Buttermilk Substitute

Don’t you just hate it when you get ready to bake something then discover you are missing key ingredients?

But often times, there are simple recipe substitutions that use ingredients you already have in your fridge or pantry.  Yes!  This means you won’t need to run out to the grocery store at the last minute so you can finish what you started.  So over the next couple of weeks I’m going to share some of these simple ingredient substitutions with you.  My mission is that these simple tips will make your life in the kitchen just a little less complicated!

First up, let’s talk buttermilk.  I use buttermilk often in my kitchen so I almost always have it around – we eat a lot of buttermilk pancakes, I like it for cakes,  scones and glazes, quick breads, and breakfast cakes.  It’s a rare occasion that I don’t have a 2 L of buttermilk in my fridge (I buy a 2 L on almost every grocery shopping trip), but there are times that I don’t.  But did you know that you can actually make your own buttermilk for baking purposes?  Yes you can!

Buttermilk Subsitute {A Pretty Life}

With a few simple ingredients you can make your own buttermilk for baking.  The go-to buttermilk substitute recipe that I use is milk and lemon juice.  If you don’t have lemons, you can also substitute buttermilk with watered down sour cream or plain yogurt.

Here are the simple recipes:

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Buttermilk Substitutes


This substitute requires either using fresh lemon juice or white vinegar added to milk. This particular recipe yields 1 cup of ‘buttermilk’.



Option #1:

  • 1 cup milk or cream (minus 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice or white vinegar

Option #2

  • 3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water


Option #1:

  1. Measure out 1 cup of milk, minus 1 tbsp.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar, and stir.
  3. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir again and use in your recipe as required.

Option #2:

  1. Combine the ingredients and proceed with your recipe.


The lemon/milk mixture will curdle slightly and this is what it’s supposed to do. Also keep in mind that this mixture won’t be as thick as true buttermilk, but for baking purposes, it works beautifully.

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Now let’s get out that buttermilk and get baking!  Here are some of my recipes that require buttermilk to get you started:

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake {A Pretty Life}

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Mozzarella & Parmesan Quick Bread

Mozzarella and Parmesan Buttermilk Quickbread

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Hot Cross Scones

Hot Cross Scones {A Pretty Life}

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Have a delicious day!


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  • Reply
    March 12, 2015 at 3:23 PM

    This is so helpful! So often I realize I need a special type of milk and wonder what I could use as a substitute. And those scones! 🙂


  • Reply
    March 13, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    Hi! Stopping by from the Link Party Palooza. Thank you very much for sharing this tip and reminding me of it! I had to do this once when I was making pancakes because I always have pancake ingredients on hand but never have buttermilk. Thank you again!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2016 at 2:46 AM

    really helpful, its hard to find lactose free buttermilk! x

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