Can You Freeze Buttermilk?

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can you freeze buttermilk

Rich and creamy buttermilk is loved by millions and can be drunk as a beverage, but more commonly it’s used as an ingredient in cakes, pancakes, cookies, waffles and even salad dressing.

Its versatility even lets it be used as a marinade or a glaze on poultry and meats.

Usually bought in cartons because it is a dairy product, there is bound to be a ‘use by’ date that means its lifetime is limited.

One question that gets raised regarding this is whether it is possible to freeze buttermilk.

The simple answer to that is yes, but there is more to it than just chucking your unfinished carton of buttermilk in the freezer.

In this article, we’ll explore how to freeze buttermilk people and explain some of the ways frozen buttermilk can be used.

Effects of Freezing Buttermilk


Generally, there is not really much change in buttermilk’s color when it is frozen, and if there is it tends only to be slight.

If you whisk it once it has thawed, its color should look normal.


It is recommended that even if you freeze fresh buttermilk that after it has been thawed you do not drink it directly as its taste is likely to have changed for the worse. For cooking and baking, it will be fine.


This may change and your buttermilk may appear as though it has separated. if you whisk it should soon return to its normal consistency.

Packaging Buttermilk for Freezing

packaging buttermilk for freezing

Plastic Bag

A plastic freezer bag is the easiest and the recommended container for freezing and storing buttermilk.

They are flexible so it can expand as the buttermilk freezes. Also, they can be laid flat, so they require less space.

Glass Container

You should not use ordinary glass containers as these will most likely crack as the buttermilk expands.

Instead, use freezer-safe glass containers which will be marked as such.

Even with these, you such take the precaution of leaving about an inch gap at the top.

Plastic Container

As with glass, there are many plastic containers that are unsuitable for freezing buttermilk.

Plastics, when frozen, can also deteriorate and thus risk chemicals being absorbed into the buttermilk.

You will want to use BPA-free plastic containers which are marked as ‘freezer-safe.’


These are branded bags with a special closure zip that closes and seals the bag.

They are suitable for freezing and thus can be used to freeze buttermilk.

How to Freeze Buttermilk

  1. Decide how much buttermilk you are going to freeze and then decide upon individual portion sizes which could be 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup, for example.
  2. The number of portions and their size will determine how many freezer bags you will need, and how big they need to be.
  3. Write on each freezer bag the date, and the portion size.
  4. Carefully pour each portion into a freezer bag and seal it.
  5. Place all freezer bags into the freezer and lie them flat.

Note: Lying the bags flat means they are taking up less space in your freezer, and it means when it is time to thaw the buttermilk, the process will be quicker.

How to Thaw Frozen Buttermilk

how to thaw frozen buttermilk

The most effective way to thaw frozen buttermilk is to place all the frozen plastic bags in the refrigerator, and they should thaw overnight.

One important advantage is that as the buttermilk thaws in the refrigerator it should be cold and fresh, ready to be used as required.

Another way to defrost it is to submerge the bag containing the buttermilk in warm water for around 20 to 30 minutes.

If you need to thaw your buttermilk quickly, you can use the defrosting program of your microwave.

>>But how about milk then? Find out if freezing milk is possible here!!<<

How to Use Frozen Buttermilk

Once frozen buttermilk has thawed you should be able to use it in pretty much the same way before it was frozen. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, the list of recipes is extensive with cakes, quiche, soups, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and muffins just a few of your options.

Other Ways to Store Buttermilk

A quick and easy alternative to freezing and storing buttermilk in freezer bags is to use ice cube trays.

Simply pour the appropriate amount in each tray and then place it in the freezer.

It is best if you can cover the trays while they are in the freezer with a freezer bag just to protect the frozen buttermilk cubes.

You should keep a note of the date in which each ice cube tray was placed in the freezer.

Related Questions

How long can you keep buttermilk in the freezer?

If you place buttermilk in a freezer in an airtight container it should last up to 3 months.

At this length of time, it should still be fine to consume normally once it has thawed.

Even beyond 3 months, it should still be ok for use as an ingredient in recipes.

How long after the expiration date is buttermilk good?

After the expiration date buttermilk’s shelf life should still be up to another 14 days assuming it is kept in the refrigerator for that entire period.

If it is sat on a kitchen counter for any length of time that 14 days period is greatly reduced.

Even beyond 14 days, it may still be ok to use in baking and other cooking recipes.

How can you tell if buttermilk is spoiled?

Buttermilk should have a smooth consistency and be able to be poured easily.

If it becomes lumpy and you have difficulty in pouring it from a carton or jug, then it is likely to have spoiled.

An obvious sign of spoiling is mold on the surface and a strong odor is another. In any of these cases of spoiling you should throw the buttermilk out.

Is buttermilk still good if it separates?

If you have frozen buttermilk and once thawed it separates, then you should not consume it directly such as drinking it.

However, even if it has separated, buttermilk should still be able to be used for recipes, especially those which are used for baking.

Related Content: Can you freeze eggs? See if it will prolong its shelf life!


Buttermilk has a bit of an enigmatic existence with many people not even sure what it is.

As you’ve hopefully realized by reading this article, it has an extremely diverse range of uses in the kitchen, with the types of recipes it can be used in covering just about every type you can think of.

To extend its life, and its usefulness, it can easily be frozen and then thawed again.

The taste may change slightly if you drink it after it’s been frozen, but as for baking and other recipes, it will be as good as ever.

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