Homemade Buttermilk Substitute Recipe

How to Make Buttermilk – 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. Now includes dairy-free and vegan buttermilk options!

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!

How to Make Buttermilk

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. 

Dairy-Free and Vegan Buttermilk Substitute

You can now enjoy dairy-free buttermilk in so many of your recipes. This is perfect for those who have dairy allergies or who follow a vegan diet and lifestyle. To make dairy-free buttermilk substitute, you simple use your favorite non-dairy milk such as soy, coconut, almond, rice or oat milk in place of the milk called for in the recipe! It’s that easy!

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

Print Recipe
4.55 from 11 votes

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. Now includes dairy-free buttermilk options!
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar OR lemon juice


  • 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.

Dairy-Free Buttermilk:

For dairy-free buttermilk, substitute your preferred non-dairy milk (coconut, soy, almond, rice, oat, etc) in place of the whole milk called for in the recipe. 

Robyn xo

41 comments on “Homemade Buttermilk Substitute Recipe”

  1. 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.

    • 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.

    • I used this recipe today with another suggestion in the comments as well and my biscuits turned out wonderful. I had 2% milk so I measured a cup of milk, added two tbs melted butter(not margarine) then one tab of white vinegar and mixed and let sit while I was getting everything together and mixing my flour and Cristi stick with a pastry cutter. Thanks everyone I will never buy buttermilk again as I only use it when I make biscuits. 

  2. Thank you Robyn. Good information to keep on hand. Have a Fun and Wonderful Weekend.

  3. 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.

    • The process of making dry milk causes it to be loaded with MSG. Just a FYI if you have a intolerance to MSG.

  4. Good to know! Pinned it!!

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

  6. 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…

  7. Robyn,
    I use this recipe all the time. It works just as well as the store bought variety.

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  10. Can u use evaporated milk

  11. You really should warn everyone that this isn’t good for making Irish Soda bread. I followed your recipe and made 7 large loaves. They were heavy and flat tasting. Had to st art again with real buttermilk and made 20 more loves in my son’s restaurant for St Patrick’s Day. Sometimes there is no substitute!

    • Thank you for letting me know it isnt good for Irish soda bread .I am making it for first time and dont know the first thing about it.I just recently tasted it for first time and thought I would try to make some.Thanks again.

    • Obviously she hasn’t tried this substitution with every single recipe that’s out there so it’s not her fault. Maybe don’t make 7 loaves of bread from a recipe/variation you’ve never tried before. Just saying. 

  12. This substitution worked great for biscuits for dinner. 7 loaves might warrant a trip to the store

  13. Hi !
    I’m wondering if there’s any substitution without cow milk (never heard this expression in English, but in French, we say “lait de vache” which translates to “cow milk”). Is there any buttermilk substitution I could make with almond milk, soy milk, etc., I thought maybe coconut milk because it’s richer? 

    Thanks! And, by the way, I love your website 🙂 

    • Hi Audree,
      I’ve not tried buttermilk substitute made from either of those other milks, so I can’t say how they would taste. Thanks so much for your comment – so glad to hear you enjoy the site. Nice to have you here! xo

  14. Easy. Worked just fine. Convenient substitte for the real thing, and no waste!

  15. Oh my gosh. I didn’t scroll down enough to see the substitute and so I used cream of tartar and skim milk. Because of this it took forever to bake. Never mind. 
    Otherwise great recipe. 

  16. I’ve always used the vinegar method. Is fresh lemon juice just as effective? Is there a difference for example using lemon is better for cakes? Thanks!

  17. Best substitute recipe for buttermilk ever!!!

  18. Can i use almond breeze (unsweetened) instead? With the lemon juice? I’m lactose intolerant, but still want the great benefits.

    • I’ve never tried to make buttermilk with almond milk, Mae, so I can’t say how it turns out. I do know that this Homemade Buttermilk Substitute recipe works with Lactaid milk (lactose free milk). I hope this helps! Thanks Mae!

  19. How long does this buttermilk last? Btw this substitute was perfect!

  20. Is homemade buttermilk good to use in your hush puppies

  21. Why not use the very convenient powdered buttermilk available in the bake aisle. Long shelf life and easy to use. Great pancake recipe on label! I have used it for years in all recipes.

    • Buttermilk is actually expensive in my country and I have never heard of powdered buttermilk before. This recipe is great for us who can’t afford or dont have access to the real thing.

  22. Can you substitute the buttermilk with sour cream?

  23. If you’re making a larger batch say 8 cups of buttermilk, should you let it sit longer than 10 minutes? Just wondering as the batch size grows, should you allow for more time? Thanks! 

    • Hi Libby,
      I’ve not made that much at one time so I’m not certain of the exact time it will take for it. I usually make a smaller amount as I need it for a recipe. Thanks!

  24. Worked Great!!

  25. Hello Robyn,

    I use many of your recipes and always enjoy them. I was wondering, in regard to buttermilk, if you have a recipe for sugar cookies using buttermilk? If so, can you put it on your site?

  26. question about making the buttermilk, If you use almond milk, do you still add the lemon juice?

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