Is it OK to Freeze Buttermilk?

Buttermilk Can Be Frozen for Months

Buttermilk in glass container
Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Unless you use buttermilk regularly, you may end up with a partial container of buttermilk leftover from a recipe. Can you freeze buttermilk so you can use it in future recipes?

Answer: Yes, You Can Freeze Buttermilk

Buttermilk can be frozen. The USDA says the shelf life of buttermilk in the refrigerator is about two weeks and once it is frozen it will last for three months. After three months, you should find a way to use it or you may wish to discard it.

See How Long is Buttermilk Good For?.

How to Freeze Buttermilk

Before you freeze leftover buttermilk, check it to be sure it hasn't gone bad. Even if it isn't past its "best by" date, it could have been mishandled or contaminated and that would speed up the rate of spoilage. If it is so chunky you can't pour it, has visible mold, or a strong sour odor, toss it out rather than freeze it.

You can freeze buttermilk in its container, but be sure there is enough space left in the carton to allow it to expand when it freezes. If you're freezing in the container, keep in mind that you'll have to use it all when you defrost it.

For convenience, freeze buttermilk pre-measured in the amounts you will use in future recipes. If you use a small amount, freeze the buttermilk in ice cube trays and store the cubes in a freezer bag once they are frozen hard.

Silicone baking forms for muffins or mini-muffins are handy to use for freezing a cup or half cup of buttermilk.

Measure and pour it into the form and allow it to freeze. Then pop out the frozen buttermilk cakes and store in a freezer bag.

Always label the frozen buttermilk with what it is, "Buttermilk," and the date you froze it. Otherwise, it is easy to lose track and keep it longer than it is good to use. You may also confuse it with other items in your freezer.

Using Frozen Buttermilk

The USDA recommends using frozen buttermilk within three months. Frozen buttermilk is best used in cooked or baked dishes. It isn't going to maintain its qualities for drinking or using in uncooked recipes. Frozen buttermilk maintains its acid content, which is used in baking and is the quality that tenderizes meat when used as a marinade.

Thaw the frozen buttermilk in the refrigerator before you use it. If you need ideas for how to use your frozen buttermilk when the end of the three months is approaching, look at these recipes on how to use up buttermilk.

Is It Safe to Use Thawed Buttermilk After a Freezer Power Outage?

If your freezer experiences a power outage, the USDA recommends discarding buttermilk and other milk products if they have been held at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours. Butter would be safe to use.