How to Make Buttermilk

Learn how to make homemade Buttermilk with Dr. Oekter. Buttermilk is very easy to make, perfect to use in your favourite pancake and waffle recipes.

Buttermilk is a handy ingredient in both sweet and savoury recipes. And yes you can buy buttermilk from the shop, but it’s super easy to make at home. Not to mention cost-effective too.

In this guide to making buttermilk, we’ll detail exactly what it is, how to make it and give you a couple of recipes using it. We’ll also cover dairy-free buttermilk and how to freeze buttermilk. 

What is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk sounds like it should be butter and milk added together. But it’s actually a fermented dairy drink mainly used in baking. It’s not even buttery and tastes quite tangy. You can replicate this at home with a simple recipe involving milk and either lemon juice or white vinegar. And you can easily swap out dairy milk for plant-based to make vegan buttermilk.  


• 250ml milk (cow’s milk or a vegan alternative)  
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar

Equipment Needed

• Measuring cups
• Mixing bowl
• Tablespoon

How to Make Buttermilk Step by Step
Picture - Buttermilk-In the text

Buttermilk is so simple to make at home. All you need to do is
1- Mix the milk and lemon juice/white vinegar in a jug (we recommend using lemon juice as it doesn’t change the flavour as much as vinegar) 
2-  Leave it at room temperature for 5-10 minutes until the milk has thickened slightly

Homemade buttermilk won’t be as thick as traditional buttermilk, but it’s still a great substitute to use in your home baking. Also, you may think your mixture has curdled or you may see lumps. Don’t worry, this is how it’s supposed to look.  

Why Make Homemade Buttermilk

It couldn’t be easier to make homemade buttermilk. You’ll no doubt already have the ingredients in your kitchen, so you won’t need to spend anything extra. Making it at home also means your buttermilk will be fresh and you’re in control of all the ingredients. Plus, you’ll prevent food waste too. 

Recipes Using Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a versatile ingredient used in both sweet and savoury recipes, meaning it’s a great skill to have. And it’s so simple to do. You can use it as an essential ingredient in our decadent Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake. Or you can swap out cow’s milk for soya milk to create a vegan buttermilk to use in our delicious Vegan Pancakes. You can even use it as a marinade for fried chicken.  

Frequently Asked Questions about Buttermilk

Can I make dairy-free buttermilk?
Yes, you can make dairy-free buttermilk. The first thing to realise is that buttermilk doesn’t actually contain any butter, so there’s no dairy there. It’s made simply with milk and lemon juice or white vinegar. You can easily swap out cow’s milk for a plant-based milk to make dairy-free buttermilk. We think soya milk works especially well.

How long does buttermilk last?
Homemade buttermilk lasts around 3-4 days when stored in the fridge. If you freeze it, you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Can you freeze buttermilk?
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to freeze buttermilk. Just make sure you store it in a well sealed air-tight container. Once frozen, use your homemade buttermilk within 3 months.

Create Your Own Buttermilk Now!

If you’ve got some milk going spare – cow or plant-based – and some lemon juice or white vinegar at hand, why not try making buttermilk at home? You can use it in sweet or savoury recipes and add another skill to your home baking skillset.

Keen to learn some more hints and tips in the kitchen? We're here as a guiding hand. Check out our guides on How to Measure Baking Ingredients Correctly and How to Line and Grease a Cake Tin.

We know that those little hints and tips and everyday shared food moments are important and make a BIG difference. Little makes a big difference!

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