Plain Yogurt + Water or Milk (Substitute For Buttermilk)

Plain yogurt can be a good substitute for buttermilk in recipes due to its similar acidic and tangy flavor profile, which can help in activating baking soda and achieving a tender crumb in baked goods.

Here’s how and why it works well, along with how to prepare the substitute and recipes it’s good in:


  • Both buttermilk and plain yogurt are acidic, which is essential for activating baking soda in recipes.
  • The acid can also help break down tough strands of gluten, making baked goods tender.


  • Yogurt and buttermilk have a somewhat similar thick, creamy consistency, although yogurt is usually thicker.
  • Thinning yogurt with a little milk or water can help mimic the consistency of buttermilk more closely.


  • Both ingredients have a tangy flavor that can add a nice touch to many recipes.

How to Make the Substitute

Plain Yogurt + Water or Milk Substitute For Buttermilk

Plain Yogurt + Water or Milk Substitute For Buttermilk

You can use plain yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk because it has a similar thick texture and tangy, acidic taste. Plain yogurt can be used as it is for buttermilk, but for some recipes that need a thinner consistency (like cake batter), you may want to add some milk or water to it.


  • 200ml plain yogurt
  • 50ml milk or water
  • A liquid measuring cup


    1. Mix 200ml plain yogurt and 50ml milk or water (if needed) together until smooth and use directly in recipe as required.
    2. If you only have Greek yogurt, then equal quantities of Greek yogurt and milk should be used in the mix


Although plain yogurt can be replaced directly for buttermilk, some recipes which require a slightly runnier texture (like cake batter) will work better if it is mixed with a little milk or water.


  • Baked Goods: Plain yogurt works well in recipes like pancakes, muffins, scones, and biscuits where buttermilk is traditionally used.
  • Marinades: The acidity of yogurt can also make it a good substitute for buttermilk in marinades, