Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Butter? [Homemade, Peanut, Almond, & Cashew]

Fresh, creamy, and spreadable. Whether you want rich, golden butter cascading down your mashed potatoes or a sweet, velvety peanut butter sandwich for lunch, both of these delectable butters are staples in most kitchens. However, if you are missing these items from your fridge or pantry, is it cheaper to make your own butter, or should you run to the store to grab some?

Unfortunately, both butter and nut butter are more expensive to make from scratch. This can range from a little over a dollar to over six dollars extra in order to achieve the same amount of these rich and tasty spreads. 

However, if your intent is to create specialty butter or control your ingredient list, making your own will yield the best results. Moreover, the process is easy and fun!  

Is Butter Bad For You?

Goodbye cream, hello butter! In recent years, people have been dropping butter squares into their morning cup of joe. As crazy as this sounds, it is not that far-fetched when you think about how butter is made. 

In fact, butter is just a semisolid version of the cream. In order to make this delectable condiment, all that is required is heavy cream and a mechanism to agitate the liquid. This process is called “churning”.

While this seems like a tedious item to make, it is actually quite simple. Best of all, you are going to get a healthier product that is closer to organic quality. Moreover, if you get your heavy whipping cream from a local dairy farm or farmers’ market, you can avoid consuming preservatives and additives. 

The Cheaper Option — Store-Bought Butter Versus Make Your Own Butter

One stick of butter is equivalent to half a cup. Thus, if you were to purchase a box containing four sticks of butter this would equal two cups. In order to make the same amount at home, you would need four cups, or one quart, of heavy whipping cream. 

Now let’s look at the cost. Let’s say you head out to Walmart to peruse their butter selection. We will compare two brands. 

Butter 

16 Ounces

Heavy Whipping Cream Ultra-Pasteurized

1 Quart

Land O’Lakes

$3.97 Land O’Lakes

$5.58

Horizon Organic  $5.78 Horizon Organic

$9.58

As noted by the table, it is regrettably not cheaper to make your own butter from scratch. Depending on the brand of your choosing, this can be slightly or exorbitantly more expensive. Even checking Walmart’s generic brand, Great Value, it is still an additional cost ($4.14 for whipping cream versus $2.98 for butter).

While Not Cheaper, Making Your Own Butter Is A Breeze!

Despite the fact that making your own butter is clearly a pricier endeavor, it is a simple and easy task. Moreover, you can actually make specialty butters, which can be a fantastic addition to any dinner party or brunch that you may be hosting! 

Homemade Unsalted Butter Recipe — Done In Four Easy Steps!

Prep Time: 5 – 10 minutes

Ingredients: 2 cups of heavy whipping cream

Yield: 1 cup of butter

Tools: Food Processor, Blender or Mason Jar (with a lid)

Step 1

First, you will need to choose your churning tool. This can be done in something as simple as a mason jar with a sealable lid or you can grab a food processor or a blender to do the work for you!

Step 2

Next, you will want to grab your heavy whipping cream. Remember that the higher the quality of the cream, the better the butter will be! This is one of the reasons why it is not cheaper to make your own butter, but it does make it much tastier! Unpasteurized varieties* are recommended if you want a quick and easy result. 

*Remember that if you are pregnant or have a pregnant guest coming to dinner, this is not considered a safe option for consumption.

Determine how much butter you want to make — Two cups of whipping cream will yield one cup of fresh butter. It is important to note that the shelf life of homemade butter is substantially less than that of store-bought butter. If you thoroughly extract the buttermilk, it will likely last two to three weeks. However, if you are less meticulous, expect it to go sour within a week’s time. 

Step 3

Then, pour the whipping cream into the food processor or blender, put it on a medium setting, and wait for some rich, golden goodness to appear! Once thick chunks have formed, pour out the excess buttermilk. 

However, if it doesn’t seem to be clumping up after ten minutes, turn off the appliance and grab your spatula. There is likely an air bubble that is inhibiting the churning process. Hand mix for a minute and then restart the machine.

Conversely, if you chose the mason jar as your tool, you will want to ensure that there is enough space for the butter to form. Thus, if using a 16-ounce mason jar, pour in only one cup of heavy whipping cream at a time. Then, shake the container for approximately five to ten minutes. Again, once the butter chunks have formed, remove the separated buttermilk.

Step 4

The final step is to wash the butter with cold water. Just add a small amount to the container and gently slosh it around. You do not want to mix it in. This removes any excess buttermilk and allows your creation to last a bit longer. Pour out the liquid and repeat again. Continue until the water remains clear. Then, Viola! Delicious, homemade butter!

Flavored Butter

It may not be cheaper to make your own butter, but it is a lot more fun than buying pre-made options! If you want to add a little extra pizzazz to your spread, it is as simple as adding the extra ingredients! For those who want salted butter, just add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt (this is the maximum amount you would need)

However, you can also create pesto butter, cinnamon honey butter, garlic parmesan butter, and cilantro lime butter, to name a few! These concoctions are a great way to dress up your potatoes, breakfast bagel, steak, popcorn, or whatever items you have on the menu. 

