16 Recipes To Use Up That Sour Milk In Your Fridge

There's nothing worse than reaching for that carton of milk in the back of your fridge and realizing that its expiration date has come and gone. Your first instinct may be to dispose of it right away, but before you pour the milk (and by extension, your money) down the drain, you should reconsider. As it turns out, milk that has turned slightly sour (but not spoiled) is perfectly safe to consume, especially if you cook with it (via Healthy Eating).

First off, it's likely that your store-bought milk has been pasteurized, a process which kills off any bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. However, some bacteria, including Lactococcus and Lactobacillus remain, according to a 1999 study in the Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology. When left long enough, they begin to multiply and break down the sugars in milk (lactose) into lactic acid, beginning a natural fermentation process. As opposed to truly spoiled milk, which smells rancid and may have begun to grow mold, sour milk is what you'll have in the early stages of this process. It provides a slightly tangy and acidic taste akin to buttermilk, simply due to the increase in lactic acid.

While you may not want to drink a glass of sour milk straight up, baking is a great way to use the stuff. The extra acidity results in added flavor in baked goods. You can also incorporate it into batters for frying, and just about any recipe that calls for buttermilk.

1. Easy Fried Green Tomatoes

This Southern comfort food classic is a snack that always hits the spot. The light and tart green tomatoes are given a crispy crunch when fried in a flavorful batter, which consists of a dry mixture of spiced breadcrumbs and flour, and a wet mix of eggs and buttermilk, which holds everything together.

It's here that you can swap in your sour milk for the buttermilk, creating a batter that will bring out the bright acidity of the tomatoes. Fry 'em up and enjoy!

Recipe: Easy Fried Green Tomatoes

2. Buttermilk Blackberry Scones

For a homemade breakfast you can easily take on the go, bake up a batch of these sweet and fruity blackberry scones, topped with a tart lemon glaze.

This recipe typically calls for buttermilk, specifically because the extra acid helps the scones rise and makes them more tender. So your sour milk, which also boasts more acid than regular milk, can serve as the perfect alternative. And not only do they take just about a half hour to make, they'll also last in your fridge for up to a week.

Recipe: Buttermilk Blackberry Scones

3. Fluffy Southern Biscuits

What would a comfort food feast be without a pile of fluffy, flaky biscuits on the side?

To make these Southern-style biscuits extra soft and tender, this recipe calls for cornstarch. Of course, you can also add your own secret ingredient to the dough: sour milk, which will combine with the other dairy components, butter and heavy cream, in place of the buttermilk. Pro tip: Use frozen butter in the mix to achieve ultimate flakiness when baking.

Recipe: Fluffy Southern Biscuits

4. Easy Pancakes

There's nothing like a plateful of golden pancakes drenched in maple syrup to start your day. While it may be convenient to reach for a store-bought mix, it can actually be just as easy to make your own homemade stack from scratch.

The prep time for this classic recipe is just 10 minutes. You can use any kind of milk in this batter, but to add a tangy twist to the taste, sour milk is a great option. Since the extra acid also acts as a leavening agent, using sour milk here will result in even fluffier pancakes.

Recipe: Easy Pancakes

5. Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast

If you're looking to get creative with your plain chicken breast, shake things up and add a ton of crispy flavor with this pecan-crusted version. This equally crunchy alternative to fried chicken is actually baked and comes with the extra nutritional value of nuts.

To ensure all those delicious chopped pecans stick to your meat, you first need to saturate the chicken in a milky marinade rife with spices. The recipe uses buttermilk, but you can swap in your sour milk for the marinade instead.

Recipe: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast

6. Zingy Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

The ideal dessert for a summer afternoon, this bright lemon pound cake delivers a refreshing zing of citrus with every bite.

Buttermilk is typically used as the star of this cake batter, combined with lemon juice and zest, but sour milk will achieve the same tangy and acidic flavor you're going for, perfectly complementing the citrus. After baking, the sponge is infused with a tart lemony syrup, resulting in optimal moistness, then topped with a generous drizzle of sugary icing.

Recipe: Zingy Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

7. Homemade Ricotta Cheese

When your milk is slightly past its prime, perhaps one of the coolest ways you can give it a second life is by using it to make homemade ricotta. It's definitely one of the easiest cheeses to DIY, and it just so happens to call for sour milk!

Usually, this recipe will have you sour regular milk yourself by adding lemon juice to help it curdle, but you can start off a step ahead by using already-sour milk as well. You should still add the lemon juice, as the extra acid will hurry the process along.

