freeze buttermilk

Can You Freeze Buttermilk?

Buttermilk often comes in a big container. If your baking recipes only call for a small amount, you have around two weeks to finish it up.

If that’s not the case, you might be wondering: Can you freeze buttermilk successfully?

In this article, we share the simplest way to preserve buttermilk and whether it is an option for you. So, keep reading!

Does Buttermilk Freeze Well?

Generally speaking, freezing dairy products like buttermilk or sour cream is not advisable because the texture changes considerably after thawing.

Due to the altered texture, drinking it straight from the container won’t be a great idea. But, if you’re going to use it for baking and cooking, freezing is a great way to preserve it for future recipes and avoid food waste.

How To Freeze Buttermilk

You can freeze both homemade and store-bought buttermilk. Make sure that it is still fresh and has not passed the expiration date. Don’t use or freeze if it has curdled, thickened, tasted too sour, or grown molds.

You might also be wondering whether you can freeze buttermilk in its original container. Technically, you can. However, it is not advisable because the packaging is unlikely freezer-friendly.

Freezing anything in its original packaging sounds like the easiest way. But, keep in mind that you need to thaw and use buttermilk all at once. If that’s not the case, we have two easy methods of freezing this dairy—in a resealable bag or in ice cube trays.

Freezing Buttermilk in a Freezer Bag

Buttermilk is more convenient to use when it is frozen in an appropriate amount enough for a recipe. You can also freeze it in different sizes according to your need. Here is how to do it.

1. Portion out buttermilk into a usable portion for future recipes.

2. Pour it into a resealable freezer bag.

3. Press air out of the bag.

4. Seal it tightly, write the freezing date and the amount.

5. Lay it flat on a tray or a cookie sheet and flash freeze for several hours.

6. Once the liquid hardens, remove the tray from the freezer.

7. Organize and stack the packs to save some space (if freezing more than one package). Use the old supply first, in case you freeze the dairy from time to time.

Freezing Buttermilk in Ice Cube Trays

If you’re unsure of the amount you will need for future recipes, this method is made for you. Freezing buttermilk (and other liquid too) in ice cube trays allows you to thaw and use it in small amounts or as much as you need.

1. Pour buttermilk in ice cube trays.

2. Flash freeze for a few hours until the liquid is frozen hard.

3. Once frozen, bag the cubes in a freezer bag.

4. Remove excess air from the bag and seal it tightly.

5. Mark with the freezing date.

6. Place the package in the freezer.

Thawing Frozen Buttermilk

You should handle buttermilk similarly to milk and other dairy products. That being said, thawing at room temperature is strongly discouraged due to safety concerns.

There are a few options to thaw frozen dairy safely. Unless it is defrosted in the refrigerator, use thawed buttermilk immediately and don’t let it stand at room temperature longer than two hours.

1. Thaw in the refrigerator. Simply leave a frozen pack in the fridge overnight to have it ready in the morning.

2. Submerge in cold water. If you forgot to thaw it in the fridge, use this method. Immerse the frozen pack in cold water and replace the water if necessary.

3. Defrost in the microwave. If you’re short on time, microwave thawing is your go-to method. Use low power and short intervals – and keep your eyes on the machine.

If you need frozen buttermilk for cooked dishes, you can throw it right into the pan while still frozen. Let it melt while cooking – no need to thaw it.

Using Frozen Buttermilk

As mentioned above, freezing buttermilk alters its consistency and texture. After thawing, the liquid separates from the fat solids. Stir it vigorously to regain its consistency before mixing it with other ingredients.

Although it is less suitable for drinking and uncooked recipes (such as ranch dressings), thawed buttermilk is perfect for cooking and baking purposes, such as:

–   Classic pancakes

–   Cookies, cakes, biscuits, and pie

–   In soup and stews

How Long Can You Refrigerate and Freeze Buttermilk?

Commercially prepared buttermilk lasts for 1 to 2 weeks after opening. Meanwhile, a homemade version only stays fresh for about 2 to 3 days in the fridge.

Frozen buttermilk is best used within three months after freezing. It remains safe after that as long as it is frozen continuously at 0 °F (-18 °C), but it might be tasteless and flavorless. 

Make sure to remove the excess air from the bag to prevent the formation of freezer burn.

See more: How long does buttermilk last


Can you freeze buttermilk pie?

Yes. You can freeze this Southern comfort food before or after baking. For freezing unbaked pie, freeze the crust and fillings separately. If freezing fully baked pie, make sure to wait until the dessert has thoroughly cooled before packing.

Can you freeze buttermilk biscuits?

Absolutely, yes. You can make a big batch, bake some, and freeze for future baking. Make the dough as usual, cut it into pieces, arrange them in a tray, and flash freeze until they are completely solid. Pack them in a bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When it’s time to bake, pop them up in the oven right away; no thawing is needed.

Can you freeze buttermilk marinated chicken?

Yes. Freezing marinated chicken allows you to enjoy finger-licking fried chicken even in your busiest time. Put the marinade in a resealable bag, add the chicken, shake it up, and freeze up to 1 to 2 months. The buttermilk tends to separate after thawing, but it shouldn’t affect the chicken.

Can you freeze sour cream?

Yes. Similar to freezing buttermilk, freezing sour cream also affects its texture significantly. After thawing, it loses its smooth consistency and tends to separate and take on the grainy side. You can freeze this dairy in ice cube trays or a freezer-safe container and use it for baking or cooking recipes instead of dipping sauce or topping.

How do you know when buttermilk is bad?

There are some telltale signs to tell that buttermilk has spoiled. Always check for its visual, smell, and taste. Discard any leftovers if it has curdled or thickened, developed too sour smell/ taste, discolored, or grown molds.


Buttermilk has a limited shelf life in the fridge. Luckily, freezing is a workable method to preserve it for up to 3 months. Keep in mind that the texture changes after thawing, making it less suitable for drinking straight from the container. But, it works perfectly well for baking and cooking recipes.

Up next: Buttermilk alternatives

*image by gulya_shaina/depositphotos

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