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    How to make buttermilk (homemade substitute)

    Buttermilk is one of my favourite ingredients to use when it comes to baking! I use it in so many of my recipes, including my soft vanilla cake and red velvet cake. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have buttermilk on hand, or can’t easily access it, you can make a great buttermilk substitute right at home.

    Homemade buttermilk

    What is buttermilk?

    Buttermilk is a type of milk that’s traditionally made from the liquid that’s left over after churning butter. Modern buttermilk however, is typically made by adding good bacteria to milk. The bacteria ferment the lactose in the milk, creating lactic acid. This gives buttermilk its characteristic tangy flavor and thickened consistency. The buttermilk is then pasteurized and homogenized to extend its shelf life and improve its texture.

    Why is buttermilk good for baking?

    Buttermilk is great for baking because it helps to create soft, fluffy baked goods, and adds flavor and moisture. There are three main ways it does this:

    1. The acid in buttermilk reacts with baking soda to help the batter rise, giving baked goods a light and fluffy texture.
    2. The acidic content as well as fat, helps to tenderize the gluten from the flour by breaking down the protein strands. This results in a softer, more tender baked good.
    3. Buttermilk also adds a tangy flavor to baked goods, which can help to balance out sweet ingredients.

    How to make buttermilk

    In some places around the world buttermilk can be difficult to find, but there is a really easy way to make a great homemade substitute!

    Firstly, measure 1 cup of milk and remove 1 tablespoon. If you don’t need to be super precise about having exactly 1 cup of buttermilk, then you can skip the step where you remove 1 tablespoon of the milk 🙂

    Homemade buttermilk recipe

    Next add in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and give it a mix. You can also use lemon juice or another acid. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

    Homemade buttermilk recipe

    After it’s had some time to rest, your milk should be curdled. And that is it! You have buttermilk ready to use 🙂

    Homemade buttermilk recipe

    Homemade buttermilk

    Homemade Buttermilk

    If you don't have buttermilk on hand, or can't easily access it, you can make an easy homemade substitute that works great in baked goods!
    5 from 12 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes
    Servings: 1 cup

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.


    • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
    • 1 tbsp (15 ml) white vinegar - lemon juice okay too


    • Place 1 cup of milk in a bowl/cup, and remove 1 tablespoon of it (see note 1).
    • Add in 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the milk and mix it together. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
    • Your milk should now look curdled and is ready to use as buttermilk.


    YouTube video


    Note 1. The reason why you remove 1 tablespoon of the milk is so that you have exactly 1 cup of buttermilk when you add in the 1 tablespoon of vinegar. If you don't need to be so precise, then you can simply add in the 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the 1 cup of milk 🙂


    Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 387mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 418IU | Calcium: 318mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: buttermilk, buttermilk recipe, homemade buttermilk
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

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    • Esther Nwachukwu

      Hi MK!

      Since I came across your tutorials on YouTube, I’ve been glued. I’m about to try out your vanilla cake recipe, and I’m sure it will turn out nice.

      Thanks for being a blessing to the bakers!!

      • Cakes by MK

        So so happy to hear you’ve been enjoying the content Esther! 😀 Hope you enjoy the vanilla cake recipe 🙂

    • Vidhya

      Hi MK,

      You are just awesome and you are extremely talented in baking. Your recipes will never fail. Can see ur hard work in all ur recipes God bless

      • Cakes by MK

        Thank you so much Vidhya! That really means a lot 🙂 really appreciate all the love and support!

    • Fortune Nnaji

      5 stars
      Wow, I’m from your YouTube and I love your video. I want to ask, can you use apple cider vinegar in place of white vinegar for this recipe

      • Cakes by MK

        Thanks so much Fortune! 🙂 And I haven’t tried apple cider myself but many other bakers do use it so I think it should be okay 🙂

    • Tammy Williams

      5 stars
      Where have you been all my Life? LOL 😆 Your Amazing and a True Blessing for Bakers. I made your Blueberry Muffins for my Husband he Loves Blueberry’s and they were Wonderful my Husband said ❤ he is very hard to Please needless to say in 2 days they were gone and I never got to eat one. I’m making your Strawberry Cake tomorrow I can’t wait. Thanks so much for your Cake Release recipe as well works really nicely. Thank You MK keep posting your Amazing Recipes. 👏 I am a BIG Fan of yours.
      Love and Happiness to you ❤

      • Cakes by MK

        Haha so so happy to hear you and your husband enjoyed the muffins Tammy! Hope you enjoy the strawberry cake just as much 🙂

    • Gladys

      Morning MK
      My homemade buttercream is yummy thanks
      Your recipes are the best
      You’re an exceptional teacher
      How much vinegar to use in a cup of flour

      • Cakes by MK

        Aww thanks so much for your kind words Gladys! It really means a lot 🙂 and for cakes I use about 1/2 tsp of vinegar per cup of flour 🙂

    • Gladys

      Morning MK
      My homemade buttercream is yummy

      • Cakes by MK

        Awesome! So happy to hear that Gladys 🙂

    • Sonny

      Hi MK. Love your site, your recipe, but most of all the effort and passion you have put in. It is incredible.
      1 question. I’ve only baked a few eggless cakes in the past (vanilla, choc and ginger) – so, not a lot of experience – and I always sub yogurt or a yogurt/water mix to replicate butter milk, and it’s always worked out really nicely for me. Occasionally I add half tsp of ACV to it.

      Have I just been lucky or is this truly a valid buttercream replacement?

      • Cakes by MK

        Thanks so much Sonny! 🙂 In terms of the yoghurt/water substitute for buttermilk, I haven’t tried it personally but I have come across many others who have with success, so sounds like it is a commonly used substitute for buttermilk! 🙂

    • Rabiah maniar

      Jazakallah khair Mariam aapi for the recipe and details of every single ingredients I love you and your recipes I am biggg fan of your you know that lots of love from India ….hope you remember me

      • Cakes by MK

        No problem at all Rabiah! So happy to hear you’re enjoying the content 🙂 much love from NZ to India!

    • Judy

      You’re the best baker and teacher. You’re very sweet as well. 🍒

      • Cakes by MK

        Aww thank you so much Judy! 😀 Appreciate all the love and support 🙂

        • Mercy

          Please can you use any milk at all, for example using evaporated milk?

          • Cakes by MK

            Hi Mercy! 🙂 Hmm I’ve never tried making buttermilk with anything other than regular dairy milk so I’m not too sure about that sorry!

    • Poonam

      Really like ur way to explain

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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