12 Ways to Use Up Leftover Buttermilk


Buttermilk is one of those ingredients that most people tend to use infrequently. I would guess that most of us use the 1/2 cup that’s called for whatever recipe we’re making, then stick the container back in the fridge where it eventually goes bad. And that’s a shame! I really hate wasting food, especially when it’s only because I don’t know what else to do with it!

As it turns out there are TONS of ways to put it to good use, in breakfast dishes, dressings, desserts, and everything in between! So after some serious hunger-inducing research and delicious taste-testing, I’ve gathered together a list of some of my favorite ways to utilize that extra buttermilk. Keep this list handy for the next time you have a carton of buttermilk in the fridge!

Click on the website or blog name beneath the recipe name to view each recipe.


Buttermilk Pancakes

from allrecipes.com

(I made these buttermilk pancakes by substituting a gluten-free flour mix for the all-purpose flour, and they were SO good!)


Brown Butter & Buttermilk Syrup

from Two Peas and Their Pod


Skillet Chicken & Potatoes

from One Good Thing by Jillee


Buttermilk Pie

from Food Network


Triple-Berry Skillet Cobbler

from One Good Thing by Jillee


Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

from Once Upon A Chef


Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

from Averie Cooks


Buttermilk Biscuits

from myrecipes.com


Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken

from Better Homes and Gardens


Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

from Martha Stewart


Homemade Crème Fraîche

from Always Order Dessert


Pecan Buttermilk Fudge

from Epicurious

Bonus Tip: If you know you’re not going to get around to using your extra buttermilk right away, go ahead and freeze it! Whether you pour it into an ice cube tray or place it in a freezer-safe container, freezing your buttermilk is a great way to ensure that it doesn’t go bad before you can use it! Allow it to thaw on the counter or in the fridge before using.

What’s your favorite buttermilk recipe??

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • I’ve not had the chance to cook with buttermilk in the past. I’ve come across buttermilk powder in the grocery store. It appears to be close to the powder they use in dip and dressing mixes like ranch dressing packets.

    Has anyone had any luck using the powdered version?

    Does it keep well after you open the container?

  • Buttermilk makes a great marinade. I’ve used it on chicken breasts, pork loin, and cheaper cuts of beef steak. It tenderizes and makes about the most moist grilled meats you have ever had! Marinate at least 4 hours, but overnight is best. Add some garlic and it will be amazing, You will think you are eating at an expensive restaurant.

  • Jillee your blog posts are always a joy to read! I discovered you on Goodreads, have read your amazing book, and started subscribing to your blog a couple of months ago. Thank you for all of your inspiration!

    As for buttermilk, I absolutely love it, and use it to make homemade buttermilk waffles.

    Buttermilk waffle batter:

    1 cup flour (organic or gluten free if preferred)
    1 cup buttermilk (I use organic)
    3 eggs
    1 tablespoon melted butter
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    a pinch of salt

    I always mix this with a fork, in a large glass measuring cup, until all the lumps are gone. The measuring cup is perfect for pouring directly into your waffle maker.

    Makes 6 square waffles. They always turn out so light, fluffy and delicious. And especially yummy with maple syrup & seasonal fruit.

  • I mostly make my own using 1 cup milk and a tablespoon lemon juice and let stand 15 minutes. I use it for anything that calls for buttermilk.

  • I put the rest in 1 cup freezer containers & freeze it. Works great! When I need buttermilk I thaw it out, stir it up & use it. I always have buttermilk on hand that way.

  • I never have leftover buttermilk, because I have found you can buy a canned dry buttermilk mix that you just added water to it and make your exact amount for a recipe. Its in the baking area by other dried milk.

  • I don’t remember where I heard it or read it, but the statement was “buttermilk is already sour; it doesn’t “go bad!”

    I took that to heart and keep it until it’s used up. We’ve never gotten sick. I use it in smoothies, marinades (great for fried chicken) and a fluffy pudding dessert my husband loves.

    Heck, I even wait to buy it until it’s close to expiration and put on sale because the price has gone up so much in the last couple years.

    Honestly, it lives out in the garage fridge until I need it.

  • What is left over Buttermilk? Just kidding. If you have a septic tank, put your old buttermilk down the toilet to give the bacteria in there something to help it digest the solid waste. Buttermilk helps me when my tummy isn’t right. I eat it with leftover cornbread. It makes baked goods moister, too. I’d rather have buttermilk than regular or (sweet milk). Not everyone likes to drink a glass of cold buttermilk.

  • “I would guess that most of us use the 1/2 cup that’s called for whatever recipe we’re making, then stick the container back in the fridge where it eventually goes bad.” Me to a T!

  • I have a suggestion for leftover buttermilk. My dad always let it set out on the counter overnight then flushed it down the toilet in the morning. I finally asked him why he did that and told me that buttermilk contains the same enzymes and good bacteria as septic tank treatments like Rid-X. The bonus is that the buttermilk contains live-active bacteria unlike store bought treatments. Letting sit out overnight allows for the bacteria to multiply before adding it to the septic tank.

  • We have a sheet cake recipe like Carols. We don’t always use buttermilk in it. We just do the sour milk substitution. It’s a yummy cake,Haven’t made it for ages.

  • I have made this version of chocolate cake for over 50 years….Stays very moist.

    Old fashioned chocolate buttermilk cake
    Serves 12….
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter
    1 cup water
    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    For the frosting

    1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter
    4 tablespoons buttermilk
    3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    For the cake

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.

    2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the butter, water, and cocoa powder in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. With the mixer running, pour the hot chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk, then the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

    3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

    For the frosting

    1. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, bring the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk to a boil in a pan (you can use the same one used earlier). Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.

    2. Pour the warm frosting over the still warm cake, tilting the pan to cover the cake evenly, and leave to cool.

  • I make my buttermilk as I need, so I never have leftovers. Just add lemon juice to the milk and wait for about 5 minutes. 1 cup of milk to 1 tablespoon of lemon or vinegar.

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