40+ Recipes That Use Up a Carton of Buttermilk

updated Feb 21, 2022
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Buttermilk waffle
Credit: Photo: Danielle Acken | Food Stylist: Aurelia Louvet

Buttermilk is a wonderful kitchen ingredient. It makes baked goods softer while adding a little tang, and I’ve never met a piece of fried chicken that wasn’t exponentially improved by a buttermilk brine. That being said, who else is guilty of letting a carton of buttermilk expire in their fridge? Buttermilk, for most people, is a specialty item you buy to make one recipe and then find yourself with quite a bit left over. However, if you’re in need of ways to put that buttermilk to use, you’ve come to the right place.

Yes, freezing it is a worthwhile option, but honestly, there are plenty of ways to use up this luscious, fermented dairy product — from biscuits and pancakes to coleslaw. Here are some of our favorite recipes that will help you use up that carton — and perhaps make you reconsider it as a pantry staple.

Salads and Slaws

Buttermilk lends creaminess and tang to salads and slaws — and, honestly, who doesn’t want that?

1 / 6
Buttermilk Cucumber Salad
This refreshing rendition of the classic creamy cucumber salad still has all the zip and crunch, but incorporates elements from raita and tzatziki, other cooling cucumber-and-dairy dishes.
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2 / 6
Classic Buttermilk Coleslaw
Everyone needs a classic slaw recipe, and this one’s guaranteed to please. It’s the quintessential Southern side—cool, creamy, and no fancy frills.
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3 / 6
Smoked Trout & Potato Salad with Buttermilk Vinaigrette
This smoked trout and fingerling potato salad dressed in a tangy buttermilk vinaigrette is the perfect meal to broaden up your lunch repertoire.
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4 / 6
Tomato & Mozzarella Potato Salad with Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing
Potato salad is quick, it easily feeds a crowd, and it can be the perfect vessel for seasonal vegetables. Take this one, for instance: Tomatoes, tiny mozzarella balls, and heaps of fresh basil.
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5 / 6
Romaine and Celery Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
This fresh, crunchy salad tossed with a creamy buttermilk Ranch dressing.
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6 / 6
Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
Made with sour cream, buttermilk and a little mayo, this recipe has a rich blue cheese taste.
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Biscuits and Breads

Buttermilk gives baked goods a softer texture, more body, and a hint of tang.

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Make-Ahead Freezer Biscuits
Learn how to make biscuits with less mess any night of the week. (Hint: Make them ahead.)
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2 / 7
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
Southern biscuits walk the line of being both tender and flaky. These are also sturdy enough to turn into sandwiches or dunk into soup.
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3 / 7
Basic Buttermilk Quick Bread
This basic buttermilk loaf is rich, a touch tangy, and not overly sweet, making it a good match for everything from a roast to a pot of chili.
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4 / 7
Irish Buttermilk Soda Bread
Soda bread is an amazingly easy, versatile recipe, and has stood the test of time as an Irish classic because it is so simple.
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5 / 7
This easy cornbread has crispy edges and a moist and fluffy center, and is packed with rich, buttery flavor.
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6 / 7
Bacon Cheddar Skillet Cornbread
Time to take your cornbread to the next level with this bacon cheddar skillet cornbread. And yes, we still drizzle on some honey, even with the bacon and cheese!
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7 / 7
Buttermilk Blueberry Lemon Scones
These tender buttermilk scones are loaded with plump blueberries and drizzled with a tangy lemon glaze.
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Pancakes and Waffles

Our very favorite pancakes and waffles call for buttermilk. Enough said.

1 / 8
Buttermilk Waffles
These buttermilk waffles are fluffy and rich, and perfect for breakfast, brunch, dinner, or dessert.
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2 / 8
The Lightest, Fluffiest Buttermilk Pancakes
These buttermilk pancakes are light, fluffy, tender, and golden-brown, which every really good pancake should be.
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3 / 8
Lofty Buttermilk Pancakes
The secret to amazing pancakes? In many pancake recipes you separate the egg white from the yolk, beat the white until peaks form and then gently fold the white into the batter. But in this recipe, curiously, you don’t beat the white before adding it into the batter!
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4 / 8
Cornbread Pancakes with Strawberry Compote
These savory-and-sweet cornbread pancakes are the perfect breakfast-for-dinner food.
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5 / 8
Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
Although it's easy to grow weary of the pumpkin madness that hits the universe come October, these pumpkin pie pancakes are in another league.
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6 / 8
Sweet Potato Pancakes
What you get in these sweet potato pancakes are all the things you love in buttermilk pancakes, like a light and fluffy texture with a crisp edge all around the outside from the hot butter in the pan.
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7 / 8
Chrissy Teigen's Crispy Parmesan Waffle Breakfast
Chrissy Teigen's parmesan waffles are more than 50 percent cheese by volume but they cook up light as a soufflé and crispy like Parmesan frico.
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8 / 8
Light & Fluffy Sheet Pan Pancakes
This one bowl, no flipping recipe for sheet pan pancakes is fluffy and tender like a classic sheet cake.
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Sweet Treats

Buttermilk desserts are worthy of buying a fresh carton or using one up.

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Buttermilk Pound Cake
Buttermilk gives this tender, classic pound cake a tiny bit of tang.
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2 / 10
Whoopie Pies
Soft and round, not too sweet, and traditionally chocolate, whoopie pies are sandwiched between a fluffy white filling.
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3 / 10
Red Velvet Cupcakes
This quick and easy cupcake recipe will make a believer out of any red-velvet skeptic.
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4 / 10
Better-than-Grandma's Buttermilk Chess Pie
Here's how to make a classic buttermilk chess pie, with a crackly top crust and smooth custard-y center.
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5 / 10
Julia Turshen’s Berry and Buttermilk Cobbler
This berry and buttermilk cobbler is a really delicious, incredibly easy dessert to keep up your sleeve. Plus, all you need is one baking dish and one bowl (and a couple of measuring devices).
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6 / 10
Chocolate Bumpy Cake
This chocolate cake is a nostalgic Midwestern favorite.
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7 / 10
Chocolate Pound Cake
Chocolate pound cake comes together so easily that it’s an everyday cake, but the taste and texture — that close-knit, tight crumb unique to a pound cake — plus the deep chocolate flavor make it feel like a luscious, special-occasion treat.
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8 / 10
Chocolate & Vanilla Swirled Marble Cake
There’s just something so appealing about the marbled swirl that appears when you cut off a slice of this cake. The flavor is not too rich but still satisfying, and we appreciate how it diplomatically resolves the whole chocolate vs vanilla debate.
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9 / 10
Southern Butter Rolls
A nearly forgotten celebration of southern ingenuity, butter rolls live at the center of a Venn diagram of frugality, simplicity, and deliciousness.
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10 / 10
Upside-Down Carrot Cake
This version takes the classic upside-down cake and turns it on its head. Very thinly sliced carrots form the pretty, striped top. It might not have cream cheese frosting, but it’s got pizzazz.
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More Buttermilk Recipes

There’s really no limit to what you can make with buttermilk, from mashed potatoes to fried green tomatoes.

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Shrimp Po' Boy
Thanks to crispy fried shrimp and a tangy, zesty remoulade sauce, this sandwich is packed with flavor and texture.
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2 / 11
Fried Mushrooms
Spruce up your game day snack menu with beer-battered fried mushrooms.
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3 / 11
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
For the crispiest chicken tenders, look to the air fryer.
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4 / 11
Fried Green Tomatoes
It’s time to try this easy Southern specialty at home.
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5 / 11
Ad Hoc's Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Thomas Keller’s Napa Valley restaurant Ad Hoc is renowned for its fried chicken. Here’s the recipe that made Ad Hoc’s guests’ mouths water.
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6 / 11
The Best Southern Hush Puppies
Learn how to make easy, golden, deep-fried hush puppies to serve with fried fish or barbecue.
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7 / 11
Stovetop Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Save yourself the trouble of peeling potatoes and go the rustic route instead. Red potatoes have delicate, tender skins, so they’re perfect for mashing whole.
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8 / 11
Easy Homemade Corn Dogs
A juicy hot dog encased in a crispy cornbread coating is a state fair favorite and easy to make at home.
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9 / 11
Chicken Nuggets
Chicken nuggets are a one-way ticket to pleasing kids of all ages.
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10 / 11
Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing
This is truly as Southern as it gets. With two sticks of butter, five cups of chicken stock, and five eggs, we can promise you it’s the moistest, most delicious cornbread dressing you’ll ever taste. In fact, we guarantee it.
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11 / 11
Buttermilk Grilled Chicken
Juicy grilled chicken with the help of the Southern favorite: buttermilk!
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