Clotted Cream

26 Mar 2012

Naturally, I had to crack the clotted cream. It was only a matter of time. My reasoning? Well, we do live on a dairy farm for god’s sake. The only question remaining is: what on earth took me so long. After dipping into a tub made by a fellow farmerette at a recent photo shoot, there was no stopping me.  To put it plainly, the flavour and texture of homemade clotted cream is absolute pure ambrosia.

The first time I tasted clotted cream was at a little afternoon tea party that I organised for a dear friend’s engagement. It took place in the very unlikely, but ultimately ohhh sooo perfect, Murray’s Steakhouse “Home of the Silver Butterknife Steak”. Murray’s is a supper club and cocktail lounge in downtown Minneapolis which opened in the 40’s and is so authentically retro that the dining room is darkly lit even during their lunchtime service. As I recall, the main room is adorned in mirrored walls, chandeliers, salmon pink draperies, and wall to wall carpet with art deco patterning. I wanted to plan something really unforgettable, and just knew Rebecca would love a bit of a mad tea party with all of her girls. Murray’s was the only place that offered such a service at the time. Don’t ask me why.

We all showed up in our frocks and sipped tea and champagne, pawed at dainty cucumber sandwiches and gobbled down white scones with clotted cream and jam in the lowly lit room for over two hours. It was not The Plaza, and no one wore white gloves, but it sure was divine.

After I was living in Ireland for a couple of years, I decided it would be nice idea to invite my mother and sister-in-law to an afternoon tea at Adare Manor. We arrived to the 1800’s Neo-Gothic estate and were seated in the tea rooms. From where I was sitting there was a picture window introducing a view of the most tremendous formal gardens behind one shoulder, and an enormous hearth fireplace that seemed so large that one could stand inside of it, beyond the other. A very reserved waiter served us Darjeeling tea with light egg + cress, salmon + crème fraiche, and ham sandwiches along with delicate cakes, scones, and petit fours. We were all spoiled with clotted cream on that day as well.

Today, I am in my very own kitchen with a pinny making clotted cream from scratch. Didn’t see that happening in my lifetime, but must admit, I am delighted with my success. It’s not difficult, but when you make it for the first time, it’s very easy to get the feeling that it’s not working. I also made the mistake of thinking that the cream underneath the crust was the actually clotted cream. It is not. That crusty golden top is just that, pure gold.

Clotted cream is not Irish, but I would venture to say it features on all formal afternoon tea menus across this fine country. It is mostly associated with dairy from the southwestern part of England; and in particular the counties of Cornwall and Devon. In fact, Cornish Clotted Cream is another one of those protected foods (PDO) so long as the cream is from Cornwall.

My clotted cream proudly comes from milk from our happy Irish Dunmoylan cows, but you don’t need a dairy farm to make it from scratch. If you can get unpasteurized, unhomogenised cream from a local dairy that would be ideal, but if not, use double or heavy organic whipping cream.  Don’t ask yourself why you’re making clotted cream, just do it. And bring it to a friend’s house with homemade scones on a sunny afternoon, it’s a slice of heaven.

Homemade Clotted Cream

Preheat oven to 100C/200F

1000ml/4 cups double or heavy cream (unpasteurised is best)

Pour the cream into a heavy bottom shallow pan. I used a stainless steel roasting pan.

Put it in the oven

And, forget about it for 8-10 hours

When it is done, it will have a thick golden crust forming on the top, like this

Take it out of the oven and let it sit in a cool place for 10-12 hours

Remove the “clouted” top with a slatted spoon, put into jar(s) and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours

The clotted cream will last for 3-4 days

You can use the reserved cream underneath for other purposes if you wish…such as baking scones!

Slather on scones with jam.

