistency. (Tip for grownups: put on some music and have a 10-minute dance party while you shake the butter. This helps pass the time and it’s great exercise!)
  5. Once the butter has reached a whipped texture, give it a taste!
  6. Remove the marbles and place them in a fine-mesh strainer or dish towel and run under water until clean.

Now that you’ve made your butter, you can use it just like store-bought butter. If you don’t plan on using all your butter at once, you can store it in the fridge for a day or two.

What’s happening?

Milk is mostly water with about 5 to 10 percent protein and fat globules. Cream is milk that contains closer to 15 to 25 percent fat globules. A globule is a tiny membrane filled with fat molecules, kind of like “fat bubbles” suspended in the liquid.

When shaken, the globules smash against each other and break apart. The fat then spills out and clumps together with the contents of other burst globules, which causes the freed fat to separate from the water. As this process continues, two new substances are formed: a solid (butter) and the remaining liquid (buttermilk)! The buttermilk is great to save to make pancakes or other baked goods!

Hungry for more kitchen science? Try these: