Everyday Food Blog

Kitchen Cam: How to Make Buttermilk

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Here in the test kitchen, we consider buttermilk a dairy-aisle superstar, especially for baking: Its tenderizing capabilities produce perfect baked goods every time, and we love it in desserts because it adds a rich-yet-tangy flavor that balances out the sweetness.  Most recipes only call for a cup or two of buttermilk. If you don't have a container on hand, don't bother making a last-minute trip to the grocery store when you can just whip some up with ingredients you probably already have around the house! Here's how...

How to Make Buttermilk from EDF Editors on Vimeo.

Read on for a few of our favorite sweets and treats starring buttermilk.


Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake (pictured above)

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Frosted Chocolate-Buttermilk Cupcakes

Blackberry-Oat Bran Muffins

Plum Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

Comments (7)

  • avatar

    I appreciate the hint to make a buttermilk substitute, but milk + vinegar or lemon juice is not buttermilk. Buttermilk is a cultured product, much like yogurt or kefir, and has a distinct taste and texture. Adding vinegar to milk produces curdled milk that does have the acidity of buttermilk, which gives that extra leavening boost when combined with baking soda.

    I personally can taste the difference and see superior results when buttermilk is used in recipes, as compared to buttermilk powders or milk + acid substitutes. A better solution, in my opinion, is to develop a range of suitable recipes and to rely on the long shelf life of buttermilk to keep it around as much as possible. If I must substitute for buttermilk, I use plain yogurt for the best results.

  • avatar

    Because my kitchen is small in so many ways (space, refrigerator, budget), this is the only way I make buttermilk recipes. My grandma taught me this when I was a little girl, and it's a trick that I will always have in my back pocket.

  • avatar

    I love this trick! I have used it when the kids just have a hankering for buttermilk pancakes on a cold morning. I don't care to have a range of recipes with buttermilk as an ingredient so, for me, this trick keeps things interesting and spontaneous without wasting an expensive ingedient that can only be purchased in large quantities. I might try a yogurt substitute but won't give up on the milk and vinegar option. Thanks for sharing!

  • avatar

    I have to totally agree with Sasha on this one. I LOVE buttermilk in recipes and in an extreme pinch, I will use the vinegar/lemon juice trick but pancakes with real buttermilk vs. the "trick"...no comparison! Call me a buttermilk connoisseur! Biscuits, scones, yeast breads...all so much better with the real thing! I have a friend who keeps goats and she makes buttermilk from goat's milk. Divine!!

  • avatar

    thank you for the recipe..i'll try it at my kitchen.

  • avatar

    Exactly what I wrote in October; buttermilk isn't worth the money unless you need the whole thing and even then it isn't.
    Since October, I have been asked by my bff to tell all of you that she made a dessert for a craft social hosted by a young friend of ours. My friend was a vendor so she had to bring something for all of us to nibble on while we shopped. (She and her deaf daughter sold hand painted burlap table runners! I bought 2).
    Back to the story, I showed her the recipe for sculpted Rice Krispy treats so she did that. She wanted me to pass on that she thought that the food coloring was great and she colored accordingly but she decided against the citrus flavors b/c in the autumn, people are not expecting those flavors. But we also thought if chocolate were used as one of the layers that would work. I think I have seen some kind of candy corn with chocolate.
    So her treats were gone and everyone was happy. They were delicious and easy, just what she needed since she spent a lot time just getting her runners and napkins ready for sale.
    Her display was genius. She used an elegant and unrestored cabinet, and I understand that someone offered to buy the cabinet. So if she does it again this year, I have a nightstand she can use and she can sell it too if someone wants it!

  • avatar

    Plus she actually demonstrated it the reverse and incorrect way. You put the vinegar or lemon juice in the measuring cup FIRST and then, add enough milk to fill up to the one-cup level.

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