8 Best Buttermilk Substitutes

Need a last-minute buttermilk substitute? These best eight ingredient alternatives will get you out of trouble.

Best Buttermilk Substitutes

Buttermilk can be expensive, and it’s not always easy to find. Luckily there are plenty of options out there to use in its place! In this blog post, we’re going to discuss 8 different types of buttermilk substitutes you can try for your next baking recipe.

What is buttermilk?

Buttermilk is the good stuff left after making butter. This is how they made it in the past.  It would have cultures due to being left at room temperature after the churning of butter. And these would characterize buttermilk as we know it. However, buttermilk is no longer necessarily made this way. It is made by introducing cultures into fresh and pasteurized milk. 

What makes buttermilk what it is, is the presence of cultures, which give it a unique taste and also help preserve it much longer than fresh milk. Buttermilk has a rich and creamy texture. It is often compared to natural yogurt and also kefir. Even though buttermilk is now made by introducing cultures rather than letting them form naturally at room temperature, the result is still the same. 

Since it is fermented milk, buttermilk has a slightly tangy and sour taste. When it is homemade, the tangy taste is even more intense. The taste may differ from the store-bought versions. It’s a common misconception to think that buttermilk tastes like milk in any way. It has many health benefits, but buttermilk’s taste is not for everyone. It takes some getting used to. It also has many different uses, such as being used to add moisture to baking.

Lemon juice with milk

You can use lemon juice with milk in place of buttermilk because it has a similar sour and tangy taste. When you substitute with lemon, you maintain the taste the buttermilk would have been adding to the recipe. To make this substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk, mix one tablespoon of lemon juice and milk that will fill a cup. This way, you get the creamy texture but also get a kick from the lemon juice. The lemon juice can either be freshly squeezed or store-bought. 

White Vinegar with Milk

White vinegar is another excellent substitute for buttermilk. White vinegar is a common household item that usually consists of about 4 to 7% acetic acid and about 93 % water. It has many uses around the home, including being a good substitute for buttermilk. 

The vinegar helps you attain the same level of acidity that you would ordinarily get from the buttermilk. White vinegar works well because it is not overpowering and is more neutral than other types of vinegar. To make a substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk, you can use one tablespoon of vinegar and 1 cup of milk. Mix the mixture well, and you can then use this as a creamy tart substitute.

Cream of Tatar with Milk

You could also use cream of tartar and milk as a substitute. Cream of tartar is a powder that is derived from fermenting grapes. As such, it has an acidic and tart taste. You will often find it in the spice aisles in stores, and you can use it in baking, amongst other recipes. It can also be used as a stabilization agent in baking, calming down air bubbles as you whisk. 

You can use a mixture of cream of tartar and milk as a substitute for buttermilk by mixing 1 3/4 teaspoons of cream of tartar with 1 cup of milk. However, you may find that the cream of tartar becomes lumpy when you mix it with milk. You can avoid this by mixing it with the other dry ingredients then add the milk at a later stage. 

Sour Cream with Milk or Water

Sour cream is a dairy product that gets its sour taste from being fermented. Lactic acid is added to the cream to make it. It has a thicker consistency than buttermilk, something to take into consideration when using it as a substitute. To bring it closer to home, you can use milk or water so that the consistencies match, especially if your recipe heavily relies on this. 

It makes a great substitute for buttermilk because it has a sour taste. To make a substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk, use ¾ of a cup of sour cream mixed with 1/4 cup of milk or water.

Tofu, Water, and Acid

While Tofu may not be very popular with meat-eaters, it is quite the staple or a lot of vegetarian menus. This may be because it is versatile and easily resembles meat dishes. It is condensed soy milk that has several health benefits. It can be cut up and used in various recipes. 

To use it as a substitute, you will need to mix mashed up or pureed tofu, ¾ cup of water, and one tablespoon of vinegar for the tart taste. 

Unsweetened Soy Milk and Acid

Soy milk is non-dairy, and as such, it makes a good substitute for vegans and those who can’t have dairy. Soy milk is made of soybeans as well as filtered water, amongst other ingredients. The great thing about soy milk is that it is cholesterol-free, and it is also low in saturated fat. If you’re watching your calorie intake, this would be a good option for you. You can even make your own with a soy milk maker.

To substitute buttermilk with unsweetened soy milk and acid, you can use one tablespoon of lemon juice to add the acidic taste to the mix and then add 1 cup of soy milk. 

Unsweetened Coconut Milk and Acid

Another great substitute for buttermilk would be unsweetened coconut milk and an acid, which is necessary to add a tart and sour taste. You can make a mixture to substitute buttermilk by mixing one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with one cup of unsweetened coconut milk. Using this substitute means that you won’t need to do too much to match the consistencies. Coconut milk and buttermilk have a similar texture. 

Unsweetened Cashew Milk and Acid

Cashew milk is a great non-dairy option that is made from cashew nuts and water. It is also nutrient-rich such as healthy fats. It has been known to be an excellent replacement for cow’s milk but without the dairy option. It also has health benefits such as helping boost immunity. To use unsweetened cashew milk and acid in place of buttermilk, you can use one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, along with 1 cup of cashew milk. Make sure the two are mixed well, and then you can use it in a recipe that calls for buttermilk.