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Replace buttermilk with these easy dairy-free solutions

Replace buttermilk with these easy dairy-free solutions

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink that used to be made from the liquid left over from churning butter from cultured cream. Today, most butter is made with uncultured cream, so “buttermilk” is cultivated as a separate product. It’s real fermented milk, not real buttermilk. So you don’t have to feel guilty if you replace buttermilk in your recipes! We have several easy options described in this post for quick reference.

7 Easy Ways To Replace Buttermilk With Dairy-Free Recipes - 7 Easy Ways With Vegan, Plant-Based, Allergy-Friendly, And Even Store-Bought Options!

7 easy ways to replace buttermilk with dairy-free recipes

There are three primary types of recipes that use buttermilk. I’ll quickly explain why buttermilk benefits these types of recipes. All substitution options below will work in these types of recipes unless otherwise stated.

  • Baked Goods: This includes pancakes and waffles, which are essentially baked on a griddle. Buttermilk helps to tenderize gluten, and just a little flavor, and most importantly, reacts with baking soda to give lift.
  • marinades: The acid in buttermilk makes meat tender. Thicker buttermilk options also help coatings adhere to things like chicken strips.
  • Sauces & Salad Dressings: It mainly adds spice and body to sauces and dressings.

Cream of tartar Substitute for buttermilk

It has a strong flavor and is sour, meaning cream of tartar is a wonderful fake buttermilk ingredient. But it doesn’t mix well in liquid. So it’s important to add this powder to the dry ingredients in your recipe, rather than pre-mixing the buttermilk alternative. Therefore, I do not recommend this option for marinades or sauces.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in you baking recipe:

  1. whisk 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar in the dry ingredients in your recipe.
  2. whisk 1 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk drink, unsweetened dairy-free creameror add canned coconut milk to the liquid in your recipe.

Vinegar or lemon juice Substitute for buttermilk

This is the classic way to replace buttermilk and it works in most recipes. It even works as a buttermilk marinade. See my Simple buttermilk substitute recipe for tips and FAQs about this option.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in you marinade, sauceor baking recipe:

  1. To add 1 tablespoon white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in a glass measuring cup.
  2. To add enough unsweetened dairy-free milk drink, unsweetened dairy-free creameror lite canned coconut milk into the measuring cup to reach 1 cup.

Dairy-free yogurt substitute for buttermilk

This is a thicker cultured option and great if you want to add some body to your recipe or for marinades. But adjust the amount to the thickness of your yogurt. A liquid, dairy-free yogurt can work at a 1:1 ratio for buttermilk, while you may need a higher water ratio with very thick brands, such as Coyo.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in you marinade, sauceor baking recipe:

  1. Spoon 3/4 cup unsweetened plain dairy-free yogurt in a measuring cup.
  2. To add 1/4 cup water, and whisk to combine.

Dairy-free sour cream substitute for buttermilk

As with non-dairy yogurt, the water ratio can vary based on the thickness of your sour cream. The ratio below is a baseline that works well for most brands.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in you marinade, sauceor baking recipe:

  1. Spoon 3/4 cup dairy-free alternative to sour cream in a measuring cup.
  2. To add 1/4 cup water, and whisk to combine.

Tofu substitute for buttermilk

This easy recipe uses firm silken tofu, which can be sold refrigerated or on the shelf in the Asian section. If you’re using soft silken tofu, you’ll want to use a higher ratio of tofu to water.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in you marinade, sauceor baking recipe:

  • To add 1/4 cup silk tofu, 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and a pinch of salt (optional) in your blender.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.

Probiotic drink substitute for buttermilk

Drinking yogurts are a great option if you enjoy drinking buttermilk, but they can also be an equivalent substitute for buttermilk in recipes. However, most brands are sweetened and/or flavored. Make sure the flavor and sweetness are right for your recipe. See our Dairy Free Yogurt Reviews section for drinkable options. If you can find it, Forager project has a plain, unsweetened variety.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in you marinade, sauceor baking recipe:

  1. To use 1 cup dairy-free cultured drink.

Orange juice substitute for buttermilk

Juices such as orange and grapefruit juice are acidic, but not as acidic as lemon or lime juice. So it’s fine to use a larger amount. You can use them as a 1:1 substitute for buttermilk in baking if the flavor of the juice suits the recipe. Juice is watery, so it doesn’t impart the same richness as buttermilk, but adds flavor and lift.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk called for in you marinade or baking recipe:

  1. To use 1 cup orange, mandarin or grapefruit juice.

What about store-bought dairy-free buttermilk?

If you want a truly cultural experience, there’s one brand on the market in the US called Mill It Vegetable Buttermilk. It’s not easy to find and I’m not sure the demand for non-dairy buttermilk is big enough to support a product. Most people just use the buttermilk replacement options above!

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For more easy dairy-free substitutes, Get Go dairy-free!

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