Vegan Buttermilk

Make this vegan buttermilk recipe with only 2 ingredients and about 5 minutes! It’s a great buttermilk substitute you can use to make the best pancakes. Buttermilk is used in baking and cooking too, so having this vegan substitute can be an important tool for your vegan kitchen.

A small mason jar holds vegan buttermilk sitting around some lemons.
Use these simple tips to make your buttermilk substitute vegan.

My mom used to drink buttermilk in a glass…while I stood behind her gagging.

I was not a fan of anything that tasted so overtly sour. I don’t know why my mom drank it like that. I guess she liked it? But drinking and cooking with buttermilk are encountering a resurgence so I figured it was a chance to talk about it and to show how to make dairy-free buttermilk too.

What is Buttermilk?

The traditional buttermilk is a byproduct of churning cream to create butter. It’s the milk leftover from making butter, hence the name buttermilk. However, in today’s stores, most buttermilk is made by adding culturing agents to plain milk to cause it to ferment and thicken.

This means making a vegan buttermilk substitute is relatively easy. We’ll get into that in a minute, but first, let’s talk about using buttermilk in your kitchen.

Can you drink buttermilk?

If you think of buttermilk as a type of fermented milk and realize that fermented foods are healthy, you’ll know why including more is a good idea. Buttermilk has a tangy flavor and a thicker texture, but it can be consumed like a beverage.

I’ve also read that drinking buttermilk after a spicy meal can help calm your stomach. Since I love spicy food, I might consider giving this a try the next time I overindulge!

Cooking with Vegan Substitutes for Buttermilk

Here are some great ideas to use vegan buttermilk in your kitchen:

  • Buttermilk makes a great ingredient for salad dressings, such as vegan ranch dressing
  • You can add a little bit of buttermilk to the ricotta layer of your vegan lasagna to give it a bit more zip
  • Adding buttermilk to cream gives the flavor more depth and tanginess, so the means adding some to your vegan alfredo sauce would be perfect
  • Using buttermilk to vegan pancakes can help make them nice and fluffy
  • A lot of vegan baking uses buttermilk or the addition of apple cider vinegar to interact with vinegar to create a leavening action for baked goods
  • You know how frosting calls for a bit of cream? You can use vegan buttermilk instead to add a bit of tang to your favorite frostings, like vegan vanilla frosting.

Now that you know why it’s great to have buttermilk in your kitchen, let’s talk about how to make a vegan buttermilk substitute.

Can you make buttermilk from almond milk?

You can make vegan buttermilk from any type of plant-based milk, including almond milk. It is a simple recipe that requires combining milk with an acid, like lemon juice. You use almond milk buttermilk just like you would any buttermilk. It’s great for using in recipes like pancakes!

Let’s get into the specifics of making your own buttermilk.

How to Make Vegan Buttermilk

So, if you’re convinced that having vegan buttermilk is important, let’s talk about how to make it. Thankfully, you don’t have to pretend to make butter to create vegan substitutes for buttermilk. No, in fact, the great news is, it’s really very simple to make!

Step One: Select a Plant-based Milk

All you need is one cup of plant-based milk and an acid. You can use any plant-based milk you like. Yes, that means you can make buttermilk from almond milk. But you can also use cashew milk, soy milk, oat milk, hemp milk, etc. You can use plain or flavored milk. Any of these will work just fine.

My favorite happens to be almond buttermilk, but that might just be because we usually have almond milk on hand. You don’t need any special instructions for how to make buttermilk with almond milk, because any type of plant-based milk you use will work the same.

So, measure out one cup of your preferred plant-based milk.

A measuring cup holds plant-based milk with 3 lemons around it.

Step Two: Select an Acid

For the purpose of this recipe, I’m using lemon juice, however, you can substitute an equal amount of something like apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.

Note: You may be tempted to try a more flavorful vinegar, but I don’t recommend it. For example, a red wine vinegar might not only change the color of the buttermilk, it could change the flavor profile as well.

For every one cup of milk you’ll add one tablespoon of lemon juice.

A hand holds a measuring spoon and is pouring lemon juice into plant-based milk in a glass measuring cup.

You can see that even after pouring the lemon juice, it immediately begins to have an impact. What you’re seeing is the milk separating because of the lemon juice acids.

Although, I think it looks rather artistic. Maybe I could frame it and put in on my wall! Ok. Maybe not. 🙂

Looking down on a glass of plant-based milk that is beginning to separate because lemon juice has been added.

Give the nondairy buttermilk a stir and let it sit for a few minutes and you’ve got yourself a nice glass of vegan buttermilk. I like to transfer it to a small, lidded mason jar and keep it in the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4–5 days.

Troubleshooting Vegan Buttermilk

If you find your dairy-free buttermilk isn’t curdling properly, it may be the temperature that’s causing the problems. If you pull the milk straight from the fridge, it might be a little too cold. Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes before adding the acid and that should do the trick.

I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!

A hand holds a measuring spoon and is pouring lemon juice into plant-based milk in a glass measuring cup.

Vegan Buttermilk

Make this vegan buttermilk to use in your favorite recipes such as pancakes, ranch dressing and more. Or you can even drink buttermilk straight from the glass!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Buttermilk
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 110kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  • Combine the plant-based milk with the lemon juice and gently stir. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the milk to thicken.
  • Store vegan buttermilk in a lidded jar (like a mason jar) and keep refrigerated. It will keep up to 5 days.

Notes

If you prefer something besides lemon juice, you can substitute apple cider vinegar, or even white vinegar.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Buttermilk
Amount Per Serving
Calories 110 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 118mg5%
Potassium 333mg10%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 927IU19%
Vitamin C 23mg28%
Calcium 330mg33%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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3 Responses to Vegan Buttermilk

  1. Ok I have a baking science question for you! Do you happen to know how much baking soda will react with buttermilk made this way? I’ve seen so many different variations on how to make vegan buttermilk. Some say to only use 1tsp vinegar and some say to use as much as the 1tbsp you suggest. I’ve never been clear if the vinegar amount was chosen more as the amount of acid needed to react with the baking soda in the recipe or why the variation. Do you follow the 1tsp of vinegar to 1/2 tsp of baking soda acid to bs ratio or which do you follow? I would be forever grateful if you can help sort me out on this!!

    • Hi Sarah. Great question! Here’s my take on it. The more vinegar you add with your baking soda, the greater reaction you will get (as it relates to fizz). However, there is a point where the flavor of the vinegar can be too much and it can take over a recipe. Ive found some people are very sensitive to the different flavors. So, it’s possible the people who use only 1 teaspoon really don’t like the flavor of vinegar. I find 1 tablespoon is a nice balance between minimal (or no) flavor added by the vinegar, and a great reaction with the baking soda. Here’s a fun experiment showing the relationship between baking soda and vinegar quantities if you’re interested. Hope this was helpful!

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