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Frozen Buttermilk 2

Whenever I post a recipe that contains buttermilk, like my cookie recipe yesterday, I usually get a few comments or emails from readers who say they do not keep buttermilk on hand.

You can almost always find buttermilk in my fridge, so not having it on hand seems odds to me. This got me thinking about buttermilk and whether or not most people keep buttermilk on hand.

To me buttermilk is a staple in my kitchen. I use it in pancakes, biscuits, muffins, quick breads, and even things like cookies. I have also made buttermilk syrup that we use on pancakes and waffles. Yes, I know you can buy buttermilk powder and I have used this before. I also know that you can substitute buttermilk by using 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. I have also done this a few times.

But I don’t think either of those are as good as buying and using buttermilk. Buttermilk is thick and creamy; you can’t get that texture with either the powdered buttermilk or the milk/vinegar trick. Buttermilk also has a unique tangy taste that I don’t think the other options have. In my opinion things like biscuits are just not the same made without buttermilk. They are not as flaky or tender. I think the same goes for pancakes and other recipes that call for buttermilk. So, maybe this makes me a bit of a food snob, but buttermilk works for me better than any of the other options.

I know many of you probably do not keep it on hand because you won’t use it all before it goes bad. But did you know that you can freeze it? I have done that before and it works great.

Today on Twitter I asked what others thought about buttermilk being a kitchen staple. Now I am really thinking that I am in the minority here. Most people don’t keep buttermilk on hand. Here are some of the replies that I got on twitter.

Phoebe said, “I usually do not keep buttermilk–but I’ve slowly begun to realize that the real deal makes a HUGE difference! “

Amy said, “I just do the vinegar in milk trick. I’m sure buttermilk would be better, but I don’t keep it on hand.”

“I do the vinegar/milk thing too. Seems to work out alright for me, but I’m sure real buttermilk is tastier! ” said Micropreemies. She also said that she has done this with my Buttermilk Chocolate Bread and it worked great.

“We try to keep buttermilk on hand as well. To me biscuits aren’t biscuits with out buttermilk.” said

Foodie Reflects said, “It’s easy to make buttermilk with milk and lemon juice. I find in baking that I usually just need a little buttermilk & can’t always find it in sm amounts. Easier to make it. ”

So, now I am really curious, what do you think? Is buttermilk a kitchen staple in your house? Or do you think the milk and vinegar trick or buttermilk powder work just as good?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I love to cook and my family loves to eat! I keep buttermilk in my fridge most all the time. As you said it is so much better in pancakes, biscuits, etc. I am from the south, maybe that is the reason. From what I’ve been reading, buttermilk is very good for us. I also have been soaking grains when I remember to do it! I wonder if there was a reason that our grandparents drank it & tried to get us to do the same!?

  2. I’m in the minority too. I almost always have buttermilk on hand. I’ve used the substitutes, but they are just not the same. I love using it in baked goods, but I also use it for buttermilk syrup and homemade ranch dressing.

    I’ve never tried freezing it, thanks for the tip!

  3. I also just do the milk and vinegar trick, but I cook quite a few recipes that call for buttermilk so maybe I should try buying it and freezing it and see if I notice a difference in taste.

  4. I use the milk and lemon juice trick. I need it less than once a month, so it doesn’t make sense to me to keep it on hand, but I have a friend who does!

    And to boot, my Indiana co-worker brings half-gallons of buttermilk to work and drinks it all the time for his heartburn. We make jokes about it, but it grosses me out!!! 🙂

  5. Hmmm… maybe I’ll have to grab some and keep it in the freezer. But, I’ve been buying all of my milk straight from the farm for the last few months. Don’t know if I want to go back to pasteurized…

    Definitely something to think about!

  6. Buttermilk is a staple at my house! I use it for biscuits, pancakes, cakes – I can’t even make a decent biscuit without buttermilk.

  7. I am a firm believer that if a recipe calls for buttermilk then buttermilk it is! If I buy it for a certain recipe, I will find other recipes to make with it before it goes bad in the refrigerator.

  8. Interesting. As I’ve learned to do more baking and cooking this last year, I’ve just used the milk/lemon juice substitute because I haven’t wanted to waste any I couldn’t use. But I also haven’t made anything that depends on the buttermilk for a strong part of the final flavor. If I did that, I would probably buy the real thing. And now that I know you’ve frozen it successfully, I think I will do just that! Thanks for the tip!!! (My husband will thank you too, I’m sure, once I get a good biscuit recipe!)

  9. Love the real thing. My husband loves cornbread, biscuits, and pancakes made with it. Also, bake with it. Never tried freezing it.

  10. I live in the south and buttermilk is a staple in my house. When I am out and don’t have time for a store trip I have used the milk and lemon juice trick. It’s okay, just not quite the same.

  11. I love to cook with buttermilk. I can usually purchase BM for .75 for a half gallon on clearance at kroger. I take it home and pour one cup measures into freezer bags and freeze to have on hand for any recipe.

  12. staple!

  13. I generally keep it on hand, too. My dh makes pancakes most Sunday mornings and the taste difference is huge.

    He uses it past the expiration date and it is fine (I buy it on clearance at Kroger quite often, too). If we run out, we replace it with plain yogurt thinned a bit with regular milk. We like that better than the dry buttermilk or making soured milk and it’s rare that we’d be out of both yogurt and buttermilk at the same time.

