How To Make Buttermilk from Plain Milk with Lemon Juice or Vinegar

how to make buttermilk
How to make buttermilk – Original Picture @ HonestCooking

Ever found yourself in desperate need of pancakes or cupcakes, but you have no buttermilk in the fridge? Or what about the other scenario: you are wanting to make up a recipe, but you are very reluctant to buy an entire carton of fresh buttermilk when you are only needing half a cup. For both situations, we have a really easy solution for you. It is really easy to make a very quick and healthy buttermilk substitute in under ten minutes.


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Whether we are talking cupcakes or quick breads, the purpose of buttermilk in just about any baking recipe is really to add a tenderness and to lighten the batter. As soon as the acids in the buttermilk come in contact with the baking soda or the baking powder within the batter, a nice giant fizz – fest begins to take place. This reaction with the baking powder(or soda) cancels out the sour taste of the buttermilk, while leaving our freshly baked goods nice and airy, tender, and very tasty beyond reckoning.

If you do not have any buttermilk in the fridge, the next closest substitute would be to try another dairy product using a little acidity — that is milk (I prefer raw) along with a spoonful of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar will do the job very nicely. This mixture certainly wont get as creamy and thick as buttermilk, however it will perform its role within the batter just as well.

Thank goodness for homemade buttermilk substitutes. Because a very good cupcake or  pancake craving should never ever go unsatisfied. Here is how to do it:

How To Make Buttermilk from Plain Milk with Lemon Juice or Vinegar

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

How To Make Buttermilk from Plain Milk with Lemon Juice or Vinegar


  • 1 scant cup milk (whole, 2%, or heavy cream)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Equipment
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Stirring spoon


  1. Combine the milk and lemon juice. Measure 1 scant cup of milk. Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.
  2. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. When it is ready, the milk will be slightly thickened and you will see small curdled bits. (This substitute will not become as thick as regular buttermilk.)
  3. Use the buttermilk. Use this substitute (including curdled bits) as you would buttermilk in your recipe.



I’m Julie. This is where my love of cupcakes, digital photography as well as writing comes to life! How did this recipe thing all begin? In November of 2012, I made the decision that I needed to keep a log of my recipes, so I started a simple recipe blog. This beautiful collection of cupcakes and cafe delights continues to grow every week and I can’t wait to see where it is 5 years down the road. My grandma encouraged all of my baking. At family gatherings with well over 250 individuals the midst of absolutely no where, she consistently was able to create perfect cherry cobblers along with other goodies for dessert over the campfire. It seemed to be like magic for me.

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