8 best buttermilk substitutes

Buttermilk substitutes have been a popular and indispensable ingredient for centuries, but unfortunately, it’s not as popular as they used to be. In an age of growing environmental, health, and ethical concerns, vegans and lactose intolerants will also struggle to find dairy-free alternatives. But so as not to be nervous. Regardless of what led you to success in your quest to replace buttermilk, this list will provide you with 8 great substitutes that are sure to complement your recipes, just like the real thing.

What is Buttermilk?

Traditional buttermilk is made from the thin liquid leftover from frying with butter. The modern type that you will be more familiar with is usually made from a combination of milk and bacterial cultures that thicken the mixture and give it a pleasant spicy flavor. Is traditional variety better than modern? Well, it really depends on your preferences. Modern buttermilk is usually less buttery, coarse, and thicker than its traditional counterpart.

Traditional buttermilk is still widely available in eastern countries such as India and Nepal, but its modern version has been (literally) eaten by the West. This article will be devoted to the modern type of buttermilk.

How healthy (or unhealthy) is she?

You’ll be glad to hear that as you get closer to dairy products, this one really isn’t bad for you. In fact, despite the “butter” in its name, buttermilk’s nourishing makeup is almost identical to that of milky makeup. With around 40 calories, 1g of fat, 3.3g of protein, and 116mg of calcium per 100g, buttermilk contains several beneficial vitamins and minerals while remaining low in the fat and calories department. However, as with most ingredients, you can always find a substitute for even lower fat and calories if that is what you are looking for. See below for the full nutritional breakdown of buttermilk.

Nutritional breakdown

Buttermilk Amount (per 100 g) % Recommended daily intake
Calories 40 kcal 2%
Total Fat 0.9 g 1%
Saturated fat 0.5 g 2%
Carbohydrates 4.8 g 1%
Cholesterol 4 mg 1%
Salt 105 mg 4%
Protein 3.3 g 6%
Calcium 116 mg 11%
Vitamin B-12 0.22 µg 10%
Potassium 151 mg 4%

In what recipes is buttermilk used?

The popularity of buttermilk has slowly declined over the decades. It becomes an essential ingredient in several recipes, such as buttery bread, butter flatbreads, butter pies, pound butter cakes, butter cookies, butter cookies, butter soups, and much more. As this list shows, buttermilk is a very versatile ingredient and its potential uses are endless.

Why do we need buttermilk substitutes?

But if buttermilk is so versatile and healthy, why would we want to replace it in the first place? Well, the vegans and the plant pioneers among us already know one answer. Both traditional and modern versions of buttermilk are usually made from dairy milk, which means that there is no place in it for those who cut milk out of the diet. Buttermilk can also be a pain to buy every time you plan to add it to your recipes, as it is no longer the household ingredient it used to be.

But whether you’re cutting milk or looking for something more convenient, this list will give you more than enough ideas to work with. So without further ado, let’s dive right into it.

Attention:

🌱 = vegetarian

🥛 = dairy options only

🥛🌱= dairy and vegan options

 


1.  Easy vegan / dairy-free alternatives (make your own)

overview

Let’s start with a simple vegan option among us. Homemade non-dairy buttermilk alternatives are great if you want something that tastes just like the real thing in your baking, dressing, or soup recipes. We recommend using soymleko (plus or vinegar, cream tartar or lemon juice as described in the following three substitutions) for best results.

Benefits

As we said before, the two best things about this replacement are that it’s almost identical to milk-based buttermilk, and it tastes great because it’s homemade. But another great thing is that it’s so easy, and there are so many ways to do it. The following three substitutes on this list (milk and vinegar, tartar milk and cream, and milk and lemon juice) can be made from non-dairy milk as easily as from dairy-based milk. Consequently, we will not delve into the specifics of the taste and texture of this product: the results will be almost identical to that of non-dairy milk, so you can read more about them individually in the following sections.

Defects

Another big reason it might be better to make your own dairy-free buttermilk is that you don’t have the opportunity to get the real stuff. Unfortunately, vegan buttermilk has not yet hit the stores. With any luck, you might come across this strange strain, but we couldn’t find it ourselves, so you’d be better off putting on a chef’s hat and getting stuck in it than searching the halls in vain.

