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15 Must-Try Substitutes for Buttermilk in Your Favorite Recipes

Ever found yourself ready to bake or cook, only to realize you’re fresh out of buttermilk? Don’t let that halt your culinary adventures! This guide is all about finding the perfect buttermilk substitutes to keep your dishes deliciously on track. Whether it’s for pancakes, dressings, or marinated meats, we’ve got you covered with a variety of alternatives that will blend seamlessly into your recipes.

buttermilk substitutes

Dive into our list of kitchen-tested buttermilk replacement options that promise to save the day:

  • Homemade buttermilk mixtures using milk and vinegar or lemon juice
  • Creamy yogurt or sour cream thinned with water
  • The tangy twist of kefir as a nutritious stand-in
  • Plant-based milk alternatives for a dairy-free solution

… and several more creative swaps!

buttermilk alternatives

This compilation is your ultimate resource for those moments when you need a buttermilk alternative that doesn’t compromise on taste or texture. Perfect for bakers, cooks, and anyone eager to keep their kitchen running smoothly without last-minute grocery runs. Get ready to explore these foolproof substitutes for buttermilk that will ensure your cooking and baking never misses a beat.

Milk and Vinegar

To make a buttermilk substitute, simply add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Next, pour in enough milk until it measures 1 cup. Let the mixture sit for about 10 to 15 minutes until it thickens slightly and curdles. Your homemade buttermilk is now ready to use in your favorite recipes.

Milk and Lemon Juice

A pitcher of milk and a bowl of lemon juice sit on a kitchen counter. The lemon juice is being poured into the milk, creating a buttermilk substitute

Milk and lemon juice work as an excellent buttermilk substitute. To make it, mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, then let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow the milk to “sour.” This process mimics buttermilk’s fermentation, creating a more acidic substitute perfect for baking.

Milk and Cream of Tartar

A bowl of milk with a spoonful of cream of tartar being stirred in

Milk and cream of tartar can serve as a buttermilk substitute. Combine 1 cup of milk with 1 3/4 teaspoons (5 grams) of cream of tartar. Mix well and let it sit for a few minutes before using it in your recipe. This mixture offers a similar acidity to buttermilk, making it a helpful alternative.

Lactose-Free Milk and Acid

A glass of lactose-free milk and a bowl of acid substitutes for buttermilk on a kitchen counter

Lactose-free milk and acid make a great buttermilk substitute for those with lactose intolerance. Combine 1 cup of lactose-free milk with 1 tablespoon of acid. Common acids include:

  • Lemon juice
  • White vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar

Stir well, and let the mixture sit for a few minutes to thicken. Use this blend in your recipes as a one-to-one replacement for buttermilk.

Sour Cream and Water

A bowl of sour cream and a pitcher of water sit on a kitchen counter, ready to be used as substitutes for buttermilk in a recipe

Here’s a quick buttermilk substitute: Mix 3/4 cup of sour cream with 1/4 cup of water. This creates a tangy and creamy liquid, similar in taste and consistency to buttermilk. Use this mixture as a 1:1 substitute for buttermilk in your recipes.

Plain Yogurt and Water

A bowl of plain yogurt and a glass of water sit on a kitchen counter, ready to be used as substitutes for buttermilk in a recipe

Short on buttermilk? Plain yogurt mixed with water is an excellent alternative. Just combine equal parts yogurt and water to create a similar consistency to buttermilk. This substitute works well in recipes like pancakes, muffins, and scones.

Remember to whisk the mixture for even incorporation. You’ll love how yogurt tenderizes meat in marinades, too!

Kefir

A glass of kefir sits next to a measuring cup of vinegar, with a bowl of milk in the background

Kefir is a fantastic alternative to buttermilk, especially for baking. Its similar taste, acidity, and texture make it a seamless substitute in recipes like scones or biscuits.

To use kefir as a buttermilk replacement, simply swap it at a 1:1 ratio in your recipe. This will give your baked goods a light and fluffy texture, just like buttermilk would.

Give kefir a try next time you need a buttermilk substitute for a delicious and satisfying result.

Buttermilk Powder

A bowl of buttermilk powder next to a measuring spoon and a liquid measuring cup filled with water. A whisk sits nearby, ready to mix the powder and water together

Buttermilk powder is the dehydrated form of liquid buttermilk, a byproduct of butter-making. It’s perfect for baking and can be a convenient alternative to fresh buttermilk. If you run out of buttermilk powder, don’t worry. You can make a substitute with ease:

  1. Milk + Lemon juice: Mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.
  2. Milk + White vinegar: Combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Let it sit for a similar thickening effect.

Choose the substitute that best fits your needs and continue baking with confidence!

Acidified Milk

A glass of milk with added acid, curdling into a buttermilk substitute

Acidified milk is a simple but effective buttermilk substitute. To make it, mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes to thicken and sour, then it’s ready to use in your recipe. This alternative maintains a similar acidity and offers a comparable effect in baking.

Plain Yogurt + Water

A bowl of plain yogurt sits next to a pitcher of water. A spoon stirs the two together, creating a creamy buttermilk substitute

Plain yogurt thinned with water is a great substitute for buttermilk. This combination keeps the desired tanginess and acidity while maintaining a similar consistency. To replicate 1 cup of buttermilk, use:

  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup water

Mix these ingredients well and adjust the ratio based on the thickness of your yogurt and the requirements of your recipe. This substitute works well in baked goods, pancakes, muffins, scones, biscuits, and marinades, ensuring tender and delightful outcomes.

Sour Cream + Water

Sour cream mixed with water is an excellent buttermilk alternative. Combine 1/2 cup of sour cream with 1/2 cup of water for a 1 cup buttermilk substitute. This mixture works well for both baking and savory recipes, providing a similar tanginess and creaminess as buttermilk.

Kefir

Kefir is an excellent choice for substituting buttermilk. It has a tangy taste, similar texture, and acidity – properties that make it an effective buttermilk replacement. Simply swap kefir 1:1 in recipes requiring buttermilk.

Use kefir in:

Remember: Keep portions equal to maintain consistency and flavor.

Cream of Tartar + Regular Milk

A bowl of regular milk with cream of tartar mixed in, sitting next to a container of buttermilk

Want a quick buttermilk substitute? Use cream of tartar and regular milk. For every cup (240 mL) of milk, add 1 3/4 teaspoons (5 grams) of cream of tartar. This blend mimics buttermilk’s acidity and tanginess, ideal for baking and cooking. Just mix well and let it sit for a few minutes before using it in your recipe. Voilà, a simple and effective alternative!

Unsweetened Soy Milk and Acid

Unsweetened soy milk can be a handy substitute for buttermilk. To create this alternative, mix 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of lemon juice or vinegar with soy milk up to the 1-cup line (240 mL). Another option is using 1 3/4 teaspoons (5 grams) of cream of tartar as the acid. Enjoy your vegan-friendly buttermilk substitute!

Unsweetened Coconut Milk and Acid

In a pinch, unsweetened coconut milk and an acid like lemon juice or vinegar can work as a buttermilk substitute. Use equal parts of both, typically 1 cup of coconut milk combined with 1 tablespoon of acid. Mixing them produces the desired acidity and thickness, making it suitable for various recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I create a buttermilk substitute using vinegar or lemon juice?

Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes until it thickens slightly and curdles.

What is the ratio of yogurt to water to replace buttermilk in a recipe?

Mix equal parts yogurt and water (e.g., 1/2 cup yogurt to 1/2 cup water) to achieve the desired consistency.

Can sour cream be diluted to use as a buttermilk alternative in baking?

Yes, dilute sour cream with a little milk or cream to reach a pourable consistency.

Is it possible to use milk in place of buttermilk, and what are the implications for taste and texture?

Using milk instead of buttermilk may yield a different taste and texture, as buttermilk’s acidity reacts with baking soda for leavening.

How does the acidity of buttermilk affect the outcome of baked goods?

Buttermilk’s acidity helps with leavening and tenderizing, producing moist and tender baked goods.

Can heavy cream be modified to mimic buttermilk in recipes?

Yes, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of heavy cream to create a buttermilk substitute.

CEO at Happy Muncher | benjamin@happymuncher.com | Website | + posts

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.