Buttermilk Ice Cream

Buttermilk Ice Cream has a tangy and luscious flavor that is unforgettable. This is not an ice cream flavor you’ll find in the supermarket.

a bowl of ice cream.

Buttermilk is one of my favorite ingredients. If you don’t have a lot of experience using buttermilk I encourage you to buy a quart and play with it.

I use buttermilk for scones, biscuits, cakes, mashed potatoes, the possibilities are endless (by the way, buttermilk mashed potatoes are insanely delicious).

If you’ve used buttermilk for baking you know that most recipes use just a cup or two. Ice cream a great way to use up the leftover buttermilk. I love to create ice cream recipes with all sorts of dairy products beyond basic milk and cream. 


Ingredients for buttermilk ice cream in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes

  • Buttermilk – To develop this recipe I used low fat buttermilk from my local grocery. That’s often the only option in my market. If you find full fat buttermilk choose that.
  • Egg Yolks – Egg yolks give the ice cream a luscious custardy flavor and texture.
  • Heavy Cream – Heavy cream has a higher fat content than cream labeled “whipping cream”.
  • Vanilla Bean – You can substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean. Save the spent pod and place it in a canister of sugar to make vanilla sugar.
  • Salt – Just a touch of salt balances our the flavor of the ice cream.

Process Photos

See the recipe card for detailed measurements and instructions.

cream in a pot. Egg yolks in a bowl. Vanilla bean seeds on a knife.
  • Split the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds.
  • Put the buttermilk, cream, vanilla bean and seeds in a medium pan over medium heat.
  • Combine the yolks, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Heat the buttermilk mixture until it’s scalding hot.
cream in a pot. a strainer with vanilla bean. A bowl of custard.
  • Whisk the scalding cream mixture into the egg yolks.
  • Return the custard to the pan and cook over low heat until it thickens enough to coat a spatula.
  • Strain the custard back into the bowl from the yolks.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the mixture is very cold.
an ice cream maker filled with vanilla ice cream.
  • Pour the chilled custard into your ice cream machine and run according to the manufacturer’s directions.
a plastic bin filled with ice cream.
  • Scoop the ice cream into a freezer container and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface.
  • Freeze at least 5-6 hours until the ice cream is firm enough to scoop.

Now that you’ve made this recipe what should you do with all the extra egg whites? Check out this collection of recipes that use extra whites for some great ideas.

a bowl of ice cream in a wood table.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider leaving a 5-star review.

a glass bowl filled with vanilla ice cream.
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4.67 from 15 reviews

Buttermilk Ice Cream Recipe

Buttermilk Ice Cream has a tangy and luscious flavor that is unforgettable.
Prep Time10 minutes
Bake Time10 minutes
Chillling Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 20 minutes
12 servings
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  • 12 oz buttermilk (1 ½ cups)
  • 16 oz heavy cream (2 cups)
  • 1 vanilla bean (split)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 6 oz granulated sugar (¾ cup)
  • teaspoon table salt


  • Combine 12 oz buttermilk and 16 oz heavy cream in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add them and the pod to the cream. Heat over medium high just until scalding hot. Do not allow the cream mixture to come to a full boil or the buttermilk may curdle.
  • While the milk mixture is heating, whisk together 5 large egg yolks, 6 oz granulated sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon table salt.
  • Whisk the scalding hot milk into the yolks. Return the mixture to the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook the custard, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon or spatula.
  • Strain the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 5-6 hours.
  • Run the custard in your ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions. Pack into a container. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream and cover the container with a lid. Freeze 8 hours or overnight.

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Serving: 1serving | Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 83mg | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 711IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


  1. In the nearest grocery, You will get only cultured artifical buttermilk, so try to find sweet buttermilk, which you get during the butter production.
    These two buttermilks, are completly different.
    This buttermilk You are writing about has this tangy and luscious taste, but real sweet buttermilk is completly different and much more tasty. Regards.

  2. This sounds super good. My grandmother made buttermilk ice cream for me when I was a kid and I loved it. I look forward to trying this recipe.