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Buttermilk vs. Milk: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Buttermilk is a tangy, fermented dairy product, often a byproduct of butter making, while milk is a nutrient-rich liquid produced by mammals, typically consumed fresh.
Buttermilk vs. Milk

Key Differences

Buttermilk originally was the liquid left after churning butter from cream, now often cultured. Milk, on the other hand, is a fresh, unaltered liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals.
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Buttermilk is characterized by its tangy, slightly sour taste and thicker consistency. Milk, in contrast, has a mild, sweet flavor and a fluid, creamy texture.
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Buttermilk is commonly used in baking and cooking, adding acidity and tenderness to recipes. Milk is versatile, used in beverages, cooking, and as a base for dairy products.
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Buttermilk is lower in fat and calories compared to traditional milk but retains most of the nutrients. Milk is rich in calcium, protein, and vitamins, essential for healthy bones and teeth.
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Buttermilk, particularly the cultured variety, contains probiotics beneficial for digestion. Milk provides essential nutrients for growth, bone health, and overall wellness.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A fermented dairy product, often tangy
A fresh liquid produced by mammals
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Nov 18, 2023

Texture

Thicker, creamier
Fluid, creamy
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Nov 18, 2023

Taste

Tangy, slightly sour
Mild, slightly sweet
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Common Uses

Baking, marinating, dressings
Drinking, cooking, dairy products
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Nutritional Differences

Lower in fat, contains probiotics
Higher in fat, rich in calcium
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Cultural Significance

Traditional in many cuisines
Universally consumed
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Shelf Life

Longer due to acidity
Shorter, perishable
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Varieties

Cultured, traditional
Whole, skimmed, flavored, etc.
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Digestibility

Easier for some due to fermentation
Can be harder to digest for some
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Allergen Considerations

May contain less lactose
Higher lactose content
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Buttermilk and Milk Definitions

Buttermilk

A tangy dairy product made from the liquid left after churning butter.
I used buttermilk in my pancake batter for extra fluffiness.
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Nov 14, 2023

Milk

Milk is a nutritious liquid produced by mammals, commonly consumed by humans.
I drink a glass of milk every morning for calcium.
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Nov 14, 2023

Buttermilk

Cultured buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink, often used in baking.
The recipe calls for a cup of cultured buttermilk for the cake.
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Nov 14, 2023

Milk

Milk varieties include whole, skimmed, and lactose-free options.
I prefer skimmed milk because it's lower in fat.
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Nov 14, 2023

Buttermilk

Buttermilk is known for its acidity, which helps in leavening baked goods.
Adding buttermilk to biscuits makes them rise better.
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Milk

A whitish liquid containing proteins, fats, lactose, and various vitamins and minerals that is produced by the mammary glands of all mature female mammals after they have given birth and serves as nourishment for their young.
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Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a versatile ingredient, used in both sweet and savory dishes.
I marinated the chicken in buttermilk overnight for tenderness.
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Nov 14, 2023

Milk

The milk of cows, goats, or other animals, used as food by humans.
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Oct 19, 2023

Buttermilk

The liquid, usually either naturally soured or cultured with acid-producing bacteria, that remains after the butterfat has been removed from cream by churning.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

Any of various potable liquids resembling milk, such as coconut milk or soymilk.
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Oct 19, 2023

Buttermilk

A sour milk made by culturing usually skim milk with acid-producing bacteria.
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Milk

A liquid resembling milk in consistency, such as milkweed sap or milk of magnesia.
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Oct 19, 2023

Buttermilk

The liquid left over after producing butter from full cream milk by the churning process, also called traditional buttermilk.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To draw milk from the teat or udder of (a female mammal).
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Oct 19, 2023

Buttermilk

Cultured buttermilk, a fermented dairy product produced from cow's milk, with a characteristically sour taste.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To draw or extract a liquid from
Milked the stem for its last drops of sap.
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Oct 19, 2023

Buttermilk

The milk that remains after the butter is separated from the cream.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To press out, drain off, or remove (a liquid)
Milk venom from a snake.
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Oct 19, 2023

Buttermilk

Residue from making butter from sour raw milk; or pasteurized milk curdled by adding a culture
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Milk

To draw out or extract something from
Milked the witness for information.
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Buttermilk

In many cultures, buttermilk is a traditional drink, consumed for its health benefits.
My grandmother swears by drinking buttermilk for good digestion.
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Milk

To obtain money or benefits from, in order to achieve personal gain; exploit
"The dictator and his cronies had milked their country of somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion" (Russell Watson).
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To obtain the greatest possible advantage from (a situation).
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To get the greatest effect from (a line or scene in a play, for example).
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To yield or supply milk.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To draw milk from a female mammal.
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Milk

(uncountable) A white liquid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals to nourish their young. From certain animals, especially cows, it is also called dairy milk and is a common food for humans as a beverage or used to produce various dairy products such as butter, cheese, and yogurt.
Skyr is a product made of curdled milk.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

A white (or whitish) liquid obtained from a vegetable source such as almonds, coconuts, oats, rice, and/or soy beans.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

An individual serving of milk.
Table three ordered three milks.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

An individual portion of milk, such as found in a creamer, for tea and coffee.
I take my tea with two milks and two sugars.
I take my tea with two milk and two sugar.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

The ripe, undischarged spat of an oyster.
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Milk

Semen.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

(transitive) To express milk from (a mammal, especially a cow).
The farmer milked his cows.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To draw (milk) from the breasts or udder.
To milk wholesome milk from healthy cows
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Milk

To secrete (milk) from the breasts or udder.
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Milk

