Right Ways to Substitute Buttermilk in Baking

Buttermilk Substitute in Baking
Many baking recipes demand the use of buttermilk. However, this ingredient is not always readily available. In such cases you need to use appropriate alternatives. For this purpose, scroll down to know what else one can use instead.
Tastessence Staff
Last Updated: Jul 21, 2017
Buttermilk is nothing, but a fermented dairy product, which is normally made using cow milk. It is known to have a distinctive sour taste to it. It can be produced in two different ways, namely using the traditional method or by using the cultured method. Buttermilk traditionally, is nothing but the liquid, that is left as a residue, after butter churns are made from cream. However, this method has almost vanished from most places. The newer method that is used is known as the cultured method. In this, lactic acid bacteria is added to lukewarm milk. The presence of lactic acid, gives buttermilk its distinctive sour taste.

Substitution Options

Preparing most of the following substitutes is easy, but you may not have all the ingredients required, handy all the time. However, fret not, this article mentions multiple options, which you can make use of:
  • To make a buttermilk substitute, add either one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and stir well. Let the mixture stand for sometime before you use it. Unfortunately, the rich tang which is found in authentic buttermilk may not be present. Of both the alternatives, vinegar works better than lemon juice, but lemon juice will work in a pinch, so you can consider this option too.
  • If you have yogurt at home, you can use the same amount of plain yogurt, as you would need of buttermilk. This is one of the best substitutes available. However, do not use flavored yogurt or yogurt with fruit, as that would alter the entire recipe.
  • Another alternative is to make a mixture of plain yogurt and whole milk in equal proportions. If you feel the tang is missing, you can add half a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to this mixture as well.
  • Another alternative is to use sour cream as a buttermilk substitute in baking.
  • If you have powdered buttermilk, then you can mix ¼ cup of the powder to 1 cup of water and use it.
  • Another simple and easy alternative for 1 cup of buttermilk is 1 cup of milk plus 1¾ tablespoons of cream of tartar, but you will have to let the mixture stand at room temperature for 15 - 20 minutes, before you use it.
Vegan Substitutes

If you are a vegan, you can make use of a vegan buttermilk substitute in baking.
  • To prepare this, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to one cup of soy milk. In case you do not have vinegar handy, then you may want to use lemon juice instead. After you have added lemon juice or vinegar to the soy milk, stir well and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and the substitute is ready.
  • Like soy milk, rice milk can also be used for the same.
  • Almond milk or coconut milk can also be used, by either adding white vinegar or lemon juice to it.
  • In case any of the options mentioned above are not available, then vegan sour cream is the next best option available. To make 1 cup of buttermilk, mix half cup of vegan sour cream with equal amount of water. Stir well and then use it.
Every alternative may not always be able to replace the tangy taste of homemade buttermilk. This flavor and taste, no doubt is unique, therefore complete substitution in any recipe is not always possible. However, you will still notice that these options will do a great job and you will be able to enjoy your dish.
Vinegar in glass carafe on table