Buttermilk is an ingredient commonly used in baking and is an ingredient in anything from pancakes and waffles to cupcakes and cobblers. But what if you're halfway through mixing the batter and you realize you don't have any left?

Don't stress -- if you're in need of a buttermilk substitute, all you need is:

  • milk
  • lemon juice or white vinegar

...and 5 minutes of your time.

How Do You Make A Buttermilk Substitute?

The process is simple: all you need is one cup of milk and one tablespoon of lemon juice. If you don't have lemon juice, white vinegar works just as well.

  • Measure one cup of milk and one tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Pour them into a bowl together
  • Let the mixture stand until the milk is slightly thickened and bits have curdled -- this takes around 5 minutes.
  • Once the mixture is ready, stir it together until you can't see the curds.
  • Then just use the liquid as you would use the buttermilk in the recipe.

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Why Do We Use Buttermilk?

In baking, buttermilk lightens and adds tenderness to the batter. When it's used to make pancakes, the buttermilk has a fizzy reaction with the baking soda that makes the finished product light, fluffy and air. The baking soda also neutralizes the buttermilk's sour, acidic taste during this process.

Why Is This A Good Substitute?

As mentioned, buttermilk has a natural sour and slightly acidic taste. By mixing the lemon juice or vinegar into milk, it produces the closest possible substitute. The milk and lemon juice mixture won't be as creamy or thick as regular buttermilk, but it produces very similar flavors and produces the same fluffy result in whatever you're baking.

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