Let’s face it, buttermilk is never sold in convenient amounts. Most stores sell it in quarts, which is far too much considering that buttermilk is predominantly used as an ingredient in things like pancakes and cookies.
It’s rare that you would use a whole quart of buttermilk in one go, but you don’t want to throw the leftovers away as that would be a huge waste, so:
Can you freeze buttermilk?
Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of your food products, and buttermilk is no different; it’s perfectly suitable to be frozen.
As a dairy product, however, buttermilk will become separated once frozen and thawed back out. The solids separate from the liquids and it doesn’t look particularly appetizing.
That isn’t a dealbreaker, though. Buttermilk is still very much usable in this state, and as it’s mainly used in baking, how it looks will not be an issue once it’s added to the other ingredients.
So let’s take a look at how you freeze buttermilk, how long it lasts, and what it can be used for.
How Do You Freeze Buttermilk?
There are a few different methods for freezing buttermilk, but one of the more popular ones is to use freezer bags.
First, label your freezer bags. It also helps to measure out the buttermilk into certain portions and then label each bag accordingly – this will make things a lot easier when you come to use it a few months down the line.
Pour your buttermilk into the freezer bags, and remove any air in each one before sealing it. Fold the bags over to prevent any air from getting in and then lay them out on a baking tray.
Leave the baking tray in the freezer until the buttermilk has frozen – this usually takes between 3 and 6 hours. Once it’s frozen, remove the baking tray and then store the flat bags of buttermilk in your freezer appropriately.
One of the main benefits of this method is that these bags of frozen buttermilk won’t take up much space in your freezer as they’re relatively flat.
Another method of freezing buttermilk is to use an ice tray. Again, this is relatively simple to do.
Pour your buttermilk into an empty ice tray, then freeze this tray of buttermilk for roughly 3 to 6 hours.
Remove the tray and transfer the cubes of buttermilk into a labeled freezer bag, then store this bag in the freezer for the long term.
This is handy if you’re not quite sure what exactly you’ll use the buttermilk for in the future, as you can grab as many cubes of it as you need.
If you do know what you’ll be using the buttermilk for, and thus how much of it you’ll need, you can just measure it out into an airtight container and put this straight into the freezer.
How Long Will Buttermilk Last In The Freezer?
People’s opinions vary on how long you can keep buttermilk in the freezer, but most agree that it’ll last for at least 3 months.
The buttermilk will still be safe to use beyond this point, but its flavor will be affected.
Obviously, the longer buttermilk is left in the freezer, the more its quality will be diminished so it’s best to use it as soon as you can.
How To Use Frozen Buttermilk
In order to use frozen buttermilk in your dishes, you’ll need to defrost it first.
The safest and most effective way to defrost your buttermilk is in the fridge overnight – just make sure it’s stored in a way that won’t cause any spillages once it’s thawed.
Buttermilk that’s been defrosted in the fridge can also be refrozen if you’ve still got some leftover after you’ve used it.
If you’ve not got the time to defrost your buttermilk overnight, you can use a bowl or dish of warm water to thaw it out.
This works particularly well if you froze the buttermilk in bags. Simply leave the bags or containers in the warm water and it should defrost within an hour. You might also need to empty out the water once it’s gone cold and add more warm water.
There might be a few dishes that don’t require buttermilk to be defrosted, such as a soup that you’re then going to run through a blender.
In this instance, you can add the frozen buttermilk as is and it will thaw on its own while cooking.
As mentioned, buttermilk is rarely the key ingredient for a recipe and so it won’t ruin it if the buttermilk has been frozen and thawed out. Some dishes you can make perfectly fine with frozen buttermilk are pancakes, cookies and other baked goods, mashed potatoes, and soups.
Other Ways To Store Buttermilk
Quite simply, there’s only one other way to store buttermilk: in the fridge.
Buttermilk will spoil quickly if stored at room temperature as it needs to be refrigerated. Just be sure to keep an eye on the “use by” date and for any signs of spoilage, most namely an off smell.
In Conclusion: Freezing Buttermilk
Buttermilk can be kept in the freezer for several months before it starts to lose taste and quality.
There are a few different ways you can freeze buttermilk; in freezer bags, an ice tray, or an airtight container.
You’ll usually need to defrost frozen buttermilk before you can use it and the safest way to do this is leaving it in the fridge overnight, though you can also thaw it in a bowl of warm water if you don’t have much time.