14 Best Buttermilk Recipes

So, you’ve heard of buttermilk, but are not quite sure what it’s used for. How different is it from normal milk? How is it related to butter? What recipes can you use it for?

14 Best Buttermilk Recipes

Well, buttermilk is traditionally the milk that was left behind after butter had been churned. Interestingly, it has a distinct taste from both milk and butter.
These days, you don’t have to wait for your butter to churn. It’s possible to buy artificially cultured buttermilk that works just as well.

Which leaves us with one question: What recipes can you use buttermilk in? The answer: A lot! Here are 14 of the best buttermilk recipes that you can try in the comfort of your kitchen right now.

To start us off strong, let’s take a look at a recipe that shows us the best way to make buttermilk from scratch by ourselves. After all, why use store-bought buttermilk if you can make it yourself?

And remember, you need good base buttermilk for your cooking. Especially if you want to make a lot of the other recipes we are going to talk about. So it pays to know what you’re working with in the first place.

This recipe creates a type of buttermilk that is a great substitute if you don’t have a lot of authentic buttermilk handy. It does this by producing a tangy, acidic milk-based cooking ingredient with either vinegar or lemon juice – whichever is easiest for you to get a hold of.

Be sure to get those ratios right when you’re making this recipe. You only need a tablespoon of your acidic additive of choice mixed with a cup of whichever kind of milk you’d like, whether that’s almond, soy, coconut, or good old cow’s milk.

After all, you want buttermilk that has an acidic bite to it. And you certainly do not want some vinegar or lime juice that just happens to taste like milk.

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Classic Buttermilk Waffles (By Lyuba Brooke, Will Cook for Smiles)

So, we’ve gone through a few ways of getting buttermilk, whether that’s buying it in-store, or making it ourselves. Now, it’s time to start cooking with it.

We start off with one of our best recipes that use buttermilk. What’s more, it’s a traditional favourite for both breakfast and desserts around the world – the humble waffle. It’s a dish that wormed its way into our hearts and stomachs long ago. Now it is made even better with just a little buttermilk added.

With the perfect balance of a soft, squishy inside, and a crisp, fried outside, there’s very little that beats a waffle cooked to perfection. And of course, there are all the extras you can add to this classic treat. Whether that’s fruits, berries, syrup, ice cream.

Of course, to make the perfect waffle, you need a Waffle Maker. And these days, you can cook more than waffles in these appliances. Click here for more information and prices.

Even savoury foods match deliciously with waffles. For example, fried chicken goes perfectly with a good waffle. It’s almost crazy that some people turn their noses up at such an iconic pairing.

Oh well, it’s their loss and your belly’s gain!

Any excuse for brunch is a good excuse in our books. Here are some of our top Bottomless Brunch Spots in Melbourne.

Buckwheat Pancakes, Made With Buttermilk (By Cookies + Katie)

What, you thought Cookies + Katie would leave us high and dry when it came to a true buttermilk food recipe? That they’d leave us up buttermilk creek without a paddle?

Well, worry not, fellow buttermilk bakers and chefs. Cookies + Katie offer us a tantalising pancake recipe with a twist. Even better, it lets us use that amazing buttermilk recipe they showed us earlier.

Unlike your typical recipe that looks like any other old, delicious pancake, this one shakes up a little. How? By using buckwheat instead of your everyday plain or self-raising flour.

Using buckwheat has 2 advantages. It introduces a nutty flavour to the pancakes and – drum roll please! – it is also gluten-free.

This is definitely a fantastic recipe to try if you love pancakes, but struggle with gluten. There is nothing worse than devouring a yummy pancake only to feel bloated, gassy, or in pain. Luckily for you, pancakes are now back on the table with this simple change.

What’s more this buttermilk recipe helps to impart just a little extra texture to the pancake as it cooks. Sometimes it’s the little changes in our food that alter their mouth-feel for the better.

Give this recipe a go. We feel it’s one of our best buttermilk recipes and we use it all the time.

If you live in Sydney and love a glass of bubbles with your pancakes, here are our go-to Bottomless Brunch Places.

Peanut Buttermilk Pancakes (By John Gregory-Smith, Olive Magazine)

Of course, a new spin on classic pancakes it always fun. However, it doesn’t mean that the good-old-fashioned kind isn’t improved by adding some buttermilk goodness to your recipe list.

Whilst the starring role in this recipe goes to the peanut butter that is added to the mix, the buttermilk gives important support. After all, it’s the richness of the buttermilk that gives the pancakes their sublime texture.

Plus, the peanut flavour in the pancake and the drizzle go with so many other foods. It’s up to you to go mad with the garnishes. Want to add syrup? Nothing is stopping you from satisfying that sweet tooth. Want to add a little colour and Vitamin C to your pancake pile? Fruits and berries are always a great choice. Want a healthier topping to your pancakes? A dollop of yoghurt ups your protein and calcium intake while still tasting great.

