Are you making a recipe that calls for buttermilk but you need a dairy-free substitute?
Well you’re in luck!
There are a number of dairy free and vegan friendly alternatives you can use instead of buttermilk no matter what you are making.
While buttermilk is a wonderful ingredient that can be used in everything from breakfast dishes to desserts and savory dinners, it does contain dairy. And if that’s a no go, you can use any of the following ingredients to create a tasty final dish.
So what are the best dairy free substitutes for buttermilk?
The top non dairy subs for buttermilk are almond milk, oat milk, vegan yogurt, vegan sour cream, tofu, cream of tartar, or nut cream.
But be sure to read on for how to prepare each of these options to provide a similar flavor and texture to buttermilk.
Non Dairy Buttermilk Alternatives
Whether you are making a breakfast that calls for buttermilk like pancakes or waffles, or a sweet dessert, or even a savory meal like fried chicken, there are multiple ingredients you can opt for instead of buttermilk.
Many of these alternatives are kitchen staples, so you likely already have one or two of them on hand which means no extra trip to the grocery store needed!
Buttermilk provides a tangy flavor and a soft texture to all sorts of recipes. It’s safe to say that if you’re recipe calls for it, it serves an important purpose.
Therefore, you will not want to completely omit it without using a substitute that provides a similar flavor and texture.
So make sure to read on to learn how to incorporate these dairy free ingredients in your dish.
Almond milk mixed with lemon juice or vinegar will produce a mixture that is an ideal substitute for buttermilk.
This combination creates a texture and flavor that is quite similar to buttermilk and is appropriate for any recipe that calls for it.
Simply add one and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, or one tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar for each cup of almond milk.
Stir your mixture and let it sit for a few minutes before adding it to your other ingredients.
Related: Almond milk alternatives
Note: Use unsweetened almond milk
Equivalent1 cup of almond milk with lemon juice or vinegar equals 1 cup of buttermilk
Oat milk is another dairy free alternative that is an excellent stand in for buttermilk. It can be used in any type of recipe, from breakfast, to dinner, to desserts.
You will prepare your oat milk just like you would almond milk. Stir in one tablespoon of vinegar or one and a half tablespoons of lemon juice for each cup of oat milk.
Let your mixture sit for a few minutes, and then add it to the other ingredients in your recipe.
You can use store bought oat milk or make your own. Either option is a great way to make your recipe vegan friendly.
Equivalent1 cup of oat milk with lemon juice or vinegar equals 1 cup of buttermilk
If you make a lot of dairy free recipes, the chances are good you already have this buttermilk substitute on hand.
Vegan yogurt is too thick as is, so you will need to thin it out to achieve a consistency similar to buttermilk.
Simply stir in water or dairy free milk until you achieve a buttermilk like thickness. Once mixed, simply add your mixture to the rest of your ingredients.
This option works well in all types of recipes. Just be sure to add your liquid slowly to avoid thinning your mixture too much.
Related: Greek yogurt substitutes
Equivalent1 cup of thinned dairy free yogurt equals 1 cup of buttermilk
Dairy-Free Sour Cream
If you have dairy free or vegan sour cream on hand, it’s another great alternative to buttermilk. It can be used in any type of dish, and produces a similar texture and flavor.
You will prep it just like you would for vegan yogurt. Slowly stir in water or dairy free milk until the desired thickness is achieved.
Once mixed, add it to the rest of your ingredients, and prepare your recipe as directed.
I’ve found almond milk or oat milk to work better than water, but water will work in a pinch.
Equivalent1 cup of thinned vegan sour cream equals 1 cup of buttermilk
This option is a bit more involved but if you have the ingredients on hand it will work in any recipe that calls for buttermilk.
Start by taking 1/4-1/3 cup of tofu and adding it to a mixing bowl. Stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice and a half a cup of water. Finally, add a pinch of salt and continue stirring until it is well mixed.
Prepare the rest of your recipe and allow your tofu mixture to sit before adding it.
Equivalent1 cup of tofu mixture equals 1 cup of buttermilk
Cream of Tartar
These last two options are not my favorites, but they both will work if no other options are on hand.
Cream of tartar has a tendency to clump up so mix in carefully to avoid an unsatisfactory consistency. I’ve also had some luck by adding just a bit of dairy free milk with my cream of tartar but that isn’t completely necessary.
Equivalent1 1/2 teaspoons of cream of tartar equals 1 cup of buttermilk
If you do not have any of the other alternatives on hand but do have some nuts, you can turn them into a solid substitute for buttermilk.
I prefer to use cashews, but just about any other nut will work for this method. Some other nuts I’ve had good results with include hazelnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts. Almonds end up a little grittier than I prefer, but give them a try if that’s all you have on hand.
To get the right consistency, soak your whole nuts for a few minutes. Drain, and add them to your blender or food processor and mix for about thirty seconds. Add in a cup of water and one tablespoon of lemon juice.
Continue blending until thoroughly mixed. Now simply add your nut cream to your recipe.
Equivalent1 cup of nut cream equals 1 cup of buttermilk
Dairy Free Buttermilk FAQ
What is the best non-dairy buttermilk substitute for baking?
When making baked goods, almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk with lemon juice or vinegar are excellent dairy free substitutes.
Stir in your lemon juice or vinegar before adding your dairy free milk to your other ingredients. Continue with your recipe without any other alterations.
What is a good dairy free substitute for buttermilk in pancakes or waffles?
Any dairy free milk with lemon juice or vinegar can be used in place of buttermilk in pancakes or waffles. This combination will produce a flavor and texture quite similar to buttermilk.
You can also use dairy free sour cream or yogurt. But you will need to thin it first by stirring in water or a dairy free milk.
What is a non dairy substitute for buttermilk in fried chicken?
My go to sub for buttermilk in fried chicken is vegan sour cream or dairy free yogurt thinned with almond milk.
You can also thin it with water, or any other non dairy milk. Mix until thoroughly blended before adding it to the other ingredients in your recipe.