Substitutes for ButtermilkSubstitutes for Buttermilk

When it comes to baking and cooking, buttermilk has long been a kitchen staple. Its tangy flavor and creamy texture can elevate the taste of a wide range of dishes. But what if you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply out of buttermilk and need a quick substitute? Fear not we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will explore some surprising and delightful Substitutes for Buttermilk that will keep your recipes flavorful and your culinary adventures dairy-free.

Why Use Buttermilk in Recipes?

Before we delve into the substitutes, let’s understand why buttermilk is a popular ingredient in cooking and baking. Buttermilk is known for its tangy flavor and its ability to make baked goods tender and moist. It’s commonly used in recipes for pancakes, waffles, biscuits, and more. How should you proceed in situations where it’s unavailable? Let’s find out!

Here Are 10 Substitutes for Buttermilk

1. Plain Yogurt

One of the closest substitutes for buttermilk is plain yogurt. Its tangy taste and similar consistency make it an excellent replacement in both baking and cooking. Simply use an equal amount of plain yogurt as you would buttermilk in your recipes. If you’re making a savory dish, you can also add a pinch of salt to mimic the flavor of buttermilk more closely.

2. Milk and Vinegar

For a homemade buttermilk substitute, mix one cup of milk with one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it curdles. This mixture replicates the acidity of buttermilk and can be used in recipes without compromising the taste or texture.

3. Milk and Cream of Tartar

Mix one cup of milk with 1.5 teaspoons of cream of tartar for another easy buttermilk alternative. This combination works particularly well in recipes that require a leavening agent, like pancakes and biscuits.

4. Almond Milk

If you’re looking for a dairy-free and vegan-friendly option, almond milk can be your go-to choice. Its nutty flavor can add a unique dimension to your recipes. For optimal outcomes, make sure it’s devoid of sweeteners and flavors.

5. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is another excellent dairy-free option for replacing buttermilk. Its rich and creamy texture pairs wonderfully with both sweet and savory dishes, especially in recipes with tropical or Asian influences.

6. Sour Cream

Sour cream is thicker than buttermilk but still works well as a substitute. Dilute it with a bit of water to achieve a similar consistency. It’s an excellent choice for recipes like salad dressings and dips.

7. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk product that is similar to buttermilk in taste and consistency. It’s not only a great substitute but also packed with probiotics, making it a healthy choice for your recipes.

8. Tofu

Surprisingly, tofu can serve as a buttermilk substitute in certain recipes. Blend soft tofu with a little water to achieve a thin consistency, and you’ll have a dairy-free alternative for your culinary creations.

9. Lemon Juice and Milk

Mixing lemon juice and milk can also create a buttermilk-like replacement. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of milk, stir, and let it sit for a few minutes before using it in your recipe.

10. Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is a luxurious and dairy-free alternative that can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. Simply blend cashews with water until you get the desired consistency, and voilĂ !

Substitutes for Buttermilk in Baking

1. 1 Cup Buttermilk Substitute

A straightforward way to replace buttermilk in a recipe is to create a homemade substitute. To make 1 cup of buttermilk substitute, follow these steps:


  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice


  1. Pour the milk into a measuring cup.
  2. Incorporate a single tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into the milk.
  3. Stir well and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it thickens and curdles.
  4. Your 1-cup buttermilk substitute is ready to use.

2. What Happens If You Use Milk Instead of Buttermilk?

If you don’t have any buttermilk or a suitable substitute on hand, you can use regular milk in your recipe. However, keep in mind that the acidity and tanginess of buttermilk may be lacking. To compensate, you can try adding a little extra lemon juice or vinegar to the milk to mimic the acidity of buttermilk.

3. Buttermilk Substitute for Cake

Buttermilk is often used in cake recipes to add moisture and tenderness. If you need to substitute it in a cake recipe, consider using one of the following alternatives:

  • Yogurt: Greek yogurt or regular yogurt can be used as a 1:1 replacement for buttermilk.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream can add a rich and tangy flavor to your cake. Use it as a 1:1 replacement for buttermilk.

4. Buttermilk Substitute with Vinegar

Vinegar is a fantastic ingredient to use as a buttermilk substitute. It adds acidity and tang to your recipes, similar to what buttermilk does. To make a buttermilk substitute with vinegar, use this simple recipe:


  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar


  1. Mix the milk and vinegar within a measuring container.
  2. Stir well and let it sit for about 5 minutes to curdle.
  3. Your buttermilk substitute with vinegar is ready to use.


What can you use in place of buttermilk?

When you’re out of buttermilk, there are several excellent substitutes you can turn to. Some of the best options include plain yogurt, a mixture of milk and vinegar or lemon juice, milk and cream of tartar, almond milk, coconut milk, sour cream, kefir, tofu, lemon juice and milk, and even cashew cream. Each of these alternatives can mimic the flavor and texture of buttermilk in your recipes, ensuring your culinary creations remain delicious.

Can I substitute buttermilk for milk?

Yes, you can substitute buttermilk for milk in many recipes, but it’s essential to be aware of the differences. Buttermilk is more acidic and has a thicker consistency than regular milk. So, when using buttermilk as a milk substitute, consider diluting it with a bit of water to match the consistency of milk. This substitution can work well in recipes like pancakes, muffins, and waffles, adding a delightful tangy flavor.

What is a substitute for 1/2 cup of buttermilk?

If you need to substitute 1/2 cup of buttermilk, you can create your own buttermilk alternative at home. Combine 1/2 cup of milk with approximately 1.5 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it curdles. This homemade version closely replicates the properties of buttermilk and can be used in your recipes effectively.

How is buttermilk made?

Buttermilk is traditionally made by churning butter from cream. As the butter is separated, the liquid left behind is what we know as buttermilk. This cultured buttermilk typically found in stores today is made by fermenting low-fat milk with lactic acid bacteria. The lactic acid bacteria convert the lactose in the milk into lactic acid, giving buttermilk its tangy flavor and slightly thick consistency.

Can I use yogurt instead of buttermilk?

Yes, you can use plain yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk in your recipes. The tangy flavor and similar consistency of yogurt make it an excellent alternative. Just use an equal amount of plain yogurt as you would buttermilk in your dishes. It works well in both sweet and savory recipes, providing a delightful taste and texture to your culinary creations.

Can I use Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk?

Greek yogurt can also be used as a substitute for buttermilk. However, since Greek yogurt is thicker than regular plain yogurt, you may need to thin it out with a bit of water to achieve a consistency similar to buttermilk. The tangy and creamy properties of Greek yogurt make it a suitable alternative in recipes, adding a unique flavor to your dishes while keeping them creamy and delicious.


In conclusion, there are plenty of surprising and delightful substitutes for buttermilk that cater to a variety of dietary preferences and needs. Whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply looking to try something new, these alternatives will ensure your recipes remain flavorful and enjoyable. So, the next time you find yourself without buttermilk, reach for one of these substitutes and watch your culinary creations soar to new heights. Happy cooking!

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