Easy Buttermilk Substitute

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Making a buttermilk substitute is crazy easy!

Buttermilk is use in many recipes from The Best Banana Cake to Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. It’s creamy with a delicious tart flavor that adds great flavor and body to dips and dressings. Even more, the acidity of buttermilk reacts with the leavening agents in your baking to make things nice and fluffy!

I do buy small containers of buttermilk from time to time (especially if I’m making a dressing or dip) but in a pinch for things like Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits or Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, a homemade substitution will work just fine!

pouring a glass of buttermilk

How to Make Buttermilk

While you aren’t technically making buttermilk, below I’m sharing some of my favorite buttermilk substitutions. I try to keep buttermilk powder in the cupboard which is also great for things like making Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix.

To make a buttermilk substitute, place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill with milk, stir and allow it to sit 5  minutes. The mixture will thicken.

Substitutes for 1 cup of Buttermilk are:

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice mixed with 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream mixed with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup milk plus 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar (let stand for 10 minutes)
  • 1 cup Kefir

Great Uses for Buttermilk

Ever bought buttermilk for a recipe, used half, then ended up throwing the other half away? It happens to everyone; not a whole lot of recipes call for buttermilk. By why let it go bad? Here are some great ways you can use the rest of that buttermilk so it doesn’t go to waste!

  • Add it to soup: Adding buttermilk instead of regular milk to your tomato soup will thicken it, making a slightly new flavor and a rich creamy texture.
  • Tenderize Chicken: The acidity in Buttermilk is amazing for soaking chicken before frying!
  • Mashed Potatoes: Instead of your customary milk in your mashed potatoes, add a little buttermilk instead. The texture will be creamier, buttery and more delicious!
  • Homemade Dressings: Once you see how easy and how incredibly tasty Avocado Dressing or homemade ranch is, you’ll never go back to store bought!
  • For a facial: Buttermilk is great for all of your skin, but you can also make a great mask for a weekend facial. Mix oatmeal and buttermilk together, add a bit of honey, and voila! almost instant facial. Just rub the mix on your skin for a few minutes, then let it sit for about ten. Your skin will feel baby soft!
  • Glaze: Use a mixture of buttermilk and powdered sugar for a perfect Vanilla Bundt Cake glaze.
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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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  1. Love the hushpuppy recipe!
    Folks should know, you can buy Buttermilk Powder in the baking section of grocery stores. It’s usually on the top shelf by the baking powder & soda. Lasts for years , mixes with water. I am NEVER without it! Use for everything requiring milk.

  2. Buttermilk is also good for anyone with kidney problems. One cup will “unlock” (as the older folks say) your kidneys and give you relief.