Like you, I used to grumble at recipes which called for buttermilk. I knew it was going to sit the fridge looking back at me and making me feel guilty until I finally threw it out. But no more! The secret is to have a variety of recipes which use buttermilk in different ways! Then you will love having leftover buttermilk in the house.
These days I consider extra buttermilk an opportunity. Once I’ve bought a container and made my pancakes or biscuits, I put buttermilk salad dressing or a buttermilk soup or maybe some buttermilk quick bread on the menu! There are so many different ways to use buttermilk that I often buy it just to have some in the house.
And buttermilk lasts a long time in the fridge! That date on the top is not a use by date. No, no, no. Don’t throw it out then! I have used leftover buttermilk weeks past that date. Smell it, look at it, pour some out. These tests will let you know if it’s time to toss your buttermilk. If everything smells and looks good, you’re good to go. If the smell is off, the buttermilk is moldy (check around the spout), or it’s gotten chunky it’s no good even if you haven’t gotten to the sell by date.
One big caveat: If you are using the buttermilk in an uncooked recipe (such as cold soup or dressing), it’s best to use it by the sell by date. If you are using it for baking, you can use for two or more weeks after the date.
In fact, people apparently use buttermilk for months past the sell by date! And they’re still alive. 🙂 I’ve never gone months myself and, with all these yummy recipes for leftover buttermilk, I’m not sure how they are even keeping buttermilk in their fridge for months without using it up!
What are some of my favorite ways to use up leftover buttermilk?
1. Make Creamy Salad Dressing
Creamy salad dressings are easy and quick to make in addition to being a great, savory way to use up leftover buttermilk. Also? They taste so much better than store bought!
2. Add Leftover Buttermilk to Potatoes!
Buttermilk and potatoes are a natural pairing. The buttermilk adds tang and creaminess while the potatoes provide their comforting starchiness.
3. Fry or Bake Some Donuts
Like many baked goods, you cannot go wrong by using buttermilk in your donuts and fritters. Whether you are pulling out your large stockpot and frying up a batch or using your donut pan and making some baked donuts, buttermilk adds flavor and tenderness.
4. Make Pancakes and Waffles
Yes, pancakes or waffles are probably the reason you bought some buttermilk in the first place, but there is a reason they are so popular! And I think recipes like Sweet Potato Pancakes or Mashed Potato Waffles will still give you something different to make with your buttermilk. (In the market for a waffle maker or a pancake griddle? The Hamilton Beach Belgian Waffle Maker is a good, and not too expensive, appliance. And I love having a Presto Electric Griddle in the house! Both are easy to use and easy to clean.)
5. Buttermilk Soup!
If you haven’t ever had buttermilk soup, you need to try it! I’m serious. I keep making this for people who have never considered the idea and sending them away converts to the cause. As an added benefit (in addition to being delicious), buttermilk soup uses up A LOT of buttermilk. Want to use a few cups of buttermilk in one go? Buttermilk soup is what you want. Also, it takes about 5 minutes to make and you don’t need to turn on the oven/cook top. Win/Win.
6. All Sorts of Baked Goods
So many sweet baked goods! Cakes, scones, quick breads! They are all great ways to use leftover buttermilk. And every single recipe here freezes well. So you can make a batch and have a quick treat for weeks after.
7. And We Can’t Forget Buttermilk Biscuits
I mean really, what is a list of buttermilk recipes without biscuits? There are all sorts of flavorings and vegetables you can use to change them up and there’s nothing like a little dinner bread which you can make in the time it takes to cook dinner (or less!).