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How to make Quark from buttermilk

how to make Quark

When Germans live abroad they have two big concerns: The first one is about getting good bread and the second is about finding Quark in a grocery. Quark is kind of the holy grail for Germans outside of Germany.

If they find it in a store they will immediately brag about it on facebook. Then they will have an inner celebration, faint a little about the high price and last decide that it’s worth it to pay $5 for a tiny jar of Quark. Nonsense! Most people don’t know how easy and cheap it is to make Quark at home. The only problem with this process is, that though it is not much work, it takes a little time.

There are different methods to make Quark and I have covered two more versions that you should definitely check out:

What is Quark anyway?

Though at a first glance it may look like yogurt, especially like greek yogurt, Quark is a different dairy product. It is a very fresh cheese and has a lot more health benefits than yogurt. 100g Quark has about 14 g of protein, this is twice as much as greek yogurt has! It also has very few lactose but a lot of vitamin K, which is important to keep calcium out of your vessels and in your bones.

When making quark, the casein proteins leak out of the milk and that’s what we collect in the cheesecloth, while the whey is collected in the bowl below it.

How to make Quark from buttermilk

About this recipe

This recipe is the easiest and fastest way to make quark. It is made with buttermilk and I mainly use this quark for baking. Made with buttermilk, it has a fine buttermilk taste and I am not a big fan of that, but many people like it. However, if I want to eat my quark with fruits or herbs etc. I prefer it from whole milk.

Important: Make sure that your buttermilk really is buttermilk! Some products contain fillers and are not really buttermilk so they might not work.

Now, I usually have a quark maker in my kitchen, which makes it even more convenient for me. Right now I am in Los Angeles in a small apartment without a quark maker. I live in LA from time to time just for a couple of months. I have “an apartment in the box” meaning that I have essential things in 3 big plastic boxes which I store in a friend’s garage. When I move into an apartment, I unpack my stuff and have a kitchen equipped by Dollar Tree, towels, blankets, and a few other things. So even with a kitchen that has only some essentials, I am able to make quark and I am going to prove it in my video!

There many many uses for Quark

I could probably make an entire blog about Quark and what you can do with it.

Quark bread with honey
Quark bread with honey for breakfast.

Some uses are:

Did you know that it can also be used for medical purposes? Every midwife and nurse knows, that a mastitis can be fixed easily with a quark wrap. Also, a sore throat or coughing gets better soon, with a quark wrap.

This is an original pot for Quark making in a dairy in the Alpes. The woman who owns this place really used this!
The pot was heated above this woodfired stove.

About the whey

Oh, and when you make the Quark you also get a lot of whey. You can use it in your fruit shake (very healthy with lots of B-Vitamines) or make soap from it. Some people take a bath in it (great for the skin) or – which I do mostly – use it instead of water when baking bread. But be aware that whey starts to break down soon and you should always only use it very fresh unless you make soap from it.

Fun fact

I am a little allergic to some fruits like cherries, peaches etc.. My lips and throat become really itchy and swell a little when I eat those fruits fresh. Not so if I cut them and put them in a bowl of Quark!


how to make Quark

How to make Quark

3.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Party Food, Snack
Cuisine German



  • 1 gallon buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon citirc acid


  • Pour the buttermilk into the saucepan.
  • Heat while sometimes stirring until it reaches about 120F - if you don't have a thermometer just wait until it's so hot you don't want to dip your finger into it any longer.
  • Turn off the heat and add one teaspoon of citric acid (or lemon juice or some rennit). Stir carefully!
  • Let stand for about 20 minutes.
  • Put a cheescloth into the collander and the collander on top of a bowl. Pour the broken apart buttermilk into the cheesecloth.
  • Wait about 5 to 10 minutes until most of the whey is separated, then either press the cheesecloth to remove more whey from the Quark or just put everything in the fridge. After about 2 hours or after a night, the Quark is ready to use.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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33 thoughts on “How to make Quark from buttermilk”

  1. 5 stars
    Best method of making Quark Cheese, I have found.
    I used 2 litres of Beatrice 1% Buttermilk, and suspended my BBQ thermometer so it didn’t touch the bottom of the pot. I heated the buttermilk to 120′ for 3 minutes, stirring every 10 degrees warmup. Added the vinegar, let sit, then through cheese cloth, then put the whole thing cocered overnight in the garage, stays 58% in there, in the morning (12 hours) cheese was perfect, no to make cheesecake.

