Buttermilk Ice Cream

by Anne Papina on July 16, 2013

Buttermilk Ice Cream | Webicurean

Mmmm what a refreshing glass of buttermilk, said no one. Ever. Well, maybe except for my dad. He loved his buttermilk. Of course, as a child, I had no clue why, but as we mature, so do our palates. Just to be clear, I still have no desire to chug a glass of buttermilk, but I’ve found it does have its place in cooking, which brings me to this ice cream. Creamy, rich, delicious, buttermilk ice cream. Since July is National Ice Cream Month, I figured, why not?

Morgan and I received the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid as a wedding gift a couple of years ago, which led to several months of ice cream binging. First, there was this Dark Chocolate Gelato… followed by this Butter-Pecan Ice Cream. Then along came a game changing Maple and Bacon Ice Cream, and everyone kept asking for more. The flavor of the maple alone makes it all worth it, I swear.

Then I stumbled across Deb’s Buttermilk Ice Cream on Smitten Kitchen. Intrigued, mostly because it sounded old-fashioned, I whipped up a batch. Good golly was this ice cream amazing. We’re talking about I’m-going-in-for-the-brain-freeze deliciousness. A simple yet decadent concoction, sweet with just enough tang–it almost tastes like cheesecake but far more delicate. Of course, I enjoyed it plain here, but this would work well with any number of toppings or with fruity stuff stirred in.

The original recipe calls for up to 12 egg yolks. Yep, you read that right–twelve. I’ve made this several times now, most recently for these pictures where I used six egg yolks. The final product was great, but as you can see, not nearly as creamy looking as Deb’s. After some experimenting, I found using eight to ten yolks works best for me.

Let’s begin!

Buttermilk Ice Cream | Webicurean

Start by whipping out one of those heavy saucepans and heating the cream and 1 cup of the sugar over medium heat. Bring this to a simmer.

Buttermilk Ice Cream | Webicurean

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar.

Buttermilk Ice Cream | Webicurean

Temper the eggs by slowly whisking the hot cream mixture into the eggs.

Buttermilk Ice Cream | Webicurean

Return the mixture to the saucepan, and stir over medium-high heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk, vanilla and salt. (Note, some folks recommend straining first, but I usually skip that step.)

Buttermilk Ice Cream | Webicurean

Once the ice cream base has cooled completely, prepare it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Buttermilk Ice Cream | Webicurean

I’ve found with the KitchenAid that additional freezer time is required, so I usually scoop the ice cream into a tub and let that sit in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Here’s the printable version:

Buttermilk Ice Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Creamy and decadent, this old-fashioned buttermilk ice cream is refreshing with a slight tang reminiscent of cheesecake.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 6-12 egg yolks
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Combine the cream and one cup of sugar in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. In the meantime, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a separate bowl and set aside.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly drizzle into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. This is called tempering the eggs. Continue until the cream mixture is fully incorporated into the yolk mixture.
  4. Return to the pan, and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, stirring constantly.
  5. Strain the mixture and whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and salt.
  6. Cool completely and freeze according manufacturer’s directions.


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie @ Texan New Yorker July 18, 2013 at 6:31 am

Love this post! I’ve got to try this ice cream again. I made it once a few years ago and wasn’t impressed. But the method and ingredients were all wrong too – like no egg yolks. It was odd. I’ll try again with a much better recipe, like this one! Thanks.


Anne Papina July 18, 2013 at 7:41 am

Thanks! I’m enjoying this even more than vanilla! The more eggs you put in, the creamier it gets (although I haven’t tried all 12 yet as that seems SO rich)


kellie@foodtoglow July 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm

I am one of those weird people, like your Dad, who likes buttermilk. As a salted lassi, in my case. I have wanted to have a go with a buttermilk ice cream but with less heart-stopping amounts of cholesterol than Deb’ s one. Thanks for this. I may try it with less yolk (your original 6) and add in a tsp of xanthum gum (from my gluten-free baking shelf) but I suspect it won’t be the same.


Anne Papina July 22, 2013 at 8:07 am

It’s funny how our taste buds work–I may not drink it straight, but buttermilk in ice cream is incredible! I’ve never tried using xanthum gum, so I’m not sure how that would work. I remember reading in Saveur about Jeni’s ice creams which are egg free, and they’re supposedly super delicious. I’ll bet you could sub buttermilk for the regular milk and get a good result. Here’s the link: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Jenis-Ice-Cream-Base


Dina August 4, 2013 at 6:05 am

mmm…i love buttermilk ice cream!


Mallory brechbiel July 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm

I’m going to try it!! I’m mostly Finnish and all of my older great aunts and uncles always drank buttermilk. It’s so gross. But I just had to tell you, lol loved your blog!


Anne Papina July 19, 2016 at 8:28 am

Thanks Mallory! Hope you enjoy it! I think there’s a whole generation that enjoyed drinking buttermilk lol not me! But it’s definitely great in recipes


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