There are a lot of reasons to look for a non-dairy substitute for buttermilk. It could be because of an allergy, lactose intolerance, dietary preferences, or maybe you just ran out of dairy buttermilk. Whatever the reason is, there are a lot of dairy-free options you can use in place of buttermilk since buttermilk is very easy to substitute with non-dairy products.
If you need buttermilk but have none at home or maybe your allergy, lactose intolerance, dietary preference prevents you from enjoying your favorite buttermilk dishes, then this post will show you how to make buttermilk substitutes at home.
What is Buttermilk?
Traditionally, buttermilk is a byproduct of making butter but in the modern-day, buttermilk is made with the addition of lactic acid bacteria to milk which ferments it and gives it a tangy taste and also makes it thicker than regular milk but not as heavy as cream.
Buttermilk gives baked goods a light, moist and tender texture and is usually used in making biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins, and cakes.
Buttermilk Nutrition Facts
Non-dairy substitute for Buttermilk
Unsweetened soy milk and acid
This substitute is the most commonly used non-dairy substitute for buttermilk. To make this vegan buttermilk all you need to have is unsweetened soy milk and an acid. Your choice of acid for making this recipe should be between white vinegar, apple cider, or lemon juice.
Simply add one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to the soy milk to measure one cup. Then, stir the mixture and allow it to sit for about five to ten minutes or until it curdles or thickens.
With that, your buttermilk is ready.
Vegan sour cream and water
Diluted vegan sour cream is another good substitute for buttermilk. This alternative provides your food with the same tang and sourness of buttermilk. When the vegan sour cream is diluted, the result is a substitute with a similar taste and texture as buttermilk.
It is important to note that sour cream is not as acidic as buttermilk, so many people usually include a tablespoon of lemon juice to it when making vegan buttermilk. This alternative is best used for baking, dressings, dips, or salads.
In order to make a cup of vegan buttermilk, just add 1/2 cup of water to 1/2 cup of vegan sour cream and stir. To fit your desired thickness for a thicker or thinner consistency, you can choose to add either water or sour cream.
This substitute should be used the same way as vegan sour cream and water. Just swap the vegan sour cream for plain and unsweetened vegan yogurt.
Homemade Nut Cream
If you have a lot of time, you can also choose to make your own buttermilk like cream. This substitute is nut-based and preservative-free.
To make this alternative, start by soaking raw unsalted nuts (cashew, macadamia, or other nuts) in water. Next, you drain the water and purée them with additional water and lemon juice while adding one cup of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice for every cup of nuts.
Silken tofu is another excellent alternative to buttermilk and is also a good source of protein. Tofu contains a lot of starch that can be broken down by combining it with acid.
Start by mixing 3 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. After that, you add the mixture to the blender alongside one cup of soft silken tofu and 1/2 cup of water and blend until you get to your desired consistency. Make sure you blend on medium to prevent it from getting too aerated. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes before usage. You can also choose to use 1/4 cup of lemon juice instead of water and vinegar mixture.
Unsweetened Coconut Milk and Acid
Coconut milk is gotten from the flesh of coconuts and has a similar consistency to buttermilk. Coconut buttermilk can be used in a variety of dishes including pancakes, puddings, cookies, chickpeas, and many others.
To make this substitute, all you need to do is to add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of unsweetened coconut milk and stir. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Now your non-dairy buttermilk is ready for use.
Adding vinegar or lemon juice to coconut milk gives it the tangy flavor of buttermilk. However, you should know that the coconut flavor in this non-dairy buttermilk bakes out, so, you may not be able to taste the coconut flavor in your dessert.
Almond or Cashew Milk and Acid
Amongst other non-dairy milk, almond and cashew milk produce the best results when used in making non-dairy buttermilk because of their creamy consistency. Although the taste and flavor of both kinds of milk are not similar to that of dairy milk, their texture is pretty much the same.
When baking with almond or cashew buttermilk, you should consider reducing the quantity of sugar used as almond and cashew milk are naturally sweet.
To make non-dairy buttermilk with almond or cashew milk, all you need to do is to add vinegar or lemon juice to it. Pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup and add a cup of almond or cashew mix and stir. Allow this mixture to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow it to curdle.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
How much vinegar do you use to make buttermilk?
In making a cup of buttermilk, just 1 tablespoon of vinegar is required.
How long does homemade vegan buttermilk last?
This depends on the type of milk you used in making your non-dairy substitute. However, if it is refrigerated, the vegan buttermilk can last for up to 3 or 4 days.
Aside from almond milk, can other non-dairy milk be used to make buttermilk?
Yes. Other non-dairy milk like coconut, oat, cashew, soy, and even rice milk can be used in making a buttermilk substitute. However, most people recommend almond milk as the best non-dairy milk for making vegan buttermilk.
In some recipes, you may not be able to differentiate between non-dairy buttermilk and regular buttermilk. However, dairy buttermilk has a unique taste and flavor that cannot be replicated. So, although these substitutes would work for many recipes, they cannot completely replicate the flavor and texture of buttermilk.