How to Make Buttermilk at Home

How to Make Buttermilk at Home

Don’t fret when you realize you’re missing buttermilk for that delicious pancake recipe! There’s a simple solution to create a homemade version that works just as well in a pinch. But before we dive into the DIY buttermilk, let’s understand what it is.

What Is Buttermilk?

In the old days, buttermilk was a byproduct of churning butter at home. The liquid left after butter extraction was a protein-rich, low-fat liquid that was left to ferment, giving it that tangy flavor we associate with buttermilk. Nowadays, commercial buttermilk is made by introducing live, active cultures to pasteurized milk in a controlled environment, making it safe and consistent.

Buttermilk versus Regular Milk?

Unlike regular milk with a mild and sweet flavor, buttermilk is bold and bursting with acidity. This acidity makes it an excellent ingredient for various recipes. In baking, it helps soften and leaven cakes and biscuits, while in marinades, it adds flavor and tenderizes meats. It’s also the star in dressings and sauces, providing that perfect pop of bright flavor.

Read more: How To Make Guacamole

Making Buttermilk at Home

Yes, you can make buttermilk at home! While it won’t be the same as the store-bought version without live cultures, it works well in most recipes. Here’s a simple method to whip up some homemade buttermilk:

You’ll Need:

– 1 tablespoon of acid (e.g., white or distilled vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice)

– 1 cup of plain dairy milk


  1. Measure out 1 tablespoon of your chosen acid (vinegar or citrus juice) and get your dairy-based milk ready.
  1. Pour the acid into a measuring cup and add the milk until it reaches the “1-cup” mark.
  1. Give the mixture a good stir and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. During this time, the acid will react with the milk, mimicking the acidity and flavor of buttermilk.
  1. Now, your homemade buttermilk is ready to use in your favorite recipes that call for buttermilk.

How to Use Buttermilk

With your homemade buttermilk at the ready, it’s time to put it to work in various recipes. It works wonders for softening and leavening baked goods, making fluffy pancakes, biscuits, and pound cakes a treat.

If you’re craving a tasty salad dressing, whip up some Homemade Ranch Dressing or Blue Cheese Dressing using your buttermilk. And let’s not forget the chicken! Buttermilk is a fantastic tenderizer and flavor enhancer for dishes like Air Fryer Fried Chicken and Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings.

If you find yourself with leftover buttermilk, don’t waste it! Pour the extras into ice cube trays and freeze them for later use in your culinary adventures.

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Don’t let the absence of buttermilk derail your cooking plans. With a little ingenuity, you can create a suitable homemade version to save the day. Embrace the tangy goodness of buttermilk in your recipes, and enjoy the enhanced flavors and textures it brings to your favorite dishes. So, the next time you’re caught without buttermilk, remember this simple method to create your own and keep cooking with confidence!

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