Homemade Buttermilk Recipe (Buttermilk Substitute)

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Learn how to make homemade buttermilk at home with just two ingredients you already have. Next time you come across a recipe that calls for buttermilk, use this buttermilk recipe instead of running out to the store.

homemade buttermilk in a antique mason jar with a antique measuring spoon to the left

Don’t you hate it when you are making a recipe and it calls for something specific, only for you to realize you don’t have the ingredient?

Or, it calls for a small amount, and you don’t want to buy way more than you need. Buttermilk seems to be one of those things that I never have on hand, and only need a couple of tablespoons.

Here’s the thing, though. Buttermilk is awesome. From pancakes, to muffins, to biscuits, buttermilk can add a delicious, tangy flavor. I just don’t want to have to buy way more than what I need.

Well, here is a great way to make homemade buttermilk from just two ingredients you have, and the best part is that you don’t have to head out to the store for a single thing.

That always seems to happen to me. I go to make something, and I get halfway through the recipe before I realize I’m missing that one different ingredient.

Recently, I was recipe testing for a new blackberry cobbler recipe (recipe soon to come!), and wanted to use just a little bit of buttermilk. I knew that the tangy flavor would balance out the sweetness of the berries so well, but I only needed a few tablespoons.

I didn’t want to leave in the middle of my recipe to get some from the store, and I didn’t want to buy more than I needed, so I made some using this recipe, but made only 1/4 the amount, since that is all I needed. It worked perfectly, and gave it that little bit of extra tang. 

Let’s get to making this simple recipe.

How is buttermilk made?

Traditionally buttermilk is made from the liquid that comes off of butter when it is churned.

Nowadays, it is usually made by adding a bacterial culture to milk and allowing it to ferment until it becomes thick and tangy.

The key to buttermilk in recipes is the flavor, and this homemade buttermilk alternative gives you that tangy flavor you need, plus it thickens up the milk a bit.

Tips For Making Homemade Buttermilk

  • You can use regular milk or plant-based milk.
  • Make it vegan by using coconut, almond, or cashew milk. These alternatives work just as well for recipes calling for buttermilk, but you want to make dairy-free.
  • Apple cider or white vinegar will work.
  • Double or triple this recipe depending on how much you need for a recipe.

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Tools you may need:

Liquid measuring cup

Measuring spoons

Ingredients You Need:

1 cup milk
1 tablespoon of vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Homemade Buttermilk Recipe Video Tutorial

How To Make Homemade Buttermilk

  1. Pour milk into a measuring cup.adding vinegar to whole milk in a measuring cup to make homemade buttermilk
  2. Add vinegar, stir, and let it sit for 5 minutes. It should start to curdle nicely as seen below.homemade buttermilk in a glass measuring cup

Now you’ve got yourself a buttermilk alternative to use in recipes.

How simple was that?

Can you make smaller amounts of buttermilk?

Yes. You can easily cut this recipe in 1/2, 1/3 or even 1/4 to make less buttermilk.

Cut the amount of milk and the amount of vinegar in equal ratios. So if you use 1/4 cup milk, use 1/4 tbs of vinegar. 

Can you make vegan homemade buttermilk?

Oh yes! Almond milk and coconut milk work great with this recipe. I’ve personally tried both of these and can vouch for their success. Cashew, oat, hemp, etc. should also work, but I have not personally done them. 

What type of milk should I use to make buttermilk?

You can use whatever milk you have on hand; you can even use half and half, heavy whipping cream, or non-dairy milk.

I usually prefer to use whole milk, because it has a better texture and mouthfeel since it has more fat.

How long does buttermilk last?

It will stay good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Usually, if I need some buttermilk, I will make it and use it right away. If you have extra or need it the next day, just store it in an airtight glass container. I like using mason jars.

antique mason jar filled with homemade buttermilk with a antique looking measuring spoon to the left and a cream and blue towel in the back

Find more easy recipes:

Homemade Buttermilk Recipe

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Homemade Buttermilk

Simple buttermilk recipe made from ingredients you already have in your pantry.
5 from 1 vote
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Author: Amy
Prep Time: 1 minute
Sitting Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbs vinegar or fresh lemon juice


  • Measure 1 cup of milk in liquid measuring cup.
    Add vinegar, stir, and let it sit for 5 minutes.


Serving: 4g | Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 81mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Calcium: 69mg
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade buttermilk, homemade buttermilk recipe
Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @ablossominglife or tag #ablossominglife!

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two pictures of homemade buttermilk in a a mason jar with a measuring spoon

This post was updated November 8, 2019


  1. You are So right — this is a real money saver! You can also use lemon juice or ANY vinegar I have on hand and I can’t tell the difference in the baking, even with buttermilk pancakes it works. Thanks for sharing this great tip.

    1. That is a great question! I have no idea! At first I was thinking no because there is a chemical reaction that goes on, then I thought maybe its possible. It would probably give it a little bit of a sour taste. We might just have to do a little experiment! I can try almond milk and you can try coconut milk πŸ™‚

  2. For a second, I thought my browser didn’t fully load the whole recipe. I love that this is so simple, totally going to try this soon! Thank you, Amy! πŸ™‚

    1. I used white. The recipes I found said you can use apple cider vinegar but I usually don’t have that on hand. I have heard the lemon juice as well. That should work since you really just need a acid to start the process and to make it a bit sour! I’m glad I could help and hope you get to try it soon!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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