Freezing Buttermilk – Works for me Wednesday

This is a great little tip I learned a few years ago. I’m sure a lot of you already know this, but as I’ve come across a few people recently who hadn’t heard this before, and because I’ve found it so useful, I figured I’d share it. 🙂

I used to never keep buttermilk on hand. Instead, I always used one of the quick tricks* to fake it. Those worked fine for the most part, but I really preferred the consistency and creaminess of real buttermilk. After one too many times of buying buttermilk for a recipe and letting the rest of the carton go bad in the refrigerator (why can you never buy a small enough carton of buttermilk??), I learned this valuable tip.

Buttermilk Waffles – recipe coming soon!

You can freeze buttermilk! How did I not know that before? Now, when I buy buttermilk, I use what I need for my recipe, then portion the rest out into one cup increments to store in the freezer. Then, when I need some in the future, I just thaw my pre-measured portions and use them. This is what works for me.

*If you run out of buttermilk (and don’t have any frozen) and need it for a recipe, the following will work to substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk:

  • Put 1 Tbsp vinegar into a measuring cup and add milk until you reach 1 cup. Let sit for five minutes
  • Put 1 Tbsp lemon juice into a measuring cup and add milk until you reach 1 cup. Let sit for five minutes.
  • Stir together 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1/2 cup of whole milk.  (You may have to adjust your proportions depending on the thickeness of your yogurt or if you use skim or 2% milk)

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  1. I had NO idea you could freeze buttermilk!! Thanks for the tip.

  2. Nice tip for sure. Thx!

  3. Man! I don't know how much money I have wasted because you can only buy large thing of buttermilk and a just needed a few tablespoons or less than a cup! Thanks!!

  4. I like this tip, I had not thought of that so it is useful to me. Now to make room in my freezer.

  5. I must live under a rock because I had no idea buttermilk could be frozen. I never ever buy it because I never use it up! Wow.

  6. Great tip!! I didn't know you could freeze it!

  7. oh… Meijer.


    Thanks for the tip, Megan! We've just started buying buttermilk (otherwise I use the substitutions) because we love it in pancakes and waffles. This will come in handy.

  8. Great tip! Do you freeze yours in sip lock baggies, plastic ware or what??

  9. You can also buy powdered buttermilk in your baking isle. It comes in a tub and sits on the shelf until you open it and then you can keep it in the frig. Taste great and very handy. Buttermilk in the freezer does have a short life.

  10. Thank you for this tip!!! My buttermilk always ends up going bad. I just read one of your comments and they stated you can also purchase powdered buttermilk….never knew this either!!!

  11. oh I had no idea- thanks for sharing! I hate wasting food!

  12. Fantastic tip, Megan. I did not realize you could freeze buttermilk! Think you just saved me some money!! Thank you 🙂

  13. Thank you! Everytime I buy buttermilk, I end up throwing most of it out – had no idea I could freeze! Now I will buy the bigger carton any time I need to restock and freeze what I don't need!!

  14. Megan, you are a life saver! Add me to the list of people who didn't know you could freeze buttermilk. I'm like you, I love using it but I can never seem to use the whole carton. This is brilliant – thank you so much!!!

  15. I can't tell you how many times I have scoured my recipes so as to not waste the last cup or so of buttermilk! I hate to waste, so this is absolutely perfect for me. Like you, I can't believe I didn't know or think of this!

  16. This tip might just change my life. Or at least the number of pancakes I consume! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  17. Pfffft–jeez! How did I not know this before?? What a great tip, Megan! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  18. Wow never knew you could freeze it! I always just add vinegar to milk. Thanks for the great tip!

  19. Great tricks! Thanks for sharing!

  20. I'm standing in this long line of didn't know you could freeze it. It does make sense though since I freeze milk when its a good price. Any idea how long it will keep frozen?

  21. I never tried that before..thanks for the tip Megan!!

  22. Oddly enough I have some buttermilk in my fridge right now waiting to be made into Banana Bread. Atleast now I know I don't have to throw the rest away!

  23. I'm SO happy you posted this! While I was reading it I thought, “duh?! Why didn't I think of that?!” I never even considered it before, but will definitely do this from now on. I prefer the real thing too, but hate having it go to waste. Thanks for the tip!

  24. Obviously I am not the only one who had no idea you could do this! You have perfect timing to since I'm making buttermilk pancakes this weekend!!

