Buttermilk Substitute

How to make a Buttermilk Substitute with a few simple ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now!

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.  Ingredients such as buttermilk.

I use buttermilk very 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.–  – –


Buttermilk Substitutes

Buttermilk Subsitute

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

  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x



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 sour cream (or yogurt) and water.
  2. Use in your recipe as required.


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.

Keywords: buttermilk substitute

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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}

Mozzarella & Parmesan Quick Bread

Mozzarella and Parmesan Buttermilk Quickbread

Hot Cross Scones

Hot Cross Scones {A Pretty Life}

Have a delicious day!


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  1. 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!