By Carl Hanson

So you're in a middle of a big baking project and suddenly realize you're fresh out of buttermilk! You'll need that acidic effect and flavor that buttermilk provides, so you can't just skip it. "What can I substitute for buttermilk?" you may ask.

Well, here are 5 easy ways to replicate buttermilk's effect and flavor in recipes. With five options, chances are you may have at least some of these ingredients in your pantry and fridge. With luck, you'll have a little regular milk in your fridge. To make a vegan buttermilk substitute, replace the dairy milk in these recipes with almond milk or soy milk.

Buttermilk Substitute | Photo by Baking Nana

How to substitute buttermilk

Each buttermilk substitute recipe below combines regular milk with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or yogurt. Each substitute makes 1 cup.

Substitute 1: White vinegar

1 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup

Substitute 2: Lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice + enough milk to make 1 cup

Substitute 3: Cream of tartar

1 ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar + 1 cup milk

Substitute 4: Yogurt

¾ cup yogurt + ¼ cup milk

Substitute 5: Sour Cream

¾ cup sour cream + ¼ cup milk

To make each of these substitutes for buttermilk, stir the ingredients together and let them sit for about 10 minutes so the milk can "sour." Then go ahead, use it as a substitute for buttermilk in baking. One cup of real or substitute buttermilk = one cup of whole, skim, or non-fat milk.

Some Top Recipes for Buttermilk or Buttermilk Substitute

Chef John's Buttermilk Biscuits

"This deceptively simple recipe can come out a million different ways with some very minor variations on the ingredients and amounts," says Chef John. "This one's my favorite -- flaky, but not dry; chewy, but not tough; crisp in just the right spots."

Photo by Trkeillor

Mom's Buttermilk Pancakes

"These pancakes are passed down from my grandmother, who was fully Scandinavian," says Cinnken. "They are light and fluffy, and great with berry syrups. I have made these for years as a special treat, and I hope you enjoy them as much as my family has."

Photo by Annette Hansen

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

"I love the tangy tenderization that the buttermilk provides," says Chef John. "After the buttermilk soak, dredge the chicken pieces in seasoned flour, and fry them in hot oil until crisp and cooked."

Photo by Chef John

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

"Easy, yeasted cinnamon rolls,' says Amy. "A crowd always gathers when they come out of the oven. Favorite activity: scraping the goo off the bottom of the pan."

Photo by CCLoves2bake

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffeecake

"Simple, delicious coffee cake recipe that my mom made for company," says BATA. "I took the basic recipe and added blueberries."

Photo by Heather Smith


Check out our collection of Recipes with Buttermilk.


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