How Long Does Buttermilk Last?

How long does buttermilk last? Buttermilk lasts for 1-2 weeks beyond the date printed on the carton, and it can usually even be used beyond that point for cooking and baking needs.

Buttermilk is a dairy product now produced by adding a culture of lactic acid producing bacteria into whole milk. It usually comes in a variety of types, the most popular being whole buttermilk and reduced fat buttermilk. Although there is no butter in buttermilk, it was originally the liquid remaining after churning butter. Thus buttermilk was born, but it is now a cultured product. Besides the probiotic benefits, buttermilk provides potassium, calcium and phosphorous.

The shelf life of buttermilk is influenced by a variety of factors, such as the processing method and carton date, exposure to light and heat, and how the buttermilk is stored.

So, how long does buttermilk last? When properly stored at or below 40°F, containers of buttermilk last for the time periods indicated in the table below.

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Buttermilk Expiration Date

(Unopened) Refrigerator
Past Printed Date
Buttermilk lasts for 7-14 Days
Low-Fat Buttermilk lasts for 7-14 Days
(Opened) Refrigerator
Past Printed Date
All Buttermilk lasts for 7-10 Days

Freezing buttermilk is NOT recommended because freezing destabilizes the structure of the milk. If you do choose to freeze it, it will keep for about 3 Months in the freezer. When thawed, the texture and color will be altered, it will be lumpy and yellow but the product will remain safe to consume.

Of course, all types of food and drink products last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. Your buttermilk may keep for longer than our tables suggest but the probiotic benefits will be decrease with time much the same as yogurt (see our blog page for more information). But remember, like a lot of other dairy products, it usually carries a sell by date which is the last date by which a store should sell a product, not the date by which it should be consumed. Because of this distinction, you may safely use buttermilk to compliment your favorite meals even after the sell by date has lapsed.

How to tell if Buttermilk is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent foodborne illness.

Although not a perfect test, your senses are usually the most reliable instruments to tell if your buttermilk has gone bad.

Some common traits of bad buttermilk are a lumpy texture, a slight discoloration and a very distinctive unclean sour smell. If you notice any of these changes, your buttermilk has gone bad and should not be used. If you are unsure and questioning any of these qualities, do not consume the buttermilk unless you first cook the product.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled foods so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your foods before their shelf life has expired!

How to store Buttermilk to extend its shelf life?

Keeping any type of milk cold is essential to extending its shelf life. You can help keep buttermilk fresh longer by keeping it away from light and by placing it back in your refrigerator immediately after use. Store milk products on an interior refrigerator shelf rather than on the door where the temperature fluctuates with frequent openings. In addition, opened buttermilk should be stored tightly in its original container as all milk containers were specifically designed for this purpose.

Unfortunately, freezing buttermilk isn't a great option as it destabilizes the structure and may cause the formation of small clumps. So even though it is still safe to consume after freezing, the product becomes less desirable to consume.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

How long is Buttermilk good for when prepared in a dish?

How long does buttermilk last? That depends. How long do eggs last? In general, milk lasts only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient it is mixed with.

What are our shelf life resources?

In determining how long Buttermilk lasts, our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of Buttermilk.

*An important note about expiration dates...

Although the Buttermilk shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not a replacement for your health care professional. Please eat responsibly!

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With oven-safe glass and water-tight lids, these food storage containers are ready for action! Not a Prime Member? Try a 30-day free trial today!


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