These buttermilk substitute options are perfect if you ran out, forgot to buy it, or just need it in a pinch! I can show you how to make easy buttermilk substitutions with ingredients you probably have on hand! Your delicious recipes will still turn out with that wonderful, tangy buttermilk flavor!
Quick & Easy Buttermilk Substitutes
Since it's not always convenient to keep a bit of buttermilk on hand, you may find yourself needing to find an easy-to-use alternative. The key is to find one that fits you personally.
Does it use ingredients you keep on hand? Does it taste right in your favorite buttermilk recipes? If so, then you've found your winning combination!
- Quick & Easy Buttermilk Substitutes
- Best Buttermilk Substitutes
- How To Make A Buttermilk Substitute
- 1. Lemon Juice and Milk (Sour Milk)
- 2. White Vinegar and Milk (Sour Milk)
- 3. Milk and Cream of Tartar (Sour Milk)
- Buttermilk Alternatives
- 4. Plain Yogurt
- 5. Buttermilk Powder and Water
- 6. Sour Cream and Milk
- 7. Kefir
- Dairy-Free Buttermilk Substitutes
- 8. Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 9. Coconut Milk
- 10. Soy Milk
- 11. Silken Tofu
- What To Use When You Don't Have Buttermilk
- Pro Tip: Storing Buttermilk Powder
- 😋 Best Recipes Using Buttermilk
- 📋 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Best Buttermilk Substitutes
In most cases, any milk product will or can work as your base for buttermilk substitutes. Heavy cream is actually my preferred base milk product when making my buttermilk alternatives at home.
I find that the creamy texture with the tangy flavor is best achieved with my heavy cream and lemon juice method. Since I almost always have heavy cream and lemons on hand, this works wonderfully for any of my baking needs!
But I think most would almost always have milk on hand. In that case, picking up a can of buttermilk powder from the baking aisle at your local grocery store would be ideal if you like the taste of buttermilk without having to always keep it stocked at home. 🙂
How To Make A Buttermilk Substitute
The first three options below are all versions of 'sour milk' where acid is added to milk to create the tangy buttermilk flavor. These acids work to transform the lactose sugars of milk into lactic acid, which is the hallmark flavor of buttermilk that we know and love!
If your recipe (and most do) calls for full-fat buttermilk, your best results will come from using higher-fat buttermilk replacement ingredients. Full-fat whole milk, heavy whipping cream, full-fat yogurt, full-fat sour cream, and whole-milk Greek yogurt are recommended.
1. Lemon Juice and Milk (Sour Milk)
Measure out 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add whole milk (or heavy whipping cream for best results, but 2% milk will also work) to finish off the 1 cup total measurement.
Mix completely, and let rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to 'sour' or 'curdle'.
*Both fresh lemon juice and bottled lemon juice will work for making this buttermilk substitution.
*Lactose-free milk can be used with these same measurements. The results will be slightly sweeter than the typical buttermilk.
2. White Vinegar and Milk (Sour Milk)
Measure out 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add whole milk (or heavy whipping cream for best results, but 2% milk will also work) to finish off the 1 cup total measurement.
Mix completely, and let rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to 'sour' or 'curdle'.
3. Milk and Cream of Tartar (Sour Milk)
Use 1¾ teaspoon cream of tartar, added directly to your recipe's dry ingredients (as Cream of Tartar will clump when added to liquids) with each 1 cup of milk (whole or 2% milk).
If you have plenty of time, you can also shake the mixture of cream of tartar and milk until the cream of tartar dissolves completely.
The remaining options below are simple ingredients that you can use to swap out for your buttermilk altogether (rather than making your own buttermilk).
4. Plain Yogurt
Plain yogurt can be swapped out for buttermilk in a 1:1 ratio, depending on your recipe. If you need more moisture, see the measurements below.
Use ¾ cup of plain yogurt combined with ¼ cup whole milk or 2% milk. Mix until smooth.
In general, with either yogurt or Greek yogurt below, you want to add enough milk (or even water) until it reaches a heavy cream consistency.
Can I Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Buttermilk?
Yes! But not in the same 1:1 ratio for replacement as plain yogurt (above). To make a buttermilk substitute using Greek yogurt, you will need to mix ¾ cup Greek yogurt with ¼ cup milk.
OR use this Greek yogurt substitution with equal amounts of Greek yogurt and milk. It will depend on your recipe and how much moisture you need!
