Buttermilk dessert recipes

Discover the delightful world of buttermilk dessert recipes. Explore classic, modern, and unique desserts, and learn how to make them at home.


Indulging in desserts is a pleasure many of us cherish. When it comes to creating moist, flavorful, and unforgettable desserts, buttermilk dessert recipes stand out as unique and delightful options. Whether you have a classic sweet tooth or enjoy exploring innovative treats, there’s something special about the tangy yet smooth flavor of buttermilk in desserts.

What is Buttermilk?


Buttermilk has a rich history rooted in various cultures around the world. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter from cream. Over time, cultured buttermilk, made by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk, became widely popular due to its thicker consistency and tangy taste.


There are several varieties of buttermilk, including traditional buttermilk, cultured buttermilk, and powdered buttermilk. Each offers a distinct flavor profile, suitable for different types of desserts.

Nutritional Information

Buttermilk is rich in nutrients, containing vitamins such as B12, calcium, and riboflavin. It’s also low in fat, making it a healthier choice for dessert recipes.

Benefits of Buttermilk in Desserts


Buttermilk adds moisture to desserts, making them tender and soft. It’s a key ingredient in many cakes and baked goods for this reason.


The tangy flavor of buttermilk enhances the overall taste of desserts. It provides a subtle contrast to sweet ingredients, creating a balanced flavor profile.

Health Benefits

Buttermilk offers probiotics, which aid digestion, and it’s generally lower in fat than other dairy products, making it a healthier choice for dessert recipes.

Classic Buttermilk Desserts

Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk pie is a Southern classic, known for its creamy filling and simple preparation.

To make buttermilk pie, you’ll need buttermilk, sugar, butter, eggs, flour, and a dash of vanilla. Mix the ingredients, pour into a pie shell, and bake until golden brown.

Buttermilk pie can be flavored with lemon zest, nutmeg, or even topped with fresh fruit for a delightful twist.

Buttermilk Cake

Buttermilk cake is another Southern favorite, known for its light and fluffy texture.

Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, eggs, and flour to create a smooth batter. Bake until golden and enjoy!

Buttermilk cake can be made with added cocoa for a chocolate version or topped with berries for a fruity delight.

Modern Buttermilk Desserts

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Buttermilk panna cotta is made with buttermilk, cream, sugar, and gelatin.

Combine cream, sugar, and gelatin, then add buttermilk. Pour into molds and chill until set.

Serving Suggestions
Serve buttermilk panna cotta with fresh berries, honey, or a drizzle of chocolate for a delightful treat.

Buttermilk Ice Cream

Buttermilk ice cream features buttermilk, sugar, cream, and vanilla.

Mix the ingredients and churn in an ice cream maker until smooth and creamy.

Serving Suggestions
Pair buttermilk ice cream with fresh fruit, pie, or cookies for a refreshing dessert.

Buttermilk Parfaits

Layered Parfait

Layered parfaits typically include buttermilk, yogurt, granola, and fruit.

Layer the ingredients in a glass, starting with buttermilk and yogurt, then adding granola and fruit.

Experiment with different fruits and toppings for a unique parfait each time.

Fruit Parfait

Fruit parfaits feature buttermilk, yogurt, and a variety of fresh fruits.

Mix buttermilk and yogurt, then layer with fresh fruits for a refreshing treat.

Add nuts or seeds for a crunchy texture, or drizzle with honey for added sweetness.

Unique Buttermilk Desserts

Buttermilk Cheesecake

Buttermilk cheesecake combines buttermilk, cream cheese, sugar, and eggs.

Mix the ingredients, pour into a graham cracker crust, and bake until set.

Serving Suggestions
Top with fresh berries or a fruit compote for a delightful dessert.

Buttermilk Doughnuts

Buttermilk doughnuts include buttermilk, flour, sugar, and baking powder.

Mix the ingredients, shape into doughnuts, and fry until golden.

Glaze the doughnuts with chocolate or vanilla icing, or dust with powdered sugar for a classic treat.

International Buttermilk Desserts

Buttermilk has a global presence in the world of desserts, contributing its unique tangy flavor and creamy texture to various traditional treats. Let’s explore some of the delightful international desserts that feature buttermilk as a key ingredient.

Indian Lassi

Lassi is a popular Indian drink that’s both refreshing and satisfying. Traditionally made with buttermilk or yogurt, this drink has been enjoyed for centuries and is available in various flavors.


