Answering The Big Question: Buttermilk vs Heavy Cream


Buttermilk and heavy cream or whipping cream are the by-products of whole milk. They are like the siblings from the same mother who are very different in nature. Churning is the process of subjecting whole milk to a process that involves rapid spinning and the use of centrifugal force to separate the semi-solid part (cream) from the acidic liquid part (buttermilk) of the milk.

Both these are used as ready foods or as ingredients in preparing other food items. These two differ in their composition, the value they add to our diet and in their varied uses. Let us dig deeper into these two closely related milk products and determine which one is the better fit for us.


The composition and uses of these two products of whole milk are leagues apart. The following are the categories in which comparisons are drawn to show how these two are different from each other:




  • Formation and Composition
  • Taste
  • Fat content
  • Uses
  • Shelf life


Buttermilk vs Heavy Cream


Formation and Composition





  • Buttermilk is the product left behind when whole milk is churned and all the cream is removed from it. Although this is the traditional method of producing buttermilk, nowadays it is being produced by using natural additives where the bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Lactococcus lactis is added to readily get buttermilk.
  • It is slightly acidic in nature and is great for your skin too.



Heavy cream


  • Right before milk is homogenized, the fatty-foam part that gets formed at the top is the cream. This is then separated through centrifugal forces and made into whipped cream.
  • What we get is rich in fats and is a creamy milk product.









  • Buttermilk a slightly watery liquid now that the fat is gone and probably why it is easier to follow a buttermilk weight loss diet. It has a slightly tangy flavor, with its acidic composition. It almost tastes like butter.



Heavy cream


  • Cream, as we all know and love, tastes sweet. It is almost like tasting whole milk, this might also explain why people tend to load up on cream, the taste is to be blamed.



Fat Content





  • It contains very less fatty content, and therefore buttermilk can also have numerous benefits for our body. A cup of buttermilk has over 100 calories and about 2 grams of fat content (per cup).


Heavy cream


  • As the name suggests, 'heavy cream', is high in fat content, where over 40% of the composition of cream is fat. A cup of cream has about 37 grams of fat (per cup).









  • It is used a marinade due to its acidic property.
  • Used as added flavor to the dish.
  • Also used as an excellent base for soups.



Heavy cream


  • Whipped and used as toppings for ice creams and cakes.
  • Make the food flavor-rich, soft and moist.
  • Increasingly used in bakeries to create fluffy-crusted food items.









  • Generally, the shelf-life of milk and it's byproducts isn't all that long and the same holds true for buttermilk too. The maximum lifespan of a tumbler of buttermilk would be around two weeks and not more than that. 


Heavy cream


  • Due to its subjugation to Ultra Pasteurization or Ultra-High-Temperature Pasteurization, whipped cream can be stored away for about 60 days, before it starts to spoil. this is one milk product that has longer shelf-life, probably the longest too.



That ends our brief analysis of buttermilk and heavy cream. That should have answered your buttermilk vs heavy cream doubts. Let us know if it did, or how we could improve the post. Alternatively, you could also use the reaction buttons.




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