Canning Butter

Whenever you find a sale on butter, don’t be afraid to go ahead and stock up. You can freeze butter and you can home-can it.  Canned butter lasts for years if the seals are not disturbed and you keep it in a cool place. I’ve canned butter for years and here is my method.

Wide-mouth, half pint canning jar

I’ve always pressure canned butter instead of water-bathing it. Butter is dairy of course and non-acidic so if you water bath it, you really do run the risk of botulism.  Oh, but canning butter is easy, and you should try it.

My favorite type of jars to use for canning butter are half pint, wide-mouth jars.

The wide mouth makes it easier to get the butter out of the jars and opening a half pint at a time is convenient for most families.  But don’t give up if you can’t find these types of jars.  I used regular half pint jelly jars this time and they work just fine.

I used 5 pounds of butter and got 10 half pints.

You will need to know how to use a pressure canner to use these directions.

You’ll need:

10-12 half pint jars, lids and rings

jar lifter and lid magnet or tongs

plastic jar funnel

small dish of vinegar

several clean cloths

pressure canner and some knowledge of its use

pot for melting and boiling the butter

a ladle

pan for heating lids and rings

oven – set to 275* F – This is for heating the jars. You don’t have to heat your jars in the oven, but if you use water, you will need to dry out the jars before adding the melted butter. That’s kind of a pain. So put your jars in a 9×13 casserole pan and put them in the oven set to 275*F for about 20 minutes before adding the butter.
Go ahead and put 3-4 inches of water in your pressure canner and bring up the heat.

Boiling butter

Put water in the pan to heat lid and rings, go ahead and bring the heat up under that as well.

Put the butter in a pot and melt it, bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the butter simmer for 10 minutes or so. You’re evaporating some of the moisture from the butter and getting it good and hot. Be sure to stir it and don’t allow any of the milk solids ( the little while particles) to burn and don’t let it boil over!

Once everything is good and hot, carefully take the pan of jars out of the oven. Place the jars right side up on a clean dish cloth.  Insert the plastic funnel in the jars one at a time and fill the jars with hot butter, leaving a 1/2″ head space.

Using a clean cloth dipped in vinegar and then squeezed out, clean off the jar rims.

Place lids and rings on each jar, tighten the rings just firmly but not hard.

Put the jars in the pressure canner that has 3-4 inches of hot water in it.  I put in a couple of strategically placed clean dish cloths in case the little jars topple over. They can rattle against the sides and each other and break.

Half-pints of butter in the canner

Put the lid on the canner and fasten it down. Allow steam to flow out of the vent for about 10 minutes. Place the weight (at 10 pounds) or gauge (11 pounds) on the vent and when it reaches the correct pressure (when the weight begins to rattle) start timing.

Allow the pressure canner to chug along for 60 minutes for these half pints.

After 60 minutes, take the canner of the heat and allow it to release its pressure naturally. You might hear the lids sealing while the jars are still in the canner, that’s OK.

Once all the pressure is gone and you can safely open the canner, open it up and take the jars out of the canner. Place them on a clean towel to cool.

Because this is pressure canned, and the butter is subjected to high temperatures, you may see the milk solids clump together and fall to the bottom of the jar. That’s OK! Jut give your jars a shake as they cool to combine the solids and the liquids. As the butter solidifies, the solids will be dispersed throughout the liquids and it will look like you expect butter to look.

Check for seals after it cools. Store canned butter in a dark cool place.  If you want the butter to be firm, then refrigerate a jar before you open it.


Canned Butter

About Sylvia

Sylvia is the owner of the Christian HomeKeeper Network website and ministry. She and her husband Mark live in Tennessee. They are the parents of 5 children and grandparents to three so far. They have homeschooled since 1990. Sylvia is a Christian and enjoys mentoring women, writing articles for several magazines, gardening, Bible study and creating a peaceful holy home. Follow Sylvia on Google+ or check out her 21st Century HomeKeeper podcasts on the Preparedness Radio Network.
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33 Responses to Canning Butter

  1. Lisa says:

    I have canned my butter. It work great. Thank you!!!!!!!

  2. Christine says:

    I have had excellent results canning homemade butter. I use the outdated oven canning method and have never had anything go bad on me. I do plan on buying a pressure canner but they dont carry them in Denmark and I will have to get it from Amazon or someplace like that.

  3. Leslie Borelli says:

    Do you skim the foam off the top of the butter before you put them in jars?

  4. Michelle says:

    Love this! Does it make a difference if you use salted or unsalted butter? I’ve heard both ways and am curious which is recommended….

    • Sylvia says:

      Hi Michelle,
      Salt is a natural preservative so it won’t hurt the butter. I usually can salted butter. I think sometimes the salted butter tastes slightly more salty after canning so I could suggest that you try a small batch of both and see what you like best. You can use un-salted and then add a small amount, like 1-1/4 tsp., to each half pint too.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. MaryHelen says:

    Thank you so much .I’ve wondered about canned butter and wanted to try it but was nervous about it , now you have answered a lot of my questions and I am going to try it thanks again.

  6. Christine says:

    I have looked all over for an easy way to can butter and will definately try this. We have a surplus at the moment from our very productive jersy momma and I want to save it for the 2 months she gets a vacation from being milked. Does anyone have a good way to can grains like flour and oats? How about preserving fresh eggs? My cat and I cant get rid of the mice that keep coming into the house from the attached barn and I am tired of them tearing up my cabinets trying to get to food. I have glass jars and keep most things in airtight containers but it doesnt help much. Wierd danish mutant mice or something around here. Thanks for the useful posts!

    • Sylvia says:

      Christine, you can do what is called dry-canning for the wheat and oats. Fresh eggs will keep about 3 months if you don’t wash them, just dust them off, and keep them cool, like on a cool back porch. You can freeze eggs too but they can’t really be used in baking afterward.
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  7. Babs McNeely says:

    I’ve read canning butter is dangerous however the method used was melting in the oven. By using a water bath, will this make the butter safer to eat/use?

    • Sylvia says:

      No, its not recommended by the USDA.
      I don’t know about melting it in the oven, it seems to me it would be one and the same as long as you get it hot enough… and that might be the drawback, you might not know if its hot enough if you melt it in the oven. I don’t water bath butter, I pressure can it and I don’t believe I’d can it using a water bath.

  8. Leslieanne says:

    How much butter do you usually have when you can pound wise? Thank you

  9. Pingback: For My Expo Friends ~ Home Canned Cheese

  10. Dawn says:

    Hi Sylvia, I moved to Arkansas about 5 years ago, and this summer I’ve been having a hard time bringing myself to can anything because of the heat. When I can my kitchen becomes unbearably hot, although I do as much of the prep as I can outdoors on the gas grill. How do you keep yourself canning when it’s over 100 degrees?

    • Sylvia says:

      Hello Dawn,
      Normally I do my canning very early in the morning and have it over with by 9 am. Some days its the only thing I can do to keep the house from being unbearable…. and we have air conditioning!
      It takes some careful planning ahead but it can be done! Stay cool! 😀

  11. dee says:

    Have you ever canned homemade butter, or is it always just butter you’ve bought? Just wondered how it turned out for you if you did. Thanks!!

    • Sylvia says:

      Dee, I’ve never had enough homemade butter at one time to think about canning it. I don’t think it would be any different from canning store bought – as long as the store bought you buy has only milk and cream in it.

  12. Beth Huff via Facebook says:

    I buy margarine in stick form & then just freeze the entire package – it’s fine, just take out what I need, then put the unused cut portion in a freezer bag.

  13. cristy says:

    Fantastic idea, can you do this with all kinds of butter or just real butter?

  14. Now how about that. I’m going to do this.

  15. Crystal Blomgren via Facebook says:

    Growing up, my mom would freeze margarine with no problems, but it was the stick margarine. I doubt the kind in the plastic tubs would freeze all that well, especially the kind with olive oil in it, it would probably separate.

  16. Shasta you can freeze butter. Butter usually comes in either paper or foil packaging so it needs to be wrapped for the freezer in plastic or foil and then another layer like a ziplock bag or a freezer bag. If your butter is in plastic then you may be able to freeze it in its container. Make sure its butter though and not margarine, I am not sure about freezing margarine.

  17. Shasta Bender via Facebook says:

    Can I just freeze it in the plastic container it come in ?

  18. Helena I would think so. Salt is used in canning mostly for flavor.

  19. Shelly Burge via Facebook says:

    Brilliant! I’ve been wanting to try this.

  20. Helena Horwath via Facebook says:

    I wonder, is this good for unsalted butter as well as salted? I use a lot of unsalted butter in my kitchen.

  21. Deb at www.Titus Two says:

    Sylvia….I tell you, girlfriend, you post the MOST amazing things! I’m sharing this with my gal-pals on FB. Thank you SO much for sharing!