Vegan Buttermilk: How to Make Perfect Buttermilk Substitute Fast 2021

What is Vegan Buttermilk?

Vegan Buttermilk is a nondairy milk alternative to the traditional buttermilk we see day to day. Vegan buttermilk is a base recipe that is used to make other plant-based alternatives like biscuits, pies, pancakes, bread, cakes, breading’s, and what ever else!

It’s an amazingly simple process as well. It takes two ingredients and two minutes to make. Which works out really well because trying to find vegan buttermilk or vegan buttermilk substitute is a pain.

When I found out how simple it was to make this recipe, I was surprised I didn’t think about it sooner. I make my own buttermilk in the restaurant all the time, but I never put 2 and 2 together. Its literally the same process.

Granted, vegan buttermilk does not resemble the buttermilk that is made from dairy products. It still gets the job done though. The best part of all is that this vegan buttermilk substitute is made from ingredients you probably already have in your house.

Let’s jump right in to the “why” and “how” of making vegan buttermilk. I will also go over the several different options you have when making vegan buttermilk substitute. Needless to say, after reading this you will never have to buy vegan buttermilk at the grocery store ever again.

Vegan Buttermilk Substitute made with nondairy milk
Vegan Buttermilk Substitute made from nondairy milk.

Why Use Vegan Buttermilk Substitute?

Vegan Buttermilk adds a level of acidity and fatty mouth feel to recipes without actually adding much fat at all. This make using buttermilk a pretty awesome tool at your disposal when making different recipes.

Buttermilk is superb when introduced into baked recipes. It helps speed up the leavening process for baked goods that cook quickly, it adds a subtle tanginess which always works out perfectly, and it also acts as a medium to keep baked goods moist and fluffy.

Especially in vegan food, buttermilk can serve as an adhesive in breading or in batters. If you are trying to fry food and get a “southern crunch”, then vegan buttermilk is the way to go.

Recipes Vegan Buttermilk Substitute Improves


Vegan Buttermilk biscuits made with vegan buttermilk substitute

When it comes to biscuits, buttermilk should be your secret weapon. Biscuit recipes need every aspect of buttermilk to come out exactly right. First off, biscuits benefit from the moisture content.  All of the other ingredients are solid in most recipes.

The biscuits also benefit from the fat content of vegan buttermilk substitute. The fat in biscuits help with the browning and leavening. Lastly, vegan buttermilk gives biscuits that extra fluff factor when it reacts with baking soda.


One example of how buttermilk improves recipes is when its used in cakes. Vegan butter milk adds a subtle level of much needed acidity to chocolate cakes while also softening the cake texturally.

Vegan Buttermilk also helps with the leavening process. Use buttermilk in your cake recipes and you will get a noticeably better end result.


We can also reference to pancakes. Using a simple nondairy milk in pancakes is a good way to turn an all-time favorite in to a plant-based breakfast, but buttermilk makes it way better. Chances are your pancakes have baking soda or powder in them, or at least they should. 

Vegan buttermilk smoothie

When adding buttermilk to baking soda a chemical reaction occurs. This reaction produces salt, water and carbon dioxide. Basically, when buttermilk is used in pancake batter it creates little air bubbles that result in a lighter, fluffier pancake.


Use your leftover vegan buttermilk to make sauces for other meals. Vegan Buttermilk substitute makes a great salad dressing or maybe even a gravy for breakfast!

Other recipes

Vegan buttermilk is beneficial in recipes like scones, brownies, cornbread, buttermilk pies, cookies, doughnuts, dinner rolls, loaf breads, milkshakes, smoothies and much more.

How to Make Vegan Buttermilk Substitute

Generally speaking, to make vegan buttermilk you simply need a nondairy milk and an acid. For every two cups of nondairy milk, you add 2 table spoons of acid.

The acid reacts with the milk making it coagulate causing a separation of the milk solids from the whey. This process takes two to three minutes, and there is no heat involved. With that being said, there are multiple combinations of nondairy milk and acids to choose from.

Vegan Buttermilk substitutes can be comprised many different ways. You first need to decide what base (nondairy milk) you want to use. I prefer using soy milk because it has a similar viscosity and mouth feel to regular cow’s milk. In turn, it produces a product with the closest resemblance to buttermilk. If soy isn’t your thing, then you can use any other nondairy milk as a base.

Next, you need chose your coagulation method (acid). Often times I use lemon juice because I always have lemons on hand. This is good for a wide array of recipes because lemon goes well with the majority of ingredients you will come in contact with. 

You could also use vinegars to coagulate your nondairy milk. Stick to clear vinegars such as white vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar. Dark vinegars like sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or malt vinegar leave an off-putting taste and color.

Vegan Buttermilk Substitute Tricks and Tips

Nondairy Milk

From coconut milk to soy, any nondairy milk can be used to make vegan buttermilk. Just make sure the milk is unsweetened.  Using a sweetened nondairy milk will leave a weird flavor that translates into your recipes.

Types of nondairy milk
A few types of nondairy milk. Soy milk and oat milk.


Hands down the best three acids to use are apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, and lemon juice. Just a fun fact, tomato juice works as well.

Closest to Buttermilk

Soy milk and oat milk are the best options if you are trying to get the closest to the mainstream version of buttermilk.

Make What You Need

Its best if you make this as needed.  Sure, you can store this in the fridge for a couple days but I’m not sure how well it will work. It takes a couple minutes to make so it doesn’t take much planning. 


Vegan buttermilk substitute is all about the ratio of acid to nondairy milk. You want to use the least amount possible. The ratio is 1:1. 1 cup of non-dairy milk to 1 tablespoon of acid. If you’re a math geek like me then use 1/16th of acid to nondairy milk by volume!

Equipment needed

Measuring cups

Measuring spoons

1 container

Vegan Buttermilk Substitute

Vegan Buttermilk substitute recipe!

Yields: 2 1/8th cups

Prep time: 5 minutes


2             Cups      Nondairy Milk

2             Tbsp       Lemon Juice


  1. Combine both ingredients in a container and gently stir for 2 seconds. Let sit for 2-5 minutes and allow the nondairy milk to curdle and thicken.
  2. Now it’s ready to use!

Vegan Buttermilk Substitute FAQs

1.Can you make this recipe with almond milk?

Yes, you can! Just use the same ratio listed in the recipe above.

2. Can you freeze vegan buttermilk?

Yes, you can. In an airtight container for a month or two. I wouldn’t recommend making more than you need though.

3. Can I use full fat coconut milk?

This process will coagulate full fat coconut cream, but I don’t know if I would consider that working. Since there are more fat solids in coconut cream you may end up with a pseudo ricotta cheese.

4. Is buttermilk vegan?

No, regular buttermilk is made from coagulated cow’s milk. Vegans don’t consume any animal products at all.

Check out some of my other recipes that use Vegan Buttermilk!

Vegan Red Velvet Cake

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Vegan Waffles

Vegan Belgian Waffles

Want more information on Vegan Buttermilk? Check out some other blogs that got the answers! I love checking out their awesome content!

Simple Vegan Blog

Loving it Vegan

Heart of a Baker

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