Types of Buttermilk – Your Culinary Guide

Types of Buttermilk
8 min reading time

If you’re a lover of all things creamy and tangy, then buttermilk is the perfect addition to your culinary arsenal. But what is buttermilk exactly? And what are the different varieties available? In this guide, we’ll explore the world of buttermilk and provide you with the knowledge to elevate your cooking game.

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product that has a tangy taste and creamy texture. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in everything from baked goods to marinades. Buttermilk is available in several varieties, each with its unique properties.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve into the different types of buttermilk, starting with traditional buttermilk, a classic variety that’s been around for centuries. We’ll explore the process of making traditional buttermilk and provide a tasty recipe for you to try.

We’ll then move on to cultured buttermilk, a popular type that’s widely available in stores. You’ll learn about the fermentation process that gives cultured buttermilk its distinctive taste.

For those seeking a healthier option, we’ll explore low-fat buttermilk and its benefits. Finally, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to make homemade buttermilk using simple ingredients.

With our guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a buttermilk connoisseur in no time.

Main Highlights:

  • Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product with a tangy taste and creamy texture.
  • There are several types of buttermilk available, including traditional, cultured, low-fat, and homemade.
  • Each variety of buttermilk has unique properties that make it suitable for different types of dishes.
  • Traditional buttermilk is a classic variety that’s been around for centuries.
  • Cultured buttermilk is a popular type that’s widely available in stores.

Traditional Buttermilk

If you’re looking for a tangy and slightly thick liquid to take your baking and cooking endeavors to the next level, traditional buttermilk won’t disappoint. This original type of buttermilk is created during the process of making butter. The liquid left behind after the butter is extracted is packed with flavor and can enhance various culinary creations.

Traditional buttermilk has been a staple in cuisines worldwide, and it’s no surprise why. Its sour flavor and natural creaminess make it an excellent base for dressings, marinades, and even as a substitute for regular milk in baking recipes.

You can also use traditional buttermilk to tenderize meats, creating flavorful and juicy dishes that are sure to impress your guests. Its acidity helps break down the fibers in the meat, making it tender and more flavorful.

Next time you’re looking to enhance a recipe, consider using traditional buttermilk to add a new dimension of flavor and texture.

Cultured Buttermilk

Cultured buttermilk is a popular type of buttermilk widely used today. It is made by introducing specific bacterial cultures to pasteurized milk, which then undergoes fermentation to create a thick, tangy, and sour liquid. This commercially available variety of buttermilk is a staple ingredient in many recipes, including pancakes, waffles, biscuits, and cakes.

One of the advantages of using cultured buttermilk in baking is that it reacts with baking soda, producing bubbles that help the dough rise and become fluffy. This reaction also adds a slight tangy taste to the final product, which works well with sweet pastries and baked goods.

Cultured buttermilk can also be used as a marinade for meats, especially chicken, turkey, and pork. The acidity in the buttermilk tenderizes the meat, making it juicy and flavorful. The enzymes in the buttermilk also break down the proteins, which helps to make the meat more tender.

Cultured Buttermilk Benefits:
– Adds tanginess and richness to recipes
– Helps dough rise and become fluffy
– Tenderizes meat as a marinade

You can find cultured buttermilk in most grocery stores alongside other dairy products. If you can’t find it, you can easily make your own by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and letting it sit for a few minutes until it thickens.

Experiment with using cultured buttermilk in your cooking and baking adventures, and discover how it can enhance the flavor and texture of your favorite recipes.

Acidified Buttermilk

If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand but need it for a recipe, you can easily make acidified buttermilk at home with just two ingredients: regular milk and an acidic substance like lemon juice or vinegar.

To make acidified buttermilk, simply add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to one cup of milk, stir and let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens and curdles. This homemade version mimics the tangy flavor and thick consistency of traditional buttermilk and can be used in any recipe that calls for buttermilk.

Keep in mind that the acidity level may not be as strong as store-bought buttermilk, so adjust the amount of lemon juice or vinegar accordingly for the recipe you’re making. Experimenting with the ratio of milk to acidity can help you achieve the perfect acidity level for your desired taste.

Types of Buttermilk

Vegan Buttermilk Alternatives

If you follow a vegan lifestyle or have a dairy allergy, don’t worry! There are excellent plant-based alternatives to buttermilk that offer similar results in your baking. Give these tasty vegan buttermilk alternatives a try:

Milk AlternativesProsCons
Almond MilkLow in calories and sugar. Still creamy with a slightly nutty flavorMay not provide enough tanginess for some recipes
Soy MilkSuitable for many savory and sweet recipes, with a creamy texture and mild flavorMay cause allergies for some individuals and is less easily accessible than other options
Coconut MilkCreates a rich and creamy consistency, perfect for curries and soupsMay impart a coconut flavor that could alter the taste of certain recipes or be too sweet
Oat MilkExcellent for making pancakes, waffles, and muffins, with a slightly sweet flavor and thickness like dairy milkMay need additional acidic ingredients to mimic buttermilk’s acidity and tanginess in taste

You can also make a vegan buttermilk substitute at home by using plant-based milk with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar. For best results, use high-fat milk like soy or coconut milk to achieve the closest consistency to dairy buttermilk.

Experiment with different vegan buttermilk alternatives to find the perfect flavor and consistency for your recipes. You do not have to sacrifice flavor and texture in your vegan cooking with these great alternatives.

Buttermilk Substitutions and Tips

While buttermilk may be a versatile and flavorful ingredient, there are times when substitutes are necessary. Here are some buttermilk substitutions that can be used in recipes:

  • Acidified Milk: To make acidified milk, simply add one tablespoon of either lemon juice or vinegar to one cup of regular milk. Stir well and let the mixture sit for five minutes. The resulting liquid has a similar tanginess and thickness to traditional buttermilk and can be used as a substitute in equal parts.
  • Vegan Alternatives: For vegan and dairy-free recipes, there are several plant-based milks that can approximate the taste and texture of buttermilk. Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and oat milk can all be used in place of buttermilk in equal parts.

When using buttermilk in recipes, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Shake well before use: Cultured buttermilk tends to separate, so be sure to give the container a good shake before measuring it out for recipes.
  • Don’t overmix: When adding buttermilk to batters or doughs, be careful not to overmix. Overmixing can cause the dough to become tough and dense.
  • Storage: Buttermilk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For longer storage, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a zip-top bag and label with the date.

By using these helpful tips and substitutions, you can confidently incorporate buttermilk into your cooking and baking routine, elevating your dishes and adding new flavors to your favorite recipes.


Buttermilk is a versatile ingredient that can add a unique tang and creaminess to a wide range of dishes. Whether you prefer traditional, cultured, or vegan alternatives, there is a type of buttermilk that’s suitable for your cooking and baking endeavors.

Experiment with different types of buttermilk and discover how they can enhance your recipes. Substituting regular milk with acidified milk or vegan alternatives can also be a game-changer in your kitchen. When using buttermilk, be sure to follow proper storage and usage tips to ensure it retains its freshness and flavor.

Overall, buttermilk is a valuable ingredient that every home cook and professional chef should have on hand. Its tangy flavor and creamy consistency can take your dishes to the next level. So go ahead, explore the world of buttermilk, and let your taste buds be your guide!

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