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What to do with leftover buttermilk?

I buy a quart of buttermilk, because that's the only size available, every time I make cornbread. My recipe only calls for 1 cup so here's my dilemma what to do with the leftover. I will make pancakes sometimes but what else can I do with it. I think 9 times out of 10 it gets dumped down the drain because it doesn't have a long shelf life. Can you freeze it in smaller portions?? Any ideas or suggestions?

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  1. Buttermilk panna cotta is lovely. So are buttermilk biscuits. Next time you can make your own by placing 1 tsp lemon juice in a measuring cup and adding enough milk to make 1 cup.

    1. You can certainly freeze it in 1 cup portions. Or you could make soup or biscuits or you could paint it on clay pots to age them. But you might as well freeze it.

      1. It's a great alternative to cream in soups ...

        1. It's definitely freezable, but I made buttermilk fried chicken this afternoon that would certainly use up a good amount!

          1. How about a buttermilk salad dressing, or buttermilk pancakes? Here are some recipes:

            Jill (from the CHOW.com kitchen)

            1. Definitely freezable. I'd frozen some at least 3 months ago that I defrosted for use in a cake at Christmas. I had about 1 additonal cup leftover, and used it for pancakes a few days later.

              1. I used a few cups to marinate chunks of fresh okra. The okra was then breaded and baked- came out really good.

                I've also made a buttermilk banana cake that came out well. Or use it in a coffee cake recipe instead of sour cream.

                  1. This is why I've gone to dried buttermilk. It works great and keeps a long time.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chowser

                      +1. I think it tastes better, too.

                    2. Do you ever have any left over cornbread???? If so, crumble some in a glass almost to the top and cover with buttermilk....Grab a spoon, sit back and.......


                      2 Replies
                        1. re: LaLa

                          This was going to be my response, too!

                      1. Pancakes, biscuits, chocolate cake, and muffins are just a few of the sweet/baked goods that you can make with buttermilk. Just look in any Southern cookbook, or online, for recipes. There is even something here in the south known as buttermilk pie, though I've never tried it myself.
                        I'm not as familiar with non-sweet applications. I've used it for buttermilk fried chicken, and I've known people who use it in their mashed potatoes.
                        Hope you get some good use out of it!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: KimberlySH

                          Buttermilk pie is great! I hate the taste of buttermilk but I love this pie.

                          2 c sugar
                          1 stick butter, room temp
                          3 T flour
                          3 eggs, slightly beaten
                          1 c buttermilk
                          1 t vanilla
                          1 unbaked pie shell

                          Mix sugar, butter and flour, Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake for 50-60 minutes (until top is golden) at 350.

                        2. If you're not vegetarian, you can make beef Stroganoff using buttermilk instead of sour cream (it has a similar tang, and I find it more digestible, as well as lower-calorie). I also sometimes marinate pork chops in buttermilk, then pan-fry them.

                          1. Lucky me, I like to drink it, but even at that I have lots left over. Biscuits and cornbread are my favorite uses for it. You can also make a very good and useful crème fraiche by stirring a good dollop of buttermilk into a pint of heavy cream in a clean bowl, then covering the bowl with a clean dish towel and setting it somewhere fairly warm and out of the way for a day or two. I usually put it on top of my fridge, towards the back where the warm air comes up. That freezes well, too.

                            1 Reply
                            1. Pour it over cereal. I like it a lot. I know the biscuit thing has been mentioned but they are great to have laying around for breakfast or little sandwiches.

                              1. Make this chicken...Spicy Oven Fried Chicken from Epicurious...sooooo good...you soak the chicken pieces in seasoned buttermilk....I have successfully done this many times and have removed the skin and fat from the chicken pieces...see what you think:

                                1. Drink it with breakfast...

                                    1. I have made buttermilk ice cream a few times. I use a basic vanilla ice cream recipe, using half cream and half buttermilk. I also made the same recipe but added a sweetened strawberry puree. Really tasty either way!

