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How Is Butter Made?

Posted by Cat Parrish
Children's Farmyard and Family Program Manager & Farm Based Educator

We’re going to make some butter…
Rich and creamy, too!”

I remember the first time I made butter at Shelburne Farms.  I was surprised and amazed at how simple the process was!  All you need is some heavy cream, a jar, a song, and some friends!  Check out the video to learn how:  

How does it work? Is it magic?

Whether you're shaking a jar or churning an old fashioned butter churn, it all works the same way. As you agitate the fat in the milk cream, the fat membranes break open, and the sticky fat will start to clump together into a ball of butter. The milk left behind is called buttermilk (but this buttermilk is a skim milk rather than the cultured buttermilk that you would find in the grocery store). 

How to make maple vanilla whipped cream:

Before shaking, add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to your heavy cream. You can adjust as needed according to your sweet tooth. Watch closely as you shake and when the cream thickens and sticks to the inside of the jar - you’ll have a tasty whipped cream topping. Careful though, if you shake for too long then your whipped cream will turn into butter!

Buttermaking Song 


Shake it, shake it, shake it

Shake it all you can

Shake it like a milkshake

And pass it to a friend!



We’re going to make some butter

Rich and creamy, too

With milk from a cow’s udder

Before you can say moo


Put some cream into a jar

Bring a friend or two

Make sure the lid’s on tightly 

That’s all you have to do 


We’re learning while we’re churning

Hey this is lots of fun

It’s easy to make butter

Let’s eat it when it’s done


Oh, listen very carefully

It’s sounding different now

Hooray! It’s finally butter

Be sure to thank a cow!


Submitted by Susan on Thu , 10/29/2020 - 08:51 AM

Thanks for posting! We’re looking forward to making butter, and trying the maple vanilla whipped cream.

Submitted by Cary on Wed , 11/18/2020 - 09:14 AM

Wonderful holiday idea. Looking forward to making homemade butter!

Submitted by Buna Dorr on Fri , 01/8/2021 - 09:45 AM

Thank you! I love evreything about this! My son and I want to try making butter and cream this way while singing the song. I found your video searching the Google when I typed in the question "How is butter made." and clicking on "videos" search.

Submitted by Pamela Lord on Thu , 02/4/2021 - 01:49 PM

I loved seeing all my Shelburne Farms friends. Good job Cat! Pam

Submitted by Dani and Judah on Wed , 03/24/2021 - 10:08 PM

This is cool! We are especially excited that you gave us a bonus lesson - vanilla-maple whipped cream. Thank you!

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