Piima Butter Recipe

Learn how to make the tangy, buttermilk-like culture known as Piima, and for a delicious substitute for sour cream or creme fraische.

| April 2019

Image by Vlad Nordwing from Pixabay

Piima (pee-ma) is a culture based on the extract of the butterwort plant. Some sources suggest that using piima to make dairy products originated in Scandinavia when farmers noticed that milk curdled faster from cows that grazed on butterwort, a northern European wild herb. The culture was then extracted carefully and used in making butter, cultured cream, and buttermilk. In Scandinavia, it also became a practice to pour fresh milk or cream over the butterwort leaves before making dairy products with it. Either way, using piima to make butter is an extremely simple process. Products made with the piima culture will have a slight tang, similar to buttermilk. Piima can be purchased through mail-order herb distributors or on the Internet. It comes in a cream form.

Yield: about 2 cups

Prep time: 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons piima culture (in the form of a cream)
  • 4 cups (2 pints) heavy cream


1.) Put the culture into a clean quart jar. Add the cream and stir. Screw on the lid and store at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (on top of the refrigerator is a good spot) until the mixture begins to thicken, about 24 hours

2.) After the mixture has thickened to a custardlike consistency (about 1 day) remove a few tablespoons as a starter for another batch if desired. Store the starter in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.

3.) Shake the jar of piima butter for about 15 minutes or until solid butter begins to form, surrounded by the liquid buttermilk. Pour off the buttermilk (save for anther use) and spoon the butter into a small colander. Use a wooden spoon to remove excess liquid. Gently rinse the butter in the colander with cold water to remove any remaining liquid.

Shaping Butter

To make butter balls, chill a pair of wooden butter paddles. Cut butter into tablespoon-size pats. Let butter soften slightly. It should be firm but not brittle. Roll butter pieces between the paddles to form balls. Drop each into ice water as it’s made. Drain before serving.

To make butter curls, use a metal butter curler. Dip it into hot water before making each curl. Beginning at the far side of a firm (but not too hard) stick of butter, draw the curler toward you lightly and quickly, making a thin curled shaving of butter. Drop the curls into ice water to keep cold until serving. Drain before serving.


More From The Home Creamery

Excerpted from The Home Creamery © by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.



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