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What Does Buttermilk Taste Like? Does It Taste Good?

If you’ve never tried buttermilk before, you may be wondering what this dairy product tastes like.

  • Is it sour?
  • Tangy?
  • Creamy?
  • Acidic?

In this blog post, we will discuss the taste of buttermilk and answer all of your questions about this fermented drink.

What is Buttermilk?

First things first: what is buttermilk? Traditionally, buttermilk is the leftover liquid from churning butter.

Nowadays, most store-bought buttermilk is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to low-fat or skim milk.

This causes the milk to ferment and become thick and tangy.

But what does it taste like?

What Does Buttermilk Taste Like?

Buttermilk has a sour and tangy taste with a creamy texture that is similar to drinking yogurt or kefir. It’s slightly acidic due to the fermentation process and has a cultured flavor that sets it apart from other dairy products.

Flavor Profile

The flavor of buttermilk is difficult to describe because it’s unique compared to other dairy products. It has a sour taste that can vary in intensity depending on how long it’s been fermented for. The tanginess comes from the lactic acid bacteria that convert lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid during fermentation.

In terms of sweetness, buttermilk isn’t sweet at all – in fact, some people may find it quite bitter due to its acidity.


The texture of buttermilk can also vary depending on how thick or thin you prefer it. Traditionally, homemade churned butter would result in thinner and more watery buttermilk. However, commercial varieties tend to have a thicker consistency similar to that of drinking yogurt or kefir.

Despite being thicker than regular milk, buttermilk can still be poured quite easily because of its smoother texture compared to cream.


Buttermilk has a distinct aroma – similar to sour cream – because of its fermentation process via the lactic acid bacteria. The smell can be quite strong, but it’s not unpleasant and mutes naturally as it ages.

How To Cook and Serve Buttermilk?

Buttermilk can be used in many recipes, from baked goods to savory dishes. It’s also a common ingredient in Southern cuisine, where it’s often used in marinades and dressings for its tangy flavor.

Here are some ideas on how to use buttermilk in your cooking:

  • Make pancakes or waffles: Buttermilk is a staple ingredient in pancake and waffle batter because it gives them a fluffy consistency.
  • Add it to salad dressing: Whisk together buttermilk with some olive oil, vinegar, garlic and fresh herbs for a tangy twist on homemade salad dressing.
  • Marinate chicken: The acidity of buttermilk works wonders on chicken by tenderizing the meat while infusing it with flavor. Just marinate the chicken overnight before frying or grilling.
  • Make biscuits or scones: Buttermilk can be used instead of regular milk when making biscuits or scones for an extra tender crumb.
  • Dip vegetables: Mix some grated cucumber into some creamy buttermilk along with seasonings like dill or garlic for an easy veggie dip.

How To Enhance The Taste of Buttermilk

Here are five methods to enhance the taste of your buttermilk:

  • Add sugar: If you find that your buttermilk is too sour, adding sugar is a great way to balance out the acidity while still preserving its taste.
  • Mix with fruit: You can add blended berries like strawberries or raspberries to sweeten up the flavor of your buttermilk; this will give you a strawberry-flavored drink with a tangy kick, similar to kefir.
  • Add spices: Try adding spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to your buttermilk for a richer and warm taste.
  • Pair with your favorite baked goods: Pairing buttermilk with homemade baked goods is an excellent way to enjoy this dairy product’s unique flavor. Biscuits, pancakes, and cornbread are the most common options.
  • Mix with lemon juice: Adding lemon juice (or vinegar) can reduce the sharpness of the sour taste while still preserving the tangy flavor that makes buttermilk so unique.

Is It Safe To Consume Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is perfectly safe to consume unless you have an allergy or intolerance to lactose or any of its components. In most cases, though, drinking buttermilk in moderation is a healthy addition to your diet. For those looking for low-fat dairy products, homemade buttermilk from skim milk could be an excellent choice since it contains fewer calories than regular milk.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buttermilk’s Flavor

Here are some frequently asked questions about the flavor of buttermilk:

Q: Does all buttermilk taste sour?

A: Yes! The lactic acid bacteria present during fermentation causes all traditional varieties of buttermilk to have a sour flavor profile that tends toward tangy and acidic notes.

Q: How can I tell if my store-bought buttermilk has gone bad?

A: Like regular milk, spoiled buttermilk will have a sour smell and may become lumpy or clumpy due to bacterial growth. When in doubt, throw it out!

Q: Can I substitute regular milk for buttermilk in recipes?

A; You could try substituting normal milk for store-bought cultured varieties in some recipes which call for cultured varieties if needed; however, it may alter things like taste and texture.


Overall, buttermilk has a unique flavor like no other dairy product. It’s sour, tangy, and creamy – making it an excellent choice for adding depth of flavor to your favorite recipes. Whether you prefer to drink it straight or use it as an ingredient in your cooking, buttermilk is a versatile and delicious dairy product that more people should try for themselves!

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.