Make Your Own Butter

Mason Jar Butter recipe from “Welcome to Buttermilk Kitchen” by Chef Suzanne Vizethann.

Story by Hope S. Philbrick

Photos by Angie Mosier from Welcome to Buttermilk Kitchen by Suzanne Vizethann. Reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith Publishing.

In my home kitchen I aim to make as much as possible from scratch, but coronavirus has expanded my definition of the word “possible.” With more time at home, I’ve had time to experiment with even basic ingredients that I previously bought at the grocery store.

I recently received a copy of Welcome to Buttermilk Kitchen, the new cookbook by Chef Suzanne Vizethann, whose Buttermilk Kitchen brunch and lunch restaurant is wildly popular in Atlanta, Georgia. Thumbing through the cookbook, I was impressed. It presents easy-to-follow recipes and delves deep into upscale basics of Southern cuisine, including mayonnaise, pickles, infused salts, biscuits, fried chicken, and other Southern favorites.

What immediately piqued my curiosity was her recipe for “Mason Jar Butter.” I’d never made butter, but it seems especially important to know the essential basics these days, so I tested Suzanne’s recipe.

I had all the ingredients on hand: an 8-ounce bottle of artisan grass-fed cream, sour cream, water, a Mason jar, and a bowl. The recipe is as easy as described, plus interesting foodie fun. In a side-by-side taste test, I couldn’t differentiate between my homemade butter and artisan butter that I’d bought previously.

I’m not planning on making butter routinely, but am glad to know that I can in a pinch. While shaking the mason jar as instructed, I was cooking dinner at the same time and even set the jar down for a few moments at some points. It didn’t seem to change the outcome. Your arms may get tired, in which case it helps to have someone else around who can help shake.

Mason Jar Shaking - Foodie Travel USA

The transition from cream to butter is interesting all along the way, especially as it turns from chunky whipped cream into butter. At some stages it seems like, “No way will this work.” Keep shaking! It took maybe 10 minutes for me, which was a genuine surprise since on TV shows and movies set in pioneer days it seems to be a day-long project.

Making butter is a fun food science project to satisfy a foodie’s curiosity—one I think might be especially fascinating for kids.

Mason Jar Butter - Foodie Travel USAMason Jar Butter

Recipe by Suzanne Vizethann. Reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith Publishing.

“When we first opened the restaurant, we made most of the butter we used in our recipes and to serve to our customers. As our business got bigger, making butter became too labor intensive, and we had to start purchasing high-quality butter for the restaurant. It’s still fun to make butter, and this recipe is a great one to add to your repertoire.”

Makes 3 ounces or almost 1 stick

1 cup full-fat heavy cream

1 teaspoon full-fat sour cream

1 (16-ounce) regular Mason jar

Cold water

Pour the cream and sour cream into the jar, filling it halfway full. Screw the lid on and shake the jar for 6-8 minutes. After the first 4 minutes, you’ll have whipped cream. Keep shaking until a lump has formed inside, and shake an additional 30-60 seconds after that.

Remove the solids from the jar. The remaining liquid is buttermilk, which you can save for other recipes (like Buttermilk Whipped Cream) or discard—just don’t tell me you did.

Place the solids in a small bowl. Pour cold water over the butter and use your hands to squish it into a ball. Discard the water and repeat, rinsing 2 more times. At this point, you have butter. You can add things like salt, honey, and herbs to create flavored butters, or serve as is.

Save that Mason jar and add to your drinking glass collection—it’s the Southern thing to do.

Buy The Book…

Welcome to Buttermilk Kitchen

Plan A Trip

Buttermilk Kitchen
4225 Roswell Rd. NE
Atlanta GA 30342

Opened in 2012, Buttermilk Kitchen is a beloved neighborhood restaurant located in Atlanta’s North Buckhead neighborhood that serves brunch and lunch. Its dishes are made in-house from scratch with sustainably grown ingredients from nearby farms. Executive Chef and Co-Owner Suzanne Vizethann also co-owns The Hungry Peach. Suzanne was a winning contestant on The Food Network’s cooking competition “Chopped.”

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Hope S. Philbrick


Hope S. Philbrick is editor of Foodie Travel USA and the strategic content lead for MediaOne North America. She also runs Getaways for Grownups.