Got Buttermilk? Sweet summer recipes for leftover buttermilk

How many times has it happened to you?  A recipe calls for a small amount of buttermilk, then you have the majority left over in the container.  Some people enjoy drinking buttermilk, but most don’t, but love it mixed into foods.  We at Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) like to keep buttermilk on hand, or create a quick substitute for it.  Handcrafting breakfast for guests each morning, buttermilk offers up a key ingredient for biscuits and pancakes.  And what romantic New England getaway would be complete without those?

Buttermilk is actually very healthy. It contains all essential macronutrients and actually has a cooling impact on the digestive tract while encouraging digestion and treating a number of stomach ailments.  It also provides calcium without the fat and is rich in vitamins.

If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can easily create a substitute.  Simply use any other dairy product you have and add a little acidity, like a spoonful of lemon juice or vinegar. Believe it or not, yogurt or sour cream will also work, when thinned with milk or even water. It won’t be as thick and creamy as the real thing, but it’ll certainly work in a pinch!

Here are two wonderful summer recipes from your friends in DINE country which utilize buttermilk as a key ingredient.  These may come as a surprise, because you may not often think of buttermilk in ice cream or rolled up with strawberries, but you’ll get rave reviews and surprise your guests with these cool summer treats.

Buttermilk Sorbet with Rhubarb Compote from Rabbit Hill Inn

Ingredients for the Sorbet:

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

2 cups buttermilk


Lemon zest


  • Bring water and 2 cups sugar to a boil.
  • Add in lemon zest, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  • Pan freeze

Ingredients for the Rhubarb Compote:

Diced rhubarb

2 cups sugar

½ cup red wine

½ cup white wine

1 Tbsp vanilla


  • Bring all ingredients together in a saucepan.
  • Boil until thickened.
  • Allow to cool.

Strawberry Buttermilk Pancake Roll-ups from Cliffside Inn

Yield:   Makes approximately 10 roll-ups; or 5 servings

Bill Bagwill from Cliffside InnIngredients:

6 Cups fresh strawberries; rinse and remove hulls

6 Tbsp.sugar

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

8 oz. Kraft cream cheese; at room temperature

1- ½  cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½  tsp. salt

2  large eggs

1-½  cups buttermilk

1 cup milk

Vegetable oil for cooking pancakes


  • Thinly slice 2 cups of the strawberries and set aside.
  • In a food processor or blender, purée the remaining 4 cups of the strawberries until smooth. Press the strawberry purée, with the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula, through a fine mesh strainer and into a bowl, extracting as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the residue. Whisk ¼ cup of sugar and the lemon juice into the strawberry purée.
  • In the food processor or blender, blend the cream cheese and ½ cup of the strawberry purée until blended and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and milk just enough to blend. Whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Batter will be thin.
  • Place a nonstick griddle over medium heat; when hot, coat the griddle lightly with oil and adjust the heat to maintain temperature. Spoon the batter in ½ -cup portions onto the griddle and cook until pancakes are browned on the bottom and the edges begin to look dry, (about 2 minutes); turn the pancakes with a wide spatula and brown the other side, 1 ½ to 2 minutes longer.  As the pancakes are cooked, transfer them to baking sheets and keep them warm in a 200° oven.


  • Spread each pancake with about 2 tablespoons of the strawberry/cream cheese mixture and roll up. Set two roll-ups, side-by-side, on each plate and top with the reserved sliced strawberries. Drizzle the roll-ups with some of the strawberry purée and serve.  The remaining strawberry purée may be served, on the side, in a small pitcher to taste.

We at Distinctive Inns of New England don’t cry over spilled (butter) milk, but we do over letting the summer go by without a visit to one of the 12 DINE inns. Plan your next delicious and romantic getaway at the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England by clicking on links below that will take you to each of their websites.

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In Maine:  Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport & Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden.

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod.

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In Rhode Island: Cliffside Inn in Newport