The 8 Greatest Buttermilk Alternatives

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Buttermilk has been a beloved and necessary ingredient for ages, but it is no longer as popular as it once was. Vegans and lactose intolerant persons will struggle to find dairy-free alternatives in an age of growing environmental, health, and ethical issues. But don’t worry. Whatever has brought you to this point in your search for buttermilk replacement success, this list will give you with 8 fantastic alternatives that will finish your recipes just as well as the genuine thing.

Traditional buttermilk is prepared from the thin liquid that remains after the butter is churned. The current kind, which you are more likely to be acquainted with, is often created from a combination of milk and bacteria cultures, which thicken the mixture and offer a lovely tangy taste. Is the traditional variety superior than the modern? It all comes down to personal choice. Contemporary buttermilk is less buttery, tangier, and thicker than traditional buttermilk.

Traditional buttermilk is still readily accessible in Eastern nations like India and Nepal, but the contemporary form has been devoured (literally) by the West. This essay will concentrate on current buttermilk.

Is it healthy (or unhealthy)?

You’ll be relieved to learn that, as far as dairy products go, this one isn’t too harmful for you. In reality, despite the name, the nutritional composition of buttermilk is almost equal to that of milk. Buttermilk has various important vitamins and minerals while being low in fat and calories, with around 40 calories, 1g of fat, 3.3g of protein, and 116mg of calcium per 100g. But, like with most items, you can always locate a reduced fat and calorie option if thats what you’re looking for. Check the table below for a complete nutritional breakdown of buttermilk.

Nutritional Analysis

Buttermilk

Amount (per 100 g) (per 100 g)

% Daily intake recommendation

Calories

40 kcal

2 %

Fat in total

0.9 g

1 %

Saturated fatty acid

0.5 g

2 %

Carbohydrates

4.8 g

1 %

Cholesterol

4 mg

1 %

Salt

105 mg

4 %

Protein

3.3 g

6 %

Calcium

116 mg

11 %

B-12 vitamin

0.22 g

10 %

Potassium

151 mg

4 %

(This is based on USDA nutritional data.)

In what dishes does buttermilk appear?

Buttermilk’s popularity has gradually dwindled throughout the years. Yet, it is still an important ingredient in many dishes, including buttermilk bread, buttermilk scones, buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk pound cake, buttermilk biscuits, buttermilk soups, and many more. As you can see from this list, buttermilk is a very versatile substance with almost endless applications.

Why do we need buttermilk alternatives?

Yet, since buttermilk is so adaptable and nutritious, why would we ever want to replace it? One solution is already known to vegans and plant-based pioneers among us. Buttermilk, both traditional and contemporary, is often manufactured from dairy milk, making it unsuitable for individuals avoiding dairy. Buttermilk is also a nuisance to go out and purchase every time you want to use it in a recipe since it is no longer as common as it once was.

So, whether you’re trying to cut down on dairy or searching for something a bit more handy, this list will provide you with plenty of options. Now, without further ado, let’s get started.

Note:

= vegan

= only dairy possibilities

= Dairy and vegan alternatives


1. Easy vegan/dairy-free alternatives (make your own) 🌱

Baked items, salads, and soups work well.

Overview

Let’s begin with a basic alternative for the vegans among us. If you want something that tastes just like the real thing in your baking, dressing, or soup dishes, homemade non-dairy buttermilk replacements are ideal. For the greatest results, we suggest using soymilk (together with either vinegar, cream of tartar, or lemon juice, as stated in the three replacements below).

Advantages

As previously said, two of the nicest aspects of this alternative are that it is almost equal to dairy-based buttermilk and tastes fantastic since it is handmade. But another nice thing about it is how simple it is and how many different methods there are to accomplish it. The three replacements on this list (milk and vinegar, milk and cream of tartar, and milk and lemon juice) may all be created using nondairy milk just as readily as with dairy-based milk. As a consequence, we won’t go into taste or consistency details on this one: the outcomes will be almost same with dairy-free milk, so you may read more about them separately in the next parts.

Disadvantages

Another important reason you’ll be better off producing your own dairy-free buttermilk is that you won’t be able to obtain the actual thing. Sadly, vegan buttermilk isn’t currently available in shops. You could discover the odd variant if you’re fortunate, but we couldn’t locate any, so you’re better off putting on your chef’s hat and getting dug in rather than scanning the aisles in vain.

Nutritional analysis

The approximate nutritional information of homemade dairy-free buttermilk may be found in the three replacements listed below. There are certain differences between cows milk and dairy-free milk that you may look into, but the nutritional content will be about the same.


2. Milk and lemon juice 🥛 / 🌱

Great for: baking, dressings, and soups

Overview

As we said in the introduction, buttermilk is distinguished by its milky texture and sour flavor. And what two elements are best characterized as creamy and tangy? Lemon juice with milk. Just combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice with 1 cup milk for a convincing replacement that is as healthful as genuine buttermilk.

Advantages

The comfort and simplicity of this alternative are clearly advantages. In fact, we’d say that it’s even simpler to create than going out to get the genuine thing. Most of us have milk in the fridge and a few lemons sitting around, so just add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk (or 1 tbsp to 100g milk), whisk it well, and let it aside at room temperature until the milk begins to curdle. It truly is that simple.

Since both are milk-based, the majority of the nutritional value of this alternative will be almost comparable to that of buttermilk. The lemon juice content, on the other hand, offers a tasty method to acquire part of your daily prescribed vitamin C. 2 tbsp lemon juice contains around 14% of your daily required consumption. It’s also lower in sodium (salt) and richer in vitamin B-12 than buttermilk, which is usually a benefit.

Searching for a dairy-free alternative? Then this one will serve you just as well. Just replace the dairy milk with a dairy-free substitute (we suggest soymilk since it is the closest in composition to cow’s milk) for an equally convincing effect.

Disadvantages

The biggest downside of this alternative is that it will not taste exactly like buttermilk, particularly genuine buttermilk. Yet, if you’re like the majority of people who use contemporary buttermilk for baking or cooking, you won’t notice much of a change in taste. However, if you use dairy-free milk for this alternative, we recommend against freezing the leftovers since it does not defrost as quickly as dairy milk.

Nutritional analysis

Lemon juice with milk

Amount (per 100 g) (per 100 g)

% Daily intake recommendation

Calories

40 kcal

2 %

Fat in total

0.9 g

1 %

Saturated fatty acid

0.5 g

2 %

Carbohydrates

5.2 g

1 %

Cholesterol

4 mg

1 %

Salt

40 mg

1 %

Protein

3.3 g

6 %

Calcium

116 mg

11 %

B-12 vitamin

0.45 g

20 %

Potassium

148 mg

4 %

C vitamin

7 mg

7 %

(This is based on USDA nutritional data for milk and lemon juice.)


3. Milk and vinegar 🥛 / 🌱

Great for: baking, dressings, and soups

Overview

This alternative, like the milk and lemon juice substitute, has the two basic components of buttermilk: a milky mouthfeel and a sour flavor. For every 1 cup of milk, we suggest 2 teaspoons of vinegar.

Advantages

A milk and vinegar mixture, like the preceding replacement, is fantastic since it is convenient and simple to create. Since vinegar and milk are both common home products, you won’t need to hurry out to the shop to purchase anything. And making the mixture is just as simple. Pour 2 teaspoons vinegar into 1 cup of milk, mix, and let aside at room temperature until the milk curdles.

For such a basic substitution, the ultimate effect is more than convincing. Of course, if you compared it directly to the genuine thing, you’d be able to notice the difference, but if you’re using it in a recipe with other components, it’ll work quite well as a replacement.

Again, the nutritional content will be almost comparable to that of buttermilk, so there is nothing to complain about in terms of health. While vinegar is low in calories and fat, it is somewhat less calorific and fatty than buttermilk, although buttermilk is not inherently bad.

This solution is also suitable for those of us who are going dairy-free, as you can just replace the dairy milk with a dairy-free alternative (preferably soymilk).

Disadvantages

The only major negative here is that it will not taste exactly like buttermilk, so if you intend on drinking the alternative on its own, you may want to investigate other solutions. Yet, like with the lemon juice alternative, you are unlikely to detect any difference if you use it in a baking recipe.

