Learn how to make buttermilk with this easy tutorial. You only need two ingredients and about 10 minutes to make this simple substitute!

A clear measuring cup filled with homemade buttermilk along with a white napkin and lemons in the background.

What is Buttermilk? 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a baking basics post and I figured it was about time to add another one to the collection. One of the most common questions I’ve been receiving lately is for buttermilk substitutes.

Traditionally, buttermilk is the liquid that’s left in a churn after making homemade butter. It’s naturally non-fat and rich in cultures, and it stays fresh longer than regular milk. Nowadays, buttermilk is made by inoculating regular milk with cultures. The stuff you get at the store is quite thick and tangy, but it’s so simple to make at home too! 

I love to use buttermilk in baked goods because it creates a tender crumb and also helps add moisture. However, it isn’t always something that people keep on hand. Plus, no one really loves to make an extra trip to the grocery store for one ingredient in a recipe.

So today I’m showing you exactly how to make homemade buttermilk with just two simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. This is a great recipe to keep for when you need some in a pinch!

An image of a clear glass measuring cup filled with milk and a lemon beside it. A white napkin, copper measuring spoon, and sliced lemon in the background.

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

As promised, you can easily make your own buttermilk using just two basic ingredients. Here’s what we’ll be using: 

Lemon juice or vinegar: You can use either freshly squeezed lemon juice or vinegar in this recipe. Any type of vinegar will work, so long as it’s fairly neutral in flavor (i.e. white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, etc.). However, I prefer using white vinegar when possible. 

Milk: You can use any kind of milk that you prefer for this recipe. Skim, 2%, whole, or even almond milk all work great! 

A clear measuring cup with one tablespoon fresh lemon juice. A white napkin and lemons in the background.

How to Make Buttermilk

For this DIY buttermilk recipe, you’ll need some milk and an acid. You can use any kind of milk, I typically use whole milk because it’s what I usually have on hand. For the acid, I usually use fresh lemon juice, but you can also use distilled white vinegar.

You’ll start by adding 1 tablespoon of either fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar into a measuring cup.

Once you’ve added the acid, pour in 1 scant cup (just under 1 cup) of milk. In other words, you’ll pour the milk into the measuring cup until it reaches the 1 cup line. Then, stir the mixture together well and set it aside for about 5 to 10 minutes before using it in your recipe. The mixture should look a little curdled, that’s when you know it’s ready.

Side note: I use these OXO angled measuring cups and love them! You don’t have to worry about getting to eye level with the measuring cup to make sure you have the right amount.

A clear measuring cup being filled with milk. A white napkin and lemons in the background.

FAQ’s

What does buttermilk do in baking?

It helps to create tender baked goods and keeps them moist. It’s also acidic. So if your recipe calls for baking soda, it will react with the baking soda to help your baked goods rise.

Can you make it without dairy?

Yes, you can use non-dairy milk such as almond milk in this recipe.

How long does it last? 

Store-bought buttermilk lasts up to 2 weeks in the fridge, but the homemade version has a shorter shelf life. I recommend enjoying this within 3 to 4 days of making it, just to be on the safe side. 

Can you freeze it? 

Yes, but this is best used the same day you make it. 

Different Ways To Use It:

You can use this in any of these delicious recipes!

A clear measuring cup filled with homemade buttermilk along with a white napkin and lemons in the background.

How To Make Buttermilk

5 from 9 ratings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Learn how to make buttermilk with this easy tutorial. You only need two ingredients and about 10 minutes to make this simple substitute!

Ingredients

Servings: 1 cup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 scant cup (225 ml) milk

Instructions
 

  • Pour the lemon juice or vinegar into a measuring cup. Then, pour in the milk until it reaches the 1 cup line. 
  • Stir the mixture well, then set aside for 5-10 minutes before using in your recipe.

Notes

You can use any kind of milk that you prefer for this recipe. Skim, 2%, whole, or even almond milk all work great!
Nutrition information is calculated with whole milk and fresh lemon juice.
Cuisine: American
Course: Drinks
Author: Danielle
Calories: 144kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 113mg, Sugar: 11g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @livewellbakeoften on Instagram or tag #livewellbakeoften.