How to Use Up Buttermilk (When You Have Too Much!)

So I’ve been making a lot of butter around here lately. We eat a lot of butter but what can I do with all that liquid from making butter?

It’s too good to dump, but we don’t like it raw. There are only so many recipes that call for it, especially when you don’t want to bake that day. 

Called buttermilk, it will stay good in the fridge for at least a week. I store it in a glass quart jar and try to use it. When making butter, I usually get a pound of butter from a liter of heavy cream. That also means I get about 2 cups of buttermilk per liter of cream. About half of the cream is buttermilk when separated. 

2 cups of buttermilk is easy to use in recipes, but it’s when I am making homemade raw butter from 3 gallons of heavy cream where I run into excess. 

A gallon of buttermilk is too much to just bake with. I need more ideas on how to use up leftover buttermilk. This list will help me and you be less wasteful. 

What is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is the leftovers that you get when churning butter. Its name suggests a high-fat, rich liquid. It actually contains no butter and contains less fat than regular milk. This tangy, slightly acidic liquid has been claimed to clear up bad skin in the 18th century.

Buttermilk is a good source of calcium.

The Buttermilk that you find in the store is different than actual, real, raw buttermilk. These days, most buttermilk in stores is more similar to yogurt.

The commercial process for making buttermilk includes adding bacterial cultures to milk. It undergoes a fermentation process that can take 12-14 hours. This is often called cultured buttermilk.

Buttermilk that you get while making butter looks different than the grocery store product. It is flecked with butter spots and looks more separated. 

How Does Buttermilk Work?

Buttermilk is slightly sour milk. The lactic acids in the milk bring a pleasant taste to baked goods. It reacts well to baking soda in recipes, helping it to rise. 

How To Use Up Buttermilk

Make Biscuits

Exchange the milk or water that biscuits call for with buttermilk. It won’t affect the flavor (if anything, it will just make them more delicious). You can replace it cup for cup.

Bake Bran Muffins

My favorite bran muffin recipe calls for a cup of buttermilk, and whenever I make butter, muffins are sure to follow. I use less sugar than the original recipe, but this has been a family favorite for years. Especially when they are warm out of the oven. Served with a pat of butter is my husband’s favorite way to eat them. 

Feed it to Your Chickens

We tried this once, and while the chicken ate a bit, they didn’t love it as I thought they would. Mix it with some grain, and they will be sure to love it. Raw buttermilk is very healthy for chickens. 

Feed it to Your Pigs

Don’t waste your buttermilk! If you have pigs, give it to them. They love it! As with the chickens, you can make a bit of a hash for them. Mix the buttermilk with some grain as a treat for them.

Freeze it for future use

Measure it out in 1 cup portions and freeze it for future use. There are a lot of recipes that use buttermilk online. Try a few new ones. 

Make pancakes

Pancakes are a common lunch around here. If your recipe doesn’t call for buttermilk, you can easily substitute the water or milk with buttermilk. No harm done.

Stir up some Cucumbers and Buttermilk

Not my favorite, but cucumbers and buttermilk is a hit with some people. Slice up some cucumbers, add a splash of buttermilk, some salt, and pepper, maybe a little sugar if you prefer. Buttermilk makes a great dressing replacement.

Marinate Chicken Breasts

As I was researching for this article, I discovered that buttermilk is a great marinade for chicken. I am trying this next time!

It helps to tenderize the chicken because it breaks down some of the protein structures in the meat. You need to marinate it for at least 24 hours for it to tenderize the chicken.

Use it on Your Face

The lactic acid in buttermilk makes a great exfoliant for your skin. The good bacteria in the acid will nourish your skin and give you a special glow. Use it raw on your face, or mix it up into a face mask. This page has several different mask recipes that use buttermilk.


Freezing buttermilk is my favorite tip for what to do with a lot of buttermilk. I like feeding my family bran muffins, and I often just use a buttermilk substitute because I usually don’t buy buttermilk from the store. Freezing buttermilk in 1 cup measurements will make it easy for me to thaw it for my recipes.

These uses for raw buttermilk will ensure that you don’t need to waste it. Even if you might not be able to drink or eat it, your farm animals just might love it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *