Does Buttermilk Go Bad? How To Tell If It Has Gone Bad

Does Buttermilk Go Bad

Buttermilk is a product that eventually goes bad. And there are some common symptoms through which we can identify spoiled buttermilk. 

Now, how to tell if buttermilk is bad? Let’s learn!

How to Tell if Buttermilk is Bad?

  • Check the quality of leftover milk

You may check the quality of leftover milk, and if you notice any changes in the original 

  • smell
  • color
  • taste and 
  • texture 

it’s possible that it goes bad.

You may also check other features such as its thickness, color, mold, scent, and expiry date of packaging. Through these, you may identify and tell if your buttermilk goes bad and is incapable of using it.

If the buttermilk is bad, pour it into a glass, you will see white globes floating on the top. You will also see bigger floating lumps on it. Then if you taste it, you will feel it tastes sour and has a strong weird smell that is not natural.  

Some Common Characteristics of Bad Buttermilk

You will find 

  • faulty texture, 
  • marginal discoloration, and a different type of 
  • unpleasant sour scent

If you notice any changes similar to these traits, it signals that your buttermilk goes bad, and you should not use it further.

Now, I want to discuss these features further. 

1. Look

You may notice some changes in its look like other dairy products and instantly confirm that your buttermilk goes bad. Usually, there is a slight color difference when the buttermilk is bad after purchasing it. 

If it is kept in the fridge for a long time, it may grow blue-green mold, and it is another sign that the buttermilk changes its color and is not safe to consume.

If your buttermilk has- 

  • dates
  • molds and 
  • visible color changes

you should throw it out because it may cause stomach problems and other illnesses to your body.

2. Smell

It is usual for buttermilk to have a stronger and sour smell than milk. You may check its smell to identify if your buttermilk is bad or not. It seems the easiest way to find spoiled buttermilk, but originally buttermilk has a definite odor. Sometimes, it can be the original scent that seems faulty to you.

3. Taste

Along with color, you may also check the taste of buttermilk to find out if it goes bad. Remember that buttermilk has a tangy flavor, and it is not entirely smooth like regular milk. It also has a perfectly creamy buttery taste.

If you don’t feel this creamy taste and instead taste sourer, you should not use this milk because it is spoiled.

4. Texture

Consequently, if buttermilk goes bad, its normal texture will change. Once you see a thick and chunky texture on the top of the buttermilk or a thin layer of chunkiness, your buttermilk is no longer safe to use and consume over your body.

5. Expiration Date

Like other store-bought products, you should also check the expiration date of buttermilk. If the date is over, it is no longer safe to use.

It is better to buy fresh buttermilk because it is a dairy-based product and is spoiled quickly. Though the taste and color seem okay, the date is over; you should throw them out. It is no longer safe to consume.

Next time, if anyone asks you, does buttermilk go bad? You should suggest to them the ways mentioned above. 

You can watch the video below to know about some Buttermilk Recipes!

Now, the question comes, why does Buttermilk go bad?

Why Does Buttermilk Go Bad?

Since it has a high level of lactic acid and is very useful to grow harmful bacteria and other germs, for this reason, the buttermilk does not stay fresh for long.

After a few weeks of storage, the bacteria grow, and the buttermilk becomes more acidic and chunky. The fast growth of harmful bacteria mainly causes it to spoil.

Is Buttermilk Supposed to Be Chunky?

Don’t get upset if you find small lumps in your newly bought bottle or carton of buttermilk. It is not spoiled. It is safe to consume. It will naturally go away when you open and use the product. Dairy products should be sold by date.

But if you find a new store-bought bottle or carton of buttermilk that is visibly chunky, it is spoiled. So, you should go back to the store and buy a new batch of the carton to use and inform the shopkeepers of it. It is possible that they may not have noticed it before.

Moreover, buttermilk may also be chunky when the date is expired or kept open and unused for a long time in the fridge.

How Long Does Buttermilk Last?

Let’s investigate the timetable. How long is buttermilk good for after opening? Consequently, this item goes bad if you keep it open for more than 1 or 2 weeks.  

Usually, the sell-by date of buttermilk remains from 2 weeks to 1 month after production. It will go bad faster if you keep it outside at room temperature. 

Moreover, don’t instantly freeze buttermilk after heating. Give time to cool down and then store it. Otherwise, it will go bad.

buttermilk in a glass
Image credit: Oksana Mizina, Shutterstock

Generally, the shelf life of buttermilk is influenced by several factors like the 

  • processing method 
  • carton data
  • storage technique
  • expiration date
  • light
  • heat
  • temperature
  • environment 
  • and others.  

The shelf life duration is different. Usually, if you store full-fat buttermilk below 40° F, it will last for 7- 10 days, and the low-fat version will last for 7-14 days. But if you keep them in the fridge, they will last for about 2-3 months.  

Can Expired Buttermilk Make You Sick?

Yes. Genuinely spoiled buttermilk can be the cause of your illness. Because of too many acids, it becomes sour and is unhealthy and harmful for health to consume.  

Is It Risky to Eat Expired Buttermilk?

After the expiry date is over, the buttermilk should be discarded. You may know that every dairy and packaging food has an expiration date. After the date expires, it should not be used. It may cause you foodborne illness.

What Happens if You Drink Spoiled Buttermilk?

Experts suggest that drinking spoiled buttermilk is not a wise idea. Why? Because it makes you sick. If you drink spoiled buttermilk, you may suffer from 

  • food poisoning
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • inner stomach pain
  • an uncomfortable digestive system and 
  • diarrhea

Sometimes, it may affect your body for a longer time. You may need to go to the hospital for a full recovery.

How Long Buttermilk Remains Good After Opening

After opening, buttermilk does not last for long. It is a dairy product and has an influential environment for harmful bacteria growth, and it also contains lactic acid.

Remember, too much lactic acid consumption is harmful to health. It may cause 

  • acidity
  • chest pain
  • stomach pain

and others. An open container of buttermilk generally lasts up to two weeks in the refrigerator. On the contrary, it may last up to three months in the freezer.  

Now, we will discuss the best ways to freeze buttermilk properly.  

How to Freeze Buttermilk?

Can you freeze buttermilk? What’s the best possible way to do it? After opening the container, please write down the date. The leftover buttermilk should be used within the next 2 weeks. Otherwise, it has a greater possibility of going bad.  

You can use an ice tray to store buttermilk. Don’t be surprised. An ice tray is a perfect option for freezing liquids. You have to pour the buttermilk into every empty box of ice tray like water and freeze it.

While using, you can take out and thaw frozen buttermilk cubes as much as you need. Isn’t it a fantastic idea? It will not spread here and there like the original liquid form because it is set and becomes shaped. You can also use a muffin tray or clean container to store buttermilk in your freezer.  

Warning :

Don’t buy the buttermilk, which has already expired. After bringing it home, keep your buttermilk in the refrigerator. I suggest not keeping it on the shelf or kitchen or outside at room temperature because it will go bad faster than usual.

Even if you plan to make a pancake or bake other dishes with buttermilk, that’s good. But keep it in the refrigerator until you start the baking. Otherwise, it may spoil.

What Does Buttermilk Smell Like?

Indeed, buttermilk does not smell like regular milk. It has a deep and thick texture and is not smooth and plain like regular milk.

It naturally contains lactic acid, which is responsible for the tangy smell. But when the buttermilk becomes highly acidic the scent changes, and it also gives you a sign that your buttermilk is spoiled and is no longer safe to consume.

When Does Buttermilk Go Bad?

Buttermilk generally goes bad after 2-3 weeks of opening. You will notice specific changes in its scent, color, and texture. Moreover, frozen buttermilk lasts up to 3 months. But experts suggest using the leftover buttermilk within one or two weeks after opening. Or else it will go bad.

Are you still there? Let’s summarize the article together.


What are the key findings of this article? We see how to tell if buttermilk goes bad and discuss several ideas on it. Also, we talk about the shelf life, how long it lasts, and discuss the best ways to store this properly.

Typically, buttermilk remains consumable for 2 weeks to 3 months. But several factors influence the timing of storage.


Before ending, I want to discuss some frequently asked questions about buttermilk and try to answer them.

Does buttermilk seem naturally Chunky?

Buttermilk typically has small lumps, and you will see it while pouring. They are breakable, and your buttermilk is safe for consumption.

But if you see large and unbreakable lumps on your buttermilk and it becomes chunky, it has undoubtedly gone bad.

What is buttermilk consistency?

Buttermilk generally has more consistency than regular milk. The lactic acid provides buttermilk with a tangy and strong flavor and taste.

Is buttermilk better than milk for baking?

Using buttermilk will add a softness to your pancake mix and bring a light-tart flavor to your baked dishes. It also gives rise and a natural soft fluffiness in pancakes, bread, and cakes. 

Thus, this is a beneficial component for baking dishes. To get a thicker and tangy flavor, you can mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with buttermilk. Though, Instead of buttermilk, you can use milk as a substitute. 

Can expired buttermilk make you sick?

Yes, expired buttermilk can make you sick.

Is buttermilk bad for health?

Buttermilk is a dairy product rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It may be beneficial for your bones, heart, and oral health. It can be added to your healthy diet plan as a food element.

Is there any difference between full buttermilk and low-fat buttermilk?

While 1 cup full of buttermilk has 8 grams of fat and nearly 4.5 grams saturated, the low-fat version bears 2 grams of fat and 1 gram saturated.

Is buttermilk supposed to taste like sour cream?

No, buttermilk has a slightly sour taste, but it is not heavy like sour cream. If you feel your buttermilk tastes mostly sour and has big lumps, you should throw it out.

What happens if I drink buttermilk every day?

Drinking buttermilk every day is not suitable for your health. Why? Because it can increase the chances of stroke, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

You have to keep in mind that excessive things only cause damage and nothing else.

What happens if I drink too much buttermilk?

For a healthy diet, two glasses are enough for a day. Drinking too much buttermilk is not suitable for health. It may cause diarrhea and stomach problems.

Is it okay if I drink buttermilk at night?

It is recommended to drink buttermilk in the morning, especially after breakfast. It is better not to drink it at night before sleeping or after dinner because it may produce excessive gas in your stomach.

Does buttermilk smell sour?

Not really. Buttermilk does not smell fully sour. But it has a strong, tangy scent.  

Is buttermilk naturally grainy?

Typically, buttermilk becomes grainy or clumpy when it goes bad. Or else, fresh buttermilk is not grainy. It has a bold, thick texture with a natural scent.

What does buttermilk do for biscuits?

Like cakes and bread, buttermilk is also used to make biscuits and cookies. It helps make the biscuit dough softer and adds a natural flavor to it.


Buttermilk is a dairy product that spoils faster. There are several ways to tell and identify that your buttermilk goes bad. It is better to store it in a freezer. Remember not to drink spoiled buttermilk because it is harmful to your health.

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