The quickest and easiest way to make a homemade buttermilk substitute with just two ingredients.
Hey, friends, today we’re going to chat about the whys and hows of making a homemade buttermilk substitute. But if you’re in the middle of a recipe and just need that info quick, here you go:
Buttermilk Substitute Ratio
Add the following amount of lemon juice (fresh or bottled) or white vinegar to your measuring cup and fill the cup the rest of the way with milk, stir, and continue baking.
For 1 cup of buttermilk use 1 tablespoon lemon juice/vinegar and fill the rest of the way with milk
3/4 cup use 2 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice/vinegar
2/3 cup use 2 teaspoons lemon juice/vinegar
1/2 cup use 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice/vinegar
1/3 cup use 1 teaspoon lemon juice/vinegar
1/4 cup use 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice/vinegar
Okay, back to our buttermilk chat.
What is buttermilk?
Traditional buttermilk is the liquid left behind after churning cream into butter, but these days most of the buttermilk we consume is what’s called cultured buttermilk.
Cultured buttermilk is pasteurized milk with added bacteria cultures to create the thickened, tangy milk that makes our pancakes and waffles taste so good.
The “homemade buttermilk” we’re making today is not true buttermilk, but you can use it pretty much anywhere you’d use regular store-bought buttermilk (except for drinking).
Wait, can I just use milk instead of buttermilk in baking?
Usually no. Buttermilk does more than just add moisture to a recipe. It’s also acidic which helps activate some leaveners (the things that make your baked goods rise) in baking. Without that acidic ingredient, your recipe won’t bake up properly.
This is why when making a buttermilk substitute with milk you add acid in the form of lemon juice or vinegar so your homemade buttermilk can serve all the functions of buttermilk in a recipe.
How long will homemade buttermilk last?
Homemade buttermilk will keep for about a week in an airtight container in your fridge.
However, personally, I prefer to just make it when I need it since it’s hard to tell whether it’s gone off or not because it’s already slightly curdled and sour smelling.
But if you have leftovers you want to use up, check out this post: What to Do With Leftover Buttermilk.
Can you make buttermilk with non-dairy milks?
Yes! Use the same ratio of lemon juice/vinegar to non-dairy milk as you would regular milk. BUT if a recipe specifically calls for whole milk, you may want to use a higher fat/creamier non-dairy milk like cashew, soy, or coconut milk.
Recipes to Make With Homemade Buttermilk Substitute
Here are a few of my favorite recipes you can make with your homemade buttermilk:
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- 1 tablespoon lemon juice OR white vinegar
- Scant 1 cup milk any percentage is fine
- Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to a 1-cup measuring cup.
- Fill the cup the rest of the way with milk.
- Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Use as you would buttermilk.
- 3/4 cup use 2 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice/vinegar
- 2/3 cup use 2 teaspoons lemon juice/vinegar
- 1/2 cup use 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice/vinegar
- 1/3 cup use 1 teaspoon lemon juice/vinegar
- 1/4 cup use 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice/vinegar
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Anita Blanchette says
Can you use skim milk to make buttermilk substitute?
Yup. Skim milk will work just fine.
Can you use homemade butter milk in homemade coleslaw recipe?
You can, but the taste won’t be exactly the same. Some people don’t mind the difference, but I’ve heard from others that aren’t fans. I’d try a small batch and see where you fall before making a giant bowl of it.
Barbara Houle says
Thank you, Tracy! Very helpful!!
You’re welcome! I’m so glad you found it useful!!
Can you use heavy cream?
Yes, you can use heavy cream here.
Hi, it’s a bit counterintuitive to me that the smaller the milk portion the bigger the lemon/vinegar one. Can you explain why? Thanks!
Hi Maite. The less milk you use, the less vinegar/lemon juice you’ll use. The measurement unit drops from a tablespoon down to teaspoons.
Oh, I see. Thank you.