{you will thank me}

Slan Abhaile,


Photos + Styling by Imen McDonnell 2012

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74 Responses to “Clotted Cream”

  1. Ben from Tallahassee says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I was tasked with clotted cream to go with a scone bar for a British groom and his US Southern Belle bride. I have never had it and did not know what to expect, but I think it turned out beautifully. The trial batch was made with ultra-pasteurized cream from a large nationally known dairy with abt. 33% fat content. 180F covered in oven for 12 hours, cool overnight and it made a very nice light golden batch of cc. I found some local dairy organic pasteurized cream with a much higher fat content that made a stunning lemon yellow extravagant swirl of slightly sticky crumbly texture more like soft coagulated sweet butter than cream that was really tasty. Having no idea what is correct outside of internet research, I wondered if a lot of the pictures online have some of the milk added back into the clotted cream for a more liquid/fluffy texture or perhaps the longer it sits in the heat, the more solid it becomes??? Out of 2 quarts of cream, I got about 1 quart of clotted cream. In addition to the clotted cream, the remaining milk made an incredible yogurt for granola/fruit parfaits that were also on the scone bar. A sample that was beaten, released a watery substance (whey??) and developed a texture more like regular butter. I also found later that my local health food co-op does stock un-pasteurized raw cream from another dairy in an area of the cooler that is labeled for pet use only. hmmmmm. Thanks again, this was easy and fun. It will now be one of our special offerings. Freezing the leftovers for an emergency fix, like maybe the one coming on right now!!

  2. Dustin Heath says:

    I made it last night, and it turned out a little more like butter. After mixing it up, it became crumbly. Any ideas where I went wrong?

  3. Ruth jabornik says:

    Very Old clotted cream recipe. Follow grandma into cow shed and back to kitchen. Pour milk into large shallow dish.bring to simmer on wood stove. Carefully transport to let it stand in cold fireplace overnight.keep cat outside.scim off cream. Repeat cat step

  4. Imen, I love making clotted cream. And eating it, of course! One of my friends I introduced to afternoon tea years ago immediately became addicted to clotted cream, and it’s so expensive to buy, so it’s a good thing I can make it at home! Love your photos.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    My very Cornish mother used to make clotted cream on top of the stove. A shallow bowl over a wide-mouth saucepan filled with water, left on very low heat overnight. Very easy, very yummy, so long as she could get her hands on cream-top milk!

  6. […] clotted cream BGF {before gluten-free} and it was amazing. You may want to give these a try. 28. Clotted Cream 29. Irish Scones 30. Glazed Irish Breakfast Tea […]

  7. […] V.l.n.r.: Melk en suiker | Schijfjes citroen | Lemon curd | Clotted cream. […]

  8. Jonathan says:

    If it’s made from cream, the cream can be “pasteurized” but not UHT/”ultra-pasteurized.”

    • Phil says:

      So many horror stories about Ultra Pasteurized cream!!!! YES YOU CAN USE IT.
      Of course non or simple pasteurized is better but unless you live somewhere that sells it, you will have to use ULTRA if you want to home make it. I make it with ULTRA and it is always very successful. I have also made it with Pasteurized when I can find it but that is rare. I do nothing different with the ULTRA. I have used both the oven method and the crock pot method and both work very well. So I am still a bit confused why everyone says “…EXCEPT ULTA….” Enjoy!

      • THANK YOU THANK YOU for your comments about Ultra. I sent two of my boys on a crazy chase today trying to find non Ultra and could not find it. I said fine just buy me the heaviest cream you can find even if it’s Ultra and I will try it. I’m doing the stove-top method. I’ve already gotten a layer off and working on my next layer. Thank you so much! I looked on the internet and found your comment here and it encouraged me to go for it and make my own clotted cream here in my humble Merced, California kitchen. Siempre, rachel ♡

      • Pollychrome says:

        Thanks: just what our family needs to know!

      • Tracy says:

        Crock pot method? Please share this recipe! I’m in the middle of the woods in northern NH and cannot find clotted cream within an hour drive. I do, however, have a lovely neighbour with cows and I can ask him if he has cream

  9. Luli says:

    I came across your recipe a while ago, bookmarked it for later and (years later) I’m about to put it in my oven for the night. I’ll try a water bath as suggested in the comments to make the most out of my cream, plus my oven can’t go as low as 100, so I imagine that the moisture will help make the process more gentle. I looked for the thickest cream I could find, 44% fat, but pateurized, hopefully it’ll work.

    I’m excited!! I only had clotted cream once in London and I loooved it.

