make your own buttermilk

Out of buttermilk and just itching to make some biscuits or lemon cake? Make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of milk and letting it sit until it curdles, about 10 minutes.

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27 comments on make your own buttermilk

  1. eva

    Where I live buttermilk is as expensive as gold, really. So I will try using your little trick next time.Thanks! By the way in Germany this is called ‘Dickmilch’ (thick milk) Buttermilk is only what’s left of the milk after churning butter and I think it’s totally fat-free, but still very yummy.

  2. esther

    @7: That is not what is meant by buttermilk. #6 describes quite well what buttermilk is. It is not milk with extra butter, it is soured milk.

  3. octel

    What you’re making here is called acidified buttermilk, which differs from cultured buttermilk. The cultured kind, in my opinion, has a superior taste and is much more suited for baking.

    Here’s a page detailing how to make your own culture buttermilk by using the active cultures present in the store bought stuff:

    You can also buy concentrated starters online, both liquid and dry.
    BONUS: you can use the starter to make homemade sour cream (and mexican crema)

  4. Mart

    Octel’s link is great!
    Growing up in a household where my Mum used to churn butter from the cream layer atop fresh milk we bought at a local farmer’s, I always wondered why commercial “buttermilk” did not taste like butermilk at all..
    Problem solved now!

  5. jen

    am I crazy for wondering if can I just substitute plain yogurt for buttermilk? I figure they’re both cultured dairy, and I pretty much always have yogurt in my fridge, and I can never finish a carton of buttermilk without it going bad.

  6. Mile High Jen

    I love your blog. I’ve gone down many a rabbit-hole after reading it. My latest? I bought a share in a herd of cows & get raw milk. I’ve been making fresh dairy, like creme fraiche, sour cream, butter, etc. I made cultured butter last week. OMG, yum. Now I have fresh buttermilk (described in post 6). Can I use this buttermilk in your recipes or do I need to (*gasp*) make my own buttermilk like you suggest here? It would be a shame to waste this stuff that came off the butter, but I’m not sure it’ll work. Does anyone know?

  7. Tamara

    I’m curious, too, Mile High Jen, whether the actual true, buttermilk (of which a cup is sitting in my fridge after making my own butter) will work in this recipe which seems to call for something fattier?

    Deb, you mention that ‘whole milk buttermilk’ is better for the cake, but that’s actually an oxymoron! So I have the same question as Jen–do I go to another recipe for using up my fresh buttermilk?


  8. Malinda

    Thankyou! This easy recipie for buttermilk has saved me today (it’s blowing a gale & I’m keen to stay indoors!) I used lemon juice rather than vinegar – recently read that vinegar is not a good friend to our liver…

  9. Terrie

    I make my own butter from cream. I am left with buttermilk. Thin. Can I use this in recipes that call for buttermilk? Is there something I could do to make it thick like the store bought kind?

  10. Trish

    Terrie (#21) – this is TRUE buttermilk – the initial milk that comes from the cream when the cream is churned to make butter. Most other suggestions are simply “soured milk”. True buttermilk is used in cakes to give a softer cake. When I make my butter, I freeze the buttermilk if I am not going to use it within a few days. It will keep for several months when frozen. If you don’t have buttermilk, I find a better alternative is full cream milk diluted, about 1:1.

  11. Pamela

    Use yogurt instead of milk and lemon juice or even use it instead of the buttermilk. Yogurt will have the same effect as buttermilk.

  12. Sam B Jacobs

    can this recipe for making buttermilk work using Soya Milk and lemon juice do you think? We dont do Cows milk for allergy and health reasons-probably a no- but I always live in hope, failing that, and living in France, where I have been unable to find buttermilk, is there a French equivalent does anyone know? I have also tried several of your recipes wih Greek style yoghurt and they seem good, but how would I actually know how much better they would be, made with actual buttermilk? So I am longing to try them out with the ganzer megillah,especialy the gorgeous Blueberry cake, to which I am now addicted….many thanks in advance

  13. AnnieD

    Deb’s version works GREAT with biscuits because the acid in the lemon juice or vinegar causes a reaction with the baking soda and baking powder. In my experience, you don’t even have to wait for curdling. Just add the lemon or vinegar and you’re ready to go! And the acid can be added to almond or soy milk, too.