Nutritional breakdown

See the three substitutes below for the approximate nutritional information of Homemade Non-Fat Buttermilk. These are the following some differences between cow’s milk and non-dairy milk you can check, but the nutritional value will be about the same.


2. Milk and lemon juice

overview

As we said in our intro, buttermilk is defined by its milky texture and spicy flavor. And what are the two ingredients that can be simply described as dairy and spicy? Milk and lemon juice. Just add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to one cup of milk for a convincing substitute that is as healthy as real buttermilk.

Benefits

One of the things this substitute definitely aims at is its convenience and simplicity. In fact, we argue that it’s even easier to do than going out to the store to buy the real thing. Most of us will have milk in the fridge and a few lemons lying somewhere, and all we need to do then is add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk (or 1 tablespoon to 100g of milk), mix them together and leave at room temperature until the milk will start to curl. It’s really that simple.

Most of the nutritional value of this substitute will be almost identical to that of buttermilk as both are milk-based. However, the lemon juice content is also a delicious way to get some of the daily recommended vitamin C. 2 tablespoons of lemon juice provide about 14% of your daily recommended intake. . It is also slightly lower in sodium (salt) than buttermilk and higher in vitamin B-12 which is always a plus.

Are you looking for a dairy-free alternative? Then this one will work just as well for you. Simply replace your milk with a dairy-free alternative (we recommend soymilk as it is the closest to cow’s milk in the formula) for an end result that is just as convincing.

Defects

The main disadvantage of this substitute is that it will not have the same flavor as buttermilk, especially traditional buttermilk. However, if most people use a modern type of buttermilk for baking or cooking, they really won’t notice much of the difference in flavor. Also note that if you are using a non-dairy milk substitute for this, we advise against freezing leftovers as it does not thaw in the same way as dairy milk.

Nutritional breakdown

Milk and lemon juice Amount (per 100 g) % Recommended daily intake
Calories 40 kcal 2%
Total Fat 0.9 g 1%
Saturated fat 0.5 g 2%
Carbohydrates 5.2 g 1%
Cholesterol 4 mg 1%
Salt 40 mg 1%
Protein 3.3 g 6%
Calcium 116 mg 11%
Vitamin B-12 0.45 µg twenty %
Potassium 148 mg 4%
Vitamin C 7 mg 7%

(Based on the USDA nutritional information for milk and lemon juice .)


3. Milk and vinegar

It is best suited for pastries, sauces, and soups

overview

Like the milk and lemon juice substitute, this substitute contains two essential ingredients of buttermilk: a milky texture and a spicy flavor. We recommend using 2 tablespoons of vinegar for every cup of milk.

Benefits

Like the previous replacement, the mixture of milk and vinegar is great because it’s convenient and easy to make. Both vinegar and milk are popular household ingredients, so you probably won’t have to worry about having to rush to the store to buy anything. And preparing the mixture is just as easy. Just pour 2 tablespoons of vinegar into one cup of milk, stir and leave it at room temperature until the milk starts to curl.

The end result is more than convincing for such a simple substitute. Of course, the difference could be distinguished if you compare it directly with reality, but if you use it in a recipe with several ingredients, it will work very nicely as a substitute.

Again, the nutrient content will be almost identical to that of buttermilk, so there’s really nothing to complain about in terms of health. As vinegar is very low in calories and contains no fat, it is slightly less caloric and fatty than buttermilk, but buttermilk is almost unhealthy to start with.

This substitute works just as well for those of us who want to be dairy-free as you can simply swap out dairy milk for a dairy-free alternative (preferably soy milk).

Defects

The only real downside is that it won’t taste the same as buttermilk, so it may be worth considering other options if you plan on drinking it yourself. However, as with the lemon juice substitute, you are unlikely to notice any significant difference if you use it in a baking recipe.