                                      1. I use a ton of buttermilk so I never have any left over. I prefer it to milk in most recipes because it's additional flavor and it's pretty lowfat. Some of the things I use it in are oatmeal, bread, biscuits, baking of all sorts (but add a pinch of baking soda to keep the pH neutral), mashed potatoes, soups (but be careful because heat will separate the proteins, stir it in as a final adjustment like salt & pepper).

                                        If you like, here's a recipe for some really excellent muffins:

                                        Killer Chocolate Muffins

                                        You can combine the dry ingredients in one container and the wet ones in another at any convenient time and then have these in the oven in minutes when you need something quick.

                                        This recipe can also be baked as a bundt cake that resembles the Mrs. Grace chocolate cake. And that's what my husband likes best for Christmas dessert.

                                        2/3 cup cocoa, Dutch process or natural
                                        1 3/4 cup flour
                                        1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
                                        1 teaspoon baking powder
                                        1 teaspoon baking soda
                                        3/4 teaspoon salt
                                        1/2 cup butter
                                        1 cup chocolate chips
                                        2 eggs
                                        1 cup buttermilk, or 1 cup milk + 2 tsp. vinegar
                                        2 teaspoon vanilla

                                        In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture roughly resembles oatmeal.

                                        In another bowl whisk together the eggs and wet ingredients.

                                        Fold together dry ingredients, wet ingredients and chocolate chips to barely combine. For the tenderest muffins do not mix more or more vigorously than necessary. Scoop into lightly greased muffin tin with a 3 ounce scoop and bake in a preheated 425˚ oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let rest in the muffin pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

                                        Using a 3 ounce scoop you'll actually get 12 muffins and 1 mini loaf.

                                        VARIATION: Faux Mrs. Grace Chocolate Bundt Cake

                                        Prepare as above but add 1/2 cup broken walnuts with chocolate chips.

                                        Turn batter into a bundt pan that has been greased and dusted with cocoa. Bake in a 325˚ oven for 60 minutes.

                                        Cool completely then drizzle with a glaze made from 3 oz. of bittersweet chocolate broken into small chunks, 1/4 cup of butter cut into small bits and 1 1/2 teaspoon of light corn syrup stirred in a bowl over another bowl of hot water. Once fully melted, the glaze should be removed from the hot water and stirred until cooled then poured over the cake.

                                        1. Maybe I'm just lucky with my fridge, but buttermilk stays fresh in there for at least 10 days. Like other posters, I always use mine up pretty quickly - cornbread and buttermilk in a glass is a major comfort food for me. I've made the epi recipe oven-fried chicken many times - it's a favorite.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                            Well thanks everyone, lots of suggestions. Glad to know I can freeze it and will probably do that much of the time. I like the Oven Fried Chicken idea, my son loves fried chicken and is always asking why I don't make it (because of the mess, I always picture oil particles floating all over my house landing on every surface). I also like the chocolate muffin recipe. Never thought about using to cook oatmeal, may try that sometime. Anyways thanks for all the great suggestions

                                          2. There's no such thing as leftover buttermilk in my house. When I make gravy, I usually use buttermilk for the liquid. It's also good for sauces -- saute an onion or about half a lb of mushrooms, then pour in a cup of buttermilk with one tablespoon of cornstarch mixed in, and you have something good to liven up a quick meal.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                              Never thought of adding it to mushrooms. I'm going to try that.

                                            2. maybe I'm crazy...but...I just drink it. Loved it since I was a kid.

                                              1. Maybe *I'm* crazy, but I can't remember my grandmother's buttermilk going bad. It seemed like she kept in the fridge forever.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: alreynolds

                                                  It does keep for a really long time. buttermilk scones, buscuits , breads or pancakes are wonderful, in a coffee cake , too.

                                                  1. re: alreynolds

                                                    This. It lasts long past the expiration date even if it looks separated. Just sniff it and give it a good shake before you use it. Like regular milk, you'll know if it's gone bad.

