Alternatives To Buttermilk

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If you are preparing a recipe that requires the use of buttermilk and you realize that you have run out of buttermilk, there are alternatives you can use. One thing to know about substitutes for buttermilk is that their acidic component is the chief reason why they can replace buttermilk in a given recipe. Buttermilk is often used mainly because of its acidity which enables it to function as a leavening agent and also to add flavor to baked products. A replacement for buttermilk must therefore contain an acid.

There are various substances which can act as substitutes for buttermilk. Most of these substances can be easily found in your kitchen cupboard or refrigerator. These substitutes are as described below:

Milk and lemon juice

Milk and lemon juice can make a great substitute for buttermilk. To make this substitute, measure 1 cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to it. Allow it to stand for 5-10 minutes then stir. Allowing the mixture to stand for 5-10 minutes enables the milk to thicken and curdle. After stirring, the substitute will then be ready to use in the recipe for which you want it.

Milk and vinegar

Milk and vinegar is also an important substitute for buttermilk given the sourness of vinegar. To prepare this is substitute, you will also require a cup of plain milk. You can use white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar to make this substitute. Put 1 tablespoon of vinegar in the measuring cup and then add milk on top of it till the cup is full. Allow it to stand for 5-10 minutes then stir.


Yogurt can be used as a substitute for buttermilk when it is made thinner or less thick. It can be mixed with plain milk or water to make it less thick. Add 1/4 cup of plain milk or water to 3/4 cup of yogurt then stir until it mixes well. You can then use this in place of buttermilk when baking.

Cream of tartar

A mixture of plain milk and cream of tartar can make a suitable substitute for buttermilk in a recipe. Take 1 cup of plain milk and add 1 3/4 teaspoons of cream of tartar to it. Let the mixture stand for 5-10 minutes in order to thicken and curdle. You can then stir it and use it in your recipe.

Sour cream

Sour cream can be used as a substitute for buttermilk because of its acidity. You will need to thin the cream before using it. Measure 3/4 cup of sour cream and add 1/4 cup of water to it then stir. It will then be ready for use in baking.

Almond milk

Almond milk can replace buttermilk in recipes. Almond milk has the advantage of having fewer calories than dairy milk. It is also suitable for people who are allergic to dairy products or who have lactose intolerance. To make the substitute, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of almond milk. Wait for a few minutes then stir it. You can then use the mixture in a recipe.

Recipes which require buttermilk

Buttermilk is used in baking because of the tenderness and flavor it adds to the baked products. The acidity in buttermilk is neutralized by the alkalinity of baking soda.

Buttermilk is often used in a number of recipes including pancakes, muffins, banana bread, scones, cakes, and ice cream among others. Buttermilk is usually made through the process of pasteurisation. Lactic acid bacteria culture is added to low-fat milk.

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