Nutritional breakdown

Milk and vinegar Amount (per 100 g) % Recommended daily intake
Calories 38 kcal 2%
Total Fat 0.9 g 1%
Saturated fat 0.5 g 2%
Carbohydrates 4.8 g 1%
Cholesterol 4 mg 1%
Salt 40 mg 1%
Protein 3.3 g 6%
Calcium 116 mg 11%
Vitamin B-12 0.45 µg twenty %
Potassium 148 mg 4%

(Based on the USDA nutritional information for Milk and Vinegar .)


4. Milk and cream from wine stone

It is best suited for: pastries, sauces, and soups

overview

Did you notice any topic? Like the two previous substitutes, this one is great because it is similar to buttermilk in two of the best ways: a milky texture and a spicy flavor.

Benefits

Tartar cream, also known as potassium bitartrate, is an acidic ingredient that, when combined with milk, surprisingly tastes like buttermilk.

Since this substitute consists mainly of milk with a very small amount (just under 1 tablespoon per 100g) of wine cream, its nutritional content is very similar to that of buttermilk. This is a good thing because, like buttermilk, it is low in calories and fat. As you might guess from its scientific name (potassium bitartrate), wine cream also contains a high concentration of potassium, which has many health benefits.

Tartar cream may be a slightly less commonly used ingredient for many of us than lemon juice or vinegar, but it is still widely available.

Defects

Cream stone can be a bit clunky over time, so you want to be careful you don’t end up with a lumpy mix. The best way to avoid this is to add tartar cream to other dry ingredients and then add and mix it with milk. Another possibility is to mix tartar cream with a little milk before adding it to the rest of the milk.

Nutritional breakdown

Milk and cream made of tartar Amount (per 100 g) % Recommended daily intake
Calories 47 kcal 2%
Total Fat 0.9 g 1%
Saturated fat 0.5 g 2%
Carbohydrates 4.8 g 1%
Cholesterol 4.8 mg 1%
Salt 40 mg 1%
Protein 3.3 g 6%
Calcium 116 mg 11%
Vitamin B-12 0.45 µg twenty %
Potassium 450 mg 13%

(Based on the USDA nutritional information for Milk and Tartar Cream .)


5. Buttermilk powder

Best for baked goods

overview

If you love baking but hate to go off the store every time you decide to make buttermilk pancakes, cookies, or bread, this is one for you. Buttermilk powder tastes almost exactly like real butter and is much more convenient. We recommend using 2 tablespoons of buttermilk powder in 1 cup of water, but this may vary depending on the variety.

Benefits

This replacement is a great option if you are looking for an easy alternative to buttermilk to use in baking recipes. For most varieties, you just need to add 4 tablespoons of powder to your dry ingredients for every 1 cup of buttermilk induced by your recipe. When the recipe calls for buttermilk, add 1 cup of water and you’re done!

Many people prefer this option over liquid buttermilk simply because powdered buttermilk lasts much longer and allows you to prepare so much buttermilk from one can. This is a great one if you plan to use more recipes that contain buttermilk weeks or months down the line but don’t want to keep going out to buy more liquid buttermilk.

And one more great thing about this option? It tastes like real buttermilk! Okay, it won’t taste as fresh as liquid buttermilk, but since you’ll be using it primarily for baking, for most of us, the difference is negligible.

The nutritional composition of buttermilk powder is once again almost identical to that of buttermilk (once combined with water), so there are no health concerns here. In fact, while liquid buttermilk tends to be low in saturated fat, buttermilk powder often contains no saturated fat.

Defects

While this substitute works great in baking, it is not so good in sauces or soups. You can try it in your soups and dressings and see how you like it, but that’s not typically what it’s made for. However, this is not a disadvantage if you plan to use it for baking anyway.

Powdered buttermilk doesn’t exist in dairy-free varieties these days (or at least we couldn’t find any). Consequently, unfortunately, this is not possible if you exclude milk from your diet.

Nutritional breakdown

Buttermilk powder Amount (per 100 g) % Recommended daily intake
Calories 40 kcal 2%
Total Fat Less than 1 g 1%
Saturated fat 0%
Carbohydrates 6.5 g 1%
Cholesterol 2 mg 1%
Salt 133 mg 4%
Protein 2.5 g 3%
Calcium 116 mg 11%

(Based on 2 tablespoons Saco Buttermilk Powder + 100 g water.)