  2. I been making Quark both Ways Buttermilk and regular Milk my husband likes the cheesecake with reg. Milk Quark the best also I make Schnecken-rollen with Cheese-cake Mix,super always try new things Die Donau wellen sind am naechsten dran. I love your Webseite and look forward for more Goodies
    Renate Dallas

    1. Thank you, Renate! I love to hear that you make my recipes and explore new ways with it. I will definitely continue to post recipes :-)

  3. 5 stars
    My oma came to visit from Germany and we made cheesecake together using this quark reciepe. I tried store-bought and it does not taste good. We have very limited options. My oma was amazed that I made homemade quark cheese. Her cheesecake taste like her original!

    1. This is a recipe for buttermilk as stated in the title and in the recipe. You can’t switch out buttermilk for goat milk and then expect it to work. There is a reason why it has to be buttermilk: The cultures in it! Sadly you gave one star for this recipe although it’s not the recipe that is at fault here.

  4. I have always made quark using the milk and buttermilk method. I don’t think it works using actual buttermilk that you would get after making butter and ‘squeezing’ out the buttermilk.

    correct me if I’m wrong but don’t you need the cultured variety for the enzymes in order to make the quark? I used to frequently make butter from heavy cream, but never used that when making quark. I can see how it might be sweeter than cultured buttermilk from the store. but doesn’t have the enzymes.

    thank you in advance for teaching me about buttermilk. I hunted for years to find a quark recipe and now it seems there are many of them. I just need to dig out my cheesecake recipe. it was SOOOO good!

  5. If your buttermilk at the local market is labeled ‘Cultured Buttermilk’ regardless of the percentage of fat, you can add the store bought buttermilk to Whole milk then let it sit covered overnight at room temperature and you will have more buttermilk.

    It’s similar to making yogurt.

    I use 1 pint of the store bought buttermilk to 1 gallon whole milk.

    After you have made your whole milk buttermilk you won’t need to buy more store bought buttermilk.

    I hope this is of some help.

    1. So as I read this , after I make my first gallon of butter milk with a pint ! I now have a mother, so forever I have butter milk? I’m so amazed, I’m making it right away! Love this

  6. I am excited to find this! I have wanted to try quark for the last 45 years since I learned of it from a young friend traveling from Berlin. I can find very good “Bulgarian style” buttermilk but it has sodium citrate and salt in it. Will that be a problem? Also can you provide instructions on how to make quark with whole milk? I attempted yogurt several times with raw milk and it was not very successful. Would it work for quark? Thanks in advance for your advice!

    1. With the Bulgarian buttermilk you must give it a try, I can’t really tell if it will work. On this blog, there is a second recipe about making quark from whole milk: https://mygerman.recipesmake-quark-from-whole-milk/
      It is ideal to make quark with raw milk. It still contains the bacteria needed. You wouldn’t even need to put anything in there, just let it stand at the right temperature and wait, then strain it as shown in the video. Unfortunately, there is also a health risk, using raw milk and that is why in many parts of the US it is not allowed to sell raw milk. If you can get it at the place where you are living (or have your own cows), give it a try. Just make sure your work very clean!

