6 Vegan Substitutes For Buttermilk

vegan alternative to buttermilk

Buttermilk is one of the most essential ingredients when it comes to some of our favorite foods. It is utilized most especially in baked goods and it makes our waffles, pancakes, muffins, and a lot of other breakfast or snack goodies we love to enjoy moist and tender.

Buttermilk, as its name implies, is a byproduct of the process of making butter traditionally but it’s also important to know that today, it’s also made by mixing in lactic acid bacteria to none other than — milk as it ferments.

So, given its preparation, vegans should be well aware that buttermilk might not be suited to their diet. So, is there a way around this? Of course, there is and you actually have a lot of alternatives for it.

Here are 6 vegan substitutes for buttermilk.

What is Buttermilk?

As mentioned, buttermilk is a byproduct of the process of making butter. It is brought about as cream is churned out into butter and then that leaves the remaining liquid to ferment and the milk sugars to convert into lactic acid that allows buttermilk to not spoil even without refrigeration for quite a while.

But today, there’s a whole new and perhaps more convenient process on how to go about making buttermilk. All you need is fresh and pasteurized milk inoculated with lactic acid so it can become thick and rich to give it its tangy taste. Buttermilk is usually just a bit thicker than your traditional milk but it’s not as heavy as say, cream.

Buttermilk is used for a lot of our favorite foods. In biscuits, dips, dressings, quick breads, cakes and so as a vegan, it would be impossible to not consume it if we are not that strict or well-aware of the ingredients of the food we eat. And no, buttermilk is not vegan friendly nor there’s vegan-friendly buttermilk readily available for public consumption.

Lucky for us, there are some easy-to-make alternatives to buttermilk and the ingredients can either be dairy or non-dairy and you’ll find them just already lying around your kitchen.

Alternatives to Buttermilk

Eliminate buttermilk completely from your diet by trying out these substitutes! It’s also worth taking note that making buttermilk alternatives would still require milk, BUT is you want to go completely VEGAN then you can use non-dairy milk such as soy milk or almond milk which are completely vegan!

Lemon Juice


There will be a trend here and it’s really simple to make these alternatives. Let’s start by mixing lemon juice with non-dairy vegan (soy or almond) milk. Lemon juice will have all the acid that you’d need to come up with a buttermilk substitute.

One cup of buttermilk alternative can be produced by mixing 15 ml of lemon juice with 237 ml of non-dairy vegan (soy or almond) milk. Stir and leave it for a while about 10 minutes or until it curdled.


Vinegar mixed in with non-dairy vegan (soy or almond) milk is a pretty similar process to what we illustrated above. You just basically use vinegar instead of lemon juice and as we already all know the versatility of vinegar and that it’s used for a lot of applications.

We weren’t kidding when we said that buttermilk alternatives may just be lying around in your kitchen and vinegar is as accessible as it can get. Apple cider and white vinegar would do just nicely.

Cream of tartar

To those who are not familiar, cream of tartar is the chemical compound we call potassium bitartrate. It is a fine white powder that is actually a byproduct of winemaking and possesses a neutral flavor to it.

> Ream more: is cream of tartar vegan?

The right mixture for cream of tartar and non-dairy vegan (soy or almond) milk substitute is 1 ¾ teaspoon of it or 5 grams per 237 ml of milk. Make sure to stir it first with other dry ingredients so it won’t clump before you add milk into the concoction.

Vegan Yogurt

Yogurt is actually is one of the best alternatives that you may use for buttermilk. It’s got its own tangy and acidic flavor that will just fit the requirements perfectly. Plain yogurt should work here.

Thin it with water or non-dairy vegan (soy or almond) milk if you need to do so. 163 ml of yogurt and 59 ml of mil or water should be enough to make a cup of buttermilk substitute. Whisk it well until it becomes a smooth concoction.


It does not get as vegan as tofu, right? Well, whip out the old blender as you’re going to have to puree some silken tofu to make your buttermilk alternative. Add into the mix some salt, vinegar (or lemon juice), and water and you’re good to go. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and it should be ready.


You may also utilize unflavored kefir which is a fermented milk drink. The ratio here is literally 1 is to 1. Need one cup of buttermilk? Just use one cup of kefir instead. Kefir also has a lot more beneficial bacteria compared to buttermilk so it’s healthy for our body too.

Does vegan butter exist?

Yes, vegan butter unlike buttermilk is easily accessible. It is made from water and plant-derivative oil such as olive, avocado, palm kernel oil, etc.

Can you use coconut milk in place of buttermilk?

You may but the result would definitely be subjective. It might work well for some recipes but not on others and also some might like it and some won’t. It’s completely vegan for sure if that’s what you’re after.

Can you use almond milk to make buttermilk?

Yes, almond milk, as mentioned above, is one ingredient in making buttermilk substitutes. It’s plant-based milk so it’s definitely completely vegan.