6.  Sour cream and milk

Application: bread, sauces, and soups

overview

Are you looking for an alternative to buttermilk with a little more substance? This substitute may be higher in fat and calories, but it could prove worthwhile for this rich, delicious flavor. For best results, we recommend combining 1 cup of sour cream with about 2 tablespoons of milk. The sour cream is on the thicker side so you’ll want to loosen it a bit.

Benefits

While we may not be as excited about the extra fat in this alternative, it cannot be denied that the rich, dense flavor that comes with it is a nice addition. Plus, it has that spicy touch, much like sour cream, which basically makes it taste like a richer version of buttermilk.

Despite its relatively high fat and cholesterol content, it has other health benefits that many people find worth the extra fat, such as improved eye and bone health.

It can definitely be difficult to find dairy-free alternatives to sour cream, but they are out there which makes this substitute a viable vegan if you can find a few nearby.

Defects

Unlike most of the other substitutes on this list, this one has some fat in it. With around 180 calories and 16g of fat (including 10g of saturated fat) per 100g, it’s not exactly the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s not entirely healthy either. It also contains quite a lot of cholesterol (around 45mg). However, you can always swap high-fat items for healthier, low-fat versions if your calories are cut.

Nutritional breakdown

Sour cream and milk Amount (per 100 g) % Recommended daily intake
Calories 180 kcal 9%
Total Fat 16 g 23%
Saturated fat 10 g 50%
Carbohydrates 3.2 g 1%
Cholesterol 45 mg 15%
Salt 40 mg 1%
Protein 2.3 g 4%
Calcium 116 mg 11%
Vitamin B-12 0.23 µg 10%
Potassium 130 mg 4%

(Based on the USDA nutritional information for Sour Cream and Milk .)


7. Kefir

It is best suited for: pastries, dressings, soups, and drinks

overview

Kefir has seen a surge in popularity recently due to its many health benefits and its tart, spicy flavor. Luckily for us, this tart, spicy taste is very similar to the spicy taste of buttermilk, making it a convincing and healthy substitute. To use it in your recipe, simply add 1 cup of regular kefir to each cup of buttermilk required.

Benefits

Both modern buttermilk and kefir can be compared to thin yogurt in terms of taste and texture, making kefir a convincing substitute for buttermilk in both respects. Just make sure you pick up plain, flawless kefir as it comes in many different flavors that you don’t always want in your recipe.

Since kefir is a popular drink in its own right, it is also great for use in beverages or just for direct drinking. This way, you can also make the most of its amazing health benefits.

What are the amazing health benefits? Well, while kefir is slightly higher in calories and saturated fat than buttermilk, it compensates for this by helping to improve gut health, reduce gas, lower cholesterol and support the immune system.

This substitute can also be a great solution for vegans and lactose-intolerant people. Friendly bacteria in kefir feed on lactose, thanks to which it is relatively easily digestible. even if you are intolerant. And if you’re vegan or prefer something lactose-free, you’re in luck! Kefir is sold in a variety of forms, including non-butter varieties that mainly use coconut milk.

Defects

So, about these health benefits… Unfortunately, if you plan on using this substitute in your baking or other recipes, you will likely be missing out on its probiotic health benefits. Heating kefir kills its gut-friendly bacteria, which means it cannot grow and develop in your gut to aid digestion. However, you might as well try a cup of raw kefir if you intend to use it anyway. The taste can be quite brave, but it’s super healthy and definitely worth a try!

Kefir also has more saturated fat than buttermilk, at 1.7 g (8% of RDA) per 100 g. However, we believe its health benefits outweigh its disadvantages.

Nutritional breakdown

Lowland kefir Amount (per 100 g) % Recommended daily intake
Calories 55 kcal 3%
Total Fat 2.9 g 4%
Saturated fat 1.7 g 8%
Carbohydrates 4.2 g 1%
Cholesterol 9 mg 3%
Salt 41 mg 2%
Protein 3 g 4%
Calcium 103 mg 10%

(Based on Online Nutritional Information).


