Creamy Southern Buttermilk Ice Cream

Creamy Southern Buttermilk Ice Cream in a loaf pan

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Total: 17 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
482 Calories
37g Fat
30g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 482
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 22g 110%
Cholesterol 265mg 88%
Sodium 137mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 119mg 9%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 190mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

It may not seem like an obvious choice for ice cream, but buttermilk lends an amazing richness and tangy flavor to this special treat. Buttermilk ice cream happens to be a very clever way to use up leftover buttermilk, too. This buttermilk ice cream recipe will quickly become one of your favorite homemade ice creams, and it's fun to try to stump people's taste buds when you serve it. Have them guess the flavor and see if anyone can figure it out.

This amazing buttermilk ice cream has a flavorful, creamy custard base that is delicious on its own, but tastes even better with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Or go even further by adding a with a fruity sauce, some chocolate sauce, or your favorite ice-cream topping. Fresh berries are a lovely complement to buttermilk ice cream, too. Better yet, serve a scoop on top of a slice of apple pie or peach cobbler.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for creamy Southern buttermilk ice cream

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer, stirring frequently.

    Heavy cream simmering in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with sugar.

    Egg yolks whisked with sugar in a medium bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Whisk about 1 cup of the simmering cream into the egg mixture until well blended.

    Cream and egg mixtures combined in a bowl for buttermilk ice cream

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Stir back into the hot mixture in the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil.

    Custard mixture cooking in a saucepan, coating the back of a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Remove from heat and stir in the cold, well-shaken buttermilk, and vanilla extract.

    Ice cream custard mixture cooling in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Put the mixture in an ice bath or refrigerate the mixture until very cold, about 2 hours.

    Ice cream custard base in a bowl ready for the refrigerator or an ice bath

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Freeze in your ice-cream maker following manufacturer's directions.

    Buttermilk ice cream in an ice cream maker

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Transfer to a container and cover tightly. Freeze the ice cream until firm.

    Creamy Southern Buttermilk Ice Cream in a loaf pan

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.

Recipe Variations

  • The ice cream may also be made with sour cream instead of buttermilk.
  • If you like add-ins, consider mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts.
  • Fold in 1 cup of frozen berries (blueberries are especially good) toward the end of freezing in the ice-cream maker.
  • Scoop out some fruit preserves and use them in the ice cream. Add toward the end of freezing.
  • Add a tablespoon of lemon, lime, or orange zest to the ice cream during freezing for a citrus tang.

How to Store Buttermilk Ice Cream

Naturally, you want to keep this buttermilk ice cream in the freezer in an airtight container. It can be helpful to place a layer of waxed paper across the top of the ice cream before pressing the lid closed—it can help prevent freezer burn. The ice cream should keep for several weeks.

Can I freeze buttermilk to use later?

Yes, you absolutely can. If you find that this recipe looks interesting to you but you can't make it immediately, you can freeze buttermilk for up to three months past its best-by date. Simply defrost it in the fridge, give it a good shake, and use as directed in this or any other recipe that calls for it.