It's super easy to make a vegan buttermilk substitute. Buttermilk is often used in baked goods to make them moist and light. It's thicker than regular milk and has a tangy flavor. It can also work as a leavening agent in recipes that contain baking soda. With a name like buttermilk, it's clearly full of dairy products. But the good news is that it is really quick and easy to make a vegan substitute with ingredients you probably already have. You'll only need non-dairy milk and an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or lemon juice. I've yet to find dairy-free buttermilk substitute in any grocery stores but luckily it only takes a few minutes to make your own vegan buttermilk substitute.
Making the Non-Dairy Buttermilk
First you need to choose which type of plant milk to use. Any would work, but for best results I recommend using unsweetened soy milk. It produces a thicker consistency than rice milk, oat milk or the nut milks. I don't recommend using coconut milk unless you want to have the flavor of coconut in your baked good. Are you wondering about the differences between all of the non-dairy milks? Check out Vegan Milk Options - A look at Non-Dairy Milks for detailed information.
Then you need to decide what type of acid would work. The three types that work best are white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. My favorite to use is apple cider vinegar but any of them are fine.
Once you measure out the ingredients, combine them, and then let it sit for 5 minutes to "curdle". You'll notice that your dairy-free milk will start to separate. Give it a quick stir and then your vegan milk substitute will be ready to use in all your vegan recipes! It works just as well as traditional buttermilk.
What to Make with Buttermilk
There are a ton of uses for buttermilk. One of the best is in buttermilk pancakes. Check out Fluffy Vegan Buttermilk Pancakes by Liv B. You only need several simple ingredients to make this yummy pancakes.
- almond milk
- apple cider vinegar
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
I love making my own vegan buttermilk substitute and using it in baked goods. My favorite way is in these Vegan Lemon Blueberry Muffins. My family absolutely loves these quick and easy muffins.
Or you can make a loaf of Vegan Irish Soda Bread. It's delicious all year round!
You can also use your homemade buttermilk in creamy salad dressings. You can use this recipe in place of buttermilk in any dressing recipe you find.
How long does it last in the fridge?
You can refrigerate the leftovers for up to 5 days but I generally only make as much as I can use at a time.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes! Use an ice cube tray and put 1 tablespoon of the buttermilk in each section. Once frozen, transfer cubes to a freezer bag or other airtight container. These buttermilk cubes can be stored in the freezer for up to two months for best results. When you are ready to use it, just put the amount of frozen cubes you need in a small bowl in the fridge to defrost.
I've made the recipe and let it sit for 5 minutes but nothing is happening. What do I do?
Sometimes it just needs more time before it curdles. Try 10 minutes instead. Another option is to let your milk get closer to room temperature. I make mine with soy milk right from the fridge but I've heard from others who say their best results happen when the milk isn't too cold. In this case, place your cup of milk in a bowl and leave it on the counter for 15-20 minutes before adding the tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.
Do I really need to make vegan buttermilk? Can I just substitute my favorite plant-based milk for buttermilk in recipes?
Unfortunately, no that won't work. Buttermilk has a few important uses in baking. The acidic buttermilk will work with whatever leavening agent you're using like baking soda or baking powder to make your baked goods rise. Without it, your muffins, cakes, breads etc. will be too dense. It also makes your baked goods moist. Luckily, making vegan buttermilk is super simple!
It takes only minutes to make non-dairy buttermilk. Just combined your favorite plant-based milk with apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar or lemon juice) and stir! Once the mixture curdles, stir it up and it's ready to use in your recipes. This works just as well as traditional buttermilk.
- 1 cup non-dairy unsweetened milk, soy or almond recommended
- 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
- Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (apple cider or white) or lemon juice to the non-dairy milk.
- Whisk together.
- Let sit for 5 minutes to curdle.
- Give it a quick stir. Your vegan buttermilk is ready to use!