Buttermilk is typically used for really specific recipes – pancakes, anyone? But when you finally use it for that ONE recipe you bought it for, it tends to just sit in your fridge looking sad and angry that you’re not putting it to good use.

Yes, it’s sad, but don’t you dare throw away perfectly good buttermilk! Rich and creamy, buttermilk is useful for more than you might think around the kitchen. There are so many sides, desserts, and even full meals that you can make using trusty old buttermilk

Before you go for the garbage, check out 11 of our favorite ways to use up leftover buttermilk.

  1. Make Amazing Coleslaw

    Buttermilk ColeslawThe Kitchn

    How do you make the most flavorful yet crunchy slaws possible? You use buttermilk, of course! The buttermilk gives a great consistency and a sweet yet tangy taste to your slaw.

  2. Whip Up Creamy Mashed Potatoes

    Mashed Potatoes Not For Petsstocksolutions via Dollar Photo Club

    Adding a splash (well…maybe a bit more than a splash) of buttermilk to your mashed potatoes is one decision you’ll never regret. Trust us, your mashed potatoes will never be as rich and creamy than when you make them with real buttermilk.

    And for buttermilk potatoes to last you all week long, try this make-ahead recipe.

  3. Try a Quick, Healthy Dessert

    Buttermilk Fruit

    Want to sweeten up your fresh fruit so it’s dessert-worthy? Simple. All you need to do is pour some buttermilk over your fruit (actually just a splash this time!) and sprinkle with some brown sugar. Without adding too many excess calories or fats, you’ve taken your fruit to a new level of deliciousness.

  4. Marinate Your Meat

    Buttermilk MarinadeEveryday Food

    This might surprise you, but marinading your meat in buttermilk is a great way to not only add some levels of flavor, but to make the outside skin of your meat cook to crispy perfection.

    Try our favorite buttermilk marinade from Everyday Food, your chicken breasts will cook like a dream.

  5. Upgrade Your Fudge

    Buttermilk FudgeBon Appetit

    Every holiday season my family makes huge batches of fudge to give to neighbors and friends. When this year’s holiday season comes up? You KNOW I’m going to be adding some leftover buttermilk to my fudge!

    I may even go all out and make this pecan buttermilk fudge from Bon Appétit. Talk about an extra creamy, extra indulgent treat.

  6. Make a Milkshake


    Looking to cool off with a milkshake this summer? Leave your skim milk for your cereal and let the heavy hitters take care of your decadent shake! Adding buttermilk to a milkshake (especially a berry flavored one – the sourness from the buttermilk compliments berries extremely well) brings a rich flavor and smooth feel that no other dairy product can achieve.

    Bonus points for making mason jars milkshakes like these.

  7. Bake the Best Biscuits

    Biscuitsfotogal via Deposit Photos

    This may have been the reason why you bought buttermilk in the first place! If not, it’s a must-try. Just like whipping up some buttermilk pancakes or waffles, buttermilk biscuits are the ultimate baked good. You’d be hard pressed to find tender biscuits with this tangy flavor using anything else.

  8. Stir Into Your Oatmeal

    OatmealRiceCookeriha31 via Pixabay

    I know I use milk in my morning oatmeal regardless, so why not mix up the TYPE of milk you’re using? Take this healthy breakfast favorite to the next level with a splash of buttermilk and a topping of blueberries.

    You can even make some on-the-go oatmeal bites using your leftover buttermilk for a breakfast that’s delicious AND easy. Now that is how you should start your day.

  9. Indulge in Some Buttercream Frosting

    frostingCookies and Cups

    Planning on baking for your friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, siblings, or (most importantly) yourself in the near future? Use your leftover buttermilk to make some homemade buttercream frosting for whatever culinary concoction you’re whipping up.

    Nothing says “I love you” quite like the sweet creaminess of homemade buttercream. And nothing says “that was easy” like a two-ingredient buttercream recipe.

  10. Try a New Cooking Technique

    DredgingFood Network

    This technique, called dredging, is the process of dipping a meat (or veggie!) into a liquid so that you can evenly coat the food with a dry ingredient. Dredging doesn’t necessarily require buttermilk, in fact it often uses beat eggs. But when buttermilk is used to dredge chicken, fish, or even mushrooms, it preps your meal for a whole new level of tastes and textures.

  11. Make Your Own Dressing

    Buttermilk DressingThe Kitchn

    For that extra special touch to go along with a dinner, try adding your own homemade buttermilk salad dressing. Leftover buttermilk makes for a great ranch dressing (hence, “buttermilk ranch”) and your dinner guests will flip when they discover you made everything yourself – right down to the dressing.


Do you use leftover buttermilk in a creative way? Share it in the comments section below!