Making buttermilk with lemon juice or vinegar in 5 minutes is so easy and cheap! You can make dairy free buttermilk for recipes this way too.
Buttermilk is a dairy product that is made from milk that has been fermented with lactic acid bacteria. It has a sour taste and a thick, creamy texture. It is often used in baking and cooking, as it adds moisture and acidity to recipes. If you need to know how to make buttermilk with lemon juice or white vinegar we’re here for you. (affiliate links present)
How to Make Homemade Buttermilk
If your recipe calls for buttermilk and you don’t have this ingredient on hand, you can make your own by combining milk and lemon juice or vinegar! The acid in one of the two items will curdle the milk, creating a substitute very similar to if you bought it at the store. You can use regular milk or lactose free varieties too!
Just by adding a small amount of acid on the bottom of your measuring cup and filling the remainder, a bit more than 3/4 cup, with your dairy or non dairy product you’ll have just what you need to make your baked goods moist and tender. 😉 I don’t always have this on hand so this kitchen hack has come in VERY handy.
How to Make Buttermilk with Lemon Juice
There are a few tricks to getting this done right the first go around. Think ahead so you can remove 1 cup of milk, or needed amount from the fridge. Let it sit on the countertop for 30 minutes – 1 hour so it can get closer to room temp. That way it won’t take as long to curdle and get to the thickness you desire for your recipe.
- Use room temperature milk. Cold milk will slow down the curdling process.
- Use fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice may not be as acidic, which could prevent the milk from curdling properly.
- Don’t overmix the mixture. Overmixing can make the buttermilk too thick.
- If the buttermilk doesn’t thicken after 10 minutes, let it sit for a few minutes longer.
How to Make 1 Cup of Buttermilk
It is easiest to make 1 cup, and usually what most recipes require but if you only need half then you’ll add 1/2 tbsp of acid + 1/2 cup milk, actually a bit less than that = 1/2 tbsp less since that is taking up the remaining room. Same goes for 1/4 cup milk, you’d decrease to 1/4 tbsp vinegar…you get the idea.
- 1 cup of milk
- Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- In a measuring cup, combine the milk and lemon juice.
- Stir the mixture until the lemon juice is fully dissolved.
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened and curdled.
- The buttermilk is now ready to use in your recipe.
You can also make buttermilk with vinegar instead of lemon juice. To do this, simply use 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of milk. Buttermilk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to Use Buttermilk
There are TONS of dishes out there using this. Why you might ask? Well as you can see it is much thicker than traditional milk out of the carton. So let’s say you wanted to make a gravy or thick sauce of sorts, it would behove you to use a thicker dairy product to achieve the texture you desire.
- In baking it is a common ingredient in pancakes, waffles, biscuits, our Jumbo Blueberry Muffins with Buttermilk, and cakes.
- As you can imagine, treats like our Lemon Curd Cake can become MUCH more moist with this used vs. even whole milk. Thicker = moister.
- It helps to tenderize the baked goods and gives them a moist, fluffy texture.
- This slightly curdled milk can be used to make sauces, gravies, and soups.
- It adds a sour flavor and helps to thicken the dish.
This can even be enjoyed on its own as a refreshing drink too, back in the day it really was. It can also be used as a marinade for chicken or fish.
Dairy-free Substitutes for Buttermilk
Now this is where it comes in really handy for us as my husband cannot handle dairy with lactose in it. We buy Lactaid regularly and it works just the same!! You can’t find dairy free buttermilk at the store but it is easy peasy to make your own right at home now.
- Sour cream can be used as a 1:1 substitute for buttermilk in most recipes.
- Lactose free yogurt can also be used as a 1:1 substitute for buttermilk. For best results, use plain yogurt without any added sugar or flavorings.
- Almond milk can be used to make buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1/2 cup of almond milk. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using.
- Soy milk can be used to make buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1/2 cup of soy milk. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using.
No matter how you use it, this is a versatile ingredient that can add a delicious flavor and texture to your dishes. Note: make sure you combine your dry ingredients together first before adding this ingredient. Baking soda specifically is a basic chemical that will directly react with this. If you combine just the two you may notice that the mixture fizzes.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Making Buttermilk with Lemon Juice
- 1 measuring cup
- 1 measuring spoon
- Tip – It is best to use room temperature milk to make this so it doesn't take as long to curdle to the thickness that is desired.
- In a measuring cup, combine the milk and lemon juice. Stir the mixture until the lemon juice is fully dissolved.
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened and curdled. The buttermilk is now ready to use in your recipe.