Nutritional analysis

Vinegar and milk

Amount (per 100 g) (per 100 g)

% Daily intake recommendation

Calories

38 kcal

2 %

Fat in total

0.9 g

1 %

Saturated fatty acid

0.5 g

2 %

Carbohydrates

4.8 g

1 %

Cholesterol

4 mg

1 %

Salt

40 mg

1 %

Protein

3.3 g

6 %

Calcium

116 mg

11 %

B-12 vitamin

0.45 g

20 %

Potassium

148 mg

4 %

(This is based on USDA nutritional data for milk and vinegar.)


4. Milk and cream of tartar 🥛 / 🌱

Great for: baking, dressings, and soups

Overview

Is there a recurring theme here? This one, like the other two, is fantastic because it is comparable to buttermilk in two ways: the milky texture and the sour taste.

Advantages

Cream of tartar, also known as potassium bitartrate, is an acidic substance that, when mixed with milk, tastes remarkably like buttermilk.

Since this alternative contains mostly milk with a very tiny quantity of cream of tartar (a bit less than 1 tsp per 100g), its nutritional value is quite comparable to buttermilk. This is beneficial since, like buttermilk, it is low in calories and fat. Cream of tartar, as its chemical name suggests (potassium bitartrate), includes a high concentration of potassium, which provides a number of health advantages.

Cream of tartar is a somewhat less common component than lemon juice or vinegar for many of us, but it is still generally accessible.

Disadvantages

Cream of tartar may be clumpy at times, so be cautious not to wind up with a lumpy combination. To prevent this, combine the cream of tartar with the other dry ingredients first, then add and whisk in the milk. Another method is to first dissolve the cream of tartar in a little quantity of milk before adding it to the remainder of the milk.

Nutritional analysis

Cream of tartar with milk

Amount (per 100 g) (per 100 g)

% Daily intake recommendation

Calories

47 kcal

2 %

Fat in total

0.9 g

1 %

Saturated fatty acid

0.5 g

2 %

Carbohydrates

4.8 g

1 %

Cholesterol

4.8 mg

1 %

Salt

40 mg

1 %

Protein

3.3 g

6 %

Calcium

116 mg

11 %

B-12 vitamin

0.45 g

20 %

Potassium

450 mg

13 %

(This is based on USDA nutritional data for milk and cream of tartar.)


5. Buttermilk powder 🥛

Perfect for: baked foods

Overview

If you like baking but dislike going to the grocery every time you want to make buttermilk pancakes, biscuits, or bread, this is the recipe for you. Buttermilk powder tastes virtually identical to actual buttermilk and is significantly more handy. We suggest 2 tbsp buttermilk powder per 1 cup water, however this might vary depending on the kind.

Advantages

If you’re searching for a simple substitution for buttermilk in baking recipes, this is a great choice. For most types, just add 4 teaspoons of the powder to the dry ingredients for every 1 cup of buttermilk specified in the recipe. When the recipe asks for buttermilk, just add 1 cup of water and you’re done!

Many people prefer powdered buttermilk over liquid buttermilk because it lasts so much longer and enables you to create so much buttermilk from a single container. This is wonderful if you anticipate on utilizing more buttermilk-based dishes in the next weeks or months but don’t want to continuously running out to get additional liquid buttermilk.

Another fantastic feature of this option? That tastes just like buttermilk! Sure, it won’t taste quite as fresh as the liquid stuff, but since you’ll be using it largely in baked products, the distinction is insignificant for most of us.

The nutritional composition of buttermilk powder is almost equal to that of buttermilk (after mixed with water), hence there are no health concerns here. In reality, whereas liquid buttermilk contains trace quantities of saturated fat, buttermilk powder often has none.

Disadvantages

Although this alternative works well in baked foods, it is less effective in sauces and soups. You may try it in soups and dressings to see how you like it, although that is not normally what it is used for. But, if you were going to use it for baked products anyway, this is not a drawback.

There are currently no dairy-free versions of buttermilk powder available (or we couldnt find any, at least). As a result, if you are avoiding dairy, this is regrettably not a choice.

Nutritional analysis

powdered buttermilk

Amount (per 100 g) (per 100 g)

% Daily intake recommendation

Calories

40 kcal

2 %

Fat in total

less than 1 g

1 %

Saturated fatty acid

–

0 %

Carbohydrates

6.5 g

1 %

Cholesterol

2 mg

1 %

Salt

133 mg

4 %

Protein

2.5 g

3 %

Calcium

116 mg

11 %

(From 2 tbsp Saco buttermilk powder + 100 g water.)


