Can You Freeze Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a delicious drink and a great addition to recipes such as pancakes and chicken dishes. It adds a tangy tenderness that ordinary milk doesn’t provide. However, it usually comes in large cartons so you may be stuck with leftovers that you can’t utilize by the use-by date. There could also be a sale of buttermilk in the store that is too hard to resist.

Is it Possible to Freeze Buttermilk?

So, can you freeze buttermilk? The answer is yes if you are going to use it in recipes. However, it won’t be suitable for drinking as it can lose some texture and will possibly separate. You probably won’t enjoy it as much as when it was fresh, but it will still work well in a dish like chicken (see also How To Freeze Cooked Chicken) in a creamy buttermilk sauce.

Freezing Buttermilk 

There are two different ways to freeze buttermilk and it is up to you to decide which is the best method for you. What you are cooking can influence your decision. 

It is best to freeze your buttermilk as soon as possible after purchasing it as the taste of thawed buttermilk is better the fresher it is when frozen. You can keep the buttermilk in the freezer for around three months, but again it is better to defrost it sooner. The longer the buttermilk is in the freezer, the more tasteless it will become.

These are the two methods you can use to freeze buttermilk.

Freezing Buttermilk in an Ice Cube Tray

This is probably the better method to use, but it does take a little work. If you’re not sure which method to use, try this one first. The great thing about this method is that because you will end up with buttermilk cubes you can use as few or as many as you want and leave the others in the freezer.

The first step is to measure a cup of buttermilk and then pour it into an ice cube tray. Make a note of how many ice cubes make up a cup of buttermilk as that will help you in the future when a recipe calls for a cup of buttermilk. If you have more than a cup of buttermilk, pour it into other ice cube trays. Put the trays into the freezer. 

Once the buttermilk is frozen, put the cubes into either a freezer bag or an airtight container. If you are using freezer bags, squeeze out the air otherwise you could get freezer burn on your buttermilk cubes. It’s a good idea to put a label on the bag or container saying when it was frozen. It is easy to forget dates if you freeze a lot of items. It’s also a good idea to write how many cubes make up a cup of buttermilk. Then put the container or bag in the freezer.

Freezing Buttermilk in Bags

This is a simpler way of freezing buttermilk, but you need to be careful to freeze just what you want for one or two meals as it can go bad if left in the fridge for too long after defrosting. 

Get a bowl and put a freezer bag into it. Then pour in the buttermilk. It’s best to use a bowl just in case the bag leaks and goes all over your counter. Don’t fill the bag to the top as the buttermilk will expand. Then squeeze out the air from the bag and label it

You can just put the bags into the freezer but it is better to get a baking sheet and lay the bags flat. Put this in the freezer. When the buttermilk has frozen, you can take out the baking sheet. There are two reasons for lying the bags down flat. The first is that they take less space than bags that are standing up. Secondly, bags that have been frozen flat thaw quicker than ones that have been frozen upright. Maybe you are in the habit of forgetting to thaw out food till late in the day. Flat bags will suit you better because of the short length of thawing time.

Thawing Buttermilk

When it comes to thawing your buttermilk, the best way to do this is to put it in the fridge overnight. It will be completely thawed by the morning. All you have to do is stir it and then it is ready to use. 

Perhaps you forgot to thaw it overnight and need to use it. You can put it in the microwave on defrost. Another method is to put the bag or container in a bowl of lukewarm water. Warm water doesn’t help the process so just use lukewarm. When the water becomes cold, replace it with more lukewarm warm water. Keep doing this until the buttermilk has thawed out. This is, of course, quite a painstaking way of thawing although it should be defrosted within half an hour. Naturally smaller cubes and flat bags will thaw out the quickest.

Once the buttermilk has defrosted, give it a whisk which should help if it has separated. Then it’s ready to use in baking (such as scones) or cooking.


As can be seen, buttermilk can be frozen although it’s best used in a recipe once thawed, not as a drink. Yes, freezing will change the texture and flavor of the buttermilk, but this is usually minimal and it will enhance your recipe. 

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