12 Uses for Leftover Buttermilk

Don't let it languish in the back of the fridge! This unsung hero of the dairy case can add zip and zing to dozens of dishes, from dressings to mashed potatoes.

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Beyond Biscuits

Smooth and tangy, buttermilk only sounds decadent. In reality it is just the milk that's left behind after cream is churned into butter. These days, most store-bought buttermilk is made from milk treated (or "cultured") with lactic acid bacteria. The result: a delicious, multi-purpose ingredient that can tenderize meat in marinades and give baked goods a lofty rise. Here are 12 ways to use it.


Use equal parts milk and buttermilk (or all buttermilk) for a rich twist on the classic egg dish.

Chilled Soup

Blend buttermilk with cucumbers or cooked beets for a cool, refreshing soup.

Tandoori Chicken

Let buttermilk stand in for the yogurt in your marinade.

Buttermilk Glaze

Mix buttermilk and confectioners' sugar for a mildly tart glaze that adds punch to pound cakes and gingerbread.

Tangy Whipped Cream

Add a splash of buttermilk to heavy cream before whipping. It's great with flourless chocolate cakes and fruit tarts.


Swap in buttermilk for milk or yogurt in your morning smoothie.

Buttermilk French Toast

If it's good in pancakes and waffles, why not French toast? Dip your bread slices in an eggy buttermilk bath for a creamy, custardy breakfast.

Pie Crust

Use very cold buttermilk in place of ice water for a light and tender crust.


Mix buttermilk with plain Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard to create a tangy dressing for shaved cabbage, carrots or broccoli. 

Fried Calamari

Already mastered buttermilk fried chicken? Then try the same technique with squid. Give it a tenderizing soak in buttermilk (add some hot sauce if you like) before breading and frying.

Mashed Potatoes

Replace milk with buttermilk and you can even cut back on the butter a bit.


Smother chicken, pork or chicken-fried steak with a white gravy made with buttermilk instead of milk or cream.