What’s The Best Buttermilk Substitute?

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Buttermilk is a frequent component in a variety of dishes, from pancakes to biscuits. Unfortunately, people frequently run out of buttermilk and require a substitute.

For thousands of years, it has been a gastronomic mainstay. It was initially popularized in Europe before spreading to the United States. Buttermilk provides a tart, acidic taste to salad dressing-like dishes, but it’s thicker than plain milk. It is often utilized in baking because to its delicate, moist feel.

Here are some buttermilk substitutes to try if you don’t have any on hand or want an alternative.

What is Buttermilk?

What’s The Best Buttermilk Substitute?

Buttermilk is a liquid derived from the fermentation of butter, which results in the formation of cream. The cream is whipped until it becomes a nonfat liquid.

It has a somewhat sour taste, is acidic, and has a thin consistency. Its acidity imparts a light and delicate texture to baked goods while increasing overall taste.

Buttermilk contains less fat than ordinary milk, which is an extra bonus. It’s high in vitamins A, D, calcium, and potassium, plus it’s high in probiotics.

Substitutes for Buttermilk

What’s The Best Buttermilk Substitute?

Assume you’ve just started baking and you run out of buttermilk. The good thing is that if you run out, there are several buttermilk substitutes to select from.

1. Milk and Lemon Juice

This option is wonderful since you can use oat or almond milk if you’re vegan or gluten intolerant. However, the lemon’s high acidity may be too much for some.

It has an almost liquid consistency, making it a great pancake alternative. Of course, your pancakes will have a lemony flavor, but that isn’t always a bad thing. It is necessarily thinner than buttermilk, making it unsuitable for dough and biscuits.

Simply combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. To the mixture, add a cup of whole milk. And then wait 5 minutes before utilizing it.

2. Milk and Vinegar

The mix of milk and vinegar gives it a comparable acidity as buttermilk. This alternative has a tangy flavor and a thin consistency, making it ideal for pancakes or flapjacks.

The disadvantage is that it will not provide the light, fluffy texture that buttermilk does. Furthermore, the slight vinegar flavor may be too strong for some. When compared to buttermilk, it is frequently very watery, making it unsuitable for use in cookie dough or cake batter.

3. Cream of Tartar 

Cream of tartar is not a dairy product. Instead, it’s an acidic component created during the winemaking process. The acidic taste, on the other hand, makes it a decent alternative for buttermilk.

It has a fine, powdery texture. In addition, the cream of tartar combination works well as a replacement in cakes, scones, and muffins. This is due to the acidity hastening the rising process of dough. To make this substitution, add 1 teaspoon cream of tartar to 1 cup buttermilk in a recipe.

4. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that originated in the Caucasus, Russia, and Central Asia. Kefir and buttermilk have similar tastes and include probiotic bacteria cultures that are employed in the fermentation of fresh milk.

However, kefir contains more probiotic strains than buttermilk, which only contains one. Kefir also has a tangier taste and a thicker consistency.

Kefir may produce cramps or flatulence since it contains more probiotics. Furthermore, it contains significantly more alcohol than buttermilk. As a result, it may be inappropriate for persons who have a low tolerance to alcohol.

Because it keeps the dough thick, kefir is an excellent choice for making biscuits, cakes, and cookies. As a consequence, the texture is light and fluffy. When substituting buttermilk in baking recipes, use a 1:1 ratio.

5. Greek Yogurt 

Greek yogurt is prepared by fermenting milk, giving it a similar consistency to buttermilk. They both have the same tanginess and perform similarly in baking.

Yogurt, with its rich and subtle taste, is a fantastic substitute for making biscuits, muffins, and cookies. If you want to thicken sauces and soups, Greek yogurt works well. To prevent curdling, add it when the burner is turned off. In baking recipes, buttermilk may be used in place of Greek yogurt in a 1:1 ratio.

Greek yogurt, on the other hand, has a thicker consistency than buttermilk. As a consequence, it’s not suitable for some dishes, such as bread, since it might result in a sticky texture. However, by adding water to the mixture, you can correct this.