  7. How do you make it taste more like German Quark. When we make it has more of the buttermilk taste. German Quark that we bought in Germany is sweeter. We wanted to make German Cheesecake, but it taste like a buttermilk cheese cake! Not what we know from Germany! I assume you mix in some Vanilla Extract or honey? If so how much, and if not what?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Jase,
      you can always add more sweetness and definitely vanilla (I love vanilla) but the slightly sour buttermilk taste might stay. The alternative would be to make a Quark from Whole milk. If you have no equiptment, you can do the Kefir method. The recipe is on this blog https://mygerman.recipesmake-quark-from-whole-milk/ . The result is more creamy than real Quark though. The best methode to make Quark, is with a Quark maker. I have explained it in that article, too, and at the end of the page you can find links to the equipment. Some people get quark from putting the milk into the oven with just the oven at 95°C / 200°F and let it stand there for several hours before straining them through a cheesecloth. However, in my opinion, that can only work properly with some Quark cultures added. I have never tried this methode since I have a quark maker and quark cultures.
      Here is another methode, that I haven’t tried yet:
      Mix 1 l whole milk with 50 ml buttermilk.
      Cover, but put a tooth pick between the lid and bowl, so a little air can still get in/out.
      Let stand at a warm place where it will not me moved or touhed. It is important that it stands completely still.
      After 24 hours, then contlinue as described in my recipe with the cheesecloth etc. to make the quark.

      Let me know if you try one of my untried versions and how it turned out.

      1. Dear Barbara,
        I have a Luvele Yoghurt maker and they have a recipe for Quark. You use 1liter of whole milk and mix in 1 cup of whole cultured buttermilk. That works pretty well.

  8. I make Quark by pouring buttermilk into an ovenproof pot, and then putting it (uncovered) in the oven at 200 F for about 3 hours. This separates the solids from the whey and the solid looks like a large block of sour cream sitting in a pool of whey. I then pour everything into a cheesecloth-lined colander and let it drain for about 2 hours, or until the Quark has the consistency I want. It always comes out creamy – no curds. If you squeeze the cheesecloth near the end of the time to expel more of the whey, the Quark will be drier, almost like the Russian “tvarog” cheese, if you’re familiar with that.
    This process requires a bit more time, but I’ve found it pretty foolproof. Guten Appetit!

    1. I’ve heard of that method, too. Some people heat the oven to 200°F and then turn it off and leave the buttermilk in there overnight. The curds seem to only happen with my method if you are using buttermilk with reduced-fat. How is it with your method? Does any kind of buttermilk do?

  9. Christopher A Silver

    I don’t really do the comment thing too much but this subject is too dear to my heart not too. I used to live in germany but was moved back to america at the age of 7. So almost everything I grew up eating was taken away, I’m also not in a part of the u.s. that has access to international foods. Kinder candy is popping up though and it has me wanting to find this German cream cheese or cheese spread I grew up loving so much. It came in a rectangular container with a pull away plaid patterned lid, vaguely remember the plaid color being red or blue maybe even green. I ate it on everything. And when I say it has haunted me that I never knew its name, and my father couldn’t remember, it really has. Then I come across this word quark, and it being made with buttermilk. I remember it being tangy, I thought it was dill but buttermilk is also a possibility. Please help me somehow on this quest of reconnection with a culture that was taken from me. Lol, I feel I’m asking for a lot and not giving much to go off of, but it’s all I have……I just need to talk to a german around my age since I’m sure what I’m describing is no longer being produced. What I remember isnt so white colored. It had a very slightly yellowish or olive tinge to it but that may be from something added to the cheese.

    1. I thank you for talking about something that tastes like the boursin (not sure of spelling) cheese you can buy in the deli sections of supermarkets.
      They have a couple of different flavors the one with the herbs taste close to what I think you are describing.
      I remember what you are talking about but the Name escapes me it is like quark but it has herbs in it maybe some onion , chives stuff like that, salt and pepper ,correct?
      my mom used to make a version of that we would eat with potatoes and Herring Friday night .

      1. I think that would be the Matjes Hering, what your mom made. At least it sounds like it. The Matjes recipe is on the blog, maybe compare?

