Here are 10 easy ways to use buttermilk and sour milk in response to your buttermilk questions! More of what you wanted to know about homemade buttermilk!

Here are 10 easy ways to use buttermilk and sour milk so you don't waste it. There are also lots of tips about using buttermilk if you get it on sale and a link to a homemade buttermilk recipe.

Readers’ Homemade Buttermilk Questions Answered

We get many questions about buttermilk and our homemade buttermilk recipe like, “How do I use homemade buttermilk?” “What if I don’t have any buttermilk to start it?” and so on, so I thought I would try to clear up some of the confusion about making your own buttermilk today.



  • Yes you can freeze buttermilk. It is like milk though you must shake it well after freezing because it separates. You may not want to use it for drinking though because texture is different.
  • Dried buttermilk in the can works great. I use it all the time. It has an almost forever shelf life if unopened and it lasts almost as long when opened.
  • You can use buttermilk in place of milk in recipes but you must be careful if those recipes have baking powder in them. It messes up the leavening in the recipe. If you want, you can still use it. You just need to replace each 2 tsp. of baking powder with 1/2 tsp. of baking soda.
  • You can interchange yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk in  most recipes. If you need your recipe to be looser, you can use 1/4 cup milk plus 3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream in place of buttermilk.
  • Let 2-3 tsp. of lemon juice or vinegar set in a cup of milk for 10 minutes to make sour milk. Be sure to put the vinegar or juice in the cup first and then add enough milk to make a cup.
  • Buttermilk and sour milk really shouldn’t be interchanged if you can help it. You can do it but it will sometimes change the texture of what you are making.



Today I made some homemade buttermilk. Homemade buttermilk is the simplest thing to make! I had some milk that was left out and became sour. Mike in his ever efficient manner made sure that we all knew it was sour. (see picture :-)

make homemade buttermilk from sour milk

At the grocery store today, I found some buttermilk marked down for .39 so I grabbed it up and made some buttermilk. It will be done in the morning, just in time for pancakes. Here’s the buttermilk recipe if you would like to try it. It works best with whole milk but it will work with skim. It will just be runnier. This time I just dumped the buttermilk into the milk container because I had already used some of the milk for biscuits.



One of our readers asked why it is okay to set out buttermilk and let it sour but the sour milk in her child’s sippy is bad for her child.

Here is Jill’s answer:

Many people think sour milk and buttermilk are the same but they are different.

used to be the watery stuff leftover from making butter. These days, it is made by adding a lactic acid bacteria to regular pasteurized milk.

Sour milk
is made by adding vinegar and lemon juice to regular milk to make it sour.

Spoiled milk
is milk that has just been left out and has gone bad, like the milk in a child’s sippy cup.

To make homemade buttermilk, the recipe says to add 1-2 cups of buttermilk you already have to regular milk and let it sit out. The acid bacteria in the original buttermilk is what makes the difference. This isn’t a perfect example but it is kind of like the good bacteria and the bad bacteria in your stomach. You need the good bacteria to kill off the bad and to keep you healthy. It is the same type of thing. The bacteria in the buttermilk that you add to the milk keeps the bad bacteria at bay. Regular milk gone sour doesn’t have that acid in it, so you get nothing but bad bacteria in spoiled milk.

The same is true with sour milk. Vinegar or acid kills bad bacteria in the milk. That is why canned pickles last so long– because the acid in them keep the bacteria away longer.

You can interchange buttermilk and sour milk in a recipe but there is a difference between the two. Often, the difference is in the texture so when a recipe calls for buttermilk I usually try to use buttermilk and not just make my own sour milk with vinegar (although I do use sour milk in some recipes).

Buttermilk pancakes or biscuits come out slightly fluffier using buttermilk than when you substitute sour milk. That’s why they’re not called Sour Milk Pancakes. ;-)


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