Difference Wiki

Buttermilk vs. Yogurt: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 1, 2024
Buttermilk is a slightly sour dairy product left after churning butter, while yogurt is a fermented dairy product made by culturing milk with specific bacteria.

Key Differences

Buttermilk is traditionally the liquid left after churning butter from cream, giving it a slightly sour taste and thinner consistency. Yogurt, on the other hand, is created by fermenting milk using specific bacteria, resulting in a thicker texture and tart flavor.
The bacteria used in buttermilk production are different from those in yogurt. Buttermilk often uses natural bacteria found in milk, while yogurt is made with specific cultures like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which give it its unique properties.
Buttermilk can be lower in fat compared to traditional yogurt, as it is a by-product of butter-making. Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, tends to be higher in protein and can contain probiotics, beneficial for gut health.
In cooking, buttermilk is known for its ability to tenderize and add moisture, often used in baking. Yogurt is versatile in both sweet and savory dishes, known for its role in sauces, marinades, and as a standalone snack.
Buttermilk has its roots in traditional butter-making practices, often consumed in farming communities. Yogurt has a long history across various cultures, especially in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, where it is a staple food.

Comparison Chart


By-product of butter churning
Fermented milk with specific bacteria


Thinner, more liquid
Thicker, creamier


Slightly sour, less pronounced
Tart, can be more sour

Fat Content

Generally lower in fat
Varies, can be higher especially in full-fat varieties

Culinary Use

Common in baking, tenderizing agent
Versatile in cooking, used in sauces and as a standalone dish

Buttermilk and Yogurt Definitions


Traditionally, a slightly sour liquid.
The recipe calls for a cup of buttermilk to enhance the taste.


Versatile in both sweet and savory dishes.
I use yogurt to make sauces and dressings.


Often used as a tenderizing agent in baking.
Marinating chicken in buttermilk makes it tender.


A fermented dairy product made with specific bacteria.
I eat yogurt every morning for breakfast.


Lower in fat and calories compared to whole milk.
I prefer buttermilk in my smoothies for a lighter option.


Often comes in various flavors and fat contents.
I chose a low-fat vanilla yogurt as a healthy snack.


Contains lactic acid, beneficial for digestion.
Buttermilk is a good choice for a probiotic-rich diet.


Known for its thick, creamy texture.
Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt.


A dairy product left after churning butter.
I used buttermilk in the pancake recipe for extra fluffiness.


Contains probiotics, good for gut health.
Adding yogurt to your diet can improve digestion.


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


A custardlike food with a tart flavor, prepared from milk curdled by bacteria, especially Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and often sweetened or flavored.


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


A milk-based product stiffened by a bacterium-aided curdling process, and sometimes mixed with fruit or other flavoring.


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


Any similar product based on other substances (e.g. soy yogurt).


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


A custard-like food made from curdled milk


The milk that remains after the butter is separated from the cream.


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


What is buttermilk?

Buttermilk is the liquid left after churning butter, known for its slightly sour taste.

Can buttermilk be used in baking?

Yes, buttermilk is often used in baking for its tenderizing properties.

Is yogurt good for digestion?

Yes, yogurt contains probiotics that are beneficial for gut health.

Is buttermilk a good source of probiotics?

Buttermilk can contain probiotics, but not as consistently as yogurt.

Does buttermilk contain fat?

Buttermilk is lower in fat, especially if made from low-fat or skim milk.

How is yogurt made?

Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with specific bacteria cultures.

Can yogurt be used in cooking?

Yes, yogurt is versatile in cooking, suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.

Is buttermilk suitable for people with a dairy allergy?

No, buttermilk contains dairy and is not suitable for those with a dairy allergy.

Can I substitute buttermilk for yogurt in a recipe?

Yes, buttermilk can sometimes be substituted for yogurt, but it may alter the texture and taste.

Is yogurt high in protein?

Yes, especially Greek yogurt, which is known for its high protein content.

Can buttermilk be consumed as a drink?

Yes, buttermilk can be drunk, often enjoyed as a refreshing beverage in some cultures.

What nutritional benefits does yogurt offer?

Yogurt is a good source of calcium, protein, and probiotics.

Can yogurt be made at home?

Yes, yogurt can be easily made at home with milk and starter cultures.

What is the main difference in taste between buttermilk and yogurt?

Buttermilk is mildly sour, while yogurt has a more pronounced tartness.

Are there different types of yogurt?

Yes, yogurt comes in various forms like Greek, Icelandic, and regular, differing in texture and fat content.

Can lactose-intolerant people consume yogurt?

Some lactose-intolerant individuals can tolerate yogurt better due to its probiotics.

Is buttermilk used in traditional cuisines?

Yes, buttermilk is used in various traditional dishes, particularly in baking.

What is the shelf life of buttermilk?

Buttermilk typically lasts about 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Does buttermilk work well in marinades?

Yes, buttermilk is excellent for marinating meats due to its tenderizing effect.

Is flavored yogurt as healthy as plain yogurt?

Flavored yogurt often contains added sugars, making plain yogurt a healthier choice.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons