How Long Does Opened Buttermilk Last In The Fridge?

Buttermilk is defined by its thickness, sour aroma, and tartly tangy taste. Given that these characteristics are commonly associated with spoilage, this can also make it difficult to determine whether or not that opened carton in your fridge has already gone bad. Rather than be stuck in a state of wonder and worry, it's time that you learned once and for all how long opened buttermilk lasts.  

Traditional or cultured, buttermilk usually keeps for longer in comparison to fresh milk or cream. But, that doesn't mean that the dairy product doesn't still have a modest shelf life. While an expiration date can help provide some insight as to when it will spoil, it often doesn't take into consideration whether the buttermilk was opened. Since quality fades quicker after opening, buttermilk will last a maximum of 2 weeks in the fridge. Even then, this timeline isn't a guarantee.

Depending on factors like improper handling or storage, buttermilk can spoil prematurely. The presence of mold might be the most obvious sign that it has passed its prime, but it's not the only thing to look out for. If the liquid starts to smell funkier than usual, has discolored significantly, or develops a chunky texture that's too thick to pour, toss the buttermilk immediately.

The ultimate guide to storing buttermilk

To extend the shelf life of buttermilk, correct storage is essential. First and foremost, don't open a carton unless you're going to use the buttermilk promptly. Once opened, always keep it in the fridge, ideally set well below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as cooler temperatures slow bacterial growth. That said, it's also worth paying attention to where you place the buttermilk. Avoid tucking a jug into warmer areas of the fridge, like the door pocket, and instead store it on the middle shelf towards the back to keep it fresher for longer. 

Additionally, in order to reduce the risk of bacteria and contaminants coming into contact with an opened container of buttermilk, be sure to tightly close the cap (or refold the lid) after each use. This can also help keep the taste and aroma intact. What's more, don't touch the lip of the bottle with dirty hands or, worse yet, drink directly from the carton, as these actions can also cause buttermilk to go bad before it should.

As a final word of advice, consider purchasing buttermilk in lesser quantities. A smaller jug will no doubt be used at a faster pace, ridding you of dealing with the stresses of spoilage. However, if there's a really good deal on buttermilk or if you have your heart set on using the ingredient to whip up all sorts of goodies, you can always freeze leftover buttermilk for another day!