No, there is no butter in buttermilk. Simply put, traditional buttermilk is the liquid that is left over after churning butter. It’s tastily tart, low in fat, and high in protein. Most commercial grocery store-sold buttermilk is actually just regular low fat milk that’s been enzymatically injected. This is the stuff labeled “cultured buttermilk,” and is the kind that’s typically fine for use in any recipe that calls for buttermilk.
Why do we use buttermilk instead of regular milk in recipes? Because it is pleasingly acidic and is therefore elemental in dressings, brines and leavenings for certain fluffy breakfast goods. Its appealing versatility is what keeps it on Southern shelves. Sure, we all love pancakes and waffles, but we give you three other savory uses for buttermilk below.
If you find yourself in a buttermilk-less situation, it’s totally DIY-able. Add 1 tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice for every cup of low-fat milk. Let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes and bam.
Herbed Buttermilk Dressing
Fresh herbs make this dressing a standout on meaty (fried chicken) salads. Cut and crumble this fried chicken recipe and place pieces in butter lettuce cups. Top cups with chopped radishes and generously drizzle the dressing over top.
A true Southern staple, cornbread is most comfortable when baked in a hot cast-iron skillet with lots of butter. Buttermilk lifts the cornmeal and gives it a fluffy texture, while the choice of cast-iron keeps centers moist and edges caramelized.
We love this recipe for slow cooked buttermilk broccoli. The vegetable is cooked down with the buttermilk for an hour, making it a rich, tangy and delicious green mash that is perfect as a side or as a sauce for pasta, fish and rice. And this time, it’s perfectly okay to overcook your vegetables.