Can You Put Buttermilk In Coffee? – BaristaHQ

During a recent snow-in, I ran out of my trusty coffee creamer and found myself going through the fridge for alternatives. How about buttermilk?

I've now tried buttermilk in various types of coffee drinks. In this guide, I'll show you how it affects the taste and texture so you can decide if you want to give it a go yourself. 

  •  Buttermilk is a popular addition to items like biscuits, pancakes, and even ranch dressing. 
  • While buttermilk has its place in the kitchen, it's not a great addition to coffee.
  • Buttermilk is slightly sour and has a thick consistency. 

What Exactly Is Buttermilk? 

Traditional buttermilk refers to the leftover liquid created in the butter churning process. However, modern buttermilk is usually cultured separately. Let's make one thing clear though -- we don't drink buttermilk on its own because it tastes sour (or like milk gone bad).

I typically always keep buttermilk on hand for my baking needs. Ever heard of buttermilk biscuits?

It's common ingredient in biscuits, muffins, and pancakes. It can also be used in batter for fried foods or in soups and salad dressings. 

Health Benefits Of Buttermilk

Buttermilk comes with plenty of nutrients which include protein, calcium, and riboflavin.

In simple terms, buttermilk has everything you need to build healthy muscles, skin, and bones - and most buttermilk products have added vitamin A and D, making it a healthy choice. It also has fewer calories than whole milk.

So at first glance, I thought adding buttermilk to coffee was a great idea! 

Can You Put Buttermilk In Coffee? (Will It Taste Good?)

Is Buttermilk In Coffee A Good Idea? 

No, using buttermilk in coffee isn't a good idea.

It might seem like a good replacement for coffee creamer, cow's milk, or other milk alternatives, but it can ruin your coffee drink. More specifically, it can ruin the taste and texture: 

The Taste Of Coffee With buttermilk In It

Buttermilk might look like vanilla ice cream, but it has a bitter taste. The sour taste of buttermilk doesn't work well with coffee and often ruins its overall taste.

Adding buttermilk to coffee is on par with adding plain Greek yogurt into your coffee. I found the combination to be way too tangy for me. While some people may like this duo, I found it off-putting and way too bitter.

The other issue with buttermilk in coffee is the acidity, which adds to the sour taste. Both coffee and buttermilk are relatively acidic; so when you combine them together, you'll end up getting sour and bitter coffee tastes that aren't palatable at all. 

The Texture Of Coffee With Buttermilk In It

Buttermilk has a thicker consistency than regular milk, skim milk, coconut milk, or even heavy cream.

Unfortunately, the buttermilk doesn't blend with the black coffee and it makes it very thick and grainyButtermilk also has the potential to curdle your coffee.

Where To Add Buttermilk For Maximum Flavor?

If you’ve got some leftover buttermilk that you’d like to use, there are plenty of other better ways to use it that are better than adding buttermilk in coffee.  Here are my favorite ways to use it in my everyday cooking: 

1. Crispy chicken  

Buttermilk tenderizes meat, making it a great marinade. You can use your buttermilk to make tasty, crispy fried chicken.  

2. Salad dressing 

You can make a simple buttermilk salad dressing with lemon juice, olive oil and salt before tossing it with your favorite greens.  

3. Smoothie  

Since it's pretty similar to yogurt, there's nothing wrong with adding some buttermilk to your next smoothie, although you'll need to add sugar to cut the bitterness.

4. Mashed potatoes  

Not a fan of using whole milk in your mashed potatoes? Feel free to use some buttermilk instead.  

5. Pancakes  

Buttermilk and pancakes are practically a match made in heaven. Not only does the use of buttermilk and baking soda result in fluffy pancakes, but it also adds a subtle tang to its overall flavor.  

6. Buttermilk Coffee Cake  

Want to combine buttermilk and coffee flavor in a way that works? Simple add buttermilk to your regular coffee cake and it'll give you a delicious twist. 

Buttermilk Pancakes Stack

What To Use Instead Of Buttermilk For Coffee?

There are some other great alternative milks that you can use which work much better than buttermilk in coffee, and here are some examples:  

Almond Milk 

Almond milk is a great low-calorie and low-fat milk replacement that gives coffee a rich and nutty flavor. You can add a splash of almond milk into your regular coffee or even use it to make lattes and flat whites.  

You can also use cashew milk in your coffee recipes as it tastes very similar to almond milk. 

Soy Milk 

Soy milk has a smooth, creamy texture that goes well with coffee. Since it also doesn’t have a noticeable aftertaste, it’s typically the milk of choice for most coffee lovers. You’ll just need to be extra careful when using soy milk for hot coffee as there’s a chance of it curdling.  

Oat Milk 

Oat milk is an incredibly popular non-dairy milk alternative that has a creamy taste similar to full-fat dairy milk. It also blends easily and comes with great fiber content. Similar to other alternative kinds of milk, you can use it for lattes, flat whites, and more.  

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is thicker than regular milk and works as a great alternative. It has a higher fat content which gives a rich and smooth texture for drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Plus, it contains ingredients which support your immune system, so it's a win-win!


Half-and-half is made of equal parts whole milk and heavy cream. It’s a lighter option than regular milk and is a great way to add a touch of sweetness to your overall coffee.

They’re a great alternative to coffee creamer as they’re less processed and come with plenty of vitamins and minerals for coffee drinkers.  

variety of milk options

Frequently Asked Buttermilk Questions 

Does buttermilk curdle in coffee? 

Yes, buttermilk can curdle when put in coffee. As it has a low fat and high protein content, it can curdle when heated to near-boiling.  

What is the taste of buttermilk? 

Buttermilk has a tangy taste to it, but it's also rich and creamy. It also has a thicker texture than milk and has a buttery aroma to it.  

Can buttermilk be heated? 

Yes, you can heat buttermilk, but you'll just need to be extra careful when doing so. Heating or boiling it too quickly can result in the buttermilk curdling. To prevent it from curdling, make sure that you’re heating the buttermilk gently over low-medium heat.  

How can you tell if buttermilk is spoiled? 

You can tell that your buttermilk has spoiled if it turns into chunks, has visible mold, a strong unpleasant smell, or even discoloration.  


Many coffee drinkers are getting adventurous with their morning coffee, but putting buttermilk in coffee won't offer the same taste. It will give a sour and unpleasant taste.

Regular milk, almond milk, oat milk, or even unsalted butter (used in bulletproof coffee) can all work well in the hot drink, but buttermilk is definitely better suited for cooking and baking.  

Karmy Widjaja


Karmy Widjaja
Karmy Widjaja, holding a degree in Hospitality Administration, combines her academic background with a profound passion for the world of coffee. Her work is enriched with a wealth of insights, not only about the art of coffee making but also about the broader aspects of the coffee industry. Her quest for coffee perfection is a central theme in her engaging articles, as she continues to explore the vibrant coffee scene in Perth. And when it's time for a coffee break? Karmy's all about a laid-back flat white with almond milk – it's her go-to for a tasty coffee kick.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... flat white with almond milk.

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