I prefer to use real buttermilk in recipes as often as I can. I love the flavor that it ads to recipes like pancakes and scones, but I don’t think that buttermilk substitutes are quite as good as the real deal.
What I think doesn’t matter though, because sometimes something has to give. We’ve all been there. Mid-recipe you realize that the ingredients call for buttermilk and there’s none in the refrigerator. No one wants to make a special trip to the grocery store for just one item, so you have to make do with a substitute.
For those type of situations it is nice to have this kitchen tip up your sleeve. With common ingredients you can easily make homemade buttermilk to use in your recipes.
5 Homemade Buttermilk Substitutes
Some of these substitute recipes are easier than others in a pinch. My most commonly used method is with lemon or vinegar, but the others are helpful as well. All of the methods start with milk, so you’ll need to have that on hand.
Cream of Tartar
Measure 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1 cup milk. Whisk to combine and let stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, until curdled and then stir.
Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then, add milk until the amount reaches one cup. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. The milk should look curdled. Stir and you have homemade buttermilk!
You can easily make a buttermilk substitute with 2 tablespoons milk plus enough plain yogurt to equal one cup. Stir to combine and then use your as recipe instructs.
If you have sour cream on hand you can easily make a buttermilk substitute by thinning the sour cream with a bit of milk until it reaches the consistency of buttermilk. Stir to combine and then use your as recipe instructs.
Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Then, add milk until the amount reaches one cup. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. It should look curdled. Stir and you have homemade buttermilk!
Depending on the recipe, I have used canned coconut milk as a substitute for the buttermilk. BUT you have to use your personal discretion on this one because the flavor is certainly different, plus some recipes need the acidity of Buttermilk (or one of the substitutes) to react with the leavening agent. Two recipes that I’ve recently used this substitution with are Lemon Coconut Cupcakes and Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes, but like I said: use your personal discretion.
Buttermilk Recipes for your Inspiration:
- Strawberry Scones with Meyer Lemon
- Buttermilk Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits
- Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes
- Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Crust
- Lemon Cookies with Almond
What are your favorite kitchen substitutes?