8.  Yogurt and water

It is best suited for: pastries, sauces, soups

overview

As we said before, modern buttermilk is comparable to thin yogurt in taste and texture, so you can see why it would make a great substitute. Yogurt has many health benefits and the addition of water things it to a consistency resembling buttermilk. The exact amounts to be used vary by variety, but we recommend about 3/4 cup plain yogurt and 1/4 cup water to make this substitute.

Benefits

Yogurt is high in lactic acid and has the same spicy taste as buttermilk, which makes it taste very close to the real thing. You can also achieve the perfect consistency of buttermilk by adding water until the mixture is thin enough.

Being a close cousin of kefir, yogurt has many great health benefits such as better digestion, gut health, weight loss, and more. If you get yogurt with live bacteria cultures, your gut will love you for it (but remember that heating will likely kill a lot of beneficial bacteria ). If you really want to take advantage of the health benefits, then Greek fat-free yogurt is a great option here. It contains, in addition to no fat (or saturated fat) and an impressive 10g of protein per 100g, as well as 11% of the recommended daily calcium. However, remember that Greek yogurt is thicker than other varieties, so you may need to add a little more water to get the consistency you want.

Like many of the other substitutes on this list, yogurt is also a popular ingredient around the world and can be easily picked up at your local grocery store. If you already have a yogurt tub sitting in your fridge, even better!

Since yogurt is such a popular food, you can usually find a decent number of dairy-free varieties to consume, making it a viable option for lactose intolerant or vegan people. Just make sure you choose plain, under-lubricated yogurt.

Defects

Like kefir, heating yogurt containing live bacteria often kills many of them, so you won’t get all the gut health benefits that raw yogurt has to offer. However, this is not as big a disadvantage as the unfortunate element of cooking any ingredient with live bacteria. Even without the gut-friendly bacteria, yogurt (especially non-fat Greek yogurt) contains small amounts of fat and high amounts of protein and calcium.

Nutritional breakdown

Yogurt and water Amount (per 100 g) % Recommended daily intake
Calories 45 kcal 3%
Total Fat 0.3 g 0%
Saturated fat 0.1 g 0%
Carbohydrates 2.3 g 1%
Cholesterol 4 mg 1%
Salt 27 mg 1%
Protein 7 g 14%
Calcium 80 mg 8%

(Based on the USDA nutritional information for 75g Fat-Free Greek Yogurt + 25g Water. Add more water if necessary).


The bottom line

Of course, no substitutes can fully live up to reality, but the substitutes on this list are certainly close together. Whether you’re a vegetarian, lactose intolerant, or just rooting around your lockers to take advantage of something, we’ve got you covered.

The best vegan pickets

You may have noticed that all but one of our substitutes have vegan options available, which is news if you’ve come here for vegan substitutes. But for our best vegan cubes, we recommend dairy-free kefir if you’re looking for a ready-to-use option, or dairy-free milk and lemon juice/vinegar if you want a super-convenient, easy-to-cook option.

The best healthy ankles

None of the options on our list (with the exception of sour cream in some respects) can be called unhealthy, so you really don’t have to worry too much about your health here. However, if you really want to maximize your health benefits, we believe a mixture of fat-free Greek yogurt and water with kefir is a great solution. Fat-free Greek yogurt is especially good if you’re looking for a great source of tasty protein, and kefir is perfect if you want to make a tantalizingly spicy yet healthy drink that your gut will love you for.

Highest pick comfort

How convenient each substitute will be for you depends on your dietary requirements as well as what you already have in your refrigerator or pantry. However, our personal preferences for convenience are Milk and Lemon Juice / Vinegar, and Buttermilk Powder. Lemon juice, vinegar, and milk are very popular ingredients that you most likely already have in stock, meaning you don’t need to bother going to the store. While you may have to take a trip to the store (or use the internet) to buy a batch of buttermilk powder, once you have it in your cupboard, you can use it countless times without worrying about it stopping.