                                                  2. Yeah, don't pay any attention to the date on the carton - buttermilk has a ridiculously long shelf life due to the high acid content and probiotic bacteria. (What's it going to do, spoil more?) As long as you store it properly, it should keep for weeks if not months (the carton in my fridge is, oh, about 2.5 months old, and it's doing just fine). Just remember to shake it really well before you use it, since it's not homogenized like regular milk.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: kathleen440

                                                      Eventually it gets...solid. That can't be good.

                                                      1. re: kathleen440

                                                        I pitch mine when it separates into whey and glop. Anything shy of that is fine with me. I had some last night that was borderline, so I made a chicken/ham pie with biscuits on top with some of it, and a small batch of crème fraiche with a bit more. Did not feel guilty about sending the rest down the drain …

                                                      2. Buttermilk makes a great chicken marinade. Or use it to make soda bread.

                                                        I did not know that buttermilk could be frozen - thanks for that tip folks!

                                                        1. Oh man! I'm so excited about this post. Ever since I found out that buttermilk is not as unhealthy as the name might imply, I have been dying to use it for something since I love that tangy taste. However, the only things I could really think of were salad dressings and baked goods (which do not work well with my fritzy oven right now).

                                                          I'm really excited to use it in soups because I just can't stand putting so much cream into an otherwise healthy meal.

                                                          Thanks everyone! Also, if anyone else has any more vegetarian savory uses, I'd love to know!

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Veggie Liv

                                                            Indian food has several savoury buttermilk dishes, called kadhi in Northern/Western India, and mor kozhambu, majjige, pulissery, and other names in Southern India (diluted whipped yogurt and buttermilk are used interchangeably in these recipes).

                                                            If you google those words, you'll find these recipes. I am addicted to them. The northern variations are typically thickened with a little chickpea flour (besan) and use red chillies, and the southern ones with coconut and ground up spices. and use green chillies. The northern ones add chickpea flour dumplings, and southern variations use vegetables like sliced okra or cubed winter melon, there is even an ambrosial Kerala version that incorporates slices of ripe mango (sweet+savoury).

                                                            I like the northern style in winter, eaten warm with hot basmati rice. The southern ones are lighter and fresher in summer, also with rice. I can lick out a whole bowl of the stuff.

                                                            Madhur Jaffrey has a couple of very good recipes, or you can google for terms like: "mango pulissery" or "mambazha kootan" or "mor kozhambu" or "punjabi jadhi" or "gujarati kadhi". You can use fat free buttermilk or diluted whipped fat free yogurt.

                                                            1. re: Veggie Liv

                                                              If you're interested in trying a traditional Indian use for buttermilk - look around for kadhi or karhi recipes. It's a soupy dish that is eaten with rice in many parts of India. There are two or three regional variations - the thicker Punjabi or North Indian style and the thinner and sweeter Maharashtrian or Gujarati style. For those familiar with it, Kadhi is comfort food. Oh and it is a vegetarian dish.

                                                              1. re: sweetTooth

                                                                That sounds wonderful! Thank you. I'll have to look for those recipes and give them a try!

                                                            2. make a buttermilk pancake/waffle batter and freeze that if you don't want to freeze the plain buttermilk.

                                                              1. I add it to mashed potatoes instead of regular milk.

                                                                1. Buttermilk pie. Not healthy, but delicious. Irish soda bread or brown bread. You can also brown some onions in a little butter, then layer these with peeled sliced potatoes, salt and pepper, and pour buttermilk over to bake. This is lower in fat than gratin potatoes.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                    I made Jennie's oat soda bread of the weekend and had about a cup of buttermilk left.

                                                                    Tonight we had chili and I made a double batch of cornbread; used the buttermilk instead of regular milk and it was wonderful.

                                                                  2. I add a splash of olive oil, a spoon of ginger-garlic paste (or more depending on quanitities of other ingredients), some turmeric, some cumin, salt and cracked black pepper to buttermilk and marinade chunks of chicken or lamb in it. I even freeze the meat in that marinade in single meal portions. Just thaw it in the fridge the day you want to use it and bake or stir-fry with vegetables for an Indian/Tandoori style flavor. The flavor really permeates the meat and it's very good.

