No buttermilk? No problem! I’m sharing various dairy and non-dairy alternatives to substitute for buttermilk in all types of recipes.

Containers of yogurt, sour cream,, milk and white vinegar as buttermilk substitutes

What Can I Substitute for Buttermilk?

I’m so glad you asked! This is one of the most common questions I get, so I wanted to share a variety of alternatives to ensure “buttermilk” listed in an ingredient lineup doesn’t prevent you from making any and all recipes.

Below are options to substitute for buttermilk, with each option providing measurements that equal 1 cup of buttermilk:

Milk + Lemon

Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup then fill the cup up to the 1-cup mark with your choice of dairy or non-dairy milk, including soy milk and almond milk.

Stir the mixture then let it sit for 10 minutes until it thickens and begins to curdle. (Note: Non-dairy milks will not thicken as much as traditional dairy.) Measure out the same amount as the buttermilk listed in the recipe.

Milk + Vinegar

Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup then fill the cup up to the 1-cup mark with your choice of dairy or non-dairy milk.

Stir the mixture then let it sit for 10 minutes until it thickens and begins to curdle. Measure out the same amount as the buttermilk listed in the recipe.

A carton of buttermilk being poured into a glass liquid measuring cup

Milk + Cream of Tartar

Add 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar to a liquid measuring cup then fill the cup up to the 1-cup mark with milk.

Stir the mixture then let it sit for 10 minutes until it thickens and begins to curdle. Measure out the same amount as the buttermilk listed in the recipe.

Milk + Yogurt 

In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup milk with ¾ cup plain yogurt. (Note: If using Greek yogurt, the mixture may need to be thinned with additional milk.)

Measure out the same amount as the buttermilk listed in the recipe.

Sour Cream + Water

In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup sour cream with ½ cup water. Measure out the same amount as the buttermilk listed in the recipe.

Can I Freeze Buttermilk? 

Absolutely yes. Recipes often only call for a small amount of buttermilk, which leaves us all with a three-fourths full carton sitting idly in the fridge until it reaches its inevitable expiration date … and then down the drain it goes. But not any more!

A carton of buttermilk being poured into an ice cube tray

The best way to freeze buttermilk (or buttermilk substitutes) is to pour it into an ice cube tray. The smaller portions allow you to pop out and defrost individual cubes on an as-needed basis. Once frozen, buttermilk will last for up to three months.

What Recipes Can I Make with Buttermilk Substitutes?

Any recipe that calls for buttermilk will work just as great with the buttermilk substitutes listed above… with one caveat! Of course sour cream, yogurt and milk all vary in flavor, so there will be some slight differences in tanginess.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to make with buttermilk or buttermilk substitutes:

Easy Homemade Bread (No-Yeast): Get the Recipe

A loaf of homemade bread cut into slices on a wood cutting board

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake: Get the Recipe

Top down view of raspberry cream cheese coffee cake on white plate next to glasses filled with orange juice

Simple Skillet Cornbread: Get the Recipe

Easy Skillet Cornbread topped with fresh chives

Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits: Get the Recipe

Easy buttermilk biscuit cut in half and topped with honey butter

Julian’s One-Bowl Banana Bread: Get the Recipe

Julian's One-Bowl Banana Bread with parchment paper in bread pan

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Guide by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste.


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Comments

    1. Hi Margaret – Yes, you can use sour milk for baking. The extra acidity in it can actually yield added flavor in baked goods.

  1. JUST FOUND YOU!!!!!! OH MY GOSH YOU ARE AMAZING !!!! WAS GOING TO DO BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN BUT PASSED I HAD NO BUTTER MILK…BUT NOW..WHOOP WHOOP CAN DO IT ANY TIME…ALSO WAS HUNTING NON YEAST RECIPES..ESPECIALLY PIZZA DOUGH..GUESS IM GOING TO BE MAKING PIZZAS AND CHICKEN THIS WEEKEND..PROBABLY BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN PIZZA!!! YOU ARE NOW MY GO TO FOR CREATIVE COOKING

  2. I’m soaking chicken in buttermilk before dredging and baking. Will all these substitutes work? Thank you! Love your recipes/videos!

  3. Hi Kelly. I am making a kitchen helper for each of my granddaughters. Your substitution list was so helpful but even though I was hoping to print this one I can’t. Please help me out. Thanks

    1. Hi Peggy! The substitution list was an infographic so you could print it. This page you’d just have to print directly from your browser.