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Dairy Free Substitute for Buttermilk {Ask the Readers}

Ask The Readers

I have quite a few readers that are dairy free. Thankfully, my family has not had to deal with this issue. We have other food issues, but have not had to go dairy free.

I have received quite a few comments and emails lately from those that are dairy free asking what to use in place of buttermilk in recipes. I love buttermilk and usually have some on hand for my favorite recipes. If I don’t have any one hand, I usually have some in the freezer.

I have also used the milk and vinegar trick, that I shared earlier today, when I don’t have any at all, but I have never had to use a dairy free option for buttermilk.

I know a lot of you are dairy free, so can you help my readers out that are looking for a dairy free substitute for buttermilk.

What can you use in place of the buttermilk if you are dairy free?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Coconut milk and vinegar (just like your vinegar trick.)
    1 cup coconut milk
    1 Tbsp vinegar
    Combine and let it rest 5 minutes. Then use as buttermilk.

  2. I have done the vinegar (or lemon juice) trick that you do with regular milk. It works with most non-dairy milks, including soy, coconut, and rice.

  3. Several years ago my mom had to go dairy-free for about a year for health concerns. She was avoiding milk alternatives also for health reasons, so we would just use a cup of water + a tsp of lemon juice in place of buttermilk to make our favorite spice muffins. I’ll admit they weren’t as moist, but we still enjoyed them. A tastier substitute is to use a cup of orange juice. Its acid content seemed to do the trick in the spice muffin recipe, and it added a great citrus taste. If you use this substitute, I think you could also try upping the oil/butter content in order to add some moisture back in.

  4. I use Almond milk w/vinegar (1c Almond milk/1TB vinegar) and it works great as a buttermilk sub.

  5. As other readers have suggested, I have used milk substitutes plus lemon juice. In my case I use Lactaid brand milk since I am lactose intolerant. I hope this helps!

  6. I agree with all the previous suggestions to use a non-dairy milk and add some vinegar and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using. Personally, I don’t like to bake with soy because it often leaves an odd flavor, but whatever your favorite alternative milk is for baking will work fine.

    It’s really about adding acidic liquid to the recipe, so even orange juice can be used in place of buttermilk, as long as the orange flavor will compliment the other ingredients 🙂

  7. First, there are probably two reasons for wanting to be dairy-free. One, a person is allergic to milk. The second is if a person is lactose intolerant. (I am lactose intolerant.)

    What people should know – and maybe I’ve posted here before – is that buttermilk has little or no lactose in it.
    If a person is lactose intolerant they CAN HAVE buttermilk in a recipe!
    (Some people may be very, very intolerant – so they should probably work out how much is too much lactose. Or find out for sure if there is any lactose in buttermilk at all.)

    The other food which has very little lactose in it is yoghurt. An ingredient of most or all yoghurts is acidopholous (am not sure of the spelling) – it cuts down the lactose.
    All regular yoghurt I’ve looked at in the stores has that ingredient.

    Hope this helps, Janey

    • +There is also a third reason people are looking for dairy free alternatives that you might not be aware of: Keeping kosher.
      I love cooking and watch many shows, read blogs, peruse cookbooks… I have come across so many recipes for chicken or meat that look so luscious but I can’t make them because we don’t mix meat and milk. That is why I am searching the internet for ideas.
      I think I will try the vinegar and soy//almond milk version. Of course, I’ll never know if it’s as good, but I hope it is.

  8. Amy Christensen says

    And a fourth which would be for Celiacs. It’s the Casein in the milk not the lactose that is the problem. But I can’t wait to use some of the subs listed!! Excellent!

    • And a fifth, the reason I’m looking, is that some breastfed babies have a reaction to the PROTEIN in milk and therefore yogurts, cheeses, buttermilk, etc. are all out! If I don’t want my baby constantly squirming in discomfort, I need to avoid ALL dairy, at least for the first 3-6 months.

      • That’s my reason also. It would be nice to know which proteins babies cannot handle..lactose/whey or casein…right now I’m trying to avoid allll dairy and it’s in everything!

        • I had to avoid dairy while nursing two of my kids. Cooked dairy (cheese and cream of stuff excepting) seemed to be okay. I agree that it would be awesome to know what protein was okay!

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