Love Your Leftovers: How to Use Up Dairy Ingredients

  • Article
  • May 2, 2014

We’ve all been there. A creamy new sauce pops up on Pinterest or a friend shares a recipe for the world’s fluffiest buttermilk pancakes.

You race to the store to buy all the ingredients and before you know it you have a delicious creation… and leftover ingredients that sit in your fridge because you have no idea how to use those last few tablespoons or cups. But now there’s no need to worry – check out these tips to make sure those days are gone for good!

Picking the Right Size

The best way to avoid leftovers is to buy the right amount of an ingredient in the first place. Paying attention to what your recipe calls for and doing a little research before you head to the store can make all the difference.

Half-pint: If your recipe calls for a cup or less of an ingredient, go with the smallest carton available: the half-pint. A half pint is 8 fluid ounces (one cup).

Pint: There are 2 cups in a pint, making this the perfect for most creamy sauce recipes. Pay attention to your ingredients list. Unless you’re doubling, or making a recipe that is largely cream based, the pint will likely be enough for you.

Quart: When it comes to ingredients like buttermilk, cream and heavy whipping cream, a quart is generally the largest size available. There are 2 pints in a quart, which means there are 4 cups in every quart. If you’re doubling a recipe or making something that calls for a lot of a certain ingredient, a quart might be the right size for you.

Using Leftovers

Now that you’re buying the right amount of your ingredient, here are ideas to use those extras.

Heavy/Whipping Cream

Scrambled Eggs: If you find yourself with a few tablespoons of cream to use, try adding 1-2 tablespoons of cream to scrambled eggs for an extra creamy and fluffy version of this breakfast fave.

Chicken Marsala: This classic Italian dish is easy to make and topped with a savory and slightly sweet cream sauce.

Browned Rolls & Crusts: If you’re making bread, putting together the perfect pie, or even popping some frozen dinner rolls in the oven for a semi-homemade dinner treat, use leftover cream to take your results to the next delicious level. Using a silicone pastry brush, brush 1-2 tablespoons of cream over the top of your pie crust, bread or rolls and bake as you normally would. The fat in the cream browns during the cooking process, giving you a bakery-quality finish for your favorite breads and pastries.


Fifty years ago buttermilk was a popular a beverage in many American households, but today most people use it for adding moisture to cakes or imparting a soft tang to a fluffy set of pancakes. If you find yourself with extra, just get a little creative.

Roasted Chicken: If you love the taste of fried chicken, but want to avoid the calories, try brining your chicken overnight in a mixture of buttermilk, oil and spices. Roast it the next day for an easy and delicious dinner. The meat will be tender and golden brown, without sacrificing the delicious flavor you’ve come to expect from your favorite fried drumstick.

Biscuits and Gravy: Switch up your weekend breakfast routine with a southern brunch classic. Use leftover buttermilk in both the biscuits and the gravy, or choose one if you don’t have enough for both.

Homemade Ranch Dressing: Grab a packet of dried ranch dressing mix the next time you’re at the store or find a recipe that uses spices already in your pantry. Combine them with low-fat Greek yogurt and your leftover buttermilk for a delicious dip or salad topper.


Smoothies and Yogurt Pops: If you find yourself with extra yogurt to use or are trying to beat the “best if used by” clock, whip up a batch of smoothies or yogurt pops. You can follow a recipe like this one, or experiment with different fruits and yogurt flavors. Store these kid-friendly, nutritious pops (in their molds) in an air-tight container for a week or up to a month for best flavor results.

There are hundreds of ways to use your extra dairy portions and these are some of our favorites. What delicious ideas do you have for using extra buttermilk, cream, or yogurt? Share your suggestions below!