To make a basic lassi, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A sprinkle of ground cardamom
  • Ice cubes


  1. Blend Ingredients: Combine the buttermilk, yogurt, sugar, salt, and cardamom in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add Ice: Add ice cubes and blend again until frothy.
  3. Serve: Pour into glasses and serve chilled. Garnish with a sprinkle of cardamom or saffron, if desired.


  • Sweet Lassi: Add fruit like mango or strawberries for a sweet and fruity version.
  • Salty Lassi: For a savory version, skip the sugar and add a pinch of roasted cumin powder and fresh mint.

Dutch Buttermilk Pudding (Karnemelksepap)

Karnemelksepap is a traditional Dutch dessert, also known as buttermilk pudding. It’s simple yet comforting, often enjoyed as a dessert or even for breakfast.


To make this pudding, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. Mix Ingredients: In a saucepan, mix the buttermilk, water, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth.
  2. Heat: Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  3. Flavor: Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Chill: Pour into serving bowls and chill in the refrigerator until set.


  • Fruit Topping: Serve with fresh or stewed fruit for added flavor.
  • Spices: Add cinnamon or nutmeg for a spiced version.

Russian Buttermilk Pancakes (Oladyi)

Oladyi are fluffy Russian pancakes traditionally made with buttermilk. They are commonly accompanied by sour cream, jam, or honey.


To make Oladyi, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of salt
  • Oil for frying


  1. Mix Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the buttermilk, flour, sugar, baking soda, egg, and salt until smooth.
  2. Fry: Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the skillet and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  3. Serve: Serve hot with sour cream, jam, or honey.


  • Fruit Oladyi: Add grated apple or mashed banana to the batter for a fruity twist.
  • Savory Oladyi: Skip the sugar and add chopped herbs or cheese for a savory version.

Buttermilk Dumplings (Scandinavian)

Scandinavian cuisine includes delicious buttermilk dumplings, often served in soups or with stewed fruit.


To make these dumplings, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Mix Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the buttermilk, flour, baking powder, egg, and salt until smooth.
  2. Cook: Drop spoonfuls of batter into boiling soup or stew and cook until the dumplings float to the surface.
  3. Serve: Serve hot with the soup or stew.


  • Sweet Dumplings: Add sugar and cinnamon to the batter for sweet dumplings, served with stewed fruit.
  • Herb Dumplings: Add chopped herbs for a savory version to accompany soups.

Buttermilk Dessert Pairings

Pairing desserts with the right beverages or accompaniments can elevate the entire dining experience. Buttermilk desserts, known for their tangy and creamy flavors, can be beautifully complemented by various drinks and sides. Here’s how you can pair buttermilk desserts for an even more delightful indulgence.



Coffee and dessert are a classic combination. The rich, robust flavor of coffee complements the creamy and tangy notes of buttermilk desserts. Here are a few coffee options to consider:

  • Espresso: Strong and concentrated, perfect for rich buttermilk desserts like cheesecake.
  • Cappuccino: Light and frothy, ideal for lighter desserts like panna cotta.
  • Latte: Creamy and smooth, great with a variety of buttermilk desserts.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve espresso with a slice of buttermilk cheesecake or pie for a rich and indulgent treat.
  • Pair cappuccino with a light and airy buttermilk parfait or panna cotta for a balanced dessert experience.
  • Enjoy a latte with a classic buttermilk cake for a comforting and satisfying pairing.



Tea is another great option for pairing with buttermilk desserts. The delicate and varied flavors of tea can enhance the tangy sweetness of buttermilk:

  • Earl Grey: Aromatic and slightly citrusy, pairs well with buttermilk scones or muffins.
  • Green Tea: Light and refreshing, complements buttermilk parfaits or panna cotta.
  • Chai: Spiced and robust, ideal for buttermilk cakes or pies.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve Earl Grey tea with buttermilk scones or muffins for a classic afternoon tea experience.
  • Pair green tea with a buttermilk parfait or panna cotta for a light and refreshing treat.
  • Enjoy chai tea with a slice of buttermilk pie or a rich buttermilk cake for a warm and comforting dessert.



Wine can elevate buttermilk desserts, adding a sophisticated touch to the dining experience. Consider these options:

  • Dessert Wine: Sweet and rich, pairs well with creamy buttermilk desserts like cheesecake or panna cotta.
  • White Wine: Light and crisp, complements tangy buttermilk desserts.
  • Rosé: Fruity and refreshing, great with buttermilk parfaits or fruit-based desserts.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve dessert wine with buttermilk cheesecake or panna cotta for a decadent and luxurious pairing.
  • Pair white wine with a slice of buttermilk pie or a light buttermilk cake for a refreshing and balanced dessert.
  • Enjoy rosé with a fruity buttermilk parfait or a layered buttermilk dessert for a delightful summer treat.



