How to Make Buttermilk

Learn how to make buttermilk with just two ingredients. This simple method for making a buttermilk substitute comes together in just ten minutes and can be used in all your favorite buttermilk recipes.

How to make buttermilk substitute from milk and lemon juice, vinegar or yogurt.

I love baking with buttermilk, but it’s not an ingredient that I always keep on hand in my refrigerator. So what do I do when I get a craving for buttermilk pancakes or homemade biscuits? I make this easy buttermilk substitute.

What is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk has a tangy flavor and it is often used for flavor in recipes.

Originally, buttermilk was the slightly sour liquid left behind after cream was churned into butter.

Today, the buttermilk that you buy in the store is cultured buttermilk, made by adding cultures to milk that transform it into buttermilk.

Buttermilk can be used to create light and tender baked goods, such as muffins, pancakes and biscuits. The acidic buttermilk reacts with leaveners in your recipe such as baking soda to help baked goods rise.

You can also use buttermilk to add a tangy flavor to homemade ranch dressing, buttermilk waffles or homemade strawberry shortcake.

 

Pouring homemade buttermilk substitute into a bowl.

How to Make Buttermilk

To make this buttermilk recipe you will need milk and an acid such as lemon juice, white vinegar or even plain yogurt. Lemon juice is my preference, but it’s convenient to have other options for those times when you don’t have lemons or lemon juice on hand.

You will combine your acid and milk in one step and then wait about ten minutes.

You can use any type of milk to make your buttermilk. I usually use whole milk because that is what I buy for my family. You can also use 2% milk, skim milk, almond milk or soy milk.

Your homemade buttermilk won’t be quite as thick as the buttermilk you buy at the store, but it will perform the same role in all your favorite buttermilk recipes.

 

How to make buttermilk with milk and lemon juice.

How to make buttermilk with lemon juice or white vinegar:

  • Pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into a liquid measuring cup.
  • Add milk until the total volume is 1 cup. Stir.
  • Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, until it curdles and slightly thickens.

Homemade buttermilk substitute made with milk and lemon juice.

How to make a substitute for buttermilk

To make buttermilk with plain yogurt:

  • Add 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt or 3/4 cup of regular plain yogurt (unsweetened) to a liquid measuring cup.
  • Add milk until the total volume is 1 cup. Whisk until smooth.

Dairy-Free Buttermilk

To make a dairy-free buttermilk, use your non-dairy milk of choice in this recipe, such as almond milk or soy milk. Use the lemon juice or vinegar method above, not the yogurt method if making non-dairy buttermilk.

Tips for Making Buttermilk Substitute

  • You can scale this recipe up or down to make more or less buttermilk.
  • Store your homemade buttermilk in your refrigerator for up to one week. Keep it sealed in a jar or other container with a lid. I use mason jars (they are also great for storing salad dressings and we use them as drinking glasses).
  • Use non-dairy milk and lemon juice or vinegar to make dairy-free buttermilk.
  • Use this buttermilk in place of store bought buttermilk or milk in your favorite recipes for pancakes, waffles, muffins and breads.

How to use Buttermilk Substitute in any recipe:

Use this homemade buttermilk recipe as an equal substitute for buttermilk in all your favorite recipes. So easy!

More recipes that use Buttermilk

If you enjoyed learning about making a substitute for buttermilk, you might like to see more cooking basics posts.

How to Make Buttermilk

How to make buttermilk substitute with just two ingredients in about ten minutes. A simple method for making a buttermilk to use in your favorite recipes.
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword buttermilk, buttermilk substitute, how to make buttermilk
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings 1 cup
Calories 154kcal

Ingredients

To make buttermilk with lemon juice or vinegar:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 cup milk whole, 2% or skim

To make buttermilk with yogurt:

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or 3/4 cup regular plain yogurt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk

Instructions

To make buttermilk with lemon juice or vinegar:

  • Put 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup.
  • Add milk to make 1 cup total. Stir.
  • Let stand 10 minutes, until curdled and slightly thickened.

To make buttermilk with yogurt:

  • Add plain Greek yogurt or regular plain yogurt to a liquid measuring cup.
  • Add milk to make 1 cup total.
  • Whisk until smooth.

Notes

  • To make non-dairy buttermilk, use almond milk or soy milk in place of the milk. (Use the lemon juice/vinegar method.)
  • You can store your homemade buttermilk in your refrigerator for up to one week, sealed in a jar or other container with a lid.
  • Recipe can be doubled or otherwise scaled up to make more buttermilk.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 105mg | Sugar: 13g
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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How to make buttermilk with milk and lemon juice.

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