Step-by-Step Guide On How To Make Buttermilk From Scratch

How to make buttermilk
With this step-by-step guide, you have all the information you need to make perfect butter milk every time.

Are you tired of searching for the perfect buttermilk in your local grocery store, only to be disappointed by the taste and quality? Look no further! The secret to perfect buttermilk is just a few simple steps away. Making buttermilk from scratch is easier than you think and yields a delicious, tangy flavor that can’t be beaten. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make your own buttermilk from scratch, including the ingredients, equipment, and process. Plus, you’ll discover the benefits of using homemade buttermilk in your recipes, from adding flavor and moisture to creating a tender crumb in baked goods. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this guide will have you whipping up perfect batches of buttermilk in no time. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s unleash the secret of how to make buttermilk – the perfect one.

What is buttermilk and why is it used in baking?

Vanilla buttermilk cake
Vanilla butter milk cake

Butter milk is a fermented dairy product that has a tangy flavor and a thick, creamy texture. It is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk, which causes it to ferment and thicken. Butter milk is a versatile ingredient that is used in a variety of recipes, from pancakes and waffles to biscuits and cakes.

One of the main reasons butter milk is used in baking is because it reacts with baking soda to create carbon dioxide, which helps baked goods rise. This is because butter milk is acidic, and when combined with baking soda, the acid in the butter milk reacts with the baking soda to produce carbon dioxide gas. This gas gets trapped in the dough or batter and causes it to rise, resulting in a light and fluffy texture.

Butter milk also adds flavor and moisture to baked goods, making them tender and delicious. The tangy flavor of butter milk pairs well with sweet and savory ingredients, and it helps to balance out the sweetness of desserts.

Health benefits of buttermilk

In addition to being a delicious ingredient in baking, butter milk also has a number of health benefits. Because it is made from milk, butter milk is a good source of calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It also contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy digestive system.

Butter milk is also lower in fat than regular milk, making it a good option for people who are watching their calorie intake. However, it is important to note that some brands of butter milk may contain added sugars or other additives, so it is always a good idea to check the label before purchasing.

How to make butter milk from scratch

How to make buttermilk
Butter milk

Making butter milk from scratch is easy and only requires two ingredients: milk and an acidic substance. The most common acidic substance used to make butter milk is white vinegar or lemon juice, but you can also use other acids, such as cream of tartar or yogurt.

To make butter milk from scratch, you will need:

  • 1 cup of milk (whole milk or 2% milk is best, but any type of milk will work)
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice

Here’s how to make buttermilk from scratch:

  1. Pour the milk into a measuring cup or bowl.
  2. Add the white vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and stir well.
  3. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the milk has thickened and curdled.
  4. Stir the mixture again to combine the thickened milk and the liquid.
  5. Your homemade buttermilk is now ready to use!

If you need more than one cup of buttermilk for your recipe, simply double or triple the recipe as needed. You can also adjust the amount of vinegar or lemon juice depending on how tangy you want your butter milk to be.

Step-by-step guide to making buttermilk

Now that you know the basic recipe for making butter milk from scratch, let’s take a closer look at the process. Follow these step-by-step instructions to make perfect buttermilk every time:

  1. Choose your milk: You can use any type of milk to make butter milk, but whole milk or 2% milk will yield the best results. Non-dairy milks, such as almond milk or soy milk, can also be used to make vegan butter milk.
  2. Add your acid: The most common acids used to make butter milk are white vinegar or lemon juice. Add one tablespoon of your chosen acid to one cup of milk and stir well.
  3. Let the mixture sit: Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened and curdled. The longer you let it sit, the thicker and tangier your buttermilk will be.
  4. Stir the mixture: Once the mixture has thickened, stir it well to combine the liquid and the curds.
  5. Use your buttermilk: Your homemade buttermilk is now ready to use in your favorite recipes. Be sure to stir it well before measuring it out, as the curds may settle to the bottom.

Tips for storing butter milk

How to make butter milk
Butter milk in an airtight container

If you have leftover buttermilk, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to one week. Be sure to keep it in a tightly sealed container to prevent it from absorbing any other flavors or odors in the fridge.

You can also freeze buttermilk for up to three months. Simply pour the buttermilk into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the buttermilk cubes to a freezer-safe container or bag and label with the date. When you need butter milk for a recipe, simply thaw the cubes in the refrigerator overnight.

Recipes that use butter milk as an ingredient

Buttermilk is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes, from savory to sweet. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Buttermilk pancakes: Fluffy and tender pancakes are easy to make with butter milk. Simply swap out the milk in your favorite pancake recipe for buttermilk.
  • Fried chicken: Butter milk is a classic ingredient in Southern-style fried chicken. Marinating chicken in buttermilk before frying helps to tenderize the meat and adds flavor.
  • Biscuits: Buttermilk biscuits are a Southern classic. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking powder to create a light and fluffy texture.
  • Red velvet cake: Buttermilk is a key ingredient in red velvet cake, giving it its signature tangy flavor and moist texture.
  • Ranch dressing: Buttermilk is the secret ingredient in homemade ranch dressing, adding tang and creaminess.

Common mistakes to avoid when making buttermilk

While making butter milk from scratch is an easy process, there are a few common mistakes that can impact the quality of your buttermilk. Here are some things to avoid:

  • Using expired milk: Make sure your milk is fresh and hasn’t expired. Expired milk can cause your buttermilk to spoil or taste off.
  • Using too much acid: Adding too much acid can make your buttermilk too tangy and overpowering. Stick to one tablespoon of acid per cup of milk.
  • Not letting the mixture sit long enough: Make sure you let the mixture sit for at least 5-10 minutes to allow it to thicken and curdle. If you don’t let it sit long enough, your buttermilk may be too thin.
  • Stirring too vigorously: While you do need to stir the mixture to combine the liquid and the curds, be careful not to over-stir. Too much stirring can cause the curds to break down and result in a thin, watery buttermilk.

Vegan alternatives to buttermilk

If you follow a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant, you can still enjoy the benefits of butter milk in your recipes. Here are some vegan alternatives to buttermilk:

  • Soy milk + vinegar: Combine one cup of soy milk with one tablespoon of vinegar to create a vegan buttermilk substitute.
  • Almond milk + lemon juice: Mix one cup of almond milk with one tablespoon of lemon juice to make a vegan buttermilk alternative.
  • Coconut milk + vinegar: Combine one cup of coconut milk with one tablespoon of vinegar to create a vegan buttermilk substitute that is rich and creamy.


Making buttermilk from scratch is an easy and rewarding process that yields a delicious and versatile ingredient for all your baking needs. Whether you’re making pancakes, biscuits, or red velvet cake, homemade butter milk is sure to add flavor and moisture to your recipes. With this step-by-step guide, you have all the information you need to make perfect butter milk every time. So why not give it a try and unleash the secret to perfect butter milk? Your taste buds will thank you!


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