Buttermilk Ice Cream: One of Many Reasons to Culture Buttermilk


Cultured buttermilk is often forgotten in the world of cultured dairy enthusiasts. But if you enjoy that unique buttermilk flavor for baked goods, salad dressings, and savory dishes; then keeping cultured buttermilk in your kitchen can enhance a whole host of dishes.

Buttermilk biscuits. Buttermilk fried chicken. Buttermilk pancakes. Buttermilk ranch. Buttermilk chocolate cake. All of these are some of tastiest foods we can put on the table.

One dish that might not be so familiar is buttermilk ice cream. The cultured tang lends a light, delicious flavor to the fresh cream and unrefined sugar that make up this recipe. Add in your favorite seasonal fruit during this high harvest time, and you’ll find just one more reason to keep that buttermilk culturing in your cabinet.

Buttermilk Milk Ice Cream


  • 2-1/2 cups fresh cultured buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1/3 cup Sucanat
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container with a lid. Place the covered container into the refrigerator to chill the buttermilk mixture for 3 hours.
  2. Pour the mixture into your crank freezer or electric ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can improvise by filling a quart-size zipper-style bag two-thirds full with the buttermilk mixture and zipping it closed, then putting it into a gallon-size zipper-style bag. Hold the mouths of the bags flush while somebody else fills the gallon-sized bag with crushed ice and rock salt, in layers. Zip the gallon-sized bag closed and begin to massage and shake the bags to achieve the same effect as from a classic ice cream freezer. You may have to do a few batches this way. Keep checking the quart bag to see if your ice cream has frozen sufficiently.
  3. Pack ice cream into a 1-quart lidded container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the ice cream.  Place the ice cream into the freezer and leave until fully set, about 5 to 6 hours, or overnight.


Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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  1. Angelique says

    Wow. This recipe seems like it would be an excellent baase for a key lime ice cream or popsicles. There are lots of those recipes that are floating around the internet that are very high in sugar (or condensed milk or corn syrup). Any advice on how much lime and or lime zest to add to this recipe?

    • says

      Hi Angelique!

      I found the following recipe for a buttermilk-lime recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/buttermilk-lime-ice-cream-10000000608403/

      That recipe includes much more sugar, but much less fat. The added fat of our buttermilk ice cream recipe means that less sweetener is needed.

      So, you could try the ratio of lime juice and zest in our buttermilk ice cream recipe of 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice.

      Taste it, after adding the juice and zest, and see if you need a touch more sweetener to balance out the acidity of the juice. That should get you started :).

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