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This Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet is delicious, creamy, tangy and refreshing!

This Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet is delicious, creamy, tangy and refreshing!


I’m guessing you’ve found yourself in a similar situation as this:  A few weeks ago, I was baking a cake and called for some buttermilk to be added to the batter.

Where we live, our local supermarket only sells buttermilk in one-quart bottles or cartons. So, when a recipe calls for only two-thirds of a cup of buttermilk – what do you do with all of that leftover buttermilk?

I have just the answer – this Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet – and it’s very, very good! This sorbet is lemony tart but sweet, and as the sorbet begins to melt, the creamy buttermilk flavor becomes more prominent. (Plus – with two cups of buttermilk used in the recipe – it’s a great way to use up that leftover carton!)

Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet

This Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet reminds me of a ‘palate cleanser’ that you might see served between courses at a fancy restaurant. But it is very simple to make – and it’s a wonderful summertime dessert.


Thanks to the sweet-tart and tangy lemon flavor, a little of this Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet goes a long way, we serve this sorbet in small dessert glasses. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself sneaking back to the freezer for another spoonful of this refreshing dessert.

All of the credit for this delicious recipe goes to Amanda Hesser, food editor of The New York Times Magazine. We’ve gently adapted her original recipe.

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Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet - A Family Feast

Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet

  • Prep Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups


½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

2 cups buttermilk

Seeds scraped from a 1-inch long piece of vanilla bean

Juice and zest of 1 lemon


In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water and whisk to dissolve the sugar.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat, and stir again to make sure that all of the sugar has dissolved.  Set this simple syrup aside to cool slightly, then chill completely in the refrigerator.

In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, chilled simple syrup, vanilla seeds, lemon juice and lemon zest.

Pour into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, if you notice that the lemon zest is clumped together, break it apart with your finger tips and stir with a spatula to mix throughout the ice cream mixture.

Serve immediately for soft serve or chill for several hours to firm up before serving by the scoop.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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This Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet is delicious, creamy, tangy and refreshing!

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