DIY Cultured Buttermilk

[Photograph: Molly Sheridan]

Note: You can make larger (or smaller) volumes as needed. I use a ratio of one tablespoon starter for every cup milk with reliable results. Unless your culture was not designed to be perpetuated (some freeze-dried options fall into this category), you can reserve a bit of each batch to culture the next.

Some recipes indicate that you should pasteurize your milk (at 180°F) before culturing or at least warm it to 76°F. This step is entirely unnecessary, as store-bought milk is all pasteurized before it hits the shelves.

About the author: Molly Sheridan feels about mason jars the way most women feel about shoes. A music journalist by day, she traces her love of weekend DIY kitchen projects back to the science experiments she ran with her dad as a kid. She is the author of Wonderland Kitchen and tweetledees @WonderlandK.

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DIY Cultured Buttermilk

About This Recipe

Yield:2 cups
Active time:2 minutes
Total time:10 to 24 hours
This recipe appears in: DIY Cultured Buttermilk


  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk (store-bought or activated dried starter)
  • 2 cups milk (whole, 2%, or skim, depending on your nutritional needs and preferences)


  1. 1

    In a mason jar or other glass container, thoroughly mix the starter and milk. Cover with a coffee filter or piece of cheese cloth (do not seal tightly with a lid) and leave to culture out of drafts at a warm room temperature (between 70-78°F is recommended) until milk has clabbered (10-24 hours).

  2. 2

    To test if the milk has thickened, tip the jar slightly. It should move away from the wall of the jar as a single mass. Just as with yogurt making, once the milk sets, it will get more tart the longer you allow the culturing to continue.

  3. 3

    Refrigerate to halt culturing for at least six hours. Stir before using.


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