7 Substitutes for Buttermilk in Your Kitchen


Best buttermilk substitute are acidified milk, watered-down sour cream, kefir, cream of tartar and milk, lemon juice and milk, white vinegar and milk.

Buttermilk is an important and popular ingredient in baking. It adds flavor to your dish and makes cakes moist, fluffy and rich in taste. Buttermilk is used to make pancakes, waffles, cupcakes, pound cakes, breads, scones and cakes. Buttermilk has a slightly acidic quality which helps in breaking down the long and tough strands of gluten while baking. While baking muffins, it prevents cherries and almonds from acquiring a blue tinge and makes your presentation flawless.
The lactic acid content in the buttermilk helps in adding a soft, rich and creamy texture to what you are baking. It also adds to the flavor as its hint of tardiness cuts through the excess sweetness in most desserts and balances the flavor.

However, buttermilk is not a primary essential for baking as there are elements in your kitchen that you can use instead of buttermilk. Maybe you have a recipe that requires only a little amount of buttermilk, and you do not want to buy the whole packet. Or maybe you notice while you are in the middle of baking that your recipe requires buttermilk and you do not have it. In that case, do not panic. Use these easy substitutes as hassle free replacement for buttermilk and enjoy your recipe!

7 Simple Homemade Buttermilk Substitute

buttermilk substitute

Acidified Milk

Milk is one ingredient readily available in your kitchen. Add one tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough milk until it measures up to 1 cup. Stir this mixture slowly. Let the mixture sit for five minutes before using. This buttermilk replacement can be created with non-dairy milks.

When baking soda and acidified dairy are combined in a batter, they release carbon dioxide bubbles that help lighten whatever you’re baking. Using acidified milk as a substitute for buttermilk makes what you are making fluffy and light, but it may not be an exact taste of buttermilk.


Yogurt diluted with water

Yogurt is an essential item in every kitchen, especially for people who are conscious about their health. To use yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk in baking you need to mix a little amount of milk or water with plain, unsweetened, unflavored yogurt and continue whisking it until you get a buttermilk-like consistency. The exact proportion of yogurt to milk or water will depend on the thickness of your yogurt. Usually it should be 1/4th of the liquid with 3/4 cup of the yogurt. In case of Greek yogurt you will need slightly more water or milk to reach your desired consistency.

Watered-Down Sour Cream

Sour cream is obtained by fermenting regular cream with certain kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The acidic content in sour cream makes it a wonderful replacement for buttermilk in the kitchen. It is more acidic and thicker than regular cream. To substitute buttermilk with watered down sour cream, mix equal parts of sour cream and water. If you want a thicker consistency, use a mixture of 3/4 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup plain water and whisk to get buttermilk like consistency. Then use as you would use buttermilk. This is a good replacement for buttermilk in pancakes and coffee cakes.


Kefir is a fermented milk drink, traditionally made by mixing cow’s milk or goat’s milk with a yeast or bacterial fermentation. It has high nutrient and probiotic content. You need to make no adjustments to use kefir as a replacement for buttermilk. Simply substitute equal parts kefir for buttermilk in any recipe. Only make sure you are using unsweetened, unflavored kefir for a close substitute of buttermilk in baking.

Cream of Tartar and Milk

Potassium bitartrate, popularly known as cream of tartar is another ingredient commonly used in baking.  To use cream of tartar as a substitute for buttermilk, fill up 1 teaspoon up to 3/4th its capacity with cream of tartar and add that to one cup of milk. Let the mixture rest for 5 to 10 minutes until it has slightly thickened and curdled. The tartaric acid content makes it an ideal replacement for buttermilk in baking.

Lemon juice and milk

Lemon juice is high in its content of citric acid and can be a good replacement for buttermilk in the kitchen. Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice into a measuring cup. Then add one cup of milk to the mixture and let it rest for 5 minutes. After resting for five minutes at room temperature, the mixture will have thickened and curdled lightly. Now you are ready to use this as a replacement for buttermilk.

White vinegar and milk

White vinegar is a good substitute for buttermilk because of its content of acetic acid. White vinegar is commonly used for cooking hence it is one item that is easily available in any kitchen. To use white vinegar as a substitute for buttermilk add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk.


Stir the mixture together slowly and let rest for 5 minutes. After resting for 5 minutes at room temperature you will understand it is ready to use when the mixture has thickened slightly and you can see small curdled bits. Use this mixture as you would use buttermilk for your recipe.

All these substitutes are readily available in our kitchen and require very little effort. These substitutes are not time-consuming at all, and help you to bake your favorite recipe without worrying about the lack of buttermilk. Use these substitutes for buttermilk to enjoy fluffy and creamy baked goods from your kitchen.




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