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Substitute for Buttermilk {Kitchen Tip}

Substitute for Buttermilk

I love buttermilk. I have mentioned before that I use it all the time. I even freeze it for those times that I don’t have any in the freezer.

I have also shared my love of buttermilk by sharing some of my favorite recipes using buttermilk because it gives it a creaminess and tang that nothing else can quite give you, but even I run out of buttermilk sometimes.

And from the emails and comments I get, I know many of you don’t always have buttermilk on hand. In fact, a few of you have said you don’t keep it as a staple in your kitchen at all.

Did you know there is a simple tip for substituting buttermilk in recipes?

I usually end up replying to emails and comments with this tip for substituting buttermilk, but I decided it was time to do a post all on its own. So today I am finally sharing it with you.

This is a tip I learned from my mom years ago. She used it all the time and when I realized that I have never shared this tip here on my site, I knew I had to post it.

Now I still love and prefer buttermilk, but when I am in a pinch and can’t get to the store, I have used this.


How many of you have tried this? What are your thoughts?

If you are dairy free, be sure to check out my post on dairy free substitutes for buttermilk.


Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Didn’t I see somewhere on the internet that you can just add regular milk to the remaining buttermilk you have in order to make more buttermilk? Also, with buttermilk being a soured milk, how do you tell when it has truely gone bad? When it is chunky?

  2. Thank you for sharing. I have found powdered buttermilk and keep a can for emergencies. Thanks for answering my question about freezing buttermilk.

  3. I use this substitute all the time. Buttermilk is not something we regularly buy, so when I have a recipe that needs sour dairy, I will use sour milk (just milk that’s gone off in the carton), yogurt, or add vinegar or lemon juice to fresh milk. It works well! I wonder if I’m missing out on better taste by not buying buttermilk, though. 🙂

  4. When I first got out and my own and started cooking for my husband & I, I actually bought buttermilk. That didn’t last long once I discovered that you COULD substitute it! I don’t see the benefit to actually keeping buttermilk on hand–we don’t use it consistently enough for it to be worth the money. I usually use lemon juice/milk (vs vinegar), and I didn’t notice a difference when we changed.

    • Brandette W. says:

      I completely agree with Serena! We are in the same exact boat. I have always used the milk + lemon juice trick because we don’t use buttermilk nearly enough to add that expense to our budget. So, I just use the staples in my pantry to make the homemade version when I need for a particular recipe such as muffins or pancakes. It has always worked well for me and since buttermilk has never been something I knew growing up, I have never noticed a difference. I am all for saving a few dollars and making something myself with things I already have around the house, especially if it saves me a trip to the store! Great post Lynn, this is a very worth while “kitchen hack” we should all know. Thank you.

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