5. Buttermilk Powder and Water
Use ¼ cup buttermilk powder combined with 1 cup of water. Mix until smooth. Once your buttermilk powder is fully dissolved and well combined, you can use the mixture in a 1:1 ratio as the buttermilk that is called for in any recipe.
6. Sour Cream and Milk
Use ¾ cup sour cream combined with ¼ cup whole milk, 2% milk, skim milk, or water. Mix until smooth.
Light or full-fat sour cream should be used for this buttermilk substitution. Fat-free sour cream will not yield the desired results.
Kefir is like a liquid yogurt drink and is an exceptional buttermilk substitute. Use plain unsweetened kefir as a 1:1 ratio replacement for buttermilk.
Dairy-Free Buttermilk Substitutes
Here are some great non-dairy milk, soy-free, nut-free, and vegan buttermilk substitutes! Almond milk is a personal favorite, but all of them turn out wonderfully!
8. Unsweetened Almond Milk
Measure out 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into a liquid measuring cup, then top it off with unsweetened almond milk for 1 cup total buttermilk substitute.
Unsweetened almond milk combined with lemon juice will replicate the flavor of buttermilk, but not the consistency.
If you need a thickened buttermilk substitute see the coconut milk, soy milk, or tofu versions below.
9. Coconut Milk
Measure out 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup, then top it off with coconut milk for 1 cup total buttermilk substitute. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes until it 'sours' or 'curdles'.
I personally love this for making a vanilla cake!
10. Soy Milk
Measure out 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup, then top it off with soy milk for 1 cup total buttermilk substitute. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes until it 'sours' or 'curdles'.
Give your sour soy milk a stir before using, then use in a 1:1 equal ratio as buttermilk.
11. Silken Tofu
Use pureed silken tofu combined with ½ cup of water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Mix until smooth.
Use your tofu buttermilk blend in a 1:1 ratio as a buttermilk replacement.
What To Use When You Don't Have Buttermilk
Here's a quick breakdown of everything we discussed above in a simple and quick reference chart!
|1 scant cup of milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice||1 cup of buttermilk|
|1 scant cup of milk + 1 tablespoon of white vinegar||1 cup of buttermilk|
|1 cup of milk + 1¾ teaspoons of cream of tartar||1 cup of buttermilk|
|¼ cup of milk + ¾ cup of plain or Greek yogurt||1 cup of buttermilk|
|1 cup of water + ¼ cup of buttermilk powder||1 cup of buttermilk|
|¼ cup of milk + ¾ cup of sour cream||1 cup of buttermilk|
|1 cup of kefir||1 cup of buttermilk|
|1 scant cup of almond milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice||1 cup of buttermilk|
|1 scant cup of coconut milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice||1 cup of buttermilk|
|1 scant cup of soy milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice||1 cup of buttermilk|
These combinations offer various alternatives to traditional buttermilk, accommodating different dietary preferences and available ingredients. Whether using dairy or plant-based milk, these substitutions can be handy in baking and cooking recipes that call for buttermilk.
Pro Tip: Storing Buttermilk Powder
Opened cans of buttermilk powder will dry and clump up making it difficult to use if stored in the cupboard or pantry. Keep your buttermilk powder in the fridge and it will be perfectly scoopable when you need it!
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With this list of tasty buttermilk alternatives, I'm sure you'll find one that will suit your needs! Leave a comment down below, and let me know what you think!
😋 Best Recipes Using Buttermilk
- Traditional Irish Soda Bread - This 4-ingredient bread requires no yeast and no kneading!
- Strawberry Shortcake - Classic, made-from-scratch strawberry shortcake is perfect for summertime.
- Strawberry Buttermilk Crepes - Sweet and flavorful crepes are a fantastic breakfast treat.
- Raspberry Crepes - Delicious buttermilk crepes are filled with irresistible raspberry whipped cream.
- Apple Cider Pancakes - Buttermilk pancakes are infused with apple cider and then topped off with pan-fried cinnamon apples.
- Buttermilk Pie - A creamy, custard-based pie that is sweet with a touch of tanginess.
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Best Buttermilk Substitutes: Homemade Buttermilk (+More Great Ideas!)
Option 1 - Milk + Lemon Juice (Sour Milk)
- 1 cup whole milk (or 2% milk - not quite a full cup)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh squeezed or bottled lemon juice)
- Combine the milk and lemon juice then mix until smooth. Allow to sour for up to 10 minutes.
- Stir the buttermilk and use in your recipe. *Note that the buttermilk will have a slightly curdled texture and appearance - this is fine!
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!