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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!

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.

buttermilk in measuring cup on counter

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

Buttermilk seems 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!

The taste of buttermilk 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 drop biscuits, buttermilk pancakes, or a homemade ranch dressing.

What is buttermilk?

If you find yourself asking, “what exactly is buttermilk?” – the answer is simple! Buttermilk is a dairy product made with 2 simple ingredients: milk and vinegar. It’s taste is sour 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.

pouring a Tablespoon of vinegar into measuring cup with milk

What does buttermilk do in baking?

It’s all about the texture! The acidity in the buttermilk 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.

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 other ways to buttermilk, so feel free to use any of the substitutions below.

  • Use equal parts 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.

over head shot of curdled buttermilk

What is buttermilk used for?

Buttermilk can be used so many different ways! 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 my creamy cilantro lime dressing or as a coating for crispy baked chicken tenders. The options are endless!

Storing + freezing

  • To store: Buttermilk 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:

buttermilk

Homemade Buttermilk

5 from 1 vote
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 min
Let sit: 9 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
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.
    buttermilk in measuring cup
  • Stir together and let sit for 10 minutes Once the top has curdled, it is ready to use as buttermilk. 
    buttermilk recipe
  • Stir together before using. 
    how to make buttermilk

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. 

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

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