How To Make 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.
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!
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.
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?
How To Make Buttermilk
This Homemade Buttermilk Substitute is so handy, you will wonder why you haven’t tried this before.
Ingredients For Buttermilk:
- Lemon Juice (or Vinegar)
- Simply mix milk and lemon juice together. Use the ratio 1 cup milk to 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- Allow the mixture to rest and curdle. It only takes a few minutes.
- Then stir and use!
Get the Full (Printable) Easy Buttermilk Recipe Below
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.
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!
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.
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.
Ways To Use This Buttermilk Recipe
Ready to start cooking and baking with buttermilk? Try one (or all) of these amazing recipes!
- Roasted Shrimp Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
- Best Lemon Buttermilk Cake
- Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Buttermilk Frosting
- Cherry Buttermilk Cupcakes
- Zesty Baked Onion Rings
- Jamaican Johnny Cakes
- Blueberry Bundt Cake
- Southern Cat Head Biscuits
- Grilled Romaine Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
How To Make Buttermilk
- 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.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!