Skip fancy, overpriced grocery store-bought dairy-free options, and learn How to Make Vegan Buttermilk at home instead! With just 2 ingredients, it’s ready in minutes, super affordable, and unbelievably easy to make. Use it for the best vegan muffins, cupcakes, pancakes, condiments, and salad dressings, too!
Don’t be fooled by the name, vegan buttermilk may sound complicated, but it’s actually really easy to make! As long as you have a bowl or measuring cup and a few minutes, you’ll be ready to go.
We know what you’re thinking. Why would I need to learn how to make vegan buttermilk, anyway? That’s what we thought, too.
Then, we started to make vegan recipes like our homemade Spicy Vegan Ranch, our gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, and our Vanilla Cake! Turns out, you can’t really do it without buttermilk. Not effectively, anyway.
But, we didn’t want to use dairy and exclude those who follow vegan and dairy-free diets. After all, each and everyone one of us deserves to enjoy nutritious and delicious food, regardless of our dietary needs. Heck, that’s the whole message behind our cookbook!
Therefore, instead of sacrificing texture or taste in our vegan recipes, we learned how to make vegan buttermilk instead. Turns out, it’s super simple to do!
What Is Vegan Buttermilk?
Regular buttermilk is a type of fermented milk used to make a wide variety of recipes including bread, baked desserts, marinaded, dressings, and more. Vegan buttermilk does the same just without the dairy. Instead, dairy-free milk is curdled with an acid just like regular buttermilk to create the same chemical reaction that leads to the same thick consistency and tangy smell critical for effective buttermilk.
Is Buttermilk Vegan?
No, regular buttermilk is made with fermented milk, meaning it contains dairy and is not vegan. You can find vegan buttermilk products like Mill It in specialty grocery stores, but they’re often difficult to find and can be pretty pricey!
What Is Vegan Buttermilk Made Of?
Vegan buttermilk comes together with just 2 ingredients you probably already have on hand, meaning you won’t even have to run to the store!
- Non-Dairy Milk – For your dairy-free buttermilk to curdle, you’ll want to use a non-dairy milk that has a high protein content We find the best results with soy milk, oat milk, hemp milk, almond milk, and pea protein milk. They tend to thicken and/or curdle the best. Or, for a creamier consistency, use a non-dairy creamer that is fairly high in protein like Ripple Pea Protein Creamer or Nutpods Almond + Coconut Creamer.
Note: Given that we’re an allergy-friendly blog, we don’t tend to recommend soy milk as it has highly processed ingredients. However, if you’re not opposed soy milk does work well and will curdle. When it comes to soy products, we tend to steer clear, only using fermented soy like tempeh.
- Vinegar – Use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Apple cider vinegar has a more pronounced taste than distilled vinegar, but I find it to be the best vinegar option when it comes to making vegan buttermilk for baking or cooking.
*NOTE! White vinegar or distilled vinegar can be used as a substitute for the apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, but may result in inconsistent flavor and texture profiles.
How to Make Vegan Buttermilk
Learning how to make homemade vegan buttermilk is so easy, it almost can’t even be called a recipe. In fact, the total time needed is only a few minutes. However, it’s an invaluable tool to have in your cooking and baking arsenal!
- Whisk. Add the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) to a small bowl or large glass measuring cup, and whisk to blend and combine.
- Curdle. Set the mixture aside for 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes a bit clumpy and curdles. Note* Non dairy milk with little protein may not curdle or will take longer to curdle.
- Store. Use your vegan buttermilk right away, or transfer it to an airtight container to store for later.
What Is Buttermilk Used For?
Most commonly, buttermilk is used to improve the flavor of baked goods while also improving their texture and helping them rise. It does so via chemical reactions as the leavening agents like baking soda in recipes react with the acidity of the buttermilk, causing baked goods to rise in the oven and stabilize.
We recommend making your vegan buttermilk fresh and using it right away. However, if you have leftovers or want to prepare in advance, transfer the buttermilk to an airtight container or mason jar, and store it in the fridge for up to 1 week. Just be sure to give it a good whisk to combine the liquids as they tend to separate.
Can I Freeze Vegan Buttermilk?
Yes! Actually, we recommend freezing your buttermilk if you aren’t planning on using it immediately. This helps preserve the curdles and keeps the acid fresh.
To do so, pour it into an ice cube tray, and place it in the freezer. Then, transfer the cubes to a sealable bag, and keep them frozen for up to 3 months. To use, let your cubes thaw in the fridge overnight, allow the buttermilk to come to room temperature, give it a good stir, and proceed as normal.
Ways to Use a Vegan Buttermilk Substitute
As mentioned, buttermilk is crucial in baked goods like cakes, pancakes, and quick breads. However, it’s also required in savory recipes like marinades and dressings. Some of our favorite ways to use non-dairy buttermilk include recipes like:
If your vegan buttermilk recipe isn’t curdling, it’s likely because the milk was too cold or there wasn’t enough protein in the non dairy milk. Just let it sit out a little longer, and it should curdle when it warms!
No, plain non-dairy milk will not create the chemical reaction we’re looking to achieve, causing your recipes to be flat, dense, and lacking in flavor.
Yes! With just 2 ingredients, this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and nut-friendly, depending on the type of milk you use.
If you use canned coconut milk, not the cold options from the refrigerated section. It should work to make this vegan buttermilk but will not likely curdle. It might not yield quite as good results as other non-dairy milks with more protein as mentioned above.
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Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!