Blunderbuss has its roots in White's recordings with several artists, including Tom Jones. White was in contact with Wu-Tang Clan member RZA and, when RZA couldn't attend the session at the last moment, to make good use of the musicians that turned up at his studio White decided to get them to play his own material. White decided to record several tracks that he wrote in the last 6 months of 2011, with the band. The tracks would later develop into songs that appear on the album. The album was produced by Grammy winning sound engineer Vance Powell, who has also worked with such names as The Whigs, Kings of Leon, and Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes. The entire album was recorded to 8-track analogue tape. According to White, he used “100 different production styles on the record." He explained that this, "came from the freedom of having my own studio and having people in Nashville who could come at short notice. What was great too with all these hired guns in the room was that I could write on-the-fly. I could ask people to play something, and I would go somewhere else and work on another part. I was directing people in the room. I had never done that before. When you are in a band, you don’t really tell other people what to play.
Jack White has stated Blunderbuss is a record he could not release until now. He went on to state, "I've put off making records under my own name for a long time but these songs feel like they could only be presented under my name. These songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression, my own colors on my own canvas." To promote Blunderbuss, White performed "Love Interruption" and "Sixteen Saltines" on the March 3, 2012 episode of Saturday Night Live, with two different backing bands, one all-female and the other all-male. The studio version of "Sixteen Saltines" was subsequently released via White's YouTube channel on March 13. Promotional copies of the album, distributed to reviewers and radio stations, were sent as vinyl records to prevent leaks. The album leaked on April 15, nine days ahead of its official release. On April 16, Third Man Records streamed the album in its entirety on iTunes for free listening, 8 days before its release.
"Love Interruption" was the first single from the album, released January 30, 2012. On February 8, 2012, "Machine Gun Silhouette", the B-side to "Love Interruption", appeared on SoundCloud, but it was quickly removed. The single peaked at #13 and #27 on the Billboard US Alternative Songs and US Rock Songs charts, respectively.
"Sixteen Saltines" was the second single, released on March 13, 2012. It reached #129 in the UK Singles Chart and #12 in the top Alternative Songs.
"Freedom at 21", a track originally released via helium balloon as a part of a stunt for Record Store Day, was leaked onto the internet on April 14, 2012.