Can You Freeze Buttermilk? (How To & How Long)

When it comes to saving food products by freezing them, you may be unsure what is safe to freeze and what isn’t. No one wants to get sick from freezing something they shouldn’t. How about freezing buttermilk?

You can freeze buttermilk, and doing so ensures the buttermilk will last for up to 3 months. Freezing buttermilk is recommended as it is a smart way to save money on buying buttermilk. Go ahead and keep the buttermilk in the freezer until you need it. 

In this article, I will explain how and why you can freeze buttermilk, the amount of time it can stay frozen, and the best way to do it. Keep reading.

Can You Freeze Buttermilk? (How To & How Long)

How To Freeze Buttermilk (2 Ways)

It is completely safe to freeze buttermilk and there are two ways to do it depending on how you plan to use the buttermilk in the future.

How To Freeze Buttermilk in Bulk

The best and most convenient way to freeze buttermilk in bulk is by putting it in a plastic freezer bag. You can fill up the bag with buttermilk, and it will stay fresh and not leak. 

Quick Tip: To prevent leaking, it is a good idea to freeze buttermilk in two heavy-duty freezer bags. The two layers of plastic will help ensure that your freezer doesn’t become a buttermilk accident zone.

Other than that, there’s nothing to it other than to make sure and write the date frozen on the plastic bag so you won’t lose track of how long the buttermilk has been in the freezer.

How To Freeze Buttermilk For Use When Cooking

Another great way to freeze buttermilk, and one that makes a whole lot more sense if you’re going to be using it in various recipes, is to freeze it into ice cubes before putting them in a freezer bag. 

Once the buttermilk is frozen into ice cubes, you can remove them from the trays and place them in a tightly sealed zip lock freezer bag. Just make sure that as much of the air is pressed out of the bag as possible to prevent freezer burn.

Quick Tip: You should measure the amount of buttermilk you’re pouring into each cube or tray so that you’ll be able to easily select the correct amount for your recipe.

For instance, if you pour 1 cup of buttermilk into a tray, once frozen, you can place the cubes from that tray into their own bag and mark the bag as containing one cup of buttermilk.

When you need buttermilk for a recipe, all you have to do is thaw out a few cubes instead of the entire bag of buttermilk. Having cubes makes it easier and quicker for you.

How Long Can You Freeze Buttermilk?

You can freeze buttermilk for up to 3 months. Buttermilk can technically last a little longer in the freezer than three months, but it might not be as fresh at that point.

Opened buttermilk only lasts for about two to three weeks in the refrigerator. So if you don’t use it often, freezing it might be a good idea. 

How long can you keep buttermilk in the freezer?

Does Freezing Buttermilk Kill the Active Cultures?

One of the great things about buttermilk is that it is full of healthy live and active cultures, just like yogurt. But you have to wonder if freezing buttermilk will kill these beneficial bacteria?

Freezing buttermilk doesn’t kill the active cultures. The cultures only become inactive when frozen and then become active again once the buttermilk thaws.

If you’re making something that requires active cultures like sour cream or cheese, wait for the buttermilk to thaw out before adding it to your recipe. 

How To Thaw Frozen Buttermilk (2 Ways)

Thawing your buttermilk is relatively simple. However, there are a couple of different ways to do it, as discussed below:

  • Place the buttermilk in a bowl or container and leave it in your fridge for a few hours.
  • Place the buttermilk in a bowl and heat it on low in the microwave for a few seconds. 

Fair warning, when thawed, the buttermilk will look strange because the whey and solid parts of the buttermilk will separate. This separation does not mean the buttermilk has gone bad. It is perfectly normal for the buttermilk to look like this.

Be sure to mix up the buttermilk well before adding it to your recipe. Mixing will combine the whey and solid parts to reconstitute the buttermilk to its original form. 

Here are the two best ways to thaw buttermilk so it retains its active cultures.

How To Know if Your Buttermilk Has Expired

Nothing expired tastes good, and eating expired food can easily make you sick. You want to pay attention to three characteristics to help you determine if your buttermilk has spoiled, such as:

  • Lumpy Texture
  • Discoloration
  • Sour Smell

Even though buttermilk separates after being frozen, it shouldn’t appear lumpy after thawing. 

Freezing also doesn’t cause discoloration, so throw out the buttermilk immediately if you notice this. When buttermilk is frozen, the smell shouldn’t change unless the buttermilk has gone bad; then, it will smell horribly sour. 

Can You Use Frozen Buttermilk for Baking or Cooking?

You can use frozen buttermilk for baking or cooking. I recommend using it for only cooking and baking, as frozen buttermilk isn’t as tasty to drink as fresh buttermilk. Since the ingredients tend to separate, you may not like drinking them.

However, this doesn’t matter when using it for cooking because it will mix into your dish perfectly. 

Extended Power Outage Can Cause Your Buttermilk To Go Bad

Sometimes the power can go out, and things in your freeze can spoil. It is not safe to use thawed buttermilk after a power outage. The buttermilk should be fine if you know the power outage lasts for only two hours or less. 

If it’s longer than two hours or you aren’t sure how long it was, you should throw out the buttermilk just to be safe. You don’t want to risk using it later and then realizing it is spoiled.
In this video, you’ll see with your own eyes how to freeze buttermilk 🙂


You can freeze buttermilk for later use. It’s freshest when only frozen for a maximum of 3 months. It is best to freeze your buttermilk into ice cubes and put them in a plastic freezer bag.

If you need the cultures in the buttermilk to be active for your recipe, make sure the buttermilk thaws entirely before adding to your recipe.

Frozen buttermilk is great when cooking or baking. Pay attention to the three signs that your buttermilk has expired to avoid the risks of food poisoning. Save some money and freeze buttermilk before it goes bad.