Fancy a break from cooking brekkie for the family? See our Guide to the Best Breakfasts in Perth.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken (By Janine Ratcliffe, Olive Magazine)

Ah, fried chicken. That classic staple of many people’s favourite mealtimes. There’s just something special about good old chicken that’s been given a little bit extra love and attention.

Well, buttermilk is just the ingredient to introduce that love and attention.

The magic comes from soaking the chicken in buttermilk for a while before tossing it into its coating. A buttermilk marinade makes the cooked chicken irresistibly succulent and juicy. Plus it compliments any spices you pop in the batter or crumb.

Our top tip is to let your chicken sit in a bowl with the buttermilk and any extra seasonings you fancy overnight. This is because it’ll need a good few hours to really let those milky juices get absorbed. The recipe recommends paprika as an extra seasoning if you’re looking for extra heat.

Give it a go. We’re sure it’ll find a place amongst your best buttermilk recipes.

If you have an air fryer, take a look at this Best Air Fryer Fried Chicken Recipe. And yes – it uses buttermilk as a marinade.

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake (By Alexandra’s Kitchen)

Looking for a cake that is a perfect to start the day? Looking to expand your special-treat brunch repertoire with a new recipe? Then throw on your apron, grab your buttermilk, and give this blueberry breakfast cake a try.

Sweetness and breakfast food go hand in hand with each other, and this blueberry breakfast cake is glorious proof of that. Let’s not forget that many of our desserts like waffles and pancakes are often served as breakfast food too.

If you want a sugar hit that isn’t too sweet, this is the breakfast for you. The softness of the cake is up there with the most luxurious red velvets and Victoria sponges you can think of. However, the tartness of the blueberries cuts the sweetness and adds vibrancy.

Great with a cup of coffee or a mug of breakfast tea, it’s a delicious way to start the day.

Brisbane has some lovely spots to grab breakfast and a coffee. See our recommendations.

Low-Fat Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins (By Lady Behind the Curtain)

Speaking of morning treats for sweet lovers, this oat and buttermilk muffin is the morning snack that’s sure to give you the energy to last till lunchtime.

The moist texture of these oatmeal muffins is something you don’t find in many other cakes or desserts. The secret is in the oats which are soaked in buttermilk. This helps give the batter for the muffins a creamy texture.

Sure, it might be a little different from your usual cupcakes or sweet foods that you are used to. But that’s what makes it special. And once you’ve had a taste of it, we thing you’ll be a convert.

Plus, the basic recipe – though great as it is – is crying out to be adapted. There are so many different things that you can add to the batter to jazz it up. Our top choices include orange zest and blueberries or white chocolate and raspberries. The only limit is your imagination.

Orange juice and zest work beautifully in so many sweet treats. Here are some of our most-loved Orange Dessert Recipes.

Buttermilk Coleslaw (By Christin Mahrlig, Spicy Southern Kitchen)

Just because we’ve only talked about sweet recipes and chicken so far in this guide, doesn’t mean that vegetables and greens can’t benefit from a little buttermilk too.

Case in point: this Buttermilk Coleslaw Recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen.

Coleslaw is a trusty inclusion at all kinds of dinner tables, whether that’s a house-warming party, barbecue, a buffet, or just as a healthy snack to have instead of something a little more processed.

However, there are good coleslaw and distinctly average coleslaws. It can be surprisingly tough to find the perfect balance between that lovely, fresh veg crunch and the moreish tangy flavour of the dressing. Too much veg and you lose the tang. Too much dressing and everything becomes cloying and soggy.

That’s where the buttermilk comes in. Our favourite ingredient gives just the right amount of tang to prep up the veg but not drown their natural crunch and sweetness.

What’s more, we reckon this coleslaw is delicious with the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Waffles above.

Are you sorting out food for a games night or a celebration? Maybe you should take a look at KFC Catering. After all, who doesn’t love chicken and sides?

Berry Buttermilk Ice Cream (By Homemade Food Junkie)

Looking for a delectable dessert to get stuck into that uses buttermilk for its base? Then this berry buttermilk ice cream has all your needs covered, and then some.

The thing that makes this recipe stand out from an entire ocean’s worth of incredible ice cream recipes is the one-two punch of high-fat content combined with zingy taste of buttermilk.

The right amount of fat content does wonders to the consistency of an ice cream mix.

Are you an ice cream addict? If yes, then maybe you should invest in an ice cream maker? Being able to make your own ice cream at home will save you money, plus you can make healthier versions of your favourite flavours. For more information and prices, click here.

Because fat and sugar don’t freeze in the same way that water-based foods, this ice cream is smooth to the scoop. The consistency of this ice cream is sublime. And the upside of this is that it literally melts in the mouth.

