A Spicy Perspective

How To Make Buttermilk

How To Make Buttermilk: Try this Homemade Buttermilk Substitute in your next baking project! This quick Buttermilk Recipe is so easy to make, you’ll never buy buttermilk again!

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Homemade Buttermilk

It’s happened to all of us… You’re planning to make an incredible batch of fluffy pancakes over the weekend, and your recipe calls for buttermilk.

You run to the grocery store to buy all the necessary ingredients. Then return home with a half-gallon jug of buttermilk, when really, you only needed one cup for your recipe.

Now the nearly-full jug of buttermilk sits in the fridge… Glaring at you every time you open the door.

It’s taunting you with questions like:

  • Am I a lost cause?
  • Will you use me in future recipes?
  • Will I end up in the trash, yet again, as wasted money?

Buttermilk can be so passive-aggressive.

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Buttermilk Substitute

I have a suggestion… Stop buying buttermilk and make an easy buttermilk substitute instead, whenever the occasion arises.

When you want to make a quick buttermilk dressing, waffles, or buttermilk cake, there’s no need to run back to the store.

This old bakers’ trick for homemade buttermilk is a fabulous quick-fix for when you need a small amount of buttermilk.

It only requires 2 staple ingredients, that we all usually have on-hand, and about 10 minutes of wait time!

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What Is Buttermilk?

Well, that’s sort of a trick question.

Historically, buttermilk is the liquid remaining, after butter is churned. It is thin and slightly tart with little bits of butter left behind.

In order to waste-not, pioneers and settlers used buttermilk to enhance everything from cornbread and biscuits, to stews and gravy.

They even created household uses for buttermilk, such as washing hair and skin with buttermilk for beautification, or pouring it in the garden to fertilize certain types of edible plants.

Yet, nowadays we find cultured buttermilk at the market. This high-tech processed buttermilk has nothing to do with making butter. Instead, bacteria is added to milk to induce fermentation.

Cultured buttermilk is usually much more tangy and thick than traditional buttermilk, and cannot always be used in equal proportions in old-time recipes, especially when measuring by weight.

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Homemade Buttermilk

So if cultured buttermilk is fermented in factories to simulate traditional buttermilk, why can’t we make it at home?

Well, I’m sure you’ve guessed by now… You can.

And it’s so easy to do, you’ll never see the need to buy cultured buttermilk again.

Whether you need low-fat or full-fat buttermilk for your recipes, you can make it in minutes! Ready to get started?

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How To Make Buttermilk

This Homemade Buttermilk Substitute is so handy, you will wonder why you haven’t tried this before.

Ingredients For Buttermilk:

  • Milk
  • Lemon Juice (or Vinegar)

Buttermilk Recipe:

  1. Simply mix milk and lemon juice together. Use the ratio 1 cup milk to 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
  2. Allow the mixture to rest and curdle. It only takes a few minutes.
  3. Then stir and use!

Get the Full (Printable) Easy Buttermilk Recipe Below

Dairy Free Buttermilk (Buttermilk Substitute Recipe) #ASpicyPerspective #howto #baking #substitutions #milk

Can You Make Buttermilk With Skim Milk?

Of Course! I usually suggest using full-fat “wholemilk” buttermilk in recipes, because it offers a creamier texture and richer taste.

However, you can make buttermilk with any kind of milk, including fat-free and 1% milk.

Just follow the same procedure, remembering that thinner milk will produce thinner buttermilk.

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Dairy-Free Buttermilk Substitute

Can you make milk-free buttermilk for vegan and dairy-free recipes?

Absolutely! Believe it or not, most alternative milks, like almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk will curdle with a little splash of lemon juice as well.

You can follow the exact same instructions to make any sort of non-dairy buttermilk you prefer.

This is a great option when baking for friends and family with food allergies!

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Can Buttermilk And Milk Be Used Interchangeably?

Yes and no.

Yes, you can use buttermilk in place of standard milk in most recipes. And visa-versa.

However, buttermilk is thicker and contains less moisture than milk. Therefore, you always need to add 1-2 tablespoons more buttermilk in recipes that call for 1 cup plain milk.

Consequently, if a recipe calls for 1 cup buttermilk, and you want to use regular milk, you will need to reduce the buttermilk by 1-2 tablespoons.

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How Long Does Buttermilk Last?

Homemade buttermilk will last as long as regular milk. Usually 2-4 weeks.

Check the expiration date on your milk carton. Then once the buttermilk is made, store it in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, up to the expiration date.

If the buttermilk has been sitting for quite a while, you will need to shake the container to re-mix the buttermilk before using it. Otherwise, the buttermilk will have little bits of curd in it.

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Ways To Use This Buttermilk Recipe

Ready to start cooking and baking with buttermilk? Try one (or all) of these amazing recipes!

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How To Make Buttermilk

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Don't buy a half-gallon of buttermilk when you only need one cup! Instead, make this easy buttermilk substitute in a hurry!
Servings: 1


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or white vinegar)


  • Pour milk into a one-cup measuring pitcher, stopping just shy of one full cup.
  • Add one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to the milk. If you need to add another splash of milk to the pitcher, do so to make sure you have one full cup of liquid.
  • Stir the milk and lemon juice to mix well.
  • Allow the mixture to sit and curdle for 10 minutes. Then stir again and use as needed.


Serving: 1cup, Calories: 152kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 105mg, Potassium: 322mg, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 395IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 276mg
Course: Beverage, How To
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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16 comments on “How To Make Buttermilk”

  1. Love buttermilk, raised in the south we always had buttermilk in the refrigerator, being stationed in Spain I was always missing the arrival of it to the PX, I complained to my neighbor, who just happened to be a American  and a doctor.  The next day he was at my door with a quart of buttermilk and told me a way to always have buttermilk in my refrigerator again. I will pass it it on , when your carton gets down to about a quarter of a cup, fill the empty carton
     up with a carton of fresh milk, put in a warm area, I put in a open window in summer and in a warm area of the house over night In the winter, and you get another quart without having to run to the market. Usually you can do the one carton a couple of times .

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  7. Does it have to be fresh lemon juice? 

  8. I never knew how easy it was to make this! Looking forward to whipping up some this weekend!

  9. I always make buttermilk too! It’s just so easy!

  10. Thank you for this! I always find myself only needing a little bit of buttermilk versus a whole gallon. This is wonderful that I can just make it myself!

  11. You don’t know how many times I’ve needed buttermilk & didn’t have it on hand. I am keeping these ingredients on hand, so that I can always have buttermilk!

  12. My favorite banana bread recipe uses buttermilk and I never have the storebought on hand, so I love using this because I always seem to have milk and lemon juice on hand! Thank you!

  13. If you warm the milk in the microwave for a quick 10-15 seconds, then add the lemon juice, you get a thicker buttermilk. But … if you add the lemon juice first, and then nuke it for 30+ seconds, it will curd up into paste. 

  14. So for someone that buys buttermilk because I like the taste… how does the taste of this compare?