Learn How To Make Buttermilk at home using three simple buttermilk substitute recipes that you can easily whip up in no time. A must-have on your next baking session or pancake cravings! No need to buy an entire carton of buttermilk and let it go to waste when you only need a cup of it.
It’s not that every day that we get to encounter a recipe using buttermilk. But when we do, we kinda stop and talk ourselves out of just skipping the recipe ’cause practically who would buy a carton or gallon of buttermilk when you only need a cup of it.
I bet you could already imagine how your leftover buttermilk would glare at you every time you open your fridge. And then it would just always (and always) end up in the garbage can. Agree?
You don’t need to buy one anymore when you can make one at home using three (3) simple buttermilk substitutes. Yes, three!
Making your own buttermilk is as easy as mixing and stirring. That’s it! And I’ll also include some recipes that you can use it for. (You can thank me later.😉)
What is Buttermilk?
I’ve been asked more too often what can be a good substitute for buttermilk. ‘Cause honestly, I’m a huge buttermilk fan and I use it most of the time, not just in baking.
So I’ve decided to finally make a separate post all about buttermilk.
Originally, buttermilk is the leftover liquid after butter is churned out of cultured cream. It is slightly thick and mildly sour as unpasteurized cream ripens as it sat for a few days before churning.
The naturally occurring bacteria caused the liquid to ferment by converting milk sugars into lactic acid. But nowadays, most store-bought buttermilk is already cultured buttermilk which means bacteria is added to induce fermentation. This results in a thicker and tangier buttermilk, unlike the old times.
But for those of our friends who don’t have buttermilk readily available in their area, you can now finally make those recipes that call for one without going on an extra trip to the grocery.
You can use any of the 3 substitutes below and experience the buttermilk magic. 😉
Substitute #1 Whole milk + freshly squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar
Substitute #2 Plain unsweetened yogurt or sour cream + milk
Substitute #3 Whole milk + cream of tartar
If you have any dairy allergy or is following a vegan diet, your best bet is to swap milk with coconut milk and add lemon juice or vinegar.
Why Should You Use Buttermilk?
I was never a fan back then until I was able to see the difference between my recipes using buttermilk and without it.
Baked goods with buttermilk have a subtle tanginess in them and a beautiful rise when it interacts with baking soda. As for pancakes, it makes them light and fluffy with a hint of buttermilk tang.
Aside from that, I also use it as a marinade to chicken and pork (oh yes, I love this method). It makes the inside of the meat tender and moist as it cooks. (Say goodbye to dry chicken!)
How To Substitute For Buttermilk?
Okay, probably the trickiest question is how and when to use these buttermilk substitutes. So I’ve made some pointers here for you to read along.
- For cakes or quick bread or biscuits (like this Irish Soda Bread), buttermilk substitutes work well though don’t opt for the plain milk substitute when a recipe has a baking soda.
- If the recipe calls for lesser buttermilk, say 1/4 cup, don’t sweat it. You can simply use plain milk unless it has baking soda in it. (See note #1)
- In recipes where a buttermilk flavor is prominent but not the primary ingredient, your best substitute would be the yogurt + milk.
How Long Does Buttermilk Last?
Refrigerated buttermilk won’t really go bad until at least 3 weeks after opening. This comes as a no surprise since buttermilk is high in lactic acid which makes it harder for harmful bacteria growth.
Just make sure to store it in an airtight container and shake it to remix the buttermilk inside before using it.
Can You Freeze Buttermilk?
Oh yes! There’s another way to prolong the shelf life of buttermilk and that is freezing it. You can store it in a sealed container or pour it over in an ice cube tray and freeze it for about 2-3 months. Take note though that as buttermilk ages, it begins to lose its buttery flavor.
How to Tell if Buttermilk is Bad?
The most common sign that would tell your buttermilk has gone bad is if it has visible mold on the surface or within the rim of the container. Another sign would be if it turns chunky and unpourable paired with a distinct unclean sour smell.
Recipes Using Buttermilk
Now that you know how to make your own buttermilk at home, you can now make those tasty recipes that call for it. And I just have tons of them here on the blog for you to start with. 😉
- Southern Fried Chicken
- Southern-style Cornbread
- Buttermilk Pie
- Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- Homemade Waffles
- Red Velvet Cake
- Nashville Hot Chicken
How To Make Buttermilk
Method 1. Pour milk into a measuring glass or jug. Stir in lemon juice or vinegar. Let the milk mixture sit for about 10 minutes or until it thickens very slightly and milk curdles and milk is acidic. Use as needed or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Method 2. Add ¾ yogurt or sour cream into a glass or bowl and stir in milk, until the mixture is fully combined. The mixture should be the consistency of heavy cream. You can use straight away or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Method 3. Pour 1 cup of milk in a glass jar or small bowl. Stir in cream of tartar. Let it stand for about 5- 10 minutes until slightly thickened and curdled.
Watch How To Make It
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How To Make Buttermilk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar
- ¾ cup plain unsweetened yogurt or sour cream
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 ¾ teaspoons cream of tartar
- Pour milk to a measuring glass or jug. Stir in lemon juice or vinegar. Let the milk mixture sit for about 10 minutes or until it thickens very slightly and milk curdles and milk is acidic. Use as needed or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Add ¾ yogurt or sour cream into a glass or bowl and stir in milk, until mixture is fully combined. Mixture should be the consistency of heavy cream.
- You can use straight away or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Pour 1 cup of milk in a glass jar or small bowl. Stir in cream of tartar.
- Let it stand for about 5- 10 minutes until slightly thickened and curdled.
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.