Plus, the buttermilk adds an extra layer of flavour to this already stellar dessert. And don’t just stop with berries. It also works well with numerous other flavours that you might want to play with – like mint, nuts or chocolate.

Personally, we love mango puree blended into this ice cream mix. The sweetness of the mango flesh works brilliantly with the slight sourness of the buttermilk.

Love mango and want to try some more recipes where this tropical fruit is the star? See our Mango Dessert Recipes for some inspiration.

Buttermilk Farmhouse Cake (By Chris Scheuer, the café sucre farine)

Farmhouse cakes have a particular rustic charm.

Plus, they’re often so simple, with just a handful of ingredients that can be put into a single bowl, mixed up, thrown in the oven, and come out looking like the perfect dessert to serve at a big family meal.

This recipe is no different. Simple to make and oh so easy to eat, we reckon it’s one of our best buttermilk recipes. Even an inexperienced baker should find it a breeze to make.

And the rewards are obvious as soon as you open the oven door. A vanilla-scented, moist crumb topped with crunchy pecan goodness. Yum!

On the lookout for a good Cake Shop in Sydney? Here are our top tips.

Buttermilk Scones (By Olive Magazine)

What afternoon tea party would be complete without a classic scone? This staple of the mid-afternoon tea break is a must-have for lunches and gathering with old friends or family.

The scone is the perfect treat to finish off a lunch. Even better, they taste great but are easy to make as well.tastes, but how easy they are to make as well. Just a single bowl, a little patience, and adding your ingredients little by little, and you’ll be dining like the queen in no time!

This particular recipe allows you to use either normal milk or buttermilk. In all honesty, this makes it easier if you can’t find buttermilk and aren’t brave enough to make your own (But you really should – see above).

Making these scones is so easy that all you really need to worry about is the toppings. Do you feel like strawberry jam and clotted cream, or are you more of a thunder and lightning scone type of person? That’s black treacle and clotted cream, if you were wondering!

These buttermilk scones go well with Mulberry Jam. See here for the recipe.

Buttermilk Fried Donuts (By Baking with Butter)

Who doesn’t love a good fried donut? Deep-fried, then rolled in sugar and served fresh. There isn’t another delicacy of the confectionary category quite like this treat. Honestly, we couldn’t have a run-down of the best buttermilk recipes without including this one.

And just because something is good, doesn’t mean it can’t be made better! And you get bonus points if it’s just a simple addition.

This donut recipe doesn’t rock the boat when it comes to playing with ingredients. You still have your yeast, flour, butter, sugar and salt. All the key ingredients you need for a good donut. The only, but important difference, is replacing normal milk with buttermilk.

The buttermilk serves a dual purpose: it brings a tanginess to the otherwise sweet snack and makes the inside of the cake soft and squidgy.

And we believe the best donuts are usually the ones that can balance a crispy exterior with a tender, almost moist, centre.

If you’re looking to make your donuts the fluffiest they can be, consider adding some buttermilk to your mixture.

Buttermilk Vanilla Cake (By Nicole Harris, Wonky Wonderful)

Time for a classic of the kitchen to get a new spin thanks to an extra ingredient.

Vanilla cakes are found in kitchens all around the world. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love the scent of vanilla, wafting from a warm oven.

This is an old recipe from a time when far-flung ingredients were a little harder to get a hold of. This meant that people had to make do with what they had available in their kitchen. In fact, the original author of this recipes makes this very point.

Back in the day, buttermilk would have been a common ingredient in many farmhouse kitchens as it was a natural by-product from butter making. So it makes perfect sense to add buttermilk to a vanilla cake base. And then to take it to the next level with a layer of luscious buttermilk icing.

Do you like a bagel for breakfast occasionally? See our list of the Best Bagel Toppings.

Overnight Buttermilk Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll (By The Joy-Filled Kitchen)

Another classic of the pantry, the cinnamon roll is a pastry that is simple, yet elegant in its design.

The vein of cinnamon in its centre is formed when you roll up the dough. Once baked and cooled, you can smother them with any topping you crave.

Add a little buttermilk to that classic recipe, and you’ve got yourself a recipe that is made better by lending its distinct zing to your baking.

Combine that with the cinnamon paste on the inside, and the cream cheese drizzle on top, and you have a pastry that is both tangy and incredibly sweet. The perfect baked mouthful!

Are you a chocoholic? We have some fabulous Chocolate Dessert Recipes for you to try.


These are just some of the many wild and wonderful recipes that can be made with buttermilk in mind. In theory, if you have a recipe that asks for milk, simply replace it with buttermilk, and your recipe should still work, but with a little something extra in its flavour profile.

Go out there, brave bakers, and find the buttermilk recipes of your dreams!

Faye Keenan
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