  10. I made quark using 1 3/4 gallon with buttermilk from grass fed cow. Best you can buy. This was my first time to make it. Other then not using citric acid I think it turned out great. Reminds me of small curd cottage cheese in appearance and maybe also in taste. Very mild. My question is how do you make it look like yogurt? Creamy appearance. Thank you.

    1. Hi Terry,
      I just recently had the same experience with my buttermilk quark: it looked like cottage cheese and it was kind of crumbly. It’s not supposed to be like that and I will have to check the reason. It might be, that I made a mistake when converted the temperature from Celsius to Farenheit – maybe it’s too hot. Did you let your mass dripp over night or did you press it in the cheesecloth? That might influence the result, too.
      I’ll keep you posted!


      1. Hi Barbara, the best way I’ve found to make the quark with a creamy texture is to heat Buttermilk to 46 C in the evening. I then put a lid on the pot and stick it in a warmed but not hot oven. I let it cool and sit at room tempurature overnight, and then strain it for a half hour to 2 hours depending on desired texture. Smooth texture and no grains. My wife is from Holland and they eat this quite often with vanilla or strawberry flavor. My next adventure is some quark taart, a rich Quark Cheesecake!

  11. Please correct spelling from ”seperate” to ”separate”. Easy way to remember…”sep a rat e”….always has ‘a rat’ in it. Thank you. I will try this recipe.

  12. I made this recipe today and followed the instructions but the quark is still basically thickened buttermilk. It never formed up to even the consistency of sour cream. Any ideas??

    1. Hi Page,
      so sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe. It’s hard to tell what went wrong. If you made sure that the buttermilk didn’t get too hot or was still too cold and you followed all instructions here is my guess:
      I have learned from a visitors comment recently, that some buttermilk in the US contain fillers. If your buttermilk had those fillers, this might have caused the problem.
      Let me cite her: ” … make sure you use whole buttermilk without fillers. I have tried to cut corners in the past by using Walmart buttermilk in recipes & their buttermilk is NOT real buttermilk. It has Locust Bean Gum, Modified Food Starch, & Carrageenan. […] I now buy Marburger gourmet buttermilk when in Walmart. It tastes like buttermilk of my youth. It has milk, salt, cultures, & annatto for coloring. Lesson learned.”
      Could this have been the case?
      A better Quark turned out for me when I used the new Quark recipe on my blog, the one from whole milk, turned into kefir. Maybe this will work better for you. But it takes more time from start to finish. Let me know if you have more problems with the Quark, I will try to find the reason and a solution.


    1. Hi Joyce,

      so sorry that you are allergic! Unfortunately, I don’t think that making Quark from milk is possible without casein. The casein is a combination of proteins which basically make the quark (and also cheese). But you could try this recipe that I just looked up on a German website (https://www.kochtrotz.de/sojafreier-veganer-quark-einfaches-rezept/) and makes quark from cashews. I haven’t tried it though, so I hope it works.

      200 g Cashews
      400 ml water (for soaking)
      400 ml water
      1.5 tsp probiotic powder (or 2 capsules) like Primadophilus
      1 pinch of salt
      1-2 jars

      Soak the cashews in the water for at least 4 hours.
      Remove the water and add the cashews to a mixer like a nutri bullet or the like.
      Add about 300 ml of the water (and decide later if you need more) and mix until the consistency is like cream. There shouldn’t be any chunk pieces in it.
      Add the probiotic and mix again.
      Fill into the jars and cover with a cheesecloth or some fabric (needs to let air through).
      Let stand at a warm place for about 16 hours.
      The content of the jar might seem do do nothing or bubble or anything, don’t worry, all is fine. The reaction depends on the sort of probiotic.
      The content should become dense and you should be able to cut with a knife and the cut stays. This means the mass is ripe and ready to go the fridge to rest for 6 hours or overnight.
      Sometimes some whey appears in top or on the bottom. In this case, use a cheesecloth to filter.
      Your vegan quark is ready and you can use it for any Quark recipe.

      Let me know how it worked!

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