6. Sour Cream

Yes, it may seem counterintuitive, but buttermilk can be replaced with sour cream. Sour cream and buttermilk have comparable acidity and moisture levels. Despite the fact that it has less fat. It is, nonetheless, one of the closest options.

Because of its rich taste, this is a fantastic replacement for preparing dips and salads. Furthermore, it is an excellent choice for baking cakes because it adds moisture to the cake. Use 1 cup of sour cream for every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in the recipe.

7. Applesauce

While applesauce does not have the acidity or moisture of buttermilk, it does contain both. If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, applesauce is ideal since it has no fat and no lactose.

Because of its creamy texture, this apple puree is ideal for making cakes and muffins. Due to the lack of fat, it does not work well for pancakes and waffles. As a result, it will lack the fluffiness provided by buttermilk.

When baking, we recommend replacing buttermilk with applesauce in a 1:1 ratio.


It might be difficult to determine what substitution to use when following a recipe and running out of buttermilk. However, finding an alternative is simpler than you might think. In fact, the ideal buttermilk alternative is probably present in your house.


What can I use to substitute 1 cup of buttermilk?

Alternatives to buttermilk include:

1 cup buttermilk equals 1 cup plain or Greek yogurt. 1 cup buttermilk is equal to 1 cup plain kefir. 1 cup buttermilk is 34 cup sour cream plus 14 cup water or milk. 1 cup buttermilk is equal to 1 cup milk plus 14 tablespoons cream of tartar.

What happens if you substitute buttermilk?

Buttermilk has more acid than ordinary milk, which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide generated and thwarts the leavening process required for these recipes. When using buttermilk instead of milk, replace some or all of the baking powder with baking soda to obtain the desired effect.

Is milk with vinegar as good as buttermilk?

Lemon Juice + Milk

It’s sometimes stated that a small cup of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar is a good alternative for buttermilk, but let’s be honest: when it comes to taste, such substitutes will always fall short.

Can I replace buttermilk with yogurt?

In basic dishes where the taste of buttermilk is prominent, Greek yogurt blended with milk is an excellent replacement. Thinned yogurt, with its comparable fermented, subtle taste, works well in place of buttermilk.

What can I use milk instead of buttermilk?

From buttermilk biscuits to chocolate cake, use these alternatives in all of your favorite recipes:
Combine 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Combine 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
Combine 1 cup milk and 12 tbsp cream of tartar.
14 cup plain yogurt and 14 cup milk should be combined.

Can I replace buttermilk with milk?

It is not suggested to substitute buttermilk in recipes that call for it with plain milk since the lack of acid will generate a different outcome. However, combining an acidic ingredient with plain milk results in a substitute with properties similar to buttermilk.

Is buttermilk really necessary?

Is buttermilk required? Yes, it does make a difference in the final product. Buttermilk gives cakes, breads, biscuits, and other baked goods a nice tang while adding relatively little fat. This acidic ingredient, like yogurt and sour cream, helps tenderize gluten, giving baked products a softer texture and more body.

How do you make buttermilk when you don’t have buttermilk?

How to Make Buttermilk in 10 Minutes
Make use of milk: Fill a liquid measuring cup halfway with 1 cup whole or 2% milk.
Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar for every 1 cup of milk.
Ready to go: The acid will gently curdle the milk.

Does buttermilk make a difference in baking?

Buttermilk is an essential ingredient in baking. A baker’s dream is acidic milk coupled with baking soda in a recipe. It contributes to the lightness and softness of baked goods. When baking soda is mixed with buttermilk’s lactic acids, the acid neutralizes the metallic taste of sodium carbonate.

What is a substitute for buttermilk in baking?

Lemon Juice or Vinegar + Milk

This fantastic alternative for homemade buttermilk is our all-time favorite. To make 1 cup of buttermilk, combine 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of milk. Allow to stand for 5 minutes after stirring.

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