An easy Buttermilk Substitute recipe and a guide for How to Make Buttermilk including dairy free and vegan buttermilk.

We’ve all been in the middle of making a recipe when we realized we didn’t have buttermilk on hand! Luckily, making your own buttermilk is so easy and only requires two simple ingredients.  If your looking for ways to use your buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute), try these perfect buttermilk pancakes, biscuits, or my favorite Hershey’s “perfectly chocolate” Chocolate Cake.

How to make buttermilk -

Buttermilk Substitute

Tell me I am not the only person who seems to constantly forget to add buttermilk to my shopping list.  It’s one of those ingredients that seems to go bad in my fridge when I do buy it and is never around in the moments I need it!  It’s almost embarrassing how often I have to use this buttermilk substitute recipe.  You’ll likely have this easy recipe memorized after just one use.

What can I use if I don’t have buttermilk?

There are a few popular methods for substituting buttermilk.  Pick which one is best for you, based on what you have on hand:

  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 Tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to measure 1 cup
  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 Tablespoon lemon juice + enough milk to measure 1 cup
  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 and ¾ teaspoon cream of tarter + 1 cup of milk
How to substitute Buttermilk

The simplest way to substitute buttermilk is to pour 1 Tbs. of vinegar into a 1 cup measurer and then fill the rest of the measuring cup with milk.  Then gently stir the mixture and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

If you don’t have vinegar, lemon juice and cream of tarter also work as great buttermilk substitutions.  Use them in the same way described above.

Three photos for making a buttermilk substitution with milk and vinegar, milk and lemon juice, and milk and cream of tarter.

Dairy free buttermilk substitution:

If you have a dairy allergy you can also use this buttermilk substitute recipe with a small adaptation.  Instead of using 1 cup of milk, use coconut milk! So add vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measurer and then fill the rest of the measuring cup with coconut milk. Voila!  I dairy-free buttermilk substitute.

Vegan buttermilk substitution:

If you are vegan, you can use the dairy-free substitute described above or you can also use soy milk!  To use soy-milk as a vegan buttermilk substitute, simple add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (or lemon juice) to a 1 cup measurer and fill the rest of the cup with soy milk.  Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before using.

Can you freeze buttermilk?

Yes!  Buttermilk freezes well.  Just be sure to store it in a sealed container and it will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.  You can also freeze buttermilk by using and ice cube tray and freezing it in 1 tablespoon portions!  This makes it really convenient when you need to use just a small amount.

Homemade buttermilk being poured from a liquid measuring cup into a clear glass bowl.

More buttermilk recipes:

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How to make buttermilk -
Prep 3 minutes
Total 3 minutes
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  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 cup milk (scant cup)


  • Pour the tablespoon of vinegar into a 1 cup measurer.  
  • Fill the rest of the 1 cup measurer with milk. 
  • Gently stir and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. This will allow the milk to slightly curdle, giving it a buttermilk-like texture and taste.


You can also use cream of tartar and milk as a buttermilk substitute, or substitute plain yogurt for buttermilk. Read more in the post above.


Calories: 151kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 7gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 105mgPotassium: 322mgSugar: 12gVitamin A: 395IUCalcium: 276mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. You wrote “The simplest way to substitute buttermilk is to pour 1 Tbs. of vinegar into a 1 cup measurer and then fill the rest of the measuring cup with milk. ” One should NEVER add an acid, which vinegar is, to an empty container. It can splash out when the next ingredient is added, possibly into eyes. Suggest adding three quarters of the milk first, then the vinegar, stir to distribute the vinegar, and then add the rest of the milk up to the measure mark.

    1. I’m not sure about others, but I never pour an ingredient in measuring quickly enough to splash out. It seems to be I’d be likely to miss my measurement mark.

    2. Probably safest to just keep the vinegar locked away & not use such a strong acid at all, Dorothy. Better yet, not in the house at all. Risks outweigh benefits by far on this one.

    3. I, too, activate a vent hood and contact hazmat while opening jars of pickles. The risk is just too great when dealing with the chemical weapon that is white vinegar.

  2. Hi, I made a recipe of the buttermilk with vinegar and worked great, just wanted to know how mucho would it last on the fridge?

  3. Loved the recipe, I made chicken livers ànd onion rings both soaked in buttermilk recipe you posted. Thank you.

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