How to Make Buttermilk (2-Ingredients!)

How to Make Buttermilk (2-Ingredients!)

7 mins read

Have you ever had a recipe that has called for buttermilk (like cakes, muffins, pancakes or waffles), but you didn’t have it in your fridge? Well today I’m showing you exactly how to make buttermilk right at home to use in tons of your favorite baked goods and savory recipes. And guess what? All you need are two ingredients.

I originally shared this homemade buttermilk recipe back in 2014 and it blew up! Who knew you were all buttermilk lovers back then? Now almost 10 years later (omg) I wanted to give this post a little refresh with tons of helpful info, tips, and photos so that your buttermilk journey is a breeze.

Skip the store-bought kind for good and come back to this tutorial whenever your recipe calls for buttermilk!

What is buttermilk?

It may sound like we’re mixing butter and milk together, but that’s not the case! Buttermilk is actually cultured or fermented with active bacteria, which adds lactic acid to it (similar to yogurt!) Back when we were churning butter out of cultured cream (which already had live cultures in it), buttermilk was taken from the liquid that was left over. I know the word “bacteria” makes it sound like the milk went “bad,” but these live cultures are actually the good bacteria — similar to what you’ll find in probiotics and foods that are gut-friendly.

Store-bought buttermilk has a slightly thicker consistency than regular milk and has a tangy flavor to it.

ingredients for 2-ingredient buttermilk in jars

What is buttermilk used for?

Buttermilk is typically used in baked goods and has a few key benefits in baking and cooking:

  • The acids in buttermilk react with baking soda in your dough or batter, which helps your baked goods rise
  • They also help to balance the sweetness of treats to create a lovely, balanced flavor
  • Buttermilk also helps create a beautiful crumb in baked goods by breaking down the proteins found in gluten
  • For savory recipes like chicken, using buttermilk helps to tenderize the meat, resulting in super juicy chicken

Why you should make homemade buttermilk

Making buttermilk from scratch couldn’t be easier! This substitute requires just 2 simple ingredients and will not only save you a trip to the store, but will also prevent waste if you’re only using it in a couple of recipes. No need to buy a whole carton, simply use what you have at home to make the exact amount of buttermilk you need in the recipe!

pouring lemon juice into a bowl of milk to make buttermilk from scratch

Ingredients in homemade buttermilk

So…what are the ingredients in homemade buttermilk? You’ll just need:

  • Lemon juice or white vinegar
  • And your milk of choice!

It seriously couldn’t be simpler. Whole milk, skim milk, and 2% milk will all work. See below for dairy-free options!

Can I make it dairy free?

Yes! In order to make a dairy-free buttermilk substitute you’ll simply use your favorite dairy-free milk like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, etc.

easy homemade buttermilk in a bowl with a spoon

How to make 2-ingredient buttermilk

  1. Use a liquid measuring cup to measure your milk, then pour your milk of choice into a bowl. See below for different ratios!
  2. Add lemon juice OR white vinegar to the milk and stir to combine.
  3. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes until the milk starts to curdle and become acidic. This is the fermentation that we want!
  4. Use your buttermilk in any recipe that calls for it. It will be slightly thinner than store-bought buttermilk, but will work the same.

pouring 2-ingredient buttermilk into a bowl with cake batter

Using different buttermilk ratios

This recipe calls for 1 full cup of buttermilk, but I’ve included a few different ratios to reference if your recipe calls for less:

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk = 1/4 cup milk + 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk = 1/3 cup milk + 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk = 1/2 cup milk + 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk = 2/3 cup milk + 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk = 3/4 cup milk + 2 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup of milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar

classic buttermilk waffle topped with berries on a plate next to a bowl of berries

How to store and freeze buttermilk

  • To store: store any leftover buttermilk in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • To freeze: yes, buttermilk is freezer-friendly! Add it to a freezer-safe container, bag, or even an ice cube tray, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw the desired amount in the refrigerator before adding it to your recipe.

Recipes using buttermilk

Try using this homemade buttermilk in my Grandma’s Buttermilk Waffles, or your favorite sweet and savory recipes that call for it!

I hope you love this tutorial on how to make buttermilk! If you try it, leave a comment and a rating so I know how your recipe turned out. Enjoy, xo!

How to Make Buttermilk

homemade buttermilk in a bowl with a spoon

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Serves1 cup

Learn how to make buttermilk with two simple ingredients! This easy homemade buttermilk recipe takes just 5 minutes to make and can be used in your favorite recipes that call for buttermilk. Perfect for waffles, pancakes, biscuits, and more.


  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 cup milk of choice


  • Pour milk into a bowl.

  • Add a tablespoon of lemon juice OR vinegar to the bowl with the milk. Stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes until the milk begins to curdle and becomes acidic.

  • Use in place of buttermilk in the recipe as it calls for. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

To make dairy free: simply use your favorite dairy-free milk!
See the full post for tips, tricks, and storing instructions.

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