  14. I prefer buttermilk over the powdered stuff. The powdered just isn’t as good. I never thought about freezing the real stuff before. DUH! Thanks for the tip!

  15. I MUST always have buttermilk in my fridge! We have cornbread, as well as pancakes, at LEAST once a week. So we go through it pretty fast.

  16. I don’t think I’ve ever bought buttermilk. Maybe, but I always keep the powdered buttermilk in my fridge. That is a staple for me.

  17. buttermilk in the 1/2 gallon jug is a staple in my kitchen. I have a can of powdered buttermilk as a backup.

    I will agree with you too that nothing beats the texture you get in baked goods with good ol’ buttermilk–the thick & creamy kind! 🙂

  18. It’s a staple in THIS house!

  19. I have honestly never bought buttermilk. I’m sure it tastes better, but for as little as I use it (just in a few recipes that I have), I always just add lemon juice to whole milk.

  20. I honestly never use the stuff. When I was a kid, my dad would drink it from the carton. 😛 I would never use it before it goes bad and I think it’s too much trouble, so I usually skip any recipes with it altogether. Yes, I am a bit of a lazy cook in this area.

  21. Lisa Grace says

    Honestly, I have never used it before. Yesterday was the very first day ever that it has made its way into our home and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it … then I saw your post and now I have all kinds of ideas. Can’t wait to try it out 🙂

  22. Karen Osmon says

    Milk and vinegar for me, I have poured out more spoiled buttermilk than I really like to think about! So glad to know I can freeze it, I really do like it better and now I can buy it and not pour it out when it spoils!!

  23. I don’t keep it I do have the powdered form. I don’t have many recipes that call for it and if I need it I use the powdered. I think I will try freezeing some. I would guess in cup amounts? How long can you freeze it for? Can you use butermilk instead of milk in baking recipes?

  24. I make buttermilk. You have to buy some first but when you are down to your last one cup, pour it into a quart jar, fill the rest of the way with milk and then let it sit on your counter for 24 hours. I know it sounds un-safe, but the culture in the buttermilk keeps it from spoiling. You will have nice, thick buttermilk to use the next day. It’s much cheaper and tastes just as good. Then you can keep repeating that so you never run out. 🙂

  25. Marisa Harvey says

    I always keep buttermilk in my fridge but I didn’t always. When I was younger I never kept it on hand and used the lil tricks (lemon juice or vinegar)…. now it’s easier for me to keep buttermilk and I use it lots – Since I am older I cook way more varieties of foods and enjoy cooking with a passion instead of just a necessity for eating! Cornbread and biscuits just aren’t what they should be withOUT it -to me!

  26. I made red velvet cupcakes with buttermilk and they were by far the best ever. Also, I have lots of buttermilk leftover so I am going to freeze it asap for future recipes.
    Thank you!

  27. It’s a staple now! It took me years to wean myself off the vinegar + milk trick, but I’ve had more than one professional chef tell me that was simply making sour milk. Now I use it at least once or twice a week.

  28. Have used the viniger trick more often then not. But now that I know it is freezable… time to put my icecube trays to work!! That way they are in small portions, freeze then store in a gallon zip loc bag… I do that with MANY liquids… leftover broth, yogurt for smoothies, flavored juice for lemonaid, coffee for iced coffee!

  29. I was just wondering about freezing buttermilk!

    The recipe I want to try for doughnuts calls for it and I debated whether or not to use sour milk. I think after I make my doughnuts, I’ll freeze the remaining in the amount I Need for doughnuts!

  30. Ok so I use plenty of recipes with buttermilk but never all of the buttermilk before it expires. I didn’t think of freezing it. I buy it when I know I will use it all or most. But most of the time I do milk and vinegar. If I can freeze it, I’ll be damned if I will use milk and vinegar again.

  31. I usually always have buttermilk on hand. If I am running low, I have cultured myself. Just use 1/4 – 1/2 cup of buttermilk in a quart of milk. Leave it on the counter to culture for 12 to 24 hrs. Obviously you have to start with buttermilk that has live cultures in it. If not, it won’t culture anything. I use whole buttermilk, not the low fat or skim. About every 4th time I buy fresh buttermilk and start over so my cultures are always strong.

  32. I try to always keep buttermilk on hand and if I don’t think I will use it before it expires I freeze it in one cup portions. I think the fresh buttermilk is much better than the powdered or using the soured milk substitute. It really contributes to the tenderness of muffins, cakes, and biscuits in MHO.

  33. It’s a staple. But then, I’m one of the 1% of the population that loves the flavor by itself. I find it delicious! And it does have active cultures in it that are good for yer innards.

  34. Oh, and BTW, did you know that if you substitute buttermilk for the water in a cake mix, the result is a moister, more homemade-tasting cake?

  35. I love buttermilk! I generally keep/use the powdered kind, but honestly, it doesn’t work the magic in recipes that the real thing does! If I really want a recipe to turn out a star performance, I buy & use the fresh buttermilk.
    Thank you for the info that it freezes. That is $saving information!

  36. I always keep buttermilk on hand! 🙂

  37. I do the milk and vinegar trick, but I don’t think it works as a well as buttermilk. However, it is cheaper. If I find buttermilk on mark down at the grocery store, I will purchase quite a bit and freeze it.

  38. Stephanie G. says

    You can find powdered buttermilk in your supermarket, it’s with the evaporated milks and powdered milks. Store it in the fridge and mix up just what you need.

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