July 11th, 2012

Kitchen Talk: Substitutes for Buttermilk


So here is the skinny on buttermilk:  Sometimes we think it is high in fat {after all, it is called buttermilk}, but actually, buttermilk is the low-fat residual liquid that remains after cream is churned into butter.  It has less fat than sweet milk.

I remember my husband’s grandfather pouring himself a big glass of buttermilk every night and loving it!  Unfortunately, I have never acquired a taste for drinking buttermilk, but  I do love what it does for cakes, sweet breads, biscuits and all kinds of recipes- makes them moist and delicious.  But let’s face it, it’s usually not something we have on-hand in the frig.  {Definitely frustrating when you want to make your favorite banana bread or yesterday’s Blueberry Muffins.}  If you find yourself in that situation and just don’t want to make another run to the store, don’t shed any tears; here’s a few substitutes that work great in a pinch.  And remember,  you can freeze leftover buttermilk to use in your next recipe!


Vinegar – Apple Cider or White

I always use Apple Cider, because that’s what my mom always used {tradition}.  Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to a measuring cup, add milk to make 1 cup.  Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes.

Lemon Juice

Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a measuring cup, add milk to make 1 cup.  Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes. {I think the vinegar works better, but if you happen to be out of vinegar also . . . }

Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt

Stir in a little milk until you get the consistency of buttermilk.   These will have a different flavor which may or may not make a difference in your recipe.

Powdered Buttermilk

I found this SaCo buttermilk power at my grocery store with the powdered milk.  It has a long shelf life and works great in most recipes (especially with a bread machine).  You do have to keep it in the refrigerator once you open it.  If you do lots of baking it may be an option for you, but I wouldn’t use it for dressing or dip.


Here are some of our favorite ways to use buttermilk:

Texas Sheet Cake
Blonde Texas Sheet Cake with Caramel Pecan Frosting
Buttermilk Rolls
Blueberry Muffins
Classic Cornbread
Red Velvet Crepes
Overnight Yeast Pancakes
Buttermilk Syrup
Creamy Parmesan Ranch Dressing & Dip
Peppercorn Ranch Dressing




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3 Responses to “Kitchen Talk: Substitutes for Buttermilk”

  1. Yum….I use the Saco Buttermilk Blend in my homemade buttermilk dressing and it is wonderful.

  2. Thanks Marsha – I always assumed fresh would be better in the dressings. Good to know!!

  3. Thanks, Kyra! I never seem to remember to pick up buttermilk when I’m shopping and I have a slew of recipies I would love to make that use it. Now that I know I can freeze it I will get busy in the kitchen!


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