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Pouring lemon juice into milk to make buttermilk.

How to Make Buttermilk

Buttermilk is crucial in classic recipes like ranch dressing, fried chicken, and pancakes, but almost no one has it when they need it! Here’s how to make buttermilk at home with just two ingredients and 10 minutes.
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings (1/4 cup each)
Calories 38kcal


  • 1 cup whole milk or 2% (see note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (see note 2)


  • For every 1 cup of whole or 2% milk, stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.


  1. Milk: To make dairy-free buttermilk, substitute an equal amount of almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk.
  2. Lemon juice: Or substitute lime juice, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes about 1 cup of buttermilk.
  4. Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Stir or shake to recombine before using.
  5. Make buttermilk with yogurt: Combine 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup milk.
  6. Make buttermilk with cream of tartar: Stir together 1 cup of whole or 2% milk and 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. First, mix the cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons of milk to form a loose paste; this keeps the cream of tartar from forming lumps. Then, add the rest of the milk.
  7. Buttermilk batter: Fried chicken, chicken fried steak, and fried green tomatoes are all better with buttermilk.
  8. Salad dressing: Ranch dressing and blue cheese dressing get their delicious tang and creaminess from buttermilk.
  9. Irish soda bread: The acid in buttermilk mixed with baking soda makes this bread rise.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg