Tasty Ways to Use Up That Buttermilk

Last month when I taught my class how to make my favorite buttermilk biscuits, I told them one of the secrets to light, fluffy, high rising biscuits is to use really good buttermilk. If all you have access to is the grocery store offerings, go ahead and buy it. But, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on some great full fat buttermilk, choose it every time. We have a local creamery here in Hendersonville where I buy my dairy products and their buttermilk is to die for.

During class, the question was posed to me, "What can we do with the leftover buttermilk?"

I've compiled some nice ways here, to help you out with that problem, because you definitely don't want to waste any.

5 Tasty Ways to Use Your Buttermilk

1-Make pancakes or waffles.

Use your favorite pancake or waffle recipe or try this one. It's exceptional.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

1 2/3 cups all purpose (unbleached) flour

4 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

4 large eggs, separated yolks and whites

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 t. cream of tartar

4 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen and unthawed

In large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt until blended.

In a small bowl beat the egg yolks and buttermilk to blend slightly.

In a mixing bowl beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks from when the beater is raised slowly.

Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and mix lightly with a fork until the flour is moistened. Stir in the butter. The batter should be lumpy as overtaxing will produce tough pancakes. Add the whites and fold in with a rubber spatula.

The griddle or frying pan should be hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Lightly butter it and pour on the batter in 4 inch rounds. Quickly drop berries onto each pancake. Test for doneness by lifting a corner of each pancake with a spatula. When golden brown, turn over and cook 30 seconds on other side. If you have any leftover, they freeze beautifully.

* Recipe from The Cake Bible

2-Make ranch dressing.

Ranch is a dip and dressing of choice for lots of us, and a homemade one is especially nice. This is almost always in my refrigerator and is kid tested and approved!

Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

squeeze of fresh lemon juice

1/4 t. garlic powder

1 t. minced fresh parsley

1 T. minced fresh chives

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Fresh dill is also nice and you can always use dried herbs, but you would use less than the fresh ones called for in the recipe. Taste test as you go and remember that the dressing is better after sitting in the refrigerator for a while.

3- Make this Lemon Cornmeal Cake

This cake is one of my husband's favorites. I made it most recently on Father's Day at his request. It's very lemony and has a little crunch on the interior from the cornmeal in the batter and a crunch on the exterior from the sugar glaze. It's perfect for picnics and potlucks.

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. each baking soda and salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 T. grated lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

4 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a bundt pan with baking spray or grease with shortening and flour.

In medium bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time. On low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, until batter is smooth.

Scrape into pan. Level top. Bake 55-65 minutes or until pick comes out clean. Cool on rack for 5 minutes. Turn out of pan. Glaze cake while warm.


1 cup sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

Mix and brush on cake. Sugar will not dissolve.

4- Make Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream.

This is a new recipe that I just tried for the 4th of July and we loved it! The strawberries make it sweet, the buttermilk makes it a little tart, but not too much. Don't be afraid of the buttermilk! This works, I promise. Another attractive feature of this ice cream- no cooked custard base, which means it comes together really quickly. I think you'll like it.

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

1 lb. strawberries

1 cup superfine sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup sour cream

pinch of sea salt flakes

Hull and slice strawberries and put them into a bowl with half the sugar and the seeds from the vanilla bean ( scrape out the seeds using the tip of the knife). Let stand for 30 minutes. The strawberries will become soft and give off their juices.

Transfer the fruit with all the juice and the rest of the sugar to a food processor and whiz to puree. You can push the puree through a mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds, if you'd like. I skipped this step altogether.

Mix with the buttermilk, sour cream and salt.

Churn in an ice cream machine. Cover and store in freezer. Remove from freezer for 10 minutes before serving.

* Recipe from How to Eat a Peach

5- Make Cornbread.

Having a good corn bread recipe is as essential to any southern cook as is biscuits. I was raised on both! This recipe is straightforward and simple.

Basic Corn Bread

1 cup yellow corn meal,( not corn meal mix)

1 cup plain flour

1 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 T. baking powder

2 eggs

2 T. melted butter, oil or bacon grease

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425. If using a cast iron skillet, you can heat it in the oven, as it comes up to temperature.

Mix dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, milk and fat (melted butter, oil or bacon grease) together. Add to dry ingredients and mix.

Pour into greased pan or muffin tins. Bake 20 -25 minutes or until done.

So here are five ways to use some of that buttermilk, that might be hanging out in your fridge. And you know, if all else fails, you can always make more biscuits.

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