How To Substitute Buttermilk

Questions and Answers – Buttermilk Substitution



I am from the U.S.A., but I am living in a small town in Sweden for six months and the supermarkets do not have buttermilk.  I would like to keep using buttermilk in my recipes.  Is there a quick way or even anyway to make buttermilk at my home?  I have seen creme fraiche in the supermarkets, would that be close enough to use?  Thank you – Stephanie  (9/5/02)



How To Substitute Buttermilk:

Plan to use the same amount of soured milk as is called for buttermilk in the recipe.  Warm milk slightly for best results.

To each cup of warm milk – add either of the below items to sour the milk:

1 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice


1 1/3 tablespoons of cider vinegar


2/3 cup plain yogurt plus 1/3 cup milk


1 3/4 tablespoons cream of tartar

Stir Well.  Allow this mixture to set while putting the rest of the ingredients for the recipe together.  Allowing the milk to set will give it time to thicken.  The soured milk should have the consistency of buttermilk or yogurt.


Hints and Tips:

If the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of buttermilk, it is best to ‘sour’ a whole cup of milk for a more even consistency.  Just refrigerate the leftover soured milk and try using it for buttermilk pancakes the next day!  Milk that you have soured will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.  Place in a tightly covered container.

If using skimmed milk (1%, 2%, or evaporated milk when souring the milk), the consistency might be a little less thick than buttermilk or yogurt.  If that proves to be the case, try using just a little less of the soured milk to the recipe so there will still be the proper consistency needed for a particular recipe.  Learn to trust the eye for the proper consistency in a recipe and not necessarily rely on the liquid amount called for in a recipe.


Gluten-Free Cooking:  If experimenting and wish to try to substitute buttermilk, or soured milk in a gluten-free recipe that calls for regular milk, it is suggested that you will need to add baking soda to the recipe if it does not call for any.  Add the baking soda to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Do not add it to the soured milk (some recipes may call for it to be added to the milk) as it will cause the leaven quality in the baking soda to be lost in the milk and not the batter/dough.

Use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for 1/2 cup of milk.  This proportion seems to work well for gluten-free recipe conversions.




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Comments and Reviews

2 Responses to “How To Substitute Buttermilk”

  1. Magdalena

    There is a new product in Sweden called Syrad grädde (souerd cream) from Arla, it comes in two versions, 30% or 15% fat. Could this be a substitute for buttermilk?

  2. Janet Ramer

    Can I substitute buttermilk for creme fresh?


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