Buttermilk Ice Cream

buttermilk ice cream
So here, here’s what I’ve got for you to use up the rest of that buttermilk I suggested you buy last time for those reeeediculously delicious,  can’t-stop-eatin’-‘em Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies. 

Ok, I know, now this one requires an ice cream maker.*  Sigh, I know. 

But really though, ice cream makers are not terribly expensive.  If you want my opinion, and you might since you’re reading this, it’s a very worthwhile kitchen gadget to have.  No, you don’t need to purchase a ridiculously uber fancy expensive one* (drool, buying lottery ticket riiiight now), get one that works for you. 

Mine, as I’ve mentioned, is a Cuisinart* that I’ve had for quite a while now, works like a charm.  I leave the canister stored in the freezer so it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice, saves me from forgetting to remember to freeze it in the first place. 

Maybe you’ve got kids who want to get in on the action, why not grab a hand crank version* then?  Or wasn’t there a ball version?*  The dog could help with that one, ha ha ha aahhh boy!  Heh, so many ice cream maker options! 

Anyway, again, if you ask me, it’s tough to beat homemade, freshly made at that, dreamy creamy ice cream.  Especially because you know what’s in it.  And what’s not in it.  And that’s practically priceless.  Plus you can make any flavor or flavor combinations however plain or fantastical your heart desires. 

I did, in fairness, seek out a way to make this no churn if you don’t have an ice cream maker or do not wish to purchase one.  Turns out most no churn recipes, which I have not tried, essentially consist of sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream to make the magic so it wasn’t really about a method per se. 

Sooo, as such, a recommendation might be to make the custard as written and freeze it, stirring it several times as it goes. I can’t guarantee the results though, nor can I speak to how the resultant texture will turn out.  Ice cream makers push ice crystals around and air into the spinning mix which creates, well, ice cream. 

As I’ve over-mentioned, I’m a big fan of ice cream.  I love to eat it, love to make it, love it love it.  Mike is a huge fan too which definitely aids in our compatibility.  Two neighborhood faves, The Freeze has reopened and the San Luis Freeze soft serve ice cream truck has recently begun clattering down our block again.  Oh joy, oh sweet happiness. 

But Buttermilk Ice Cream I say. Yeah.  This recipe began life in my kitchen as one from Joy the Baker, likely because I needed to use up some buttermilk.  Always the way when one buys some, right?  And I was surely curious as to how ice cream with buttermilk would turn out. 

ingredients prepped for buttermilk ice cream
Huh.  Well.  Appears I did use whole eggs despite normally using just yolks.  You can do either, whole eggs or just yolks.
This ice cream has got some tang to it.  It’s not super sweet or overly whooo tangy but yeah, the buttermilk is forefront.  And ya know what’s perfect, and I mean Per.Fect with it?  The easy peasy Cocoa Hot Fudge.  Yep.  Seriously, turns out it’s a go-to, meant-to-be combo. 

So right, I started with Joy the Baker’s recipe but altered it right off, building it into my own. Heh, shockingly, I guess I kinda wrote a recipe!  Not a skill of mine.  

Ice cream though, for the most part, I generally follow the same procedure as it works for me and it always results in a lovely, richly creamy but yet light delicious treat, not eggy, not heavy, not overly sweet. 

And with something like buttermilk, the idea is to have that flavor forward, be supported rather than compete with eggs or be diluted, overpowered by vanilla or other flavors. 

Begin by warming up the cream on the ol’ stovetop in a saucepan.  While that’s going, set up an ice bath if you don’t plan to refrigerate the final ice cream base which I don’t usually but feel free to do so.  I hear “aging” ice cream bases in the fridge improves flavor.  Pour the buttermilk into the empty bowl set in that ice bath.

setting up ice bath with buttermilk in bowl
Get yourself ready, buttermilk, you’re gonna be a star!
Whisk the egg yolks/eggs with the sugar and honey in a medium sized bowl until it turns a lovely pale shade of yellow.  Avoid doing this until the cream is about halfway ready as the sugar can burn the yolks.

whisking eggs, sugar, and honey until pale yellow
Every time, I stop and pause, admiring this color of the eggs whisked with sugar.
Once the cream has sufficiently warmed but not boiled, start tempering the egg blend with a slow stream of the hot cream, whisking all the while.  Keep adding hot cream and whisking until the eggy concoction has warmed. 

Pour that bowl of tempered goodness through a fine mesh strainer* set atop the saucepan on the stove to catch any cooked egg bits.  

Now it’s time for a little arm workout!  Bump up the heat a bit and whisk* until the custard becomes niiice and thick, coating the back of a spoon.  Dragging your finger through the spoon coating will leave a clean, clear line. 

Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the vanilla and salt. 

adding vanilla to cooked custard base
Lapse in time there with no photos but it’s just me and a whisk and a saucepan, not exciting.
Feel free to strain the mix one more time as you pour the thickened base over the buttermilk as I usually do.  Combine the custard base gently yet thoroughly with the buttermilk then cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface, letting the whole thing chill out. 

custard base mixed with buttermilk in ice bath
Ooooh, now isn’t that lovely?!?!
Once this delightful combination comes to room temperature or becomes cold, churn away in the ice cream maker of your choice, following the manufacturer’s directions.

churned buttermilk ice cream
Pardon me as I dive directly into the top of my ice cream maker.
When the ice cream is ready, scoop it into a freezer safe container.  

At this point, please feel free to stir in some chocolate chips or shavings or some toasted nuts, maybe something crunchy or anything your heart fancies.  Or nothing at all.  Cover the container with wax paper, foil, or plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

finished buttermilk ice cream in container
While you’re patiently waiting to inhale this frozen goodness, I’m tellin’ ya, that Cocoa Hot Fudge is fantastic with this, so whip up a batch.  Or!, you could make the Chewy Brownies and serve a nice fat scoop over a brownie!  Whoa, swoon!!

Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

Buttermilk Ice Cream

Buttermilk Ice Cream

8 servings
Prep time
20 Min
Cook time
25 Min
Inactive time
1 Hour
Total time
1 H & 45 M
A creamy light ice cream with a nice perky punch of buttermilk tang, a perfect summertime (or anytime) treat!


  • 1 3/4 cup (414 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cup (237 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 egg yolks or whole eggs, large
  • 1/2 cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (44 ml) honey
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla
  • pinch fine sea salt


  1. Warm the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium low heat.
  2. While the cream is warming, set up an ice bath (a large bowl filled with ice with an empty bowl set within it) and pour the buttermilk into the bowl set over the ice. Skip this step if you plan to refrigerate the base.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks (or whole eggs) with the granulated sugar and honey. If using just egg yolks, whisk until the mixture turns a pale yellow.
  4. Once the cream has warmed (avoid boiling the cream), slowly drizzle some into the egg mixture while whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Add more cream as necessary to warm the egg mix up.
  5. Pour the egg mixture through a fine mesh strainer set atop the saucepan on the stove to strain out any cooked egg bits and bump the heat up to over medium, whisking constantly.
  6. Once the custard base has thickened and it coats the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt.
  7. Pour the saucepan contents into the bowl with the buttermilk and stir gently. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and cool to room temperature or cooler (or refrigerate until cold), then add the custard base to the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions for churning.
  8. When the ice cream is ready, scoop it into a freezer safe container,** cover with foil, wax paper, or plastic wrap, and freeze until desired firmness.


**Note: add-in’s such as chocolate chips or shavings, etc. can be stirred into the ice cream at this point if desired.

Inspired by Joy the Baker though heavily reworked by me.

Nutrition Facts



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Please see the "info" section for nutrition details and information about gram weights.

ice cream, buttermilk

*All the ice cream makers, fine mesh strainers, and whisks are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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