  25. This is great to know! I have also used many of the buttermilk substitute ideas but prefer to use the real thing.

  26. What do you store the frozen buttermilk in? Do you pour the liquid into a bag and freeze it like that or something else? I meant to use one of the tricks for a recipe last week but ended up caving and buying more buttermilk when I was at the store – bad me because now I need to freeze or use it.

  27. Judy – I normally freeze it in a quart size freezer bag, or a small plastic container. However it fits into your freezer is probably fine.

    Rachel – See above answer 🙂

    Raynell – I just did a quick google search and it said it can be frozen for up to 3 months. I've always used mine within a month or so and haven't had any problems. The buttermilk does tend to separate, but since you're mixing it into a recipe, it's not a problem.

  28. My mom is a PRO at saving things – so I freeze pretty much everything like this, even bread – but I hadn't thought to freeze buttermilk! Ours always go bad and it is so frustrating!

  29. Oh my, I did not know that I could freeze buttermilk! This is indeed a great tip 'cause I always end up wasting so much buttermilk that goes bad before I remember to use it. thanks for the info!

  30. I haven't frozen before I will try this
    I have used lemon juice and milk to make butter milk
    thank you for sharing Megan

  31. Oh my! This is so perfect. Who uses a whole carton of buttermilk anyways?!

  32. I had no idea…I've wasted so much buttermilk in my life!! How long does it stay good for in the freezer?!

  33. oh my gosh i never knew this! i'm always searching for ways to use it up before it goes bad–now i don't have to! thank you!

  34. I use buttermilk in very small portions (usually under half a cup at a time), so I used to hate the idea of buying half a gallon and then trying to use it up before most of it went bad. When I learned I could freezer it a year or two ago, though, I started freezing it in ice cubes. Then I'd just plop the frozen cubes into a ziploc bag and pull out what I need here or there. 😀

  35. Megan, this is such a helpful post. Thanks for sharing with us.

  36. This is a great tip! I've been meaning to do this with cream, but don't know why I hadn't thought the same for buttermilk. Ended up using substitutions the last couple times.

  37. What great tip! I have expired buttermilk right now in the fridge. I'll know next time!

  38. OMG, thanks! I always come across the same problem, and more often than not, have to make a whole butt load of buttermilk ranch dressing that lasts me for the week. But, freezing it would much more economical. Awesome!

  39. Okay, you're not the only one – I had no idea you could freeze buttermilk. That is going to make me feel a lot less guilty about buying a big carton of it.

  40. i had no idea either!! i did know about the vinegar trick but it's definitely not like real buttermilk

  41. I had no idea either!! See not everyone knows 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

  42. Thanks so much for sharing this! I had no idea. I always make my own with lemon juice, but this seems like a better solution!

  43. I have heard this before, but have never tried it. Seems like such a good idea! I always buy buttermilk and only use half of the carton. It will go to waste no more!

  44. … going home to freeze the buttermilk. First I will make some cornbread with some of it. Then measure out the rest of it. Thanks!

  45. I have one freezer that I use exclusively for dairy products, homemade chicken broth, flours, and yeast. I stock up on gallons of milk when it’s on sale, and stick it in the freezer. Then I cycle it by expiration date….oldest date gets used first. I’ve never had a carton or plastic container explode. Butter and cheese can also be frozen quite successfully…again, stock up when it’s on sale and then freeze it. Eggs can be broken into ice trays and then repackaged into plastic bags. Freeze flour for at least 4 days after purchase in order to kill any weevils that might be along for the ride. I keep large, food-grade containers of various flours in the freezer, and then take out enough to fill my canisters as needed. I purchase large containers of yeast and keep it in the freezer, and it keeps for a lot longer than it does in the fridge. I also have a meat freezer. I watch circulars for special meats on sale. The butcher will cut up whole sirloin tips, whole pork loins, country hams, etc. for me, and I take them home and repackage them with my Food Saver. The vacuum repackaging keeps meat fresh for a very long time. I buy shrimp 50 or 100 lbs at a time, and repackage it for the freezer as well. We plant a large garden every year, and, you guessed it, a good portion of it goes into the freezer. However, I can and dehydrate a lot of fruits and vegetables as well as freezing them. Can you tell that I like my freezers?

  46. Although it’s nice to freeze buttermilk, it is even better to just drink it and enjoy it. The only problem with this approach is there won’t be any buttermilk left to cook with. I came love drinking buttermilk when I was six, and my aunt lived next door to my school. Tho she lived in the city, she had her own cow in the back yard. She would occasionally let me churn her butter, and the buttermilk was my ‘reward.’ I was hooked from then on.

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