Recipe: Homemade Ricotta Cheese

8. Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

Chocolate lovers, this one's for you. Marrying the sweet decadence of chocolate with the rustic nostalgia of homemade pie crust, this fudgy dessert is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.

To make the filling with sour milk, simply swap it in place of the buttermilk and combine with the other ingredients including eggs, cocoa powder, melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour it into your crust and bake. When you take it out of the oven, you'll have a rich and creamy pie that can easily be compared to your favorite brownie mix.

Recipe: Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

9. Diner-Style Chicken Fried Steak

You don't need to embark on a road trip across the southern United States in order to treat yourself to some authentic chicken fried steak. Enjoy the diner-style breakfast staple in the comfort of your own kitchen with this brilliant recipe, which sees a perfectly crisp fried steak topped with homemade gravy.

To achieve the crust, you'll bread the meat using both wet and dry coatings, including a mix of egg and milk. Although this version asks for regular milk, sour milk makes a great alternative for frying. If you want to add some tang to your gravy, you can also swap it in there.

Recipe: Diner-Style Chicken Fried Steak

10. Blueberry Scone

A classic blueberry scone always makes for a satisfying snack, whether you snag one for breakfast or serve one up with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

This particular recipe employs heavy cream in its dough, resulting in an extra dense version of the baked favorite. However, using sour milk instead of heavy cream can lighten up your bite, and give you a fluffier, more tender scone thanks to the addition of leavening lactic acid. The tartness of the sour milk also acts as a lovely complement to the sweet berries.

Recipe: Blueberry Scone

11. Southern Caramel Cake

From birthdays to anniversaries to holidays — whatever your reason for celebrating, you should definitely do so with this Southern caramel cake. It's moist, fluffy, and includes three layers of a beautiful yellow cake covered in rich caramel-flavored frosting. Plus, it serves 12, so it's great to serve at parties.

Typically, this cake mixture includes both buttermilk and sour cream, so there is a desired tanginess here. Luckily, sour milk will deliver the same taste.

Recipe: Southern Caramel Cake

12. Buttermilk Belgian Waffles

No one wants to wait forever to get breakfast on their plate, so you'll be pleased to learn that this Belgian waffle recipe takes just 20 minutes total. (And it gives you the perfect excuse to use that waffle iron you've been neglecting.)

The buttermilk in the batter gives the waffles a sharp edge of tartness, which cuts through the super-sweetness of toppings like maple syrup or fruit jam. To attain the same result, you can substitute sour milk. Then just cook it up in your waffle maker and enjoy!

Recipe: Buttermilk Belgian Waffles

13. Deep Fried Oreos

For a playful treat that recalls days spent at country fairs and amusement parks, why not whip up your own batch of deep-fried Oreos? A little bit sweet, a little bit savory, they're best enjoyed warm straight out of the fryer, covered in a generous dusting of powdered sugar.

While this recipe incorporates whole milk into the batter, you can easily replace it with buttermilk, or in this case, sour milk. The result? A more tender crust that has some extra tang to temper the sweetness of the cookie and sugar topping.

Recipe: Deep Fried Oreos

14. Homemade Crème Fraîche

With just a few ingredients and a little bit of patience, you can convert your sour milk into a thick and delicious serving of crème fraîche at home. To DIY it, you'll need to combine a cultured dairy product with one that features a high-fat content, such as heavy whipping cream.

This recipe specifically uses the cultures in buttermilk to help kick off the sought-after fermentation process, but since your sour milk has already begun this process naturally, it means that its lactic acid-producing cultures are alive and well. So sour milk is a suitable swap here, especially when combined with a dash of citric acid.

Recipe: Homemade Crème Fraîche

15. Fluffy Banana Pancakes

Packed with tasty bananas and featuring a dash of coconut oil, these fluffy pancakes practically whisk you away to a tropical vacation with every bite. 

Rather than using a pre-made mix, you can easily make these pancakes from scratch. The batter is usually made with buttermilk, but you can certainly use your sour milk here to achieve the same tart taste, which serves to balance the sweetness of the ripe bananas.

Recipe: Fluffy Banana Pancakes

16. Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Whether you're looking for a crowd-pleasing snack for game day or simply want to spice up your family dinner, this fried chicken recipe is the ultimate go-to.

The crunchy outer layer provides quite a kick thanks to the addition of ground pepper and cayenne in the flour coating. But before you bread the chicken in the spice mix, you'll need to soak it in some milky marinade to lock in moisture and flavor. For that step, your sour milk will work great in place of the buttermilk, as both will provide the ideal acidic tang after frying.

Recipe: Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken