Baking with Buttermilk and Substitutions


March 30, 2010 by Flora Dawn

Buttermilk is a key ingredient in many recipes, especially gluten free baked goods. Despite its name, buttermilk is actually low in fat. It is thicker than regular milk and has a tangy, yogurt-like flavor. It is affordable and has a long refrigerator shelf life, so it is great to keep on hand. I have also found that buttermilk powder/blend is also a common ingredient in gluten free baking; it’s around $4 a container, but will last a long time, using only a few tablespoons at a time.

Some of my favorite uses for buttermilk is fried chicken, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and cakes. It really adds a nice flavor and improves the texture of these foods, especially the gluten free varieties.

If you find yourself wanting to bake with buttermilk, but you have none in the fridge, don’t fret. There are a few acceptable options you can substitute.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk needed you can choose one of the following options:

1) add 1 tsp cider or white vinegar to 1 cup low fat milk

2) add 1 tsp lemon juice to 1 cup low fat milk

3) add 4 TB cultured buttermilk blend/powder to 1 cup water (or follow the directions provided on the package)

4) add 3/4 cup plain, low fat yogurt to 1/4 cup milk to low fat milk

*The first two choices are probably the most common, but the last two will yield better results.

*Buttermilk and yogurt have very similar flavor, so thinning plain yogurt with milk is truly the best substitute; the taste and consistency will be very similar to that of buttermilk.

*Make sure you use low fat ingredients when substituting, buttermilk today is low fat.

Has anyone found a good dairy-free buttermilk substitute?


2 thoughts on “Baking with Buttermilk and Substitutions

  1. Kari says:

    Hi, I would love to know which brand of gluten free buttermilk powder you use. I have not been able to locate a gluten free brand to date. Thank you.

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