Fresh fruit can enhance buttermilk desserts, adding natural sweetness and vibrant flavors:

  • Berries: Sweet and tart, perfect for buttermilk parfaits or panna cotta.
  • Citrus: Tangy and refreshing, complements buttermilk cakes or cheesecakes.
  • Stone Fruits: Juicy and sweet, pairs well with buttermilk pies or crumbles.

Serving Suggestions

  • Top a buttermilk parfait or panna cotta with fresh berries for a light and refreshing dessert.
  • Add a sprinkle of citrus zest to a buttermilk cake or cheesecake for a burst of flavor.
  • Serve buttermilk pie or crumble with slices of fresh stone fruit for a delicious and seasonal pairing.

Making Buttermilk at Home

Buttermilk is a versatile ingredient that adds tangy flavor and moisture to a variety of dishes, from cakes to pancakes to salad dressings. If you find yourself without buttermilk but need it for a recipe, don’t worry—you can easily make it at home. Let’s explore a few simple methods for making buttermilk at home.

You can also read: Ricotta dessert recipes

Ingredients for Homemade Buttermilk

The basic ingredients needed for making buttermilk are straightforward. You’ll need:

  • Milk: You can use whole milk, skim milk, or any kind of milk you have on hand.
  • Acid: Common choices include lemon juice, white vinegar, or cream of tartar.

Methods for Making Buttermilk

There are several methods you can use to make buttermilk at home, each yielding similar results.

Method 1: Lemon Juice or Vinegar

This method is quick and easy, using ingredients you probably already have.


  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar


  1. Mix: Combine the milk and lemon juice or vinegar in a measuring cup.
  2. Wait: Let the mixture sit for about 5 to 10 minutes until it curdles slightly.
  3. Use: The buttermilk is now ready to use in your recipe.
Method 2: Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a great alternative if you don’t have lemon juice or vinegar.


  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons of cream of tartar


  1. Mix: Combine the milk and cream of tartar in a measuring cup.
  2. Stir: Stir well to dissolve the cream of tartar.
  3. Wait: Let the mixture sit for about 5 to 10 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  4. Use: The buttermilk is now ready to use.
Method 3: Cultured Buttermilk

If you have a bit of store-bought buttermilk left, you can use it to make more.


  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk


  1. Mix: Combine the milk and cultured buttermilk in a jar or container.
  2. Cover: Cover the container and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Chill: Refrigerate the buttermilk until it’s cold.
  4. Use: The buttermilk is now ready to use.

Tips for Making Buttermilk at Home

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Make sure your milk and acid are fresh for the best results.
  • Adjust Consistency: If you want thicker buttermilk, use whole milk or let the mixture sit a bit longer.
  • Store Properly: Homemade buttermilk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Using Homemade Buttermilk in Recipes

Homemade buttermilk can be used in any recipe that calls for buttermilk. It works well in cakes, pancakes, biscuits, and more. The tangy flavor and acidity of buttermilk help tenderize baked goods, giving them a light and fluffy texture.


Making buttermilk at home is easy and convenient, especially when you’re in a pinch. With just a few ingredients and a little bit of time, you can create a tangy and delicious buttermilk that’s perfect for all your favorite recipes. Whether you use lemon juice, vinegar, cream of tartar, or cultured buttermilk, you can enjoy the benefits of homemade buttermilk in no time.

FAQs about Buttermilk Desserts

What are some classic buttermilk desserts?

Classic buttermilk desserts include buttermilk pie and buttermilk cake, both known for their rich flavors and moist textures.

How do you make buttermilk at home?

To make buttermilk at home, mix milk with lemon juice or vinegar and let sit until slightly curdled.

What are some unique buttermilk desserts?

Unique buttermilk desserts include buttermilk cheesecake and buttermilk doughnuts, offering delightful variations on classic treats.

Can you use buttermilk in ice cream?

Yes, buttermilk adds a tangy flavor and creamy texture to ice cream, making it a delicious dessert option.

What pairs well with buttermilk desserts?

Buttermilk desserts pair well with coffee, tea, and wine, offering a variety of delightful combinations.

Are buttermilk desserts healthy?

Buttermilk is low in fat and contains probiotics, making it a healthier choice for dessert recipes.


Buttermilk dessert recipes offer a world of delightful possibilities, from classic pies to modern panna cotta. With its unique flavor and health benefits, buttermilk is a versatile ingredient that can elevate any dessert. Whether you’re a fan of traditional treats or love experimenting with new flavors, these recipes are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you craving more.

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