6. Sour cream and milk 🥛 / 🌱

Baked items, salads, and soups work well.

Overview

Searching for a buttermilk substitute with a bit more substance? This replacement may be greater in fat and calories, but the rich, wonderful taste may be worth it. For optimal results, combine 1 cup sour cream with around 2 tablespoons milk. Sour cream is on the thicker side, so thin it out a little.

Advantages

Although we may not be thrilled with the added fat in this option, you can’t deny that the rich, deep taste it brings is a welcome addition. It also has a tangy flavor similar to sour cream, making it taste like a fuller form of buttermilk.

Despite its relatively high fat and cholesterol content, it has numerous health advantages that many people believe are worth the extra fat, including as enhanced eye and bone health.

It may be difficult to locate dairy-free replacements for sour cream, but some do exist, making this substitution a feasible option for vegans if you can find any nearby.

Disadvantages

Unlike the majority of the other alternatives on this list, this one has some fat to it. At roughly 180 calories and 16g of fat (including 10g saturated fat) per 100g, it’s not the healthiest item on the planet, but it’s also not the healthiest. It also has a high cholesterol content (around 45mg). If you’re watching your weight, you can always substitute healthier, lower-fat alternatives for the full-fat stuff.

Nutritional analysis

Both sour cream and milk

Amount (per 100 g) (per 100 g)

% Daily intake recommendation

Calories

180 kcal

9 %

Fat in total

16 g

23 %

Saturated fatty acid

10 g

50 %

Carbohydrates

3.2 g

1 %

Cholesterol

45 mg

15 %

Salt

40 mg

1 %

Protein

2.3 g

4 %

Calcium

116 mg

11 %

B-12 vitamin

0.23 g

10 %

Potassium

130 mg

4 %

(Based on USDA sour cream and milk nutritional statistics.)


7. Kefir

Great for: baked products, salad dressings, soups, and drinks

Overview

Kefir has recently gained popularity owing to its many health advantages and sour, acidic taste. Fortunately for us, that tart, tangy taste is quite close to buttermilk’s acidic flavor, making it a compelling and nutritious alternative. Just substitute 1 cup of plain kefir for every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in your recipe.

Advantages

In terms of flavor and texture, both contemporary buttermilk and kefir are equivalent to thin yogurt, making kefir a compelling alternative for buttermilk in both cases. But be sure to choose plain, unflavored kefir since it comes in a range of tastes that you may not want in your recipes.

While kefir is a popular drink in its own right, it is also ideal for using in drinks or consuming on its own. This is also how you will get the maximum advantages from its incredible health benefits.

What incredible health advantages? While kefir has slightly more calories and saturated fat than buttermilk, it compensates by helping to promote digestive health, decrease bloating, lower cholesterol levels, and strengthen the immune system.

This alternative is also suitable for vegetarians and others who are lactose intolerant. Kefir’s friendly bacteria feed on lactose, making it reasonably simple to digest even if you have a sensitivity to lactose. And if you’re vegan or want something lactose-free, you’re in luck! Kefir is available in a variety of flavors, including non-dairy variants made mostly with coconut milk.

Disadvantages

But, what about those health advantages? Sadly, if you use this alternative in baking or other food preparations, you will likely lose out on its probiotic health advantages. Heating kefir destroys its gut-friendly bacteria, preventing it from growing and thriving in your stomach to improve digestion. Yet, if you’re going to use it, you may as well try a cup of raw kefir. The flavor might be polarizing, but it’s very healthful and well worth a try!

Kefir also includes higher saturated fat than buttermilk, at 1.7g (8% of your RDA) per 100g. Nonetheless, we believe that the health advantages exceed the negatives.

Nutritional analysis

Kefir in its purest form

Amount (per 100 g) (per 100 g)

% Daily intake recommendation

Calories

55 kcal

3 %

Fat in total

2.9 g

4 %

Saturated fatty acid

1.7 g

8 %

Carbohydrates

4.2 g

1 %

Cholesterol

9 mg

3 %

Salt

41 mg

2 %

Protein

3 g

4 %

Calcium

103 mg

10 %

(This is based on nutritional information found online.)


