How to

How to Make Buttermilk

How to make buttermilk? Let’s take a moment to discuss buttermilk. Buttermilk produces wonderfully fluffy, light, and tangy baked goods. You’ve seen me use buttermilk in muffins and pancakes, and I’m really excited to share a simple cake recipe with buttermilk later this week.

How to Make Buttermilk

What is buttermilk?

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a baking basics post, so I thought it was about time to add another to the list. Buttermilk substitutes are one of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received recently.

Buttermilk is traditionally the liquid left in a churn after making homemade butter. It’s naturally low in fat and high in cultures, and it lasts longer than regular milk. Buttermilk is now produced by inoculating regular milk with cultures. The stuff you buy at the store is thick and tangy, but it’s also super easy to make at home!

I love using buttermilk in baked goods because it creates a tender crumb while also adding moisture. It is, however, not always something that people keep on hand. Furthermore, no one enjoys making an extra trip to the grocery store for a single ingredient in a recipe.

So today I’m going to show you how to make homemade buttermilk using only two simple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand. This is a great recipe to have on hand for when you’re in a pinch!

Why do we use buttermilk instead of plain milk?

Aside from the tangy flavor, the acid in buttermilk helps to balance out the basicity of baking soda. Baking soda is quite bitter on its own; it requires both acidity and liquid to taste and function properly.

Buttermilk functions similarly to sour cream or yogurt, two thicker cultured dairy products. Because buttermilk is thinner, I usually substitute two-thirds cup buttermilk for one cup sour cream or yogurt.

How to Make Buttermilk

How to Make Buttermilk

Basic ratio:: 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice + 1 cup choice milk = 1 cup buttermilk

Simply pour the vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup to make buttermilk. Fill the cup halfway with milk (so you’ll be using slightly less than a full cup of milk). Stir everything together and set aside for at least 5 to 10 minutes before using.

The final texture should have some separation at the top and some light curdling. Even if you don’t notice a significant change in appearance, the acidity is still present, and your buttermilk should function normally.

You can make as much buttermilk as you need by following this ratio. Remember that one tablespoon is equal to three teaspoons. For your convenience, here are some alternative yields:

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, 3/4 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice, and 1/4 cup choice milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice + 1/3 cup milk of choice = 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice + 1/2 cup milk of choice = 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice, and 2/3 cup choice milk
  • a scant 2/3 cup buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice + 3/4 cup choice milk


What does buttermilk do in baking?

It aids in the creation of tender baked goods and keeps them moist. It’s also a little acidic. If your recipe calls for baking soda, it will react with it to help your baked goods rise.

Can you make it without dairy?

Yes, you can use nondairy milk in this recipe, such as almond milk.

How long does it last?

Store-bought buttermilk can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks, but homemade buttermilk has a shorter shelf life. To be on the safe side, I recommend eating this within 3 to 4 days of making it.

Can you freeze it?

Yes! Buttermilk can be frozen. If you keep it in a tightly sealed container, it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also freeze buttermilk by freezing it in 1 tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray! When you only need a small amount, this is extremely convenient.

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