    • imen says:

      Hi Luli,
      I hope it worked, let me know =)) Thanks a million for your comment! xx

      • Luli says:

        It didn’t work 🙁 In the end I decided to stick it in the electric mini-oven, without a water bath, because that one could reach lower temperatures. In addition, I turned the temperature down a bit because of the convection mode/fan.

        After 8 hours the crust had formed, it was closer to orange than yellow or gold. I left it out for a few hours and then put it in the fridge (not as many as 10 though, could this be a problem? Why is it that it has to go so many hours without refrigeration?).

        When I took it out to put in a smaller container, the crust was leathery to the touch, very rough. And when I scooped out some of the cream, there was lots of crust, with a little beat of cream (just enough to coat the crust, not a significant amount) and then liquid. So the container is 80% crust and I think pretty much inedible, I don’t remember clotted cream being hard or chewy.

        How much cream did you put in your container? I’m starting to think I didn’t pour enough in my pyrex, since it was a test, and that’s why there was crust and nothing else. I thought that the wider, the surface the more cream I’d get, but I think I got it all wrong. It was about 1/2 an inch.

        • imen says:

          Oh no Luli, I am so sorry! Yes, there needs to be a couple inches of cream in the pan..and the “clout” or clotted cream should be a bit crusty, but once you mix it up it becomes softer. I really think it must be done in the properly heated oven. It works great for us. Let me know if you try again. Thanks for letting me know how you got on. Imen xx

    • Mel says:

      200F for Americans

  10. Arielle says:

    oh, I don’t know if I could wait 8 hours! I wonder if there’s a way this could be crock-potted? then I could run off to work and not be tempted…
    I’ll be trying clotted cream from scratch at my next tea party! I linked this tutorial in my recent tea party roundup post as well!

  11. Good Post.
    I really enjoyed to visit your post. I have read your post and got a good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  12. […] by a pinterest post and accompanying comments, I poured my two bottles of shop-bought double cream into a pyrex dish […]

  13. Jess says:

    Hi all FYI am from the uk and I have eaten a lot of clotted cream and seen it made on a pro farm if you follow this and put it in a water bath at the same time you will get actually clotted cream the cream underneath is also meant thicken up. You can eat the lot.

  14. kearsten says:

    I’ve lived in England for nearly a decade and simply adore clotted cream! We buy Rodda, which is considered the only ‘real’ clotted cream and has protected status (like champagne and Parma ham). I’ve never attempted to make it, but I would’ve thought the whole amount of cream would be the clotted cream, not just the crust. I know that what you get in the pot of Rodda isn’t just the crust….the cream itself has become very thick and ‘unctuous’, as it says on the package…almost like it’s been lightly whipped. Would baking it longer and slower result in thicker cream underneath? Would baking it in, say, a cookie sheet make things better? Just looking for some ideas. My mom is hosting an afternoon tea soon and would love to include this English classic, so I’d love to be able to tell her how to make it and our oven is out of commission right now, so I can’t even experiment….boo! Thanks for any tips you’ve got!

    • Elizabeth says:

      What you get in bottles in the store is nothing at all like proper home-made clotted cream. Yes, indeed, proper clotted cream is only the crunchy, buttery stuff on top and its texture is very weird, but it’s really, really good – twice as good as anything bought! Grew up with Cornish mom who learned all the old traditional ways! You can cook it on top of the stove – see my comment below.

  15. […] fair share of indulgent dairy experiments. I’ve churned butter. Strained farmer cheese. Clouted clotted cream. Creamed curd cheese. Condensed milk and evaporated milk. Dairy-ed fudge. Soured cream. Creamed […]

  16. Lucy says:

    The first time I had Clotted Cream was in 2006 when we were in Weston-Super-Mare England visiting our daughter. It was superb. The best Clotted Cream is from Devon and Somerset. I just wish they would start selling it here in Canada. I am going try and make Clotted Cream asap. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  17. Oh Imen, what I would give to taste that Clotted Cream… I absolutely love it!
    I will have a go at making it as I do so love the crust. It’s just not the same as the one you can buy out of a tub… I have a farm near who wells me raw milk under the counter cos it’s illegal here 😉 so I can use that to make the clotted cream!
    You know that selling or gifting home made clotted cream is illegal in England?
    It is, due to all kinds of health hazards… silly.
    Lovely post x

