What Can I Use in Place of Buttermilk?

Modern buttermilk is made by fermenting milk with lactic acid bacteria, but buttermilk was originally a byproduct of butter production.

It has a sourer flavor and a thicker texture than milk, and it is commonly used in the making of baked products such as biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins, and cakes.

Because of the buttermilk, baked goods using buttermilk have an airy and moist quality. Baking soda’s acidity is what makes it operate as a rising agent in recipes, and it also aids in the activation of other baking ingredients.

Despite this, many individuals do not keep it in their homes, while others do not use it because of dietary restrictions.

Surprisingly, you can make buttermilk replacements — either dairy-based or nondairy — with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or refrigerator. These substances can be combined to make buttermilk or buttermilk alternatives.

The following are some great buttermilk substitutes:

seasoned cream

Yes, sour cream can be substituted! Thin it out with milk or water to reach the appropriate consistency: Substitute three-quarters of a cup of sour cream for each cup of buttermilk called for, along with one-fourth of a cup of liquid. Because sour cream has a higher fat content than other varieties of cream, the foods that incorporate it will have a more luxurious flavor. Include this ingredient in dipping sauces and salad dressings for a delicious flavor.

The marriage of milk and lemon juice.

Because I always have milk and lemons on hand, this is the most common buttermilk substitute I use. Making buttermilk with an easy and reliable hack that requires sour milk created by the application of an acid.

To create, place 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup, then add enough whole or low-fat milk to make 1 cup.

After giving the mixture a short toss to combine the ingredients, set it alone at room temperature for a few minutes to thicken and curdle.

To attain the desired effects, use this mixture in any recipe that calls for 1 cup of buttermilk.

Lactic acidified milk

Because of the chemical reaction that occurs between baking soda and lactic acids, many different baking recipes include buttermilk as an ingredient.

Do you recall building model volcanoes in science class when you were in elementary school? When vinegar is mixed with baking soda, a large number of bubbles swiftly rise to the container’s surface.

Similarly, although not as dramatically, when baking soda and acidified dairy are combined in a batter, they produce carbon dioxide bubbles that help leaven and lighten whatever you’re making — this is true adult baking magic!

To make a material that is functionally identical to buttermilk, fill a liquid measuring cup halfway with lemon juice, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. Fill the cup halfway with whole milk to make the total volume one cup.

After combining the ingredients, leave them aside for five minutes before using. If you wait too long, the milk may curdle; all you need to do to recombine the ingredients is whisk or shake the mixture, and then proceed with the recipe. This buttermilk substitute can also be used in place of a vegan buttermilk substitute by substituting it with a nondairy milk such as oat or almond milk.

Making use of white vinegar and milk

Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a scant cup of whole milk or 2% milk that you have previously weighed out. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes after stirring to allow the flavors to develop. Because vinegar includes acid, the milk will become slightly curdled as a result.

buttermilk powder and water

Buttermilk can be purchased in powdered or dry form, and then reconstituted by combining it with water as indicated on the product’s container.

Buttermilk should be produced by combining 1/4 cup (30 grams) powdered buttermilk and 1 cup (240 mL) water. This should yield 1 cup (240 mL) buttermilk.

When using powdered buttermilk instead of liquid buttermilk in baking, it is best to combine the powder with the other dry ingredients first, and then add the water at the point where you would normally add the liquid buttermilk.


Kefir, like buttermilk, is a fermented milk product. Because both buttermilk and kefir are created from fermented milk, their flavor profiles and textures are remarkably similar.

As a result, it is an excellent substitute for buttermilk in recipes that ask for the exact same amount of each ingredient.

You can use full milk or low-fat kefir; however, neither of these ingredients should be flavored or sweetened in any manner.

Don’t forget to finish off any leftover buttermilk.

If you can only use buttermilk and buy some just to discover that you have a lot of it left over, you will notice that buttermilk keeps for a longer period of time than milk. If it becomes separated, giving it a quick and vigorous shake will enable it to come back together.

You have the option of storing any leftover buttermilk if you won’t be able to use it all up in a timely manner (we recommend freezing in 1-cup servings or by the tablespoon in an ice cube tray, so you can defrost only what you need).

If you want, you can keep powdered buttermilk in your pantry. Because it can be stored at room temperature for an extended period of time, all you have to do to prepare it is add water and measure out the exact amount required in a recipe.


If you don’t usually buy buttermilk or have dietary restrictions, making buttermilk alternatives at home is simple. Buttermilk is a valuable ingredient for providing baked items a thick texture and depth of flavor, but if you don’t usually buy it or have certain restrictions, replacements are simple to make.

A buttermilk replacement requires an acidic component, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar, and a watery component, such as milk from dairy cows or milk from plants.

If you want to investigate one of these options further, try it the next time you’re in the kitchen baking something.



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