5 Ways to Make a Buttermilk Substitute

No buttermilk? No problem! Get cooking with these buttermilk substitutions.

Buttermilk pancakes just wouldn’t be the same without buttermilk. But for some people, it’s rarely stocked in the fridge. Luckily, there are a number of substitutes you can use in place of buttermilk. Here are some standbys.

Milk + Lemon Juice or Vinegar

This stellar substitute to make buttermilk at home is our all-time favorite. For each cup of buttermilk needed, use 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. If you’re out of milk, these are the best milk substitutes.

Cream of Tartar + Milk

In the event you’re caught without lemon juice or vinegar, you can use this alternative. For 1 cup buttermilk in baked recipes, use 1 cup milk plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar.


Yogurt is great for baking and all your applications. Substitute an equal amount of plain yogurt for the buttermilk needed. Check out these cream cheese substitute ideas, too.

Sour Cream

Yes, you can substitute sour cream! Thin it with milk or water to get the right consistency: For each cup of buttermilk needed, use 3/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup liquid. Note: Sour cream has a higher fat content, so this will result in richer-tasting foods. Use this in dips and dressings for a delicious taste.

Dairy-Free Buttermilk Substitute

If you need a dairy-free version, try this: Combine 3/4 cup plain or vanilla almond milk yogurt, 1/4 cup almond milk and 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar. Let stand for 5–10 minutes before using in any recipe that calls for 1 cup buttermilk.

Check out even more genius baking substitutes.

Ways to Use Your Buttermilk (or Buttermilk Substitute)
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Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a senior book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.