  18. Alberta Haught says:

    We literally just returned from a week long stay at Adare Maore and had tea our very first afternoon there. Their clotted cream was so divine I had to find a recipe for my mother and stumbled across your blog! I can’t wait to try this tonight 🙂

  19. […] Head on over to this great food blog for an easy step by step guide to clotted cream. […]

  20. […] you can even make your own! Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Tags clotted cream, […]

  21. Diana says:

    Im making this as of 5 minutes ago! 🙂

  22. Susan says:

    Definitely going on my to do list for the next time I make scones! Last time I tried clotted cream was the Marks & Spencers version, but I’m sure the homemade one is much nicer.

  23. laraffinee says:

    Has anyone made this with pasteurized cream? I tried it long ago with pasteurized/homogenized cream and it did not “clot”. I can get unhomogenized cream now, but unpasteurized is almost impossible with all the crazy fear surrounding raw milk ( what a pity really). I am wondering if it will clot if it has gone through the pasteurization process.

    • imen says:

      Hi there Lara,
      I have made it with organic cream from the store. It should work for you. Leave it in the oven for at least 8 hours. The top will become firm and crusty, that is the “clout” that will get scraped off and refrigerated. (not the milky cream under the surface). Good luck, let me know how you get on! X

  24. Oooh boy! I will definitely be making this 🙂

  25. […] McDonnell inspired me to do this in her fantastic blog about making her own clotted cream. She is a dairy farmer, so it makes a certain sense for her, but the point she made was valid for […]

  26. Emily says:

    I just made this and can not wait to have on scones tomorrow morning! One question about the crust that forms on top – are you supposed to mix that back into the clotted cream? Or skim it off? I mixed back in, because it seemed quite laborious to skim it off, but obviously now not as smooth… I’m sure it’ll still taste great, though! Thanks for the recipe!

    • imen says:

      Emily! I hope you just skimmed off the crunchy-ish top and didn’t leave it all together? The top golden crust is the clotted cream…when it goes on the fridge it becomes creamier. THe liquid cream on the bottom of the pan is just cream…can be used for baking or cooking and is gorgeous too, but the top is the actual clotted cream. Let me know how you got on! xx

  27. Heidi Leon says:

    Imen, darling, I will make this recipe on one of those crazy baking days so I don´t feel that guilty about having the oven on for 8 hours.

    Obviously, I will also include some scones too. xo

  28. This looks really good and I’m excited to give it a try!

  29. MikeVFMK says:

    Just lovely. I’ve always wanted to make clotted cream and now have an excuse to do so. Like you, I wonder what’s taken me so long. Simply beautiful.

    • imen says:

      Thank you Michael, I hope you give it a try….it’s sinful, but worth every calorie {once or twice a year!} xx

  30. Mise says:

    It looks scrumptious, and what a lovely little tub you’ve served it in.

  31. This looks fantastic! Who would have thought I could make this at home? Thanks for demystifying the process. I’m salivating thinking about eating this with my rhubarb jam!

  32. Andrew Carey says:

    Nice one Imen, I love clotted cream and ever since my Mam brought me to Fortnum and Masons many moons ago (yes I was in short pants) I have loved it ever since. Slathered on scones is something that does it so much justice and I will be trying your recipe. I must dig out a scone recipe and put on some pounds……

  33. Nessa Robins says:

    Imen, I first tasted clotted cream when I went for an afternoon tea, with my mother, at about the age of 6. We were holidaying in Scotland and this particular afternoon tea has stayed clearly in my mind! I love scones and the addition of clotted cream makes them even more delicious. I’m really looking forward to making some – thanks!

    • imen says:

      What a lovely, lovely memory Nessa! I really hope you make this sometime and just relish in it…it’s quite luxurious really! I’d love to try it with one of your amazing scones!xx

  34. It’s in the oven right now 🙂

    • imen says:

      How did it go Prudent Homemaker?!! I love your blog……trying to figure out how to comment! Making your own laundry soap is a wonderful idea! xx

  35. Aoife Mc says:

    Wow. Clotted cream is pretty much my favourite thing in the whole world. I remember the moment I first tasted it. I must have been about 8 years old flying back from Saudi Arabia to Ireland on a British Midlands flight. It was served with the breakfast (it was the 80s and the airline business still did things like serve breakfast on short flights!) and it was such a powerful taste sensation that I have never forgotten it.