The Cheaper Option — Store-Bought Nut Butter Versus Make Your Own Nut Butter

Similarly, making your own nut butters is also more expensive! In order to make 2 cups of peanut butter, you need about 22 ounces of fresh peanuts. For 2 cups of almond or cashew butter, you will need 32 ounces of your chosen nut.

Nut Butters 

Cost Per Ounce

Nuts

Cost Per Ounce

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter 

$0.1425 Planters Peanuts $0.1617

Sam’s Choice Creamy Cashew Butter

$0.4150 Planters Cashews $0.4926

Sam’s Choice Creamy Almond Butter

$0.4150 Blue Diamond Almonds

$0.3893

Sam’s Choice Almond and Cashew Butters are available at Walmart for $4.98 (12 ounces) apiece and JIF is available for $2.28 for 16 ounces. Taking a look at the table and making some intricate calculations, for 12 ounces of homemade cashew butter, it would cost $11.82, with the same amount of almond butter costing about $2.50 less at $9.34.

Finally, 16 ounces of peanut butter would run you $3.44. This does not include oils, honey, sugar, and other ingredients to make the nut butters sweet and savory.

Cheaper To Make Your Own Butter

 

Thankfully, if you have the money to splurge on making your own nut butters, the process is exceptionally easy! Just throw the nuts into a food processor and then add your choice of sugar, cinnamon, honey, or salt for flavor!

Best of all, these spreads can be stored in the fridge or on the counter! You also have the option of roasting the nuts prior to blending them. This can add some extra flavor. Just spread them on a pan and bake them for 15 minutes at 325 degrees!

Frequently Asked Questions — Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Butter?

Is homemade butter healthier than store-made butter?

Both products are made with heavy whipping cream so their ingredients are virtually the same. The only main difference is that store-bought butter has additives and preservatives in the recipe. These are added to lengthen the shelf life of the butter. 

Research has shown that with enough consumption, these ingredients can be harmful, especially to children. Making your own butter is a simple way to help limit their intake. Just remember that obtaining whipping cream from a local source, and not a grocery store is your most natural option. 

Are there any other differences between homemade and store-bought butter?

Besides the fact that it is not cheaper to make your own butter, there is also a difference in consistency. The texture of homemade butter is going to be thicker, and therefore, harder to spread. Some people describe it as almost a cheese-like consistency. 

Keep in mind, when butter is cold, it is going to cause the fat in the butter to get harder. Thus, if you want more spreadable butter, leave it on the counter to get closer to room temperature.

Some people also notice a difference in taste, while others can not discern a distinction. 

Can I use the buttermilk that separates out in the butter-making process?

Yes! However, the shelf life for fresh buttermilk is only two to three days. Make sure to seal it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. This can be used for baking biscuits, making pancakes, creating a creamy salad dressing, among many other things!

How do I store homemade butter?

The best way to store your homemade butter is to purchase a butter bell or butter crock. Take the chunks of butter and pack them into the cup attached to the lid. The goal is to remove any excess air. 

Then fill the base with cool water up the marked line. Put the lid on and store it in the fridge! If you live in cooler environments, you can store it on the counter, but it likely will not last as long. 

You can also wrap your butter in wax paper and tie off each end with a rubber band. This will keep it fresh for about a week. When freezing butter, make sure to also place it in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. While freezing the excess is a good alternative, know that it is going to lose some of its delicious flavors. However, if you intend to add more ingredients, later on, it can keep for up to six to nine months in the freezer!

Important note — Salted varieties of butter will always last longer. If unsalted, use the lowest recommended storage time. 

Are there ways to extend the shelf life of my homemade butter?

Proper storage is the main method for extending the shelf life of your homemade butter. As noted above, it is best to store this item in the fridge since it may not have any preservatives (depending on the type of cream that you use). The back of the fridge is the ideal spot. Moreover. when taking the butter out of the refrigerator to soften it, only pull out what you need. This ensures that the excess remains cool and fresh.

Why are some nut butters so expensive?

Unlike peanuts, almonds and cashews are more expensive to grow and require more time to process before they are good to eat. For example, many manufacturers blanch their almonds before roasting them. This all happens prior to sending them off to the store to be sold. This requires more time, more workers and thus, extra money.

What is the healthiest nut butter to eat?

This depends on what you need to ramp up your diet! If you need antioxidants, peanuts are fantastic and affordable! Walnut butter contains the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Almond butter is stacked with protein, vitamins, and magnesium, whereas cashews are creamier, but have more carbs.

What is most important is what else is on your ingredient list. Less is more, especially if you want to have a healthier meal so check the ingredient list or consider making your own!

Final Thoughts 

While it is not cheaper to make your own butter or nut butters, depending on your ingredients of choice, the price can be extremely comparable. Therefore, if you are looking for a healthier alternative that has fewer preservatives, it can be an affordable choice. 

Remember that in order for it to truly be budget-friendly, you need to use what you make in a shorter time frame, than that of a store-bought butter. Nut butters can have a shelf life of up to six months if they are stored in the fridge, while regular butter will go for two to three weeks before spoiling. 

 

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