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The Best Substitute for Buttermilk in Baking: 14 Excellent Dairy, Non-Dairy, and Low-Carb Options

Buttermilk is an amazing ingredient for cooking, thanks to its tangy flavor and moisturized and fluffy effects on cakes. If you run out of it, though, you might be looking for a substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Keep reading to discover the best options!

substitute for buttermilk in baking

Buttermilk is an excellent ingredient for baking recipes, but you don’t always have it in your kitchen.

This article lists the 14 different alternatives to buttermilk for your baking recipes, which are dairy, non-dairy, or low-carb.

Let’s begin with dairy-based substitutes for buttermilk in baking.

8 Dairy-Based Substitutes for Buttermilk

If you’re one of those people who believe dairy products are unmissable in baking, check out these dairy-based substitutes: milk with vinegar, milk with lemon juice, milk with cream of tartar, lactose-free milk with acid, sour cream with water or milk, plain yogurt with water or milk, plain kefir, and buttermilk powder with milk.

In the next section, let’s check out milk and vinegar.

1. Milk and Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

Combining milk and cider is an excellent way to create a dairy-based substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Vinegar contains lactic acid, a basic ingredient in commercial buttermilk, which helps to ferment milk and give it the leavening qualities needed for cake recipes.

You can use apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar. But if your recipe needs a subtle acidic taste, distilled white vinegar is better since it has a more neutral flavor than apple cider vinegar.

The following instructions teach you how to mix milk with vinegar to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. For 1 cup of buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 cup of milk.
  2. Add the vinegar to a measuring cup before adding the milk to hit the 1 cup mark.
  3. Stir well to incorporate these two ingredients.
  4. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes or use it immediately.

In the next section, let’s check out milk and lemon juice.

2. Milk and Lemon Juice

Lemon juice

Mixing milk with lemon juice produces an amazing substitute for buttermilk in baking. It’s similar to the previous alternative since lemon juice is similar to vinegar.

If you’re using fresh lemons, squeeze the juice before using it in your recipe. Otherwise, a bottled version of lemon juice works well, too, as long as you’re not serving your meal to asthmatic persons. That’s because certain preservatives like sodium sulfite found in bottled lemon juice may trigger asthma attacks.

The following instructions teach you how to mix milk with lemon juice to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring cup, then add milk to hit the 1 cup of milk.
  2. Stir the two ingredients well.
  3. Use the buttermilk as desired.

In the next section, let’s check out milk with cream of tartar.

3. Milk and Cream of Tartar

cream of tartar

Mixing milk with cream of tartar is a great way to create a great substitute to buttermilk in baking.

Cream of tartar is an acid chemically known as potassium bitrate. It’s a byproduct of winemaking in the form of white powder with a neutral flavor.

The following instructions teach you how to mix milk with cream of tartar to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Combine 1 ¾ tablespoon of cream of tartar with 1 cup of milk.
  2. Since cream of tartar clumps when adding it to the milk directly, add the acid to the other dry ingredients before adding the milk to make the cake batter.
  3. Alternatively, mix cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons of milk before adding it to the rest of the milk.

In the next section, let’s check out lactose-free milk and acid.

4. Lactose-Free Milk and Acid

lactose-free milk

Mixing lactose-free milk with acid is a fantastic substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Since buttermilk has lower lactose content than regular milk, lactose-free milk equals it, and it’s ideal for lactose-intolerant people. Besides, using lactose-free milk makes the buttermilk sweeter and palatable.

The following instructions teach you how to mix lactose-free milk with acid to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup.
  2. Add 1 cup of lactose-free milk.
  3. Stir thoroughly until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Use your buttermilk in your cake recipes.

In the following section, let’s check out sour cream with water or milk.

5. Sour Cream and Water or Milk

bowl of sour cream

Mixing sour cream with water or milk makes a decent substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Sour cream is made by combining lactic acid and standard cream. It has a tangy taste like buttermilk, making it a great alternative for buttermilk in baking. But sour cream is thicker than buttermilk, so you have to make it thinner.

