Kitchen Hints and Tips # 8 … How to Substitute Buttermilk in a Recipe …

Kitchen Hints and Tips # 8 … How to Substitute Buttermilk in a Recipe 001


When I’m cooking or creating a new recipe, I try to use ingredients that I would normally find in the fridge and pantry … things that I cook with all the time. It’s not only easier, it’s often cheaper and it also means I don’t buy things I won’t fully use or ingredients that I don’t like or am unfamiliar with. In those instances, I try to find a substitute by modifying something that I already use.

One such ingredient is buttermilk and I occasionally stumble across a recipe that needs it. It’s not something I usually keep in my fridge or buy because I find that a lot of recipes may only call for half to one cup. I’m very reluctant to buy the whole container when I may only need a smaller amount because that means wasting the excess that’s not needed for the recipe.

So, couldn’t I just substitute buttermilk with plain old milk? Not really! Buttermilk is a milk that’s slightly sour and is needed for certain baked items liked pancakes. It’s sour because of it’s acidity which, when mixed with baking powder, causes your baked items to be tender, light and airy. It’s all about the chemical reaction, which won’t occur if plain milk is used on its own.

So, in the case of buttermilk, there’s a couple of substitutes that are fairly easy.

Simply add one tablespoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk. Stir it together and allow it to stand for around 10 minutes. The mixture will curdle slightly and also thicken a little, but that’s it, a simple substitute for buttermilk using things I already have! Skimmed milk doesn’t work particularly well so use either full fat or reduced fat milk, if possible.

If you don’t have vinegar or lemon juice, here are 2 other substitutes that also work well:


  • Mix ¾ cup of sour cream with ¼ cup of milk or water and mix.


  • Mix ¾ cup of plain yoghurt with ¼ cup milk or water and mix.


So tell me, do you use buttermilk when you bake and what’s your favourite recipe that you use it for?


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