September 30, 2020

With its tangy flavor and thick consistency, buttermilk is an essential ingredient in baked goods such as biscuits, cakes, and muffins.

I also love using it in my breakfast pancakes and waffles. If it weren’t for buttermilk, then you wouldn’t be able to achieve the light, tender, and moist texture in most of these cooked foods. 

However, at times, you won’t have any buttermilk at home, or you might have certain dietary restrictions that will prevent you from having it. 

As such, there’s a wide array of buttermilk substitutes that you can use in your cooking instead.

So, let’s take a look at eight ingredients that you can use as a buttermilk replacement:

The best buttermilk substitutes

Here are eight great substitutes for buttermilk.

1. Milk and lemon juice or vinegar

You can combine some freshly squeezed lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in some milk and use that as a substitute for buttermilk. 

For 1 cup of this buttermilk alternative, you can add 1T of lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup of milk and stir the mixture. Make sure to use low-fat milk if your recipe calls for low-fat buttermilk.

Let the mixture sit for about 5 to 10 minutes before adding it to your recipe. 

Alternatively, you can use lactose-free milk to prepare your buttermilk substitute. However, it will taste a bit sweet. 

Just add 1T of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of lactose-free milk to prepare homemade lactose-free buttermilk. 

2. Unsweetened coconut, almond, or cashew milk with lemon juice

You can use a type of non-dairy milk such as unsweetened coconut, cashew, or almond milk to prepare your buttermilk substitute at home.

Just add 1T of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of unsweetened dairy-free milk to prepare non-dairy buttermilk.

3. Milk and cream of tartar

Cream of tartar can also be used to prepare a substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Whisk 1 ¾ T of cream of tartar into one cup of milk and use it in your recipe. You can also mix cream of tartar with other dry ingredients and then add it to the milk to avoid clumping.

4. Plain kefir

You can also use plain, unflavored kefir instead of buttermilk in your recipes. It looks and tastes quite similar to buttermilk.

Substitute equal parts of kefir for buttermilk in any recipe. Just make sure that it’s unsweetened so that it doesn’t change the taste of the dish.

5. Sour cream and water or milk

Sour cream has a tangy flavor that’s quite similar to the taste of buttermilk.

However, sour cream has a much richer consistency than buttermilk. This is why you must thin it down with some milk or water before using it as a buttermilk replacement.

Put ¼ cup of milk or water in ¾ cup of sour cream and whisk the mixture until it’s smooth.

If you want a vegan alternative, you can use 
vegan sour cream and water as a substitute for buttermilk. You can adjust the proportions of the sour cream and water according to the thickness that you want.

6. Unsweetened soy milk and lemon juice

If you are still asking yourself, “what is a good substitute for buttermilk that’s vegan and dairy-free?” then try using a concoction made of unsweetened soy milk and lemon juice. 

Add 1T of vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice to 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk to prepare 1 cup of dairy-free buttermilk.

7. Plain yogurt and water or milk

Yogurt has an acidic, tangy taste that’s quite similar to the taste of buttermilk. You can use plain, unflavored, and unsweetened yogurt instead of buttermilk in your recipes.

If you want a thinner consistency, however, you can add some water to the yogurt. Thinning the yogurt works best in recipes that require a light batter.

Combine ¼ cup of water with ¾ cup of plain yogurt and whisk them together until they make a smooth blend.

8. Tofu, water, and lemon juice

You can also use tofu to prepare a vegan substitute for buttermilk. Puree some water, tofu, vinegar, or lemon juice to prepare the vegan buttermilk. 

Put ¼ cup of soft, silken tofu, 1T of freshly squeezed lemon juice. And ¾ cup of water in a blender and blend them until you get a puree. 

Use this tofu puree instead of buttermilk in your recipes.

The bottom line

Whether you don’t have buttermilk on hand or you simply don’t use it due to dietary restrictions, these substitutes we’ve gathered should fit the bill.

What’s more, these alternatives are as flexible as buttermilk!

I hope you enjoyed reading this guide on the ingredients that you can use as a buttermilk substitute. So, the next time you run out of buttermilk or can’t have it for some reason, then refer to the aforementioned list to find the perfect buttermilk replacement for your recipe! 

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About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

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