                                                                    Buttermilk is great in grits, too, instead of milk.

                                                                    1. Another lean option is Buttermilk Roast Chicken from Nigella Lawson where you marinate chicken (she uses drumsticks but any parts or even a whole split will do) in combo of buttermilk (ratio is about 2 cups buttermilk to 12 drumstick or about 2-3 lbs parts), veggie or olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, ground cumin, and maple syrup, mixed in a freezer bag (you can pop it in freezer at this point or usually I make a double batch, marinate overnight and freeze unused half). Then shake off excess marinade, drizzle a little more oil, roast in shallow pan/roaster for about 30 mins at 425° (I usually go a little longer) with or without skin. Results in a juicy chicken with nicely browned, almost charred splotches. Makes for greet leftover roast chicken. Suggest roasting with skin on and pull skin after it's done (if you can resist eating it).

                                                                      Variations - grill it ; substitute curry powder for cumin (ditto for ground coriander); sub garlic powder for garlic +/or add onion powder; sub balsamic vinegar (even better if you've boiled some down to a syrup & cooled to room temp) for the maple syrup; add hot pepper to marinade (sauce, dried, cayenne, whatever) to taste.

                                                                      1. one of my favourite things to make with buttermilk is this Quebecois dessert

                                                                        1. 1 1/3 cups dark amber maple syrup
                                                                        2. 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (5 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
                                                                        3. 1 cup all-purpose flour
                                                                        4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
                                                                        5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                        6. Pinch of mace
                                                                        7. 1 large egg
                                                                        8. 1 large egg yolk
                                                                        9. 1/3 cup buttermilk
                                                                        10. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
                                                                        11. 2/3 cup sugar


                                                                        1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with a piece of parchment paper and butter the paper. In a medium saucepan, boil the maple syrup over moderate heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat, whisk in 3 tablespoons of the butter, then pour into the prepared baking dish.
                                                                        2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt and mace. In another small bowl, whisk the whole egg and egg yolk with the buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the remaining stick of butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, alternating with the liquid ingredients; beat until the batter is smooth.
                                                                        3. Evenly dollop heaping tablespoons of the batter on top of the maple syrup. Bake the pudding for 35 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

                                                                        1. buttermilk works really well in crab cakes... don't knock it til you try it :)

                                                                          1. Brine chicken in it, make salad dressing with or bake anything from biscuits to irish soda bread. It has tons of uses!

                                                                            1. Marinade onion rings for deep frying.
                                                                              Include the same herbs and seasonings you would use to marinade chicken in buttermilk for frying such as poultry seasoning, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, parsley, cayenne pepper, paprika, whatever strikes your fancy. I've marinated them for up to 2 days. I toss drained rings in flour, leave 'em for a while, then a mix of fresh bread crumbs and panko. Spread them out on a rack and refrigerate for at least a half hour or freeze.

                                                                              1. You can also continue to make more buttermilk, using some of the buttermilk as a "starter." One cup of buttermilk to three cups milk. Shake well and leave in warm place covered 24 hours. You can also make sour cream adding 2 tablespoons up to 1/4 c. buttermilk (depending on freshness--the fresher, the less you need) to 1 cup of heavy cream. If you make the creme fraiche you can use it in a sort of fruit parfait/trifle by layering fruit and the creme. Very decadent, but not high in calories.

                                                                                1. Ranch or Herb salad dressing
                                                                                  Brine chicken in it
                                                                                  Homemade biscuits!!
                                                                                  Buttermilk/lemon cookies w/ buttermilk icing
                                                                                  Chocolate buttermilk cake
                                                                                  As a "wash" to bread pork chops or cutlets
                                                                                  And I knew a lady who made what she called "Buttermilk Gravy Meatballs" which sound horrendous but were actually pretty okay. : )