Craving pancakes for Sunday brunch and finding no buttermilk on hand can be truly distressing for anyone’s weekend plans.

Buttermilk seems to be that little something that you always seem to run out of when you need it most. A buttermilk substitute can easily solve this problem.


Traditional buttermilk is the whey left over after the churning of the butter. It has a great taste and many enjoy drinking it.

It is also used in a variety of recipes like pancakes, waffles, pies, quick breads and salad dressings. The list goes on.

Buttermilk, which is slightly acidic, combines with baking soda to form CO2 gas. This fizz makes your baked goods tender and airy.

Most recipes call for buttermilk in moderate quantities. If you don’t drink buttermilk, you don’t want to buy a quart of it that will just sit in your fridge.


Even if you try to use it all up in different recipes, it can be a bit difficult to do so at times. Consequently, you shy away from stocking it as a rule.

You can actually use any form of acidified milk as a buttermilk substitute. There are a lot of ways to do that.

You can use yogurt, kefir or sour cream to achieve this end. But, making a buttermilk substitute with milk and white vinegar is the easiest way in a pinch.

The two basic ingredients are almost always available in your kitchen.

Now you don’t have to postpone any dish just because you don’t have buttermilk. Just make your own substitute in 10 minutes by following the steps below.

Steps to Make an Easy Buttermilk Substitute



Things you’ll need:

  • Milk – 1 cup
  • White vinegar – 1 tablespoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Bowl

Step 1. Pour milk into a bowl

Step 1 Pour 1 cup of milk into a bowl

Pour 1 cup of milk into a bowl. You can use any non-dairy milk for a vegan buttermilk substitute.

Step 2. Add white vinegar

Step 2 Add 1tablespoon white vinegar


Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to the milk. If you don’t have white vinegar, you can use fresh lime juice in the same quantity.

Step 3. Let it sit for 10 minutes

Step 3 Let it sit for 10 minutes

Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. The acid in the vinegar (or lime juice) will have curdled the milk, separating the whey.

Your buttermilk substitute is ready. Although curdled, this substitute made from fresh milk is good enough to be used in any recipe – curd bits and all. Use it as you would regular buttermilk.

Now you can easily satisfy that pancake craving.

Bon appétit!


Additional Tips

  • This buttermilk substitute is great for incorporating in baking and cooking, although it’s not something you would drink or consume directly.
  • This recipe works with non-dairy milks as well. So, those who follow a vegan lifestyle should also be able to use this recipe.
  • You can also use plain, unsweetened yogurt or sour cream as a buttermilk substitute. Just thin them down to buttermilk consistency with water. Similarly, kefir can be thinned down with milk and used as a substitute.
  • Another substitute can be made by adding 1¾ teaspoons of cream of tartar to 1cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.