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How to Make Buttermilk: The Ultimate Guide


Wonderful people, have you ever found yourself in a situation where your recipe calls for buttermilk but you don't have any in your fridge? Fear not, for we've got you covered with this ultimate guide on how to make buttermilk in the comfort of your own home. In this article, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of creating your own buttermilk from scratch, as well as go through the pros and cons of this process.

But first, let's talk about buttermilk. Contrary to what its name suggests, buttermilk is not made by adding butter to milk. In fact, it's the liquid left over after churning butter out of cream. In the past, buttermilk was a staple in households as it was used as a natural preservative and a means to keep milk from spoiling. Today, buttermilk has become a popular ingredient in baking, adding a tangy flavor and tender texture to baked goods.

Now, let's dive into the world of buttermilk making and explore its benefits and drawbacks.

The Pros of Making Buttermilk

1. Customizability: By making your own buttermilk, you can tailor it to your specific needs, such as using low-fat milk or adding more acidity.

2. Cost-effectiveness: Buttermilk can be pricey at the store, but by making your own, you can save money in the long run.

3. Avoiding waste: If a recipe only calls for a small amount of buttermilk, making your own ensures that you won't have to waste any store-bought buttermilk that may go bad before you can use it up.

4. Health benefits: Buttermilk is packed with probiotics, which promote gut health and boost your immune system.

5. Tastier baked goods: Homemade buttermilk can add a unique tanginess to baked goods that can't be replicated by store-bought buttermilk.

6. Fun activity: Making buttermilk can be a fun and educational activity for kids and adults alike, allowing you to connect with the food you eat.

7. No more last-minute runs to the store: Once you learn how to make buttermilk, you'll never have to worry about running out at the last minute for a baking project.

The Cons of Making Buttermilk

1. Time-consuming: Making buttermilk from scratch can be a time-consuming process, especially if you're making it for the first time.

2. Accuracy is key: Adding too much or too little acid can result in a curdled or bland buttermilk.

3. Equipment needed: Making buttermilk requires specific equipment, such as a thermometer and a strainer, which can be inconvenient if you don't have them on hand.

4. Short shelf life: Homemade buttermilk doesn't last as long as store-bought buttermilk and needs to be used within a week.

5. No added vitamins and minerals: Store-bought buttermilk is sometimes fortified with vitamins and minerals, while homemade buttermilk has none of these added benefits.

6. Limited availability of ingredients: If you don't live in an area with access to fresh cream, making buttermilk from scratch may not be an option.

7. Risk of contamination: Making buttermilk from scratch involves handling raw dairy, which comes with a risk of contamination if not properly handled and stored.

How to Make Buttermilk

Making buttermilk is a simple process that involves just two ingredients: milk and acid. For this recipe, we'll be using whole milk and white vinegar, but you can substitute with your preferred type of milk and acid, such as lemon juice or cream of tartar.


1 cup whole milk 1 tablespoon white vinegar


  1. Pour the milk into a measuring cup or bowl.
  2. 👉
  3. Measure out 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and add it to the milk. Mix well and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. 👉
  4. You'll notice that the milk will start to thicken and curdle, resembling buttermilk. This is due to the acid reacting with the proteins in the milk, causing it to coagulate. 👉
  5. Use the buttermilk immediately or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. If the buttermilk separates, give it a quick stir before using it. 👉


1. Can I use low-fat milk to make buttermilk?

Yes, you can use any type of milk to make buttermilk, but keep in mind that the higher the fat content, the richer and creamier the buttermilk will be.

2. Is there a substitute for vinegar?

Yes, you can substitute vinegar with lemon juice or cream of tartar, which have the same acidity level as vinegar.

3. Can I use buttermilk as a substitute for milk in a recipe?

Yes, you can use buttermilk as a substitute for milk, but keep in mind that it will add a tangy flavor and may affect the texture of the final product.

4. Can I freeze buttermilk?

Yes, you can freeze buttermilk for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before using it.

5. Can I use store-bought buttermilk to make more buttermilk?

Yes, you can use store-bought buttermilk as a starter culture to make more buttermilk. Just add 1-2 tablespoons of buttermilk per cup of milk and follow the same steps as making buttermilk from scratch.

6. Can I use expired milk to make buttermilk?

No, it's not safe to use expired milk to make buttermilk or any other food product.

7. Can I make buttermilk without any acid?

No, buttermilk needs acid to coagulate and thicken. Without acid, you'll just have regular milk.


Learning how to make your own buttermilk can be a fun and rewarding experience, providing you with a creamy, tangy ingredient to elevate your cooking and baking. While making buttermilk from scratch may require some extra effort, the customizability, cost-effectiveness, and health benefits make it worth considering. If you're up for the challenge, give it a try and impress your friends and family with your newfound culinary skills.

As always, we recommend following proper food safety guidelines and handling raw dairy with care. Be sure to use clean equipment and store your buttermilk in the fridge to prevent contamination.

Ready to make buttermilk?

Follow our step-by-step guide and enjoy the process of creating your own homemade buttermilk. Happy cooking!


The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.