(transitive) To express a liquid from a creature.
The Australian government has a team that regularly milks various snakes for venom to use creating serums and antivenoms.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To make excessive use of (a particular point in speech or writing, a source of funds, etc.); to exploit; to take advantage of (something).
When the audience began laughing, the comedian milked the joke for more laughs.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

(of an electrical storage battery) To give off small gas bubbles during the final part of the charging operation.
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

To single-mindedly masturbate a male to ejaculation, especially for the amusement or satisfaction of the masturbator rather than the person masturbated.
Controlled milking can actually establish and consolidate a mistress’s dominance over her sub rather than diminish it.
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Milk

A white fluid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals for the nourishment of their young, consisting of minute globules of fat suspended in a solution of casein, albumin, milk sugar, and inorganic salts.
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Milk

A kind of juice or sap, usually white in color, found in certain plants; latex. See Latex.
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Milk

An emulsion made by bruising seeds; as, the milk of almonds, produced by pounding almonds with sugar and water.
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Milk

The ripe, undischarged spat of an oyster.
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Milk

To draw or press milk from the breasts or udder of, by the hand or mouth; to withdraw the milk of.
I have given suck, and knowHow tender 't is to love the babe that milks me.
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Milk

To draw from the breasts or udder; to extract, as milk; as, to milk wholesome milk from healthy cows.
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Milk

To draw anything from, as if by milking; to compel to yield profit or advantage; to plunder.
They [the lawyers] milk an unfortunate estate as regularly as a dairyman does his stock.
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Milk

To draw or to yield milk.
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Milk

To give off small gas bubbles during the final part of the charging operation; - said of a storage battery.
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Milk

A white nutritious liquid secreted by mammals and used as food by human beings
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Milk

Produced by mammary glands of female mammals for feeding their young
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Milk

A river that rises in the Rockies in northwestern Montana and flows eastward to become a tributary of the Missouri River
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Milk

Any of several nutritive milklike liquids
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Milk

Take milk from female mammals;
Cows need to be milked every morning
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Milk

Exploit as much as possible;
I am milking this for all it's worth
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Milk

Add milk to;
Milk the tea
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Oct 19, 2023

Milk

Cow's milk is the most widely consumed milk and a staple in many diets.
We use cow's milk in our coffee every day.
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Nov 14, 2023

Milk

Milk is a key ingredient in dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and butter.
The cheese was made from fresh, local milk.
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Milk

Plant-based milks, such as almond or soy milk, are alternatives to animal milk.
She uses almond milk in her smoothies as a dairy alternative.
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Nov 14, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is buttermilk the same as regular milk?

No, buttermilk is different from regular milk. It is cultured and has a different taste and texture.
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Nov 18, 2023

What is buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a dairy beverage made by fermenting milk with lactic acid bacteria. It has a tangy flavor.
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What is the purpose of buttermilk in baking?

Buttermilk is often used in baking to add moisture, acidity, and a subtle tangy flavor to recipes.
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Nov 18, 2023

Can I substitute buttermilk with regular milk in recipes?

Yes, you can substitute regular milk for buttermilk in many recipes by adding a bit of acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) to mimic the tangy flavor.
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Nov 18, 2023

How is buttermilk made?

Buttermilk is typically made by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk and allowing it to ferment.
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Nov 18, 2023

What are the nutritional benefits of milk?

Milk is a good source of calcium, protein, vitamins (like vitamin D), and minerals essential for bone and overall health.
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Nov 18, 2023

Is buttermilk low in fat?

Traditional buttermilk is low in fat because it is the liquid left after churning butter. However, cultured buttermilk may vary in fat content.
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Nov 18, 2023

Is there a sweet version of buttermilk?

Sweet buttermilk is not a common term. Buttermilk is typically sour or tangy due to the fermentation process.
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Nov 18, 2023

What recipes commonly use buttermilk?

Buttermilk is used in recipes like pancakes, biscuits, fried chicken batter, and salad dressings.
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Nov 18, 2023

What is milk?

Milk is a white liquid produced by mammals for feeding their young. Cow's milk is the most commonly consumed type.
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Can lactose-intolerant individuals consume buttermilk?

Some lactose-intolerant individuals can tolerate buttermilk because the fermentation process reduces lactose content.
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Nov 18, 2023

What are the health benefits of drinking buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a good source of calcium and probiotics, which can promote digestive health.
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Is milk suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals?

Lactose-intolerant individuals may have difficulty digesting milk due to its lactose content. They can try lactose-free milk alternatives.
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Nov 18, 2023

Is milk pasteurized or raw?

Most commercially sold milk is pasteurized, meaning it is heated to kill harmful bacteria. Raw milk is unpasteurized and not recommended due to health risks.
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Nov 18, 2023

Can milk be used as a substitute for water in recipes?

Milk can be used as a substitute for water in many recipes, adding richness and flavor.
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Nov 18, 2023

Is milk suitable for people with dairy allergies?

No, individuals with dairy allergies should avoid milk and opt for dairy-free alternatives.
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Nov 18, 2023

What are the different types of milk available?

Common types of milk include whole milk, skim milk, 2% milk, and various plant-based milk alternatives like almond, soy, and oat milk.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 18, 2023

What is lactose-free milk?

Lactose-free milk is treated to break down lactose, making it easier to digest for those with lactose intolerance.
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Nov 18, 2023

What is homogenized milk?

Homogenized milk is mechanically processed to evenly distribute fat molecules, preventing the separation of cream.
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Nov 18, 2023

Can milk be frozen for later use?

Yes, you can freeze milk for future use, but it may change in texture and may require thorough shaking after thawing.
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Nov 18, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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