Kitchen gadgets review: Kilner Butter Churner – ‘a big pat on the back’

Rhik Samadder with his butter churner: ‘It makes me want to wear gingham and cull a consumptive badger.’
Rhik Samadder with his butter churner: ‘It makes me want to wear gingham and cull a consumptive badger.’ Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian


The Kilner Butter Churner (£21.99,, comprises hand-cranked paddles within a glass flask. When turned through cream, the operative turbulence inverts its emulsion.


Lets you make gold, by your own hand. This be alchemy, sir!


I’m a butter fanatic. I can enumerate my butters the way others list herbal teas: unsalted, salted, lightly salted, full of sea salt, goat. I have butters from Brittany, Piedmont, made-up Jersey farmhouses, the hairy udders of a she-goat. I eat so much, my fridge carries a government health warning spelled out in magnets. When I take tea with pals, they make these little jokes, such as: “Do you want some muffin with your butter?” and: “You owe me money.”

Cholester-lols aside, I’m interested in making my own. This hand-operated paddle churn by Kilner, the supreme tsars of jars, is easy to use: simply pour in double cream and get the revolutions started. How does it work? Butter is just a collected clump of milk fats, like me. Churning physically breaks the lipoprotein membranes that keep the globules separate (as the actress said to the bishop).

I find the process fascinating. Five minutes of cranking, and the cream grows foamy, then thick, then whoomph – the pressure releases, leaving separated buttermilk and yellow butterfat. Can you imagine a lovelier byproduct than buttermilk? (Make pancakes with it, or pour it on cereal later. Like Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris, we’re only here for the hard stuff.)

Behold: butterfat, AKA a handful of human joy
Behold: butterfat, AKA a handful of human joy. Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian

Rinse your fatball free of buttermilk, or it will grow rancid – while I love a lot of butter, no one likes a bitter butter. Add salt, or chuck the store cupboard at it. Parmesan, basil and sundried tomato is amazing; flavoured butter is human joy.

Now, arguably the whole gadget is redundant – shaking up cream in any container works as well. You could also wash your feet in the sink; but sometimes we strive for a little style. This rustic Kilner is lo-fi but highly satisfying. It makes me want to wear gingham and cull a consumptive badger. A big pat on the back. Now, I wonder if they sell cows?

Any downside?

A small bolt on the handle tends to unscrew itself during use. I know nut butters are in vogue, but a loose rivet in the mix is ridiculous. Engineering-wise, I can’t believe it’s not better.

Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?

On the counter. Unless you find an udder place that’s better. 3/5