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How To Substitute Almond Milk for Buttermilk

Here’s how to substitute almond milk for buttermilk in all your favorite recipes. We also share yummy dishes to add to your arsenal!

Buttermilk is one of those ingredients that we rarely have on hand when we need it!

But, luckily, there’s an easy way to make buttermilk at home with just 2 ingredients!

You can use this little trick with regular milk, but if you’re following a vegan diet or are allergic to dairy, you can also make buttermilk with plant-based milks.

Below you’ll find instructions for how to substitute almond milk for buttermilk in a few easy steps, plus yummy recipes you’ll love!

How to Substitute Almond Milk for Buttermilk

Almond milk in a glass jar next to a bowl of whole almonds.


To make one cup of buttermilk, combine a liquid measuring cup of unsweetened almond milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.

Let the vegan buttermilk sit for 5-7 minutes until it “curdles” to the right consistency.

The result will be slightly thickened milk with a tangy flavor that’s ready for all your favorite recipes!

You can also use this simple trick for regular milk if dairy isn’t an issue.

PRO TIP: Bring the almond milk to room temperature to help with the curdling process. Be sure to use unsweetened almond milk as added milk sugars can affect the taste of your recipe.

What is almond milk?

Almond milk is a plant-based beverage made from filtered almonds and water.

During processing, the almonds and water are blended and then strained to remove the pulp, leaving behind a smooth liquid.

While most people purchase almond milk from the store, you can easily make almond milk at home following a similar process:

  1. Soak 1 cup of raw almonds overnight in cool water, or in very hot water for 1-2 hours.
  2. Add the soaked almonds and 5 cups of filtered water to a high-powdered blender, and blend for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Strain the milk using a nut milk bag or a dish towel and discard the remaining pulp.
  4. Refrigerate and enjoy for up to 5 days.

Why use it as a substitute?

Almond milk is naturally dairy-free and lactose-free. So it’s a great option for those avoiding dairy.

It’s also one of the most popular vegan milk alternatives so you’ll always find it in stores.

Buttermilk pours from a glass jug into two small cups on a tiny wooden cutting board.

Buttermilk 101

Now that we’ve detailed how to substitute almond milk for buttermilk, here’s some more information about buttermilk that you might not know!

Traditional buttermilk originally referred to the liquid that remained after the curdling process, during which whole milk was churned to make butter from cream.

Today, buttermilk is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to simulate that same process, but without the butter and cream.

The lactic acid bacteria from the curdling process creates a tangy taste and slightly acidic flavor and also produces leavening properties that are great for baked goods.

Buttermilk also reacts with baking soda to neutralize its unpleasant flavor, making it a popular ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes.

See common uses below!

Common Uses

Baked Goods

  • Buttermilk biscuits
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Cornbread
  • Vegan cakes
  • Rolls

Other Uses

  • Salad dressings
  • Fried chicken
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soup
  • Smoothies

Other Vegan and Non-Dairy Substitutes

Two glass bottles of goat milk in a wooden bowl with ice cubes.

If you’d prefer not to use almond milk to substitute for buttermilk, there are plenty of other non-dairy milk options to choose from.

Plant milk has become increasingly popular so there are plenty of varieties at hand.

Use any of the following to create the perfect vegan substitute for buttermilk following the same process as above:

  • Rice milk – Rice milk is another great, dairy-free alternative that’s made from ground and soaked rice. It’s an ideal substitute for those who have an allergy to dairy, nuts, and soy.
  • Cashew milk – Cashew milk is one of the easiest nut milks to make at home. And it has a sweet, slightly nutty flavor. It’s similar enough to cow’s milk that it won’t make a big difference in your recipe
  • Oat milk – Oat milk is made by blending oats with water and can even be made at home. It has lots of nutritional benefits, including aiding digestion, lowering blood sugar, and lowering cholesterol.
  • Soy milk – Soy milk originated in China and is made from soaked and ground soybeans. This alternative is the closest in nutritional value to regular cow’s milk.

These options are a good substitute for any recipe that calls for buttermilk. However, coconut milk doesn’t curdle, so it didn’t make our list.

NOTE: You can also use vegan plain yogurt with lemon juice to create a buttermilk substitute in a pinch.

Tips for Storage

Frozen buttermilk cubes spilling from a plastic bag on a wooden surface.

Your homemade almond milk buttermilk should last 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

And you can store it for long-term use in the freezer.

The best way to freeze your buttermilk substitute is by using ice cube trays.

Simply pour a few tablespoons into each well, freeze the cubes, and then pop the cubes into a heavy-duty freezer bag.

This way, you’ll have perfectly portioned buttermilk to use in recipes down the road.

When ready to bake, let the buttermilk cubes defrost in the fridge, or melt them on the lowest power setting in your microwave.

You can freeze the buttermilk for up to 3 months, for best results.

After that, the buttermilk is still safe to use but the quality begins to degrade.


What is the best alternative milk for buttermilk?

The best alternative milk for buttermilk depends on your reason for substituting. If you’re allergic to lactose, you can simply use lactose-free milk with lemon juice or another acid like apple cider vinegar.

However, if you follow a vegan diet or want to avoid dairy altogether you can use plant-based milks like:

– Almond milk
– Oat milk
– Rice milk
– Cashew milk

The texture won’t be quite the same as regular buttermilk, but these substitutes will offer a similar flavor and baking properties.

Can I use almond milk instead of buttermilk for fried chicken?


To substitute almond milk for buttermilk in fried chicken, simply mix 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk with lemon juice or another acid like white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

After that, you can use the almond milk as a 1-to-1 substitute.

Will oat milk curdle with lemon?

Oat milk, along with almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, and rice milk will curdle with the addition of an acid like lemon juice.

This is a great way to create a non-dairy buttermilk substitute!

Yummy Recipes to Try

Now that we’ve detailed how to use almond milk as a buttermilk substitute and other easy dairy-free buttermilk options, here are some yummy recipes to try.

Each of these recipes calls for buttermilk, so they’re a great way to try your favorite substitute from above!

Easy Parmesan Drop Biscuits

Parmesan drop biscuits arranged on wood cutting board with greenery stem nearby.

These easy Parmesan Drop Biscuits feature a homemade dough full of 2 different kinds of cheeses. They are fluffy and addicting and your family will gobble up every perfectly cheesy bite!

4-Ingredient Pumpkin Pancakes With Pancake Mix

Pumpkin spice pancakes stacked on a plate.

You’ll only need 4 ingredients to make these light and fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes with Pancake Mix. They taste like fall and your kids will love the bright orange color!

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