vegan substitute for buttermilk

Best Vegan Substitute for Buttermilk That’s Easy to Make

Are you looking for the best vegan substitute for buttermilk in your recipes? Or how to make vegan buttermilk at home easily?

In this article I will be sharing a recipe for easy vegan buttermilk. As well as covering any buttermilk related questions that you might have. Even if you aren’t vegan these non-dairy buttermilk recipes could come in handy if you don’t have buttermilk on hand when you need it.

It is great for anyone with food allergies, dietary restrictions, or for when you just don’t have normal buttermilk on hand.

So, keep reading to find out what is the best dairy free buttermilk alternative!

What is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is one of those ingredients that most of us have heard of but probably don’t know exactly what it is.

Buttermilk is the byproduct of making butter, as it is the remaining liquid that is left once the butter has come together.

This was first used long ago in recipes to enhance the flavor as well as to not waste the liquid that was left over after turning fresh butter.

Because buttermilk is made from cow milk it is not considered to be vegan friendly.

How to Make a Vegan Substitute for Buttermilk

Because buttermilk is not vegan you might find yourself needing a vegan substitute for buttermilk for one of your recipes.

The good thing is that this just might be one of the easiest substitutes to make in the history of vegan substitutes!

It takes only two very easy to get ingredients to make your own vegan buttermilk substitute at home.

Don’t forget to read till the end to find out how to use your homemade buttermilk, as well as how you can store it and for how long!

Related: Best Vegan Substitutes for Yogurt and Sour Cream

How to Make Vegan Buttermilk

Option One:

  • 1 cup Plant Milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice or Vinegar

To make your vegan substitute for buttermilk combine the two ingredients and stir together.

Allow the buttermilk mixture to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. You will know that it has become buttermilk once it has changed in consistency.

The consistency should be slightly lumpy and look curdled. It might have even taken on a slightly yellow tinge and it will smell sour.

Option Two:

  • 1 cup Plant Milk
  • 1 ½ Tsp. Cream of Tartar

Combine both ingredients, making sure to thoroughly stir in the cream of tartar and remove any clumps.

Add to your baked goods as you would normal buttermilk. This recipe doesn’t need to sit or curdle.

Option Three:

  • ½ cup Plant Milk
  • 2/3 cup Vegan Yogurt or Sour Cream

Combine the plant milk and sour cream or yogurt and thoroughly combine the two. Use as you would normal buttermilk in your recipe.

This might make batters thicker than normal. So you may have to adjust the recipe accordingly in order to get the right consistency.

Which Recipe is Better?

Because there are three recipes you might be wondering which is better if there is a better option.

I can’t personally rate which one is best as I have only ever used the first recipe and have always had wonderful luck with it. I also like to usually use Almond Breeze almond milk as my plant-based milk as it always curdles reliably.

I would say that for convenience sake that the first recipe is better since you probably already have all of the necessary ingredients on hand.

The buttermilk recipe with cream of tartar is good if you are very sensitive to taste and feel as though the vinegar or lemon juice provides an after taste. Or any sourness to your finished recipes.

The third recipe is best if you are wanting the probiotic benefits of buttermilk. As the vegan sour cream or yogurt provides the addition of good gut bacteria.

vegan substitute for buttermilk

What Kinds of Plant Milk Can You Use?

You might be wondering what kind of plant milk you can use to make your own non-dairy buttermilk. Because there are so many options to choose from!

The simple answer is that you can use any plant-based milk to create your own homemade buttermilk. They will all work to a certain extent.

But the best options would be to use pure almond milk or organic soy milk. These two milks have the best track record for curdling every time without issue.

I always use almond milk and have never had an issue with getting it to curdle. It usually curdles well within 5 minutes or less!

For results that are the closest the normal buttermilk use soy milk as the consistency is similar, as well as the protein content.

Related: Best Dairy-Free Milk Alternatives for Vegans

Lemon Juice Vs Vinegar

You might also be wondering if it matters whether you use lemon juice or vinegar. And as far as I am aware, it doesn’t.

Both are very acid which gets the job done of helping the milk to sour and curdle which creates a vegan substitute for buttermilk.

I personally use white or apple cider vinegar since I always have those on hand. I have never had an issue with them effecting the taste of my recipes.

Some people prefer lemon juice simply because it is better smelling than vinegar. But there is really no difference between the two options. Just personal preference.

How Can You Use Buttermilk?

There are lots of reasons why you might want to learn how to make vegan buttermilk at home.

Mostly because there are many different kinds of recipes that require it.

The good thing is that this is one of the easiest substitutes you can make at home and can be whipped up in just a few minutes!


The most common reason that you will find yourself needing to make non-dairy buttermilk is to use in baking recipes.

Such as:

  • Biscuits
  • Buttermilk pancakes
  • Cakes
  • Donuts
  • Bread
  • Muffins
  • Scones
  • Battered foods
  • waffles

These are just some recipes that might require the addition of buttermilk. And thankfully your vegan substitute for buttermilk will work just fine in these recipes!

It will help to add lightness and flavor to whatever recipe you add it to.

Related: Amazing Vegan Baking Substitutes


You could also use your vegan buttermilk to drink as is if it is to your taste. Most people wouldn’t be able to stomach the texture or flavor in its pure form, however.

You could also add it to smoothies to give it a small boost for your digestion.

How Long Will It Last?

Even though these vegan substitutes for buttermilk are very easy to whip up in a pinch. There are still plenty of reasons why you might want to make it ahead of time to save for later.

Christmas and thanksgiving, I’m looking at you!

In the Fridge

Buttermilk made ahead and stored in the fridge should last 3-5 days depending on the type of plant milk you use.

Make sure to store it in something airtight like a mason jar to preserve it for longer.

In the Freezer

Homemade vegan buttermilk can be made ahead and frozen in several different ways.

You can pour it into a plastic bag, into ice cube trays, or into an airtight container. The best option is to pour it directly into a plastic bag or to freeze it in ice cube trays then transfer to a bag.

Pouring it into a container often leads to more frost as they are not as airtight as a plastic Ziplock bag.

Homemade buttermilk should last up to 3 months in the freezer. Simply defrost once you are ready to use it.

Do I Have to Use Buttermilk?

There are also reasons why you might not want to use buttermilk at all, substitute or otherwise.

Though it is best to try to stick to recipes as close as possible, especially when baking. You can still possibly leave out buttermilk altogether from a recipe if you choose to do so.

Buttermilk provides acidity which acts as a helpful boost to the leavening agents in your recipe. If you decide to just use a plain plant milk in the place of buttermilk you will need to add something to help with leavening.

You can add a pinch of baking powder to counteract the loss of the buttermilk. You might also need to slightly decrease the liquid in the recipe, as buttermilk is thicker.

Overal, with a few slight adjustment you should be able to replace the buttermilk entirely with few changes in the recipe.


I hope that you were able to get the information that you needed from this article on how to make vegan buttermilk.

Buttermilk is a relatively common ingredient especially in baking, that you are going to come into contact with. And as far as I am aware, no brand sells vegan buttermilk.

Which is why we have to get create and make it for ourselves. Which is just as good to be honest!

These vegan substitutes for buttermilk are great options as they are all easy and effective in whatever recipe you are making.

Just because non-dairy buttermilk isn’t readily available in stores doesn’t mean you can’t make your favorite buttermilk recipes. Just try one of these homemade substitutes!

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