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How to Make Buttermilk

Learn how to make buttermilk with these simple tips and tricks! Made in just 10 minutes with only 2 ingredients. Perfect for baked goods, dressings and more!

Buttermilk in measuring cup on counter.
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Homemade Buttermilk

We’ve all been there before. A recipe calls for buttermilk and the LAST thing you want to do is make another trip to the grocery. That’s where this handy cooking substitution comes in. With only 2 simple kitchen ingredients, you’ll have homemade buttermilk ready in no time.

Next time you’re out of butter milk, no need to drop everything and run to buy store-bought buttermilk. You can easily make it at home with just 2 ingredients. And trust me, you won’t believe how simple it is!

The taste is sour, so I wouldn’t recommend drinking it (although you can if you want). It’s perfect for baking and keeps your baked goods super soft and moist. It’s also great to use in condiments like dressings or syrup. I love using it when making this recipe for buttermilk pie, drop biscuits, buttermilk pancakes, or a homemade ranch dressing.

What is Buttermilk?

If you find yourself asking, “what exactly is it?” – the answer is simple! Buttermilk is a dairy product made with 2 simple ingredients: milk and vinegar. It’s has a tangy flavor and it usually has a thicker texture than regular milk, but is lower in fat. It’s often used as a leavening agent in baking and helps to lighten, soften and add moisture to baked goods.

Recipe Ingredients

It may seem intimidating to make yourself, but it’s not at all. You only need milk and vinegar to make it and it’s ready in just 10 minutes. So quick and easy!

Pouring a Tablespoon of vinegar into measuring cup with milk.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Milk: Use either whole milk or 2% milk.
  • Vinegar: Distilled white vinegar is best, lemon juice also can be used.

Variations

My favorite ratio to use when making buttermilk is 1 cup of whole milk + 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar. However there are a few ways of how to make buttermilk, so feel free to use any of the substitutions below.

  • Use 1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed) in place of vinegar.
  • Other types of vinegar with neutral flavors will also work (such as apple cider vinegar).
  • Both whole milk or 2% milk work great when making this recipe.
  • Instead of vinegar or lemon juice, you may also use 1 and 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar with 1 cup milk.

How to Make

You won’t believe how quick this easy buttermilk substitute is to make!

Over head shot of curdled buttermilk.
  1. Combine: In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup combine milk and vinegar.
  2. Stir and rest: Stir together your milk and vinegar, then let the liquid mixture sit for 10 minutes Once the top has curdled, it is ready to use. 

Recipe FAQs

What does it do in baking?

It’s all about the texture! The acidity helps to tenderize baked goods, keeping them super moist and soft. It will also keep your baked goods from browning too fast because of how it changes the pH.

What is it used for?

There are so many buttermilk uses in recipes! Use it to add the perfect texture to classic breakfast staples like homemade biscuits, blueberry pancakes or even make a buttermilk syrup to drizzle on top.

When baking, mix it into the batter for a super moist and tender blueberry buttermilk cake or Irish soda bread. It also tastes amazing in savory recipes like salad dressings such as creamy cilantro lime dressing or as a coating for this bang bang shrimp recipe or crispy baked chicken tenders. The options are endless!

Can I use dairy free milk?

I have not tested how to make buttermilk without dairy, but I think any dairy-free milk from a carton such as oat milk or almond milk would work for a dairy free buttermilk.

Storing + Freezing

  • To store: It can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week until ready to use. To store, place in the fridge in a covered container. Make sure to give it a stir before using.
  • To freeze: Store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw in fridge overnight before using.
Close up of homemade buttermilk in measuring cup.

More Ways to Use Buttermilk

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buttermilk

Homemade Buttermilk

5 from 4 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Learn how to make buttermilk with these simple tips and tricks! Made in just 10 minutes with only 2 ingredients. Perfect for baked goods, dressings and more!
Prep Time: 1 minute
Let sit: 9 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup whole milk , or 2% milk
  • 1 Tablespoon distilled vinegar , or lemon juice

Instructions

  • Combine the milk and vinegar in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  • Stir together and let sit for 10 minutes Once the top has curdled, it is ready to use as buttermilk. 
  • Stir together before using. 

Notes

Storing: Store in the fridge in a covered container for up to 1 week. 
Freezing: Store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw in fridge overnight before using. 

Nutrition

Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 322mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 395IU | Calcium: 276mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American

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