I almost never have store bought buttermilk in the fridge. And so I always rely on homemade buttermilk substitutes when making sweet or savory recipes. Today I’ll share with you 6 ways how you can make easy diy buttermilk at home.
updated post form 2010
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
Buttermilk has been around for many years. It’s used in cooking, baking and it can also be used to make refreshing drinks. And even though it’s widely available in grocery stores I rarely buy it. Instead I use quick buttermilk substitutes that are easily prepared at home.
- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Vinegar and Lemon Buttermilk
- Citric Acid and Cream of Tartar Buttermilk
- Sour Cream and Yogurt Buttermilk
- Can I use cold milk to make buttermilk?
- How to make dairy free buttermilk?
Making buttermilk is so easy! All you have to do is add acidic ingredient to the milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir and use right away.
- Lemon Juice
- Citric Acid
- Cream of Tartar
- Sour Cream
VINEGAR AND LEMON JUICE HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
Let’s get started with 2 most popular ways to prepare homemade buttermilk.
Vinegar and Lemon Juice are most commonly used to make buttermilk at home. Lemon and vinegar can do wonders. I also use them to make easy Homemade Farmer’s Cheese.
I’ve tried several ratios of lemon/vinegar to milk and personally I prefer 1 tablespoon(15ml) of lemon/vinegar to 1 cup(236-250ml) of milk.
- VINEGAR/LEMON HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
- Pour 1 tablespoon Vinegar/Lemon Juice into a 1 cup(236-250ml) measure.
- Top it off with room temperature milk. Stir.
- Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Mixture will be curdled.
- Stir again and use right away, or use within 3 hours.
- Works great in baking and cooking.
- Moderate acidic taste, not great for drinking.
CITRIC ACID AND CREAM OF TARTAR HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
Did you know you can use Citric Acid and Cream of Tartar to make buttermilk? They are not as commonly used as lemon juice or vinegar. But both can be used successfully to prepare homemade buttermilk.
Both citric acid and cream of tartar are sold in dry powder form. And both can be used as crystallization inhibitors in candy making.
Citric Acid (pH3) – strongly acidic, use small amounts
Citric Acid is naturally found in fruits like lemons, limes, grapefruits, pineapples and berries, to name a few.
Commercially produced citric acid has table salt like texture. And it is used as food additive. For example it’s used in flavored drinks, wine, canning, caramel, gummy candies, frozen fish and more. I also used it to make Invert Sugar Syrup.
- CITRIC ACID HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
- Into a cup measure pour 1 cup room temperature milk.(step 1-3)
- Whisk in 1/4 tsp citric acid, let sit 5-10 minutes. (step 4-7)
- Stir before using. (step 8)
- Thick, creamy not too acidic, I found it surprisingly tasty.
Cream of Tartar (pH5) – mildly acidic
Cream of tartar is a byproduct of wine production. It contains tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is similar to lemon and vinegar.
In recipes cream of tartar works as stabilizer. It’s often used in recipes for royal icing and meringues. And it can also be helpful in candy making process as well, working as inhibitor of sugar crystallization in candies. Try it next time you make homemade thick caramel.
- CREAM OF TARTAR HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
- Into a cup measure pour 1 cup room temperature milk. (step 1-3)
- Whisk in 1 and 1/2tsp cream of tartar, let sit 5-10 minutes. (step 4-7)
- Be sure to whisk it again right before adding it to the recipe. (step 8)
- Powdered cream of tartar tends to sink to the bottom of the dish (similarly like corn starch)
- Very mild in taste and it doesn’t thicken up.
SOUR CREAM AND GREEK YOGURT HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
Sour cream and Greek Yogurt can also be used to make buttermilk from scratch. Use 1:1 ratio (sour cream/yogurt : milk).
This smooth homemade buttermilk is good enough to be used for delicious and refreshing drinks and it works great as meat marinade as well. Use it with chicken, fish or venison. This buttermilk is so delicious I could drink it every day!
- SOUR CREAM/YOGURT HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
- Measure 1/2 cup milk. Pour it into a small bowl. (step 1-2)
- Spoon sour cream/yogurt into a 1/2 cup measure. (step 3)
- Add sour cream/yogurt into the milk.(step 4)
- Whisk well until smooth. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.(step 5)
- Stir again and use.(step 6)
- Both, sour cream and yogurt produce smooth, very mildly tangy buttermilk.
- Yogurt Buttermilk had slightly thicker consistency than Sour Cream Buttermilk.
- They also work great for marinades and drinks.
CAN I MAKE HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK USING COLD MILK?
I’ve made buttermilk using cold, straight from the fridge milk many times. And though it works it’s not as effective as when you use room temperature milk.
For best results use room temperature milk to make buttermilk at home. To quickly bring cold milk to room temperature microwave it for 20 seconds. Stir well. And then add acidic ingredient. Acid reacts faster with room temperature milk than it does with cold milk.
HOW CAN I MAKE DAIRY FREE BUTTERMILK?
Use a non-dairy milk instead (rice, almond, oat etc.) and add lemon or vinegar.
DELICIOUS RECIPES USING BUTTERMILK :
6 ways to make homemade buttermilk
each serving makes 1 cup of buttermilk
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp citric acid
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain GREEK yogurt
Into a 1 cup measure pour vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 tbsp). Top it off with room temperature milk. Pour it into a bowl. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir again and use as directed in your recipe.
Tip : Not for drinking. This is what I use mostly in baking recipes (cakes, pancakes etc.)
Measure milk into 1 cup measure. Pour into a bowl and add citric acid (1/4 tsp). Stir well and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir again and use as directed in your recipe.
Tip: Thick and smooth, mildly acidic, tasty.
Measure milk into 1 cup measure. Pour it into a bowl and add cream of tartar (1 tsp and 1/2 tsp). Stir well and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir well again right before using. Cream of tartar tends to sink to the bottom of the bowl. Use as directed in your recipe.
Tip: This buttermilk is very mild in acidic taste and it doesn't thicken up like other buttermilk substitutes. It's important to stir it again right before using.
Measure milk into 1/2 cup measure and pour into a bowl. Then measure sour cream/plain Greek yogurt, plain yogurt (1/2 cup) and pour it into a bowl with the milk. Whisk well till blended together and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Use as directed in your recipe.
Tip: This buttermilk is excellent for meat marinades (chicken, pork, venison, fish) and drinks as well. It's smooth and creamy.
HOW LONG DOES HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK LAST?
Best to use within 3 hours.
CAN I USE COLD MILK TO MAKE BUTTERMILK?
I recommend using room temperature milk. Heat cold milk in a microwave for 20 seconds.
HOW CAN I MAKE DAIRY-FREE BUTTERMILK?
Use non-dairy milk, such as oats, almond, soy add vinegar or lemon to make buttermilk.
This post was originally published on May 28th, 2010. On January 25th, 2020 I updated this post with new photos, written text and a video.
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