Can You Freeze Buttermilk?

Can you freeze buttermilk? If you use it mostly in recipes, you probably often end up with some leftover buttermilk. That’s because for some reason buttermilk containers are pretty large while recipes need only a little amount of it. If you’re like most people, you often forget about those leftovers and that buttermilk goes to waste. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Even if you always remember to use up all of the buttermilk you have, every so often there’s a great deal on buttermilk. You know you won’t use it before it goes bad but would love to take advantage of the sale.

In both of those cases freezing buttermilk is the first thing that comes to mind, right?

Can You Freeze Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is perfectly safe to freeze. That doesn’t mean that thawed buttermilk is just as good as fresh one, because it isn’t. The taste and texture changes a bit after thawing. There will be some separation too. Because of that, freezing buttermilk for drinking purposes is not a good idea. You won’t be satisfied with it after thawing. But if you use buttermilk mostly for cooking and baking, feel free to freeze buttermilk leftovers to use them at a later date. You won’t be dissapointed.

Image used under Creative Commons from Devon

How to Freeze Buttermilk?

There are two popular ways of freezing buttermilk. Consider how you plan to use the buttermilk and choose the method that will work better for your needs. As a rule of thumb you should use frozen buttermilk as soon as possible. It will remain of good quality for about 3 months or a bit more though. It won’t spoil in the freezer for any means, but if you keep it in there for long enough, chances are it will be tasteless once thawed.

Freezing Buttermilk in Cubes

If you’re not sure which method to choose, go with this one. It requires a bit more work, but no matter how much buttermilk you will need at a time in the future, it has you covered.

First, measure a cup of buttermilk and pour it into ice cube trays. Count the number of cubes and write it down. This way you know how many cubes makes a cup, which will allow you to easily get as much buttermilk as you need in the future.

Now pour the rest of buttermilk into trays and put those into the freezer. Once buttermilk freezes transfer the cubes into freezer bags or container. Label those with name, date, and how much cubes makes a cup for later reference and chuck bag into the freezer.

Freezing Buttermilk in Freezer Bags

This method requires almost no work whatsoever. First, get a bowl and a measure. Put a freezer bag into the bowl and pour a measured amount of buttermilk. While you don’t have to put the bag into the bowl, it’s better to play it safe. This way, if the bag is leaky, you don’t have to clean up half of your kitchen.

Once poured, squeeze out most of the air from the bag and seal it. Make sure to leave some head space as the buttermilk will expand when frozen. Remember to label the bag the name, date and quantity for future reference.

While you definitely could just transfer those bags into the freezer, there’s a better way to go about this. Get a cookie sheet and lay those bags flat on it and only then transfer the sheet into the freezer. Once the buttermilk freezes, you can take out the cookie sheet. There are two main advantages of laying the bags flat. First, flag bags usually take less space in the freezer, that is, it’s easier to fit them in, especially if you’re running out of space. Second, and more important for many, flat bags thaw much faster than large cubes or odd-shaped figures. So if you’re in a habit of forgetting to thaw things and do it in the last possible moment, flat-freezing will be a life saver for you. I learned this nifty trick from the Love & Olive Oil blog.

How To Thaw Buttermilk?

The best way to thaw buttermilk is to do it overnight in the fridge. In the morning it will be thawed and only need some stirring to get it ready for cooking or baking.

If forgot to put it into the fridge, you can use the thawing program in the microwave, although that’s not the healthiest method out there. Another one is putting the freezer bag into lukewarm water (don’t bother with warm water, won’t help much). Once the water gets really cold swap it out for new lukewarm water. Buttermilk should be thawed in 20 to 30 minutes, depending on its shape. As mentioned earlier, small cubes or flat bags will thaw much quicker than large cubes or odd-shaped figures.

Once buttermilk is thawed you need to give it a solid whisk and it should be ready for cooking.


Buttermilk can be frozen. You need to remember that freezing might change the taste and texture of buttermilk a little. If you plan to freeze buttermilk for cooking or baking purposes, you can do that freely. Freezing it for drinking purposes doesn’t make sense for most people.