What Is Amish Butter?
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Those parchment-wrapped rolls of Amish butter may not be as old-school as you think. But that doesn't mean they aren't delicious.
You may be too young to know what homemade butter tastes like. Amish butter beckons with a promise to recreate that experience. Shaped into slightly irregular rolls and wrapped in parchment, it conjures images of wholesome women hand-churning small batches of cream until it separates into buttermilk and solids.
You might want to check out this product if you feel like something’s lacking from the typical supermarket butter stick. But before you spend your money, you should know what it is—and what it isn’t.
How Amish Butter Is Made
Amish-style butter is churned cream with a higher dairy fat content than American butter. Instead of being shaped into four-ounce sticks, it typically comes in a one- or two-pound rolled log or wheel, shaped like goat cheese or wax-coated Gouda. You’ll find it in both salted and unsalted varieties.
It’s not necessarily made by women in traditional Amish clothing laboring over a wooden butter churn. Instead, it’s often produced in 1,000-pound electric churners. One major producer, Minerva Dairy, makes millions of pounds per year at a rate of 20,000 pounds per day. Still, by using a slow-churning process that minimizes air in the finished product and avoids breaking down butterfat, Amish butter can achieve a superior texture and flavor. Its rolled shape is based on the traditional Amish technique.
If you live near an Amish community, you may be able to purchase authentic, handmade Amish butter. Still, even if you’re shopping at a roadside stand, farmers market or health food store in Amish country, don’t assume that a product labeled as Amish butter—or emblazoned with a horse-drawn buggy on the label—is handmade by the Amish. It might be made with milk from Amish farmers, or come from Lancaster County dairies.
Amish Butter vs. Regular Butter: What’s the Difference?
Besides how it’s made, the biggest difference is the butterfat content. American-style butter has at least 80% butterfat, and European style has at least 82%. Amish style butter has 84% to 85% butterfat. (Learn more in our Complete Guide to Butter.)
It’s not unique in this distinction, however. Some specialty American butters not marketed as Amish also have this high percentage of butterfat; Vital Farms and Straus Family Creamery are two examples.
Amish butter also isn’t alone in its rolled shape. Kroger’s Private Selection house brand offers a salted roll butter. Iowa’s Kalona Creamery sells hand-rolled butter made in an old-fashioned butter churn. Then there’s Teksut Turkish rolled butter, French Lescure butter rolls, the Devon Cream Company’s double cream butter and Farmhouse Kitchens’ hand-rolled butter. In short, you have lots of choices.
Amish butter has a creamier mouthfeel than regular butter. The color can vary from pale yellow to deeper yellow depending on the cows’ diet: cows that eat grass and flowers produce milk with more beta carotene, leading to yellower butter. Whether an Amish butter is made from grass-fed or pasture-raised cows varies by producer. Amish butter is usually pasteurized, but check the label to be sure.
How to Use and Store Amish Butter
Like other butters, it’s a good idea to keep it refrigerated so it lasts longer. However, you can keep a week’s worth of butter on your counter in a butter dish without risking spoilage. With a butter crock, it may last at cool room temperature even longer.
For long-term storage, wrap Amish butter in its original packaging plus an extra layer of plastic. Store it in the freezer, where it may last for up to two years.
Where to Buy Amish Butter
Since it’s marketed as an artisanal product, Amish-style butter can be pricey compared to supermarket stick butter, but not always. It depends on the brand and the store. The high price of some Amish butters is why we think we should know what you’re getting before you spend a lot of money.
Nationwide, it’s easier to find commercialized Amish-style butter. If you can’t find it in your local supermarket, here are five Amish-style butters you can order online or find in national chain stores. Keep in mind that two-day shipping with cold packs can make your order awfully pricey. The prices listed below don’t include shipping, which varies by seller and location.
- Minerva Dairy Amish Roll Butter: Produced in Minerva, Ohio, this company has been making Amish butter since 1894. It comes in rolls or sticks, and in addition to traditional salted and unsalted varieties, you can get garlic herb, maple syrup, pumpkin spice or smoked flavors. Buy just one or two pounds from private sellers on Amazon, or get it in bulk from WebRestaurantStore.com or GoldBelly.com. Cost: $10 to $28 per two-pound roll.
- Amish Country Roll Butter: Since 1946, this brand has made butter from a traditional family recipe using both whey cream and sweet cream. Find it in major chain grocery stores such as Publix, Tom Thumb, Albertsons, and SuperValu. Cost: $10.69 for a two-pound roll.
- Heritage Ridge Creamery: This creamery in Middlebury, Indiana, was started by an Amish man in 1979 and is now owned by a farmers cooperative. Their products are locally made by family farmers. Cost: $14.00 for a two-pound roll.
- Pinconning Cheese Co.: Based in Pinconning—the cheese capital of Michigan—and established in 1948, this store sells Amish butter at $5.49 for a one-pound roll, or $10.49 for a two-pound roll.
- Wilson’s Cheese Shop: Also in Pinconning, their Amish butter wrapper looks similar to Pinconning Cheese Co.’s. This family-run business was established in 1939. Cost: $6.49 for a one-pound roll; $11.99 for a two-pound roll.