How To Tell If Buttermilk Is Bad

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Buttermilk is a popular ingredient because it adds flavor and texture to many recipes. However, if you don’t use it often, it can be tempting to store it for longer than you should. Learning how to tell if buttermilk is bad will help you avoid taking chances with an expired product.


We all know that buttermilk can be used in all sorts of baked goods, as well as savory dishes. It is a great alternative to plain milk in breakfast foods, soups, and lots of other things. But did you know that most buttermilk has a shelf life? Once opened, it should be used within a certain amount of time. But how can you tell if buttermilk has gone bad?

Buttermilk is a versatile product as you can use it to make baked goods and prepare savory dishes. Buttermilk goes bad like any other dairy product and it is essential to discard it when you notice any signs of spoilage. Buttermilk is very beneficial to people with digestive disorders, but consuming a spoilt one can make you ill.

Knowing whether your buttermilk is spoilt or not will help you not use an unsafe batch and avoid disposing of one that is good. In this article, we discuss the strategies you can use to establish if your buttermilk is safe for consumption or not. Read till the end for tips to extend buttermilk’s shelf life.

How to tell buttermilk is spoiled.

Like other dairy products, you can tell if buttermilk has gone bad by looking out for the following signs.

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Observe to determine changes in physical composition and color. If the buttermilk looks different from how it was purchased in terms of color and consistency, then it is spoiled. Look out for mold either in or on top of it and if any mold is present, it is no longer safe regardless of whether its expiry date is yet to be clocked.


If the texture is compromised, the thickness increased and the feel inconsistent, the buttermilk is definitely spoiled and you should discard it. However, small lumps may be found in your buttermilk, especially when you open the carton for the first time and these separate when you use it, so no need for alarm.


The smell is the easiest way to know if your buttermilk is spoilt and it is worth noting that buttermilk smell is different from that of milk- it is tangy. Spoiled buttermilk has a sour smell that intensifies with time.


Safe buttermilk has a creamy, buttery taste, so if yours loses this taste and on top of this it becomes sour, then it not safe.

Expiration date

If you can’t tell whether your buttermilk is spoiled or not by look, taste, smell and texture, then confirm using the expiry date. If it is past its expiry date, throw it away.

Tips to extend its shelf life


Store it safely away from heat and preferably in a refrigerator set at or below 40⁰ F.


Maintain a high level of cleanliness when handling it. Pour with clean hands to prevent adding bacteria. Also, don’t mix it with any product as it may reduce its shelf life.

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Buy powdered buttermilk

If you are constantly throwing away your buttermilk, buy the powdered one since it has a longer shelf life and can be stored in the cupboard rather than in the refrigerator.

Freeze it

You can put your buttermilk in the freezer to extend its shelf life, as it can stay for up to 2 months. Transfer it from the carton, put it in airtight containers and then store it in a freezer set below 0⁰ F.

Bottom line

Hopefully, you can now establish whether your buttermilk is spoiled or not. The above techniques are straightforward to employ and practical to determine if the buttermilk is safe for consumption. Practice good hygiene when handling buttermilk and store it in the refrigerator for it to last long enough. You have a choice to keep it in a freezer or buy powdered milk if you are constantly experiencing this problem

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