The following instructions teach you how to mix sour cream with water or milk to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. For each cup of buttermilk, use ¾ cup of sour cream with ¼ cup of water or milk.
  2. Whisk the mixture until it becomes smooth and runny.
  3. Use the mixture as needed in your recipes.

The other way around works, too, so you can replace sour cream with buttermilk in baking.

In the following section, let’s check out plain yogurt with water or milk.

6. Plain Yogurt and Water or Milk

plain yogurt

Combining plain yogurt with water or milk produces a fantastic substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Plain yogurt has a tangy acidic flavor like buttermilk, but it’s thicker. So it has to be thinned with water or milk before using it instead of buttermilk in your recipes.

The following instructions teach you how to mix plain yogurt with water or milk to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. For each cup of buttermilk, use 170 grams (6 ounces) of plain yogurt and add it to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add ¼ cup water or milk and whisk.
  3. Use the mixture as needed in your recipes.

In the following section, let’s check out plain kefir.

7. Plain Kefir

plain kefir

Plain kefir is a great substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Unflavored kefir is fermented milk that looks and tastes like buttermilk. But it has morebeneficial bacteria and microbes than buttermilk.

When replacing buttermilk with plain kefir, apply the 1:1 ratio. So, for every cup of buttermilk, use a cup of plain kefir.

Keep in mind that heating kefir kills most of the bacteria, so try to use it uncooked in your recipes.

In the following section, let’s check out buttermilk powder and milk.

8. Buttermilk Powder and Milk

powdered milk

Mixing buttermilk powder with milk is an easy way to put together a substitute for buttermilk in baking using ingredients that are already in your pantry.

The next time you head over to the grocery store, grab a pack or two of buttermilk powder. Besides, it has a longer shelf life than liquified buttermilk.

When replacing buttermilk with buttermilk powder and milk, use¼ cup of buttermilk powder with 1 cup of milk for every cup of buttermilk. Be sure to addthe powder to the dry ingredients when preparing the cake batter before adding the milk.

In the next section, let’s take a look at dairy-free alternatives to buttermilk in cooking.

3 Dairy-Free Substitutes for Buttermilk in Cooking

Dairy-free buttermilk substitutes come in handy when you need to bake a vegan cake. And the best way to replace buttermilk is by using plant-based milk instead of dairy milk.

In this section, we’re examining three dairy-free substitutes for buttermilk in cooking: unsweetened soy milk with acid, vegan sour cream with water, and tofu with water and acid.

Let’s start by checking out unsweetened soy milk and acid.

1. Unsweetened Soy Milk and Acid

unsweetened soy milk

Mixing soy milk with acid is a great way to create a dairy-free substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Soy milk is one of the healthiest plant-based dairies. To obtain the best possible buttermilk replacement, be sure to use unsweetened soy milk since you can control the recipe’s sweetness by adjusting the other ingredients.

The following instructions teach you how to mix soy milk with acid to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into a measuring cup. You can also use 1 ¾ tablespoon of cream of tartar.
  2. Add unsweetened soy milk up to the 1 cup mark.
  3. Stir the mixture, and use it as desired.

In the following section, let’s check out vegan sour cream and water.

2. Vegan Sour Cream and Water

healthy vegan sour cream

Vegan sour cream and water create an excellent substitute for buttermilk in baking, especially if you prefer a dairy-free alternative for your vegetarian diet.

The following instructions teach you how to mix vegan sour cream with water to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Place ½ cup of water and ½ cup of vegan sour cream in a mixing bowl and stir.
  2. Adjust the water and vegan sour cream proportions to get your desired thickness and quantity.
  3. Use the mixture as desired in your recipes.

In the following section, let’s check out tofu with water and acid.

3. Tofu, Water, and Acid

fresh tofu

Combining tofu with water and acid creates a fantastic substitute for buttermilk in baking.

The following instructions teach you how to mix tofu with water and acid to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Puree ¼ cup of soft silken tofu in a blender.
  2. Add ¾ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and vinegar.
  3. Use the resulted mixture as needed in your recipes.

In the next section, let’s check out low-carb paleo-friendly substitutes for buttermilk in cooking.

