Homemade Buttermilk Substitute Recipe

Making buttermilk substitute is easy and cost effective. With just a few simple ingredients, learn to make buttermilk substitute to use in so many recipes.

How to Make Buttermilk Substitute from addapinch.com

Buttermilk is one ingredient that I love to have on hand in my refrigerator. I use it in so many recipes, it is one item that I never like being without. But, the reality is, sometimes I think I have plenty of buttermilk only to realize that I don’t. Or, we’re traveling and it just isn’t convenient to have as many items with us for cooking as I’d like. That’s when I turn to making my own buttermilk substitute.

Based on the emails I receive, making your own buttermilk substitute is one thing that you would like to be able to do as well. Well, today is the day!

Before we begin though, let’s talk a little bit about buttermilk.

What is Buttermilk?

Traditionally, buttermilk was the leftover liquid from churning cream to make butter. This is now referred to as traditional buttermilk.

The buttermilk that you buy in the grocery stores is now a cultured buttermilk, which is produced by adding cultures to milk during the fermentation process to simulate the lactic acid that would naturally occur in traditional buttermilk.

How Do You Use Buttermilk?

Adds Flavor

Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor to many dishes such as salad dressings and dips.


Buttermilk is great for soaking meats and vegetables to tenderize them before cooking, generally frying.

Leavens Baked Goods

Buttermilk reacts with other chemical leaveners in recipes to produce gas bubbles which then helps cakes, cookies, and other baked goods to rise.

Even more recipes where I use buttermilk. 

Here’s how I make my homemade buttermilk substitute. I hope you find this useful!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Buttermilk Substitute Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Making buttermilk substitute is easy and cost effective. With just a few simple ingredients, learn to make buttermilk substitute to use in so many recipes.
Serves: 1 cup
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar OR
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Pour milk into a glass measuring cup. Add distilled white vinegar OR lemon juice and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before use. The milk will thicken. Use as you would in a recipe that calls for buttermilk.
Recipe may be increased or decreased proportionately.

Robyn xo


Subscribe by email and never miss another post by Add A Pinch!


  1. 9

    Dee says

    Thanks for the skim milk version of buttermilk substitute…I never use buttermilk and I never use whole milk…this is just what I needed…Thanks a lot…keep up the good work and great recipes…

  2. 10

    Sylvia says

    I love the recipes you post. Every recipe I have tried if yours is absolutely delicious!
    Thank you so much for posting them.

  3. 12


    Since I use very little milk except for baking and cooking I only keep dry milk on hand. To make it into full fat milk use one cup of skim milk and add 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Then add your other ingredients to make your buttermilk recipe. Thank you for this recipe; I really don’t like using the buttermilk powder because of sodium issues. This will work perfectly for me. I love buttermilk in so many recipes.

  4. 14

    donna giblin says

    Good morning. Question for you. My grandmother always told me to decrease the milk by one tablespoon before adding the vinegar so that you were not increasing your liquid in your recipe….do you not find this necessary? Also, I have used whatever milk I have on hand (1%, 2% or whole). since the only buttermilk I can find in stores locally is lowfat (2.2%) Is whole milk really necessary? Thanks so much.

    • 15


      Hi Donna,
      You can decrease the amount of milk, but I’ve found that allowing the milk and vinegar or lemon juice to sit for a bit to thicken makes the measure the same as if using buttermilk. Now, I do use whole milk so that could make the difference. You can use 1% or 2%, if you prefer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: