How to Make Buttermilk

Christine Albury

Learn how to make buttermilk from scratch so you don’t have to buy it! Read on for the details.

Have you ever tried to follow a biscuit recipe but realized you didn’t have any buttermilk? You may have postponed your baking until you could get to the store, but you don’t have to next time.

If you’ve got some typical household ingredients like milk and vinegar or lemon, you can make a buttermilk substitute in minutes. No need to worry about buying an entire carton you won’t use before it expires!

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What is buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a slightly sour milk that’s curdled. Originally, it was the liquid left behind after cream was churned into butter.

Cultured buttermilk available in stores involves low-fat milk that has been pasteurized and had lactic acid bacteria added to it, to curdle and sour the milk.

Why use buttermilk?

Buttermilk makes biscuits, pancakes or quick breads tender, light and flavorful. It’s also used to marinate and tenderize meats like chicken and pork.

You’ve probably enjoyed buttermilk fried chicken from the drive through. Here’s the Popeyes Chicken recipe you can try at home.

How to Make Buttermilk Picture

How to make buttermilk

  1. Place 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
  2. Add enough milk (low-fat or whole) to reach 1 cup.
  3. Whisk and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until it curdles.
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Other buttermilk substitutes

  • Yogurt and Water: Mix ¾ cup plain yogurt with ¼ cup water.
  • Sour Cream and Water: Stir ¾ cup sour cream with ¼ cup water.
  • Cream of Tartar and Milk: Whisk one cup of milk with 1 ¾ teaspoons cream of tartar.

How to Make Vegan “Buttermilk”

  • Add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup.
  • Pour in almond milk or soy milk, until it reaches the 1-cup line. (Note that coconut milk doesn’t work here, since it won’t curdle.)
  • Whisk, then let the mixture sit for five minutes.
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How to store homemade buttermilk

You can store leftover, homemade buttermilk in the refrigerator for up to a week. You also can freeze it – in small amounts, such as ½ cup – so it’s convenient to grab for a recipe.

Recipes using buttermilk

Now that you know how to make buttermilk, you can use it in these delicious recipes!

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Christine Albury

About Christine

I'm a mom of 5 and love making healthy baby food with wholesome, natural ingredients. In 2005 I started the Homemade Baby Food Recipes website, sharing recipes for everything from simple fruit purees to gourmet curries for the baby food connoisseur! You'll also find plenty of tried and tested tips to help encourage even the most reluctant diner to enjoy a wide range of nutritious new foods. If you enjoy cooking, then you will LOVE learning to become head chef for a very special little customer!