3 Low-Carb Paleo-Friendly Substitutes for Buttermilk in Cooking

If you’re on a low-carb diet, you don’t have to mess up your routine with dairy-based buttermilk since you can use a paleo-friendly alternative.

Since the paleo diet doesn’t allow dairy products, legumes, or grains, you can use the following substitutes for buttermilk in cooking: unsweetened coconut milk with acid, unsweetened almond milk with acid, or unsweetened cashew milk with acid.

Let’s start with unsweetened coconut milk and acid.

1. Unsweetened Coconut Milk and Acid

unsweetened coconut milk

Mixing unsweetened coconut milk with acid makes a great substitute for buttermilk in baking, particularly for paleo fans.

Coconut milk has the same consistency as buttermilk, so you don’t have to worry about getting the proportions right since you can apply the 1:1 ratio. On the other hand, coconut brings its well-known tropical flavor to any recipe, so it’s essential to keep this in mind.

The following instructions teach you how to mix unsweetened coconut milk with acid to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk in a mixing bowl.
  2. Use this mixture for your baking recipes and enjoy the tropical flavor of coconut!

In the next section, let’s check out unsweetened almond milk and acid.

2. Unsweetened Almond Milk and Acid

unsweetened almond milk

Combining unsweetened almond milk with acid creates an excellent substitute for buttermilk in baking, particularly since almond milk is a great paleo alternative for your cake recipes.

The following instructions teach you how to mix unsweetened almond milk with acid to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup of almond milk in a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir the mixture to get a nice thick consistency.
  3. Use this mixture in your recipes and enjoy the versatile benefits of almond milk in your cakes.

In the next section, let’s check out unsweetened cashew milk with acid.

3. Unsweetened Cashew Milk and Acid

unsweetened cashew milk

Combining unsweetened cashew milk with acid creates an excellent substitute for buttermilk in baking.

Cashew milk is rich in nutrients and proteins, so it’s a healthy choice for your cakes.

The following instructions teach you how to mix unsweetened cashew milk with acid to obtain a consistency similar to buttermilk:

  1. Use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and 1 cup of unsweetened cashew milk.
  2. Mix the two ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well.
  3. Use this mixture for all your baking recipes and enjoy the sweet taste of cashew milk!

In the following section, you can learn more information about buttermilk alternatives.

FAQ

This section answers common questions about buttermilk and the way to replace it in your recipes:

What is buttermilk?

Buttermilk is sour milk with a tangy acidic taste that bakers use to add flavor to their recipes and as a raising agent. Traditionally, buttermilk was actually a byproduct of making butter. Nowadays, buttermilk is a must-have in baking and is commercially made as an independent product.

Is buttermilk regular milk gone bad?

No, buttermilk is not regular milk gone bad. It goes through a manufacturing process to ensure that it’s safe for consumption. If you have milk that’s gone bad, throw it away and don’t use it as a buttermilk substitute.

Why do I need buttermilk in baking?

You need buttermilk in baking because it contains lactic acid, which tenderizes the gluten in your baking flour. It helps to create light and fluffy cakes.

When combined with baking soda, buttermilk helps leavening and gives your cakes a high rise, so it acts as a raising agent. Buttermilk also has a tangy flavor that works so well for cakes.

Can you freeze buttermilk?

Yes, you can freeze buttermilk in the following method:

  • Pour the excess buttermilk into icecube trays.
  • Transfer the trays to your freezer and wait 1 hour.
  • Move the frozen buttermilk cubes to a freezer bag.
  • Put the freezer bag in your freezer.

Are there dairy-free alternatives for buttermilk?

Yes, you can use the following dairy-free alternatives to buttermilk: unsweetened soy milk with acid, vegan sour cream with water, and tofu with water and acid.

The next and final section summarizes the entire article on buttermilk alternatives.

Substitute for Buttermilk in Baking (Summary)

To review, you can replace buttermilk in your baking recipes easily by combining some simple ingredients.

This article has listed dairy, non-dairy, or low-carb substitutes for buttermilk, so be sure to check them out!

What’s your favorite substitute for buttermilk in baking? Let us know in the comments below!

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