How to Use Buttermilk As a Beef Tenderizer


Buttermilk is a product that is a combination of milk and added microorganisms that give the milk a tart taste and thicker consistency. The microorganisms give the milk more acid, so it tends to be used more often for marinades or batters since many people don’t enjoy drinking the sour flavor straight. Although buttermilk’s acidity may hinder its use as a beverage, it is useful when it comes to marinating tough cuts of beef. The acid helps break down all the connective tissues in the meat to make it more tender.

How to Use Buttermilk As a Beef Tenderizer
(Diane Shear/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • 2 lbs. beef
  • Meat mallet
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Gallon-sized food storage bag
Step 1

Lay 2 lbs. of beef onto a flat work surface and hit it gently with a meat mallet to begin the tenderizing process. Sprinkle enough salt and pepper to lightly cover the entire surface of the beef.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 2

Shake the container of buttermilk. Pour 2 cups of the buttermilk into a gallon-sized food storage bag.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 3

Place the seasoned beef into the storage bag. Squeeze all of the excess air from the bag, then tightly seal it closed.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 4

Move the beef around inside the bag to ensure it gets evenly coated with the buttermilk. Transfer the bag into your refrigerator and let the beef marinate in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 5

Remove the beef from the buttermilk and let any excess buttermilk drip off the beef. Discard the buttermilk and cook the beef in your preferred manner.

Diane Shear/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • If you don’t have a meat mallet, cover the beef with plastic wrap and pound it lightly with a can or the bottom of a pan to gently break down the meat’s fibers so the buttermilk can fully sink into it.
  • Buttermilk also works well as a marinade for chicken before frying it--the buttermilk’s acid ensures the chicken stays juicy, even when exposed to high heat levels.
  • Always discard any marinades that have been in contact with raw meats to prevent spreading any food borne illnesses.
  • Always shake the bottle of buttermilk before using it.


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