Milk and Lemon Juice Substitute For Buttermilk (Recipe)

If you don’t have buttermilk, feel free to use milk and lemon juice as a replacement.

Milk and lemon juice work as a buttermilk substitute because lemon juice is an acid that reacts with the milk and causes it to curdle slightly. 

This process mimics the fermentation of buttermilk and lowers the pH of the milk, making it more acidic. 

The acidity of the buttermilk substitute helps activate the baking soda or baking powder in the batter and creates bubbles of carbon dioxide that make the baked goods rise and become fluffy.

To make a buttermilk substitute using milk and lemon juice, you will need the following ingredients and equipment:

Yield: 1 cup

Milk and Lemon Juice Buttermilk Substitute

Milk and Lemon Juice Buttermilk Substitute

A buttermilk Substitute great for making scones, soda bread or pancakes as the lemon juice recreates that similar tangy flavor of buttermilk and helps with leavening.


  • 1 scant cup (220 mL) of milk (the same as the type of buttermilk you're trying to substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • A liquid measuring cup
  • A measuring spoon


  1. Add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of lemon juice to the liquid measuring cup.
  2. Fill the measuring cup with milk up to the 1-cup line (240 mL) and stir well.
  3. Use the buttermilk substitute in your recipe as directed, or store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


You can also adjust the amount of lemon juice and milk according to your preference and the amount of buttermilk substitute you need. For example, if you need 1/2 cup (120 mL) of buttermilk substitute, you can use 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) of lemon juice and 1/2 cup (120 mL) of milk. The general ratio is 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of lemon juice for every cup (240 mL) of milk

Additionally, You can either use fresh-squeezed lemon juice or bottled lemon juice. However, bottled varieties typically contain preservatives, such as sodium benzoate and sodium sulfite. Sulfites may trigger asthma symptoms in some people

Milk and lemon juice are a simple and effective buttermilk substitute that you can make in minutes using common ingredients.

This buttermilk substitute can help you create delicious baked goods with a light, moist and tender texture.

Try it the next time you run out of buttermilk or want to avoid it for any reason.

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