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Is Buttermilk Keto-Friendly?

Buttermilk on a kitchen counter

You might know buttermilk as that slightly tangy, creamy liquid that's left over after churning butter. It's a staple in so many delicious recipes, from pancakes to marinades. Today, we're going to dive into buttermilk's nutritional profile to see if buttermilk is keto-friendly. Stick around as we explore whether this flavorful ingredient can be part of your keto-friendly kitchen.


  • Buttermilk is not keto-friendly and it contains lactose.
  • It has a moderately high net carb content of 4.88g per 100g.
  • Buttermilk is a rich source of essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin B-12, offering potential health benefits.

Is Buttermilk Keto-Friendly?

Buttermilk is not keto friendly! Each 100g serving of buttermilk contains about 4.88g of carbohydrates, which primarily come from lactose, the natural sugar found in milk products.

For those strictly managing their carb intake to stay in ketosis, the state where the body burns fat for energy instead of carbs, even this moderate amount of lactose can be a setback.

Since maintaining ketosis requires keeping carb consumption very low, typically between 20 to 50 grams a day, including buttermilk in your diet could potentially use up a significant portion of your daily carb allowance, making it challenging to maintain this delicate balance.

Can You Have Buttermilk on a Strict Keto Diet?

While buttermilk might be tempting for its tangy flavor and creamy texture, its carb content could potentially disrupt your ketosis. For those strictly following a keto diet, finding lower-carb alternatives or using buttermilk sparingly might be necessary to stay on track.

Carbs In Buttermilk

Buttermilk contains 4.88g of net carbs per 100g. This value is significant when following a ketogenic diet, as net carbs are what you count when you are limiting your carb intake.

The source of carbs in buttermilk is lactose, which is a type of sugar naturally found in milk products. Lactose gives buttermilk its slightly sweet taste and contributes to the carbohydrate content in this dairy product. When milk is fermented to make buttermilk, some of the lactose is converted into lactic acid by bacteria, which gives buttermilk its characteristic tangy flavor. However, not all the lactose is converted, leaving a portion that accounts for the carbohydrate content in buttermilk.

Buttermilk Nutrition Facts

A 100g serving of Buttermilk offers a nutritional profile rich in both macro and micronutrients. Starting with the macronutrients, it provides around 40 calories, made up mostly of 3.3g of proteins, 4.9g of carbohydrates and only 0.9g of fat.

The micronutrient content in Buttermilk is no less impressive.

  • It's a strong source of several vitamins and minerals, including essential ones like Vitamin B12, calcium, and phosphorus. Specifically, it contains nearly 40% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin B12 and about 12% each of calcium and phosphorus.
  • Moreover, Buttermilk is noted for its high probiotic content, specifically Lactic Acid Bacteria, which contribute to maintaining gut health and enhancing the immune system.
  • While the presence of 3.3g of proteins may not seem remarkable, these are high-quality proteins containing all essential amino acids.
Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Carbohydrate, by difference4.88g
Total fats3.31g
Sodium, Na105.0mg
Potassium, K135.0mg
Magnesium, Mg10.0mg
Calcium, Ca115.0mg
Vitamin A47.0ug
Vitamin B-60.04mg
Vitamin B-120.46ug
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)1.3ug
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.07mg
Vitamin K10.3ug
Copper, Cu0.02mg
Iron, Fe0.03mg
Phosphorus, P85.0mg
Selenium, Se3.7ug
Zinc, Zn0.38mg
Manganese, Mn0.0mg
Pantothenic acid0.38mg
Folate, total5.0ug
Choline, total14.6mg
Aspartic acid0.28g
Glutamic acid0.72g
Fatty acids, total saturated1.9g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.83g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.2g
Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Health Implications of Buttermilk on a Keto Diet

Buttermilk offers a variety of nutritional benefits, making it a valuable addition to a ketogenic diet. It is rich in essential nutrients such as calcium, which is crucial for bone health and muscle function. It also contains vitamin B-12, an important vitamin for brain function and energy production. Furthermore, it provides a good amount of protein, which can help to keep you feeling satisfied and support muscle maintenance and growth.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Buttermilk

  1. Almond Milk: Almond milk is an excellent low-carb alternative to buttermilk. It can be used in a similar way in recipes, working well in everything from smoothies to baked goods. Just 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk contains only 1-2g of net carbs, making it even lower in carbs than buttermilk.
  2. Coconut Cream: Coconut cream can provide the thickness and creaminess of buttermilk in many recipes. It's particularly suitable for use in curries, sauces, and even keto-friendly ice creams. With less than 3g of net carbs per 100g, it's a good low-carb option.
  3. Sour Cream: Sour cream has a similar tangy flavor to buttermilk and can be used to add richness to sauces, dips, and baked goods. With about 3g of net carbs per 100g, it’s comparable to buttermilk in terms of carb content.

Concluding Thoughts on Buttermilk and Keto

There are other pretty tasty alternatives for Buttermilk that will not disrupt your ketosis.

For those creamy dressings, fluffy pancakes, and tender baked goods, consider reaching for alternatives like coconut milk mixed with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice to mimic that tangy buttermilk vibe. Almond milk or cashew milk can also join the mix, stepping in as low-carb understudies for buttermilk. These substitutes are not only keto-friendly but might also introduce your taste buds to new, delightful flavors.

Explore our Is It Keto Knowledge Hub.

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Cast Iron Keto's Editorial and Research Standards

Certain rare or exotic food items may not have nutritional profiles in the FoodData Central database. If an exact match is not found in the FoodData Central database, then, the Cast Iron Keto team utilizes a three-prong approach to provide readers with the closest relevant nutritional data, where possible.

First, in the event that nutritional profiles for a rare or exotic food item is not available in the FoodData Central database, we investigate alternative names for that particular food item and use that data, when possible. Second, in cases where no alternate names exist, Cast Iron Keto will use nutritional data for a close relative or similar food item. Finally, if no close relatives or similar items exist, we refrain from publishing nutrient data tables.

When making dietary or health decisions based on FoodData Central's data, we suggest readers consult with a nutritionist or other health experts, particularly if the food in question has a significant role in your diet or if you are using the food item to treat any health disorder(s).

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a close relative or similar item is used to approximate the nutritional data, different food items can have varying levels of nutrients due to factors such as soil quality, farming practices, and regional differences.


The information on this website is only intended to be general summary information for public use, designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. This information does not replace written law or regulations, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions about a medical condition or are seeking to evaluate the health merits of certain food items for the treatment of any medical condition, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified health professionals.

The views expressed at, or through, Cast Iron Keto are for informational purposes only. Cast Iron Keto cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here. While we use reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information, we make no warranties as to the accuracy of the content and assume no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is error-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, buttermilk is not keto-friendly due to its moderately high net carb content 4.88g per 100g and lactose.

Almond milk, coconut cream, and sour cream serve as great keto-friendly alternatives to buttermilk. They can be effectively used in different keto recipes, while keeping the carb count low.

Absolutely, buttermilk is rich in essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin B-12, which can contribute to overall health.