Homemade Buttermilk

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This homemade buttermilk recipe is perfect for when you realize there’s no buttermilk left in your fridge. It’s creamy, acidic, works in place of store-bought buttermilk in any recipe, and only takes a few minutes to make. 

A pyrex of buttermilk with lemon slices in the background


Buttermilk is one of my favorite ingredients. It’s rich, tart, and the secret ingredient to everything from pancakes to fried chicken. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those ingredients that I find myself out of every time I need it. So what do you do when that happens? You make your own buttermilk, of course!

Homemade buttermilk is so easy to make, and it’s a perfect substitute. It’s just as creamy and tart as store-bought buttermilk, and works just as well in recipes. So the next time you’re in need of buttermilk but don’t have any in the fridge, try making buttermilk with vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar. 

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Buttermilk 

There are so many reasons to make this recipe. Here’s why I know you’ll love it. 

  • Perfect in a pinch. I love recipes that can save you in the kitchen. That’s exactly what this recipe is. How many times have you had to stop making a recipe because you didn’t have all the ingredients? You don’t have to worry about that with buttermilk anymore. This recipe tastes just as good as store-bought buttermilk and can be used exactly the same as buttermilk from the store in any recipe.
  • Easy. By now you probably know how much I love an easy recipe! This is truly one of the simplest recipes I know. You only need 2 ingredients, and you don’t need to do any cooking. 
  • Fast. I also love recipes that you can make quickly. It only takes 5 minutes to make this creamy homemade buttermilk, so if you’re making a recipe that calls for buttermilk, making some won’t derail your plan.
  • Multiple options. You can make this DIY buttermilk with vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar. Having multiple ways to make this recipe ensures that you’ll always have what you need to make buttermilk at home. 
Overhead view of the ingredients needed for homemade buttermilk: a bottle of distilled vinegar, a carton of milk, a measuring cup, and measuring spoons

Ingredients Needed

You only need 2 ingredients to make this amazing buttermilk from scratch! Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact amounts for each ingredient.

  • Milk – Low-fat milk is best for this recipe 
  • Distilled white vinegar – You can use lemon juice or cream of tartar instead. 

How to Make Buttermilk 

This is truly the easiest recipe I’ve ever made. Here’s how to do it. 

  • Put the acid in a measuring cup. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, or cream to a measuring cup.
  • Add milk. Pour the milk on top.
  • Mix. Mix the ingredients together.
  • Rest. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it almost curdles, then you can use it. 

Tips and Variations

DIY buttermilk is so easy to make, but here are a few tricks and variations to help you make it even better.

  • Fresh lemon. If you’re using lemon juice in this recipe, make sure to use freshly-squeezed juice. Fresh lemon juice has a much better flavor, and will really help the buttermilk. 
  • Use good milk. Since milk is the primary ingredient in this recipe, it’s a good idea to use high-quality milk. You’ll really taste a difference. 
  • Make vegan buttermilk. If you’re a vegan, or if you just don’t have milk around, don’t worry! This recipe works just as well if you use coconut milk instead of dairy milk.

Recipes to Make With Homemade Buttermilk

You can truly use this 5-minute buttermilk in any recipe that calls for buttermilk. Here are some of my favorite recipes with buttermilk for you to try. 

A pyrex of buttermilk with measuring spoons in the background

How to Store Leftovers

Homemade buttermilk has a long shelf life. As long as you store it in an airtight container, it will last in the fridge for 2 weeks. Make sure to give the buttermilk a stir before using it. 

Can You Freeze DIY Buttermilk?

Yes! You can definitely freeze this buttermilk recipe if you want. All you have to do is place it in an airtight container and put it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before using it. 

More Kitchen Basics 

Knowing a few basics can really transform your kitchen. Making homemade buttermilk, for instance, can save you a last-minute trip to the store. Here are a few other helpful kitchen basics.

Buttermilk in a pyrex
5 from 1 vote

Homemade Buttermilk

By Erin
This homemade buttermilk is creamy, tangy, and only takes 2 ingredients and 5 minutes. It's perfect for whenever a recipe calls for buttermilk but you don't have any!
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup


  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar


  • Pour the distilled white vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar into a measuring cup.
  • Add the milk until it reaches the 1-cup line on the measuring cup.
  • Mix, then let stand for 5-10 minutes until it almost curdles.


  • Store leftover buttermilk in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 3 months.
  • If possible, use high-quality milk and freshly-squeezed lemon juice.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 26kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 27mg | Sugar: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: The Basics
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 26
Keyword: DIY buttermilk, homemade buttermilk, how to make buttermilk, make your own buttermilk, making buttermilk with vinegar, vegan buttermilk
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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  1. More people need to know how to do this! There are so many times when I’ve needed buttermilk, and this saved my rcipe.