Everything you ever wanted to know about Buttermilk all in one place. I’ll teach you what it is, why you use it, and how to make it at home in case you need a baking emergency substitution.
Buttermilk is a bakers dream. It makes baked goods light, fluffy, and helps them rise as a leavening agent. I’m sharing all of my tips and tricks about buttermilk.
This post is about what buttermilk is as well as how to make substitutions at home in case the recipe you are working with calls for it and you don't have any on hand. It's a cool ingredient!
What is Buttermilk?
Buttermilk today is different than the buttermilk your grandmother was making. Traditionally, buttermilk was the liquid that was left over after churning butter. Hence, the name buttermilk, even though it contains no butter.
Today, buttermilk is made by adding bacteria cultures to regular milk and then fermented for several hours at a low temperature. This fermentation process converts the milk sugars into lactic acid. The lactic acid combined with baking soda is enough to make bakers drool. It's similar to making yogurt!
Why use Buttermilk?
Buttermilk helps with leavening and fluffiness without adding any extra fat. Buttermilk is thicker than regular milk but not as thick as cream and has a lower fat content than regular milk. It is the ingredient that makes pancakes fluffy, biscuits light, and cakes tender among other things. Buttermilk is also used in dips and dressings because of the thick nature and slightly tangy taste.
What is a Good Buttermilk Substitute?
We’ve all been there. You are neck deep in a recipe and you realize you forgot to pick up buttermilk from the store! Worst thing ever, right? But have no fear! Did you know you can make a killer buttermilk substitute at home? It’s kind of life changing once you know this little hack.
There are a few different ways to substitute buttermilk. My go-to is adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a 1-cup measuring cup and then fill the rest of the cup with milk. Stir the mixture and let it sit for a few minutes. The acid will curdle the milk slightly.
Another method is to whisk ¼ cup milk into ¾ cup plain yogurt. This will create a nice and thick buttermilk substitute.
You can also use milk and sour cream as a buttermilk substitute. Whisk together ¾ cup sour cream and ¼ cup milk until you get a thicker consistency that resembles buttermilk.
How long does Buttermilk last?
Buttermilk should stay fresh in fridge for about 2+ weeks. It typically stays fresh longer than other dairy products. Buttermilk also freezes really well.
Is Buttermilk healthy?
Buttermilk is much lower in fat than you might think. It is also full of potassium, vitamin B12, calcium, and phosphorus. Buttermilk is a great source of probiotics that can aid in digestion.
What is buttermilk used for?
It is the ingredient that make pancakes fluffy, biscuits light, and cakes tender among other things. It acts as a leavening agent and keeps baked goods moist.
Recipes to use buttermilk in:
- Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes
- Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie
- Homemade Buttermilk Syrup (great on waffles and German pancakes)
- The Best Buttermilk Biscuits
- Classic Fluffy Buttermilk Waffle Recipe
Everything you ever wanted to know about Buttermilk all in one place. I’ll teach you what it is, why you use it, and how to make it at home.
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar OR lemon juice
- 1 cup milk
- Measure the vinegar or lemon juice into your measuring cup and then fill it the rest of the way with your milk (so you'll actually need a tablespoon less of milk than a full cup because that 1 tablespoon is your vinegar or lemon juice).
- Gently stir the mixture together.
- Let mixture sit for 5 minutes.
- Use in your recipe in place of the buttermilk called for.
- Here's the amounts you'll need for common recipe amounts.
Vinegar or Lemon Juice
2 ¼ teaspoons
½ tablespoon OR 1 ½ teaspoons
- Another method is to whisk ¼ cup milk into ¾ cup plain yogurt. This will create a nice and thick buttermilk substitute.
- You can also use milk and sour cream as a buttermilk substitute. Whisk together ¾ cup sour cream and ¼ cup milk until you get a thicker consistency that resembles buttermilk.
- Prep Time: 6
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 87
- Sugar: 12.9g
- Sodium: 103.1mg
- Fat: .2g
- Carbohydrates: 13.2g
- Protein: 8.3g
Keywords: buttermilk, what is buttermilk, homemade buttermilk, buttermilk substitute, what can I use instead of buttermilk
It is so beneficial to know about buttermilk and different ways that you can make it at home. I hope you learned something that you didn’t know before.