    I can’t believe it’s possible that I might actually make it myself!! I am so thrilled at the prospect. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

    • imen says:

      WOW! What a fabulous memory Aoife!!!!!! I can just picture the service on the plane…..I really hope you make the cream. It’s so easy…especially if you put it in the oven in the morning then take it out in the evening to leave sit in a cool place overnight. The next day you pop it into the fridge for a few hours and then it’s ready to serve for tea that afternoon. Thanks so much for your kind words! xx

  36. Micah Thompson says:

    Today is my first visit to your website and I am delighted!! Last summer I was at Adare Manner and had their delicious afternoon tea with all the finery imaginable. I smiled as you described your seat because I was seated on the sofa right next to the huge fireplace! It is definately a memory that will be with me forever! Of course since I have been there clotted cream has been on my mind! Can’t wait to give this a try and have high tea in my home!

    • imen says:

      I LOVE that you sat in prob the same seat as I at Adare Manor, it was a lovely afternoon. Let me know how you get on if you make the clotted cream! xx

  37. I was given some super heavy whipping cream–and it needs to be used soon. I have been wondering about clotted cream. I will make this TODAY.
    I realize this means I have to make scones tomorrow 🙂
    Thankfully, I’ve already made jam.

  38. Not only are your pictures gorgeous, but now you have me craving clotted cream. And living in Ireland. And marrying an Irish farmer. haha.You better hide your husband.
    I bet the scones with the clotted cream are DIVINE. I can smell them all the way to Canada. Beautiful post !!!
    Lynne xx

    • imen says:

      HA!!!!!! Maybe I should start writing about the not-so-idyllic parts of being married to a farmer =) Thanks a million Lynne, we could entertain a swap at some stage =) xx

  39. Imen, never have a felt such an urge to get home to my house and wack some cream in the oven. I’ve newly discovered your blog and love it! As an aside, can you tell me which camera you use? Your photos are beautiful.

    • imen says:

      How did it go????? The camera I used here is a Canon Rebel T3i….i love it. Thanks for your comment! x

  40. christine says:

    Since moving to the UK….every time I hear the word Clotted Cream it makes me giggle….sounds like a coronary. LOL

  41. Lorna - says:

    Many thanks to the link to my blog Imen, it looks fab, quick question though I’m curious as to how you separated the cream from the milk initially, about how much milk did you have to take the cream off it (or did you take some from the bulk tank?) – and did you just let it stand for a few hours and then just skimmed it off with a large spoon?

    • imen says:

      Hi Lorna, thanks for your message =) I loved your clotted cream! I used milk from the bulk tank and let it sit to separate and then skimmed off the top. But you can use double cream as well according to Darina Allen which is why I suggested that in this blogpost…for the ease of it. xx

  42. Krista says:

    I had no idea clotted cream was so easy to make!! 🙂 I’m absolutely delighted. I will be back home on my beloved farm in three days and I cannot wait. I will be making this just as soon as I can get to the dairy for fresh cream. 🙂

    • imen says:

      It is really lovely Krista and the nice hostess gift too if you have something coming up =) Thanks for your comment. xx

  43. ~ callee ~ says:

    Oh, my – that looks heavenly. This is one thing I’ve never tried – and I regret that I never tried it when I was in Scotland. I may have to make some. Until then, I’ll just drool over your pictures.

  44. If I manage to hold back I think I am going to savor this new discovery for a while before I make my own. Sweet anticipation. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! Valerie

    • imen says:

      Valerie, don’t wait too long! It’s gorgeous and also makes a nice little hostess gift if you have something coming up or even a playdate =) Thanks for the comment xx

  45. Lucy says:

    Wow I had no idea what clotted cream actually was – clotted cream freezes pretty well too. My friend married a guy from Devon and had a load left over after their wedding – went in me freezer happy days! Beautiful pics as always

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