8. Yogurt and water 🥛 / 🌱

Great for: baked dishes, salad dressings, and soups

Overview

This alternative requires 4 cups of water. As previously said, contemporary buttermilk is akin to thin yogurt in flavor and texture, so you can see why this would make an excellent substitution. Yogurt has several health advantages, and adding water thins it down to a buttermilk-like consistency. The precise quantity you use varies according on the kind, however we suggest using around 3

Advantages

Yogurt includes a high concentration of lactic acid and has the same sour taste as buttermilk, making it a near match in flavor. By adding water until the mixture is just thin enough, you may obtain a beautiful buttermilk-like consistency.

Yogurt, a close relative of kefir, provides several health advantages, including better digestion, intestinal health, weight reduction, and others. Your gut will thank you if you buy yogurt containing living bacteria cultures (but remember that heating will likely result in killing many beneficial bacteria). Nonfat Greek yogurt is a wonderful alternative if you want to maximize the health advantages. It has almost little fat (or saturated fat) and an amazing 10g of protein per 100g, as well as 11% of your daily calcium requirements. Keep in mind that Greek yogurt is thicker than other sorts, so you may need to add a little more water to get the desired consistency.

Yogurt, like many other alternatives on this list, is a popular ingredient across the globe and is readily available at your local grocery shop. If you already have a container of yogurt in your fridge, that’s even better!

Since yogurt is such a popular dish, there are generally a good variety of dairy-free kinds to choose from, making it a feasible alternative if you are vegan or lactose intolerant. Just be sure to get plain, unflavored yogurt.

Disadvantages

Heating yogurt that includes live cultures of bacteria, like kefir, can frequently kill many of them, so you won’t receive all of the gut-related health advantages that raw yogurt does. But, this is not so much a drawback as it is an undesirable side effect of heating any product containing living microorganisms. Even without the gut-friendly bacteria, yogurt (particularly nonfat Greek yogurt) has a low fat content and a high protein and calcium content.

Nutritional analysis

Water and yogurt

Amount (per 100 g) (per 100 g)

% Daily intake recommendation

Calories

45 kcal

3 %

Fat in total

0.3 g

0 %

Saturated fatty acid

0.1 g

0 %

Carbohydrates

2.3 g

1 %

Cholesterol

4 mg

1 %

Salt

27 mg

1 %

Protein

7 g

14 %

Calcium

80 mg

8 %

(Based on USDA nutritional data for 75g nonfat Greek yogurt + 25g water. If necessary, add extra water.)


In conclusion

Of course, no replacement can ever totally replace the original, but the alternatives on this list come close. We offer something for everyone, whether you’re vegan, lactose sensitive, or just looking for something to eat.

Best vegan selections

If you want a quick and simple alternative, use vinegar. If you came here looking for vegan alternatives, you may have noticed that all but one of our substitutions had vegan choices. Nevertheless, if you’re searching for a terrific ready-to-use vegan solution, we suggest dairy-free kefir, or dairy-free milk with lemon juice.

Best healthy options

None of the items on our list (save sour cream in certain ways) are considered harmful, so you don’t have anything to worry about in terms of health. But, if you want to optimize your health advantages, we believe a combination of nonfat Greek yogurt and water or kefir are also excellent choices. Nonfat Greek yogurt is particularly wonderful if you want a pleasant source of protein, and kefir is ideal if you want to produce a tantalizingly tangy but nutritious beverage that your stomach will thank you for.

Best selections for convenience

Buttermilk powder with vinegar. Lemon juice, vinegar, and milk are all basic items that you’re likely to have on hand, so no need to go to the shop. Although you may have to travel to the shop (or order it online) to purchase a batch of buttermilk powder, once you have it, you may use it indefinitely without worrying about it going bad. The convenience of any substitution relies on your dietary needs as well as what you currently have in the fridge or pantry. But, milk and lemon juice are our particular favorites for convenience.

Top compelling selections

There is nothing quite like the genuine thing, but it might be difficult to tell the difference if you use any of these alternatives in a recipe with other components. Each of them also has that tangy, acidic aspect that mimics the fluffiness created by buttermilk in baking recipes. But, if you want something as sour and effective as the genuine thing but without the bother, we recommend buttermilk powder. Since it was created specifically to replicate the actual thing, it gets as near as you can get in terms of taste and texture.

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