28 sweet and savoury dishes using buttermilk

Rich, creamy, and slightly sour buttermilk is a versatile ingredient that lends a delicious texture and flavour to anything it's added to - from fluffy pancakes to crispy fried chicken and more.
buttermilk recipes

What is buttermilk?

Essentially, buttermilk refers to the liquid left behind after milk has been churned into butter. Since much of the fat from the milk becomes butter, the remaining buttermilk is generally low in fat but still tastes deliciously rich and creamy. It also has a slightly sour taste, which lends buttermilk to be worked into both sweet and savoury recipes. In baking buttermilk helps create a light, moist texture.

How to make buttermilk

While buttermilk is readily available at most supermarkets, it is possible to make buttermilk, or buttermilk alternatives, at home.

Perhaps the easiest way to create a buttermilk substitute is to stir two tablespoons of lemon juice into 1 cup of milk and place it in the fridge. After about 10 minutes the mixture will have curdled slightly, and is ready to use.

If you have a bit more time you can make buttermilk easily at home with pouring cream and elbow grease. Simply beat cream in a bowl until the mixture thickens and then splits into butter and buttermilk. Strain the mixture into a glass bowl through a fine sieve lined with muslin. Gather the butter in the muslin and squeeze to release all the moisture. Press the solid butter into a container for later use. Refrigerate the buttermilk in a glass bottle or jug until ready for use.

How to cook with buttermilk

This versatile ingredient is welcome in so many dishes! Add buttermilk to cakes, pancakes and muffins for a fluffy, moist texture. Marinate chicken pieces in buttermilk for a tender, tasty meat. Buttermilk also goes great in salad dressings, where its creamy texture and slightly sour flavour really stand out.

Looking for more buttermilk pancake recipes?


Buttermilk custard tart

Buttermilk custard tart

A different twist on a custard tart that’s delightfully rich but balanced out nicely by the tartness of lemons and buttermilk.

crunchy buttermilk chicken


Crunchy buttermilk chicken

Crunchy buttermilk chicken

Delicious and crunchy buttermilk chicken drumsticks served with bacon-wrapped corn cobs.

spicy buttermilk marinade for chicken


Spicy Buttermilk Chicken

Spicy Buttermilk Chicken

Succulent, spicy chicken marylands are teamed with tender asparagus spears for a family dinner that’s bound to please.


Corn and buttermilk fritters

Corn and buttermilk fritters

These tangy corn fritters are delicious served crisp and warm from the frying pan with roasted tomatoes.

buttermilk scones


Buttermilk scones

Buttermilk scones

Jam and cream is optional here but we know how we like to eat ours!


Air fryer passionfruit buttermilk cake

Air fryer passionfruit buttermilk cake

Not just for chips and nuggets you can also make desserts like this moist and delicious buttermilk passionfruit cake in your air fryer, too.


Gluten free buttermilk maple scones

Gluten free buttermilk maple scones

With milk powder, buttermilk and gluten-free flour to create a fluffy combo in under 25 minutes and drizzle with maple syrup for a gluten-free treat.


Buttermilk chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache

Buttermilk chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache

Moist and light thanks to the buttermilk, this gluten-free chocolate cake with a white chocolate ganache, is one cake that’s guaranteed to impress.



Berry buttermilk muffins

Berry buttermilk muffins

Perfect for the lunchbox, these easy berry muffins make a delicious morning or afternoon snack.

Passionfruit buttermilk puddings


Passionfruit buttermilk puddings

Passionfruit buttermilk puddings

Buttermilk mushroom chicken


Buttermilk mushroom chicken

Buttermilk mushroom chicken

You only need 30 minutes to make this creamy, juicy mushroom and chicken dinner delight and you don’t need to worry about washing up – everyone will be licking their plates clean!

ombre cake


Chocolate buttermilk ombre cake

Chocolate buttermilk ombre cake

This chocolate cake from The Australian Women’s Weekly’s ‘Cake and Co.‘ cookbook is wonderfully moist, with a sweet but not too rich chocolate flavour. Decorated with our three chocolate-flavoured buttercreams and a generous dusting of cocoa powder, this stunning dessert makes an incredible centrepiece for any event.



Lime syrup buttermilk cake

Lime syrup buttermilk cake

Pop the kettle on and enjoy a thick slice of this zesty buttermilk cake drizzled in lime syrup.


Flourless chocolate buttermilk cake

Flourless chocolate buttermilk cake

The secret to this super-fudgy cake is the buttermilk which makes it moist and decadent!

maple syrup buttermilk pudding


Maple syrup buttermilk pudding

Maple syrup buttermilk pudding



Fluffy buttermilk pancakes

Just five ingredients are need to turn out these basic fluffy buttermilk pancakes from the Women’s Weekly. Add a drizzle of maple syrup to finish for an easy and delicious breakfast pancake recipe.


How to make perfectly fluffy pancakes

This fluffy pancakes recipe owes its delightful texture to buttermilk (and one other clever technique).


Southern fried chicken

Marinated in buttermilk, this delicious southern fried chicken recipe is the perfect combination of tender meat and crispy coating.


Spicy buttermilk chicken

Not all buttermilk chicken recipes are fried! This spicy buttermilk chicken recipe uses buttermilk to tenderise the meat, and create an irresistable char on the BBQ hotplate.


Buttermilk scones with jam and cream

Of course we couldn’t leave our this delicious recipe for buttermilk scones.


Buttermilk mac ‘n’ cheese

Buttermilk mac ‘n’ cheese is a flavourful spin on this classic comfort food.


Berry buttermilk muffins

You’ll love the texture and taste of these tender berry buttermilk muffins.


Apple slaw with buttermilk dressing

The tangy buttermilk dressing on this apple slaw is sure to be your new favourite.


Buttermilk pancakes with poached pears

Treat yourself with these buttermilk pancakes topped with tender poached pears.


Buttermilk panna cotta with summer fruits

With its creamy texture and distinctive tang, buttermilk is ideal in these buttermilk panna cotta.


Passionfruit buttermilk syrup cake


Bream with kohlrabi, watercress and walnut salad with buttermilk dressing

The buttermilk dressing in this recipe for bream with kohlrabi, watercress and walnut salad is seasoned with dill and mustard for an elegant and mouthwatering meal.


Fried buttermilk and mustard chicken wings

Buttermilk features in the batter for these fried buttermilk and mustard chicken wings, which make a perfect finger food.

Related stories