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Published October 25, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Learn three different methods for making homemade buttermilk and cultured buttermilk and just how easy it is to do in your kitchen. You will be blown away by the simplicity of these recipes.
Buttermilk brings so much flavor to whatever it is you’re baking or cooking. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a cake or used as a batter before frying. It’s a game-changer. Try using it on my Blueberry Scones or my Buffalo Wings.
Buttermilk is the liquid that is left over from churned butter. Today it’s more commonly commercially made by adding bacteria to milk to give it a tangy flavor and to thicken it up. There are three different ways to make and kinds of buttermilk that I will make for my recipes.
Cultured buttermilk is what you see in the grocery store and can be made by combining skim milk with buttermilk and letting it sit at room temperature to thicken and create more bacteria. The second method is to churn cream until it turns to butter and then release the liquid known as buttermilk. The third procedure is mixing some acid with whole milk, which I do when I have none on hand.
Don’t worry; I will show you all three ways to make it in this post.
Because there are several ways to make homemade buttermilk, here are all the ingredients to make the three different versions:
- Buttermilk – A whole-fat buttermilk is used to provide bacteria to milk.
- Milk – You will use whole milk combined with acid to make the final recipe. Use skim milk when mixing with buttermilk to sit at room temperature to collect bacteria to make the cultured version.
- Acid – You can use lemon juice or white distilled vinegar combined with whole milk.
- Heavy Cream – This is used to churn to make butter and to release natural buttermilk.
How to Make Cultured Buttermilk from Scratch
Add some skim milk to a jar or container.
Pour the full-fat buttermilk into the jar with the skim milk.
Cover with cheesecloth and let sit for 24 hours at room temperature. Serve it or store it.
How to Make Buttermilk from Butter
True buttermilk is the liquid that is leftover from churning butter. If you’ve ever made homemade butter by shaking it in a mason jar or processing it in a food processor, you will notice a liquid separate from the milk fats. This is the real deal.
It will be thin, but the flavor is still there, and it can be used in all of your recipes just the same. Strain the milk from the butter and press the butter down to release all the liquid.
Quick Buttermilk Recipe
If you are in a pinch and need buttermilk but do not have any on hand, the quickest way to make it and give off the same effect and flavor in your recipes.
Add 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of whole milk.
Mix it until combined.
Use it or store it.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to several days ahead of time.
How to Store: Cover with an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 14 days. You can freeze this for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before using.
Chef Notes + Tips
- Any of these methods will work in any of your recipes. With that being said, I recommend using the cultured version when using it in a standard bread procedure.
What to Use It In
Homemade Buttermilk Recipe
For the Cultured Buttermilk:
- 2 cups skim milk
- ¼ cup full-fat cultured buttermilk
For Classic Buttermilk
- 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
For Quick Buttermilk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice or white distilled vinegar
- Cultured Buttermilk: Add some full-fat buttermilk to some skim milk in a jar or container.
- Cover with cheesecloth and let sit for 24 hours at room temperature
- Serve it or store it.
- Classic Buttermilk: Add the whipping cream to a food processor and process on high speed until butter forms and liquid is released.
- Add the mixture to a chinois and press down on the butter, releasing as much buttermilk as possible. Use or store both the butter and buttermilk.
- Quick Buttermilk: Add 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of whole milk.
- Mix it until combined and use it or store it.