How to Make Buttermilk

Several of you have asked if you can substitute milk for buttermilk in a recipe. You can, but it might not work. Baking soda reacts differently to buttermilk than to regular milk, so if your recipe has baking soda in it I wouldn’t substitute unless necessary.

You don’t need to substitute milk for buttermilk because it is very easy to make buttermilk. All you need is milk and either vinegar or lemon juice. Add about a teaspoon of either to a little less than one cup of milk. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes then use in your recipe.

If you don’t have lemon juice or vinegar you can use sour cream as a substitute for buttermilk. Just thin out the sour cream with regular milk and substitute.

As I mentioned before I usually cook with powdered milk and buttermilk is no exception. You can buy powdered buttermilk and store it in the pantry. I just make it when I need it for a recipe. I know real buttermilk tastes better but the powdered works great in biscuits and pancakes.

Remember don’t use buttermilk when a recipe calls for milk if the recipe has baking powder in it. Buttermilk is too acidic and your baked goods won’t rise correctly.


  1. If you want to make real liquid buttermilk to keep on hand in the fridge here is our recipe.

    It’s super simple and this is what I use a lot of the time and I just to keep it on hand since I cook with buttermilk a lot.

  2. You can substitute buttermilk for milk in recipes using baking powder – you just have to switch out some of the baking powder for baking soda. We do it all the time. 🙂

  3. I frequently substitute yoghurt or even whey (I sometimes strain my homemade yoghurt to thicken it and I keep the whey that drips out for use in other things) for buttermilk.

    Works great, is cheap because I make it myself and I know exactly what is in it.

    I don’t use dried milk (or dried buttermilk) because from everything I have read, the drying process not only changes the proteins in the milk/buttermilk so that it cannot be used by the body, but it also changes the fats and can actually make them harmful – I much prefer to use things in as natural a state as possible as I believe that that makes them more nutrient dense and far better value for money.

  4. This is a great idea! I have never noticed powdered buttermilk before but I never thought to look for it. I use powdered milk for baking but have always bought buttermilk and the don’t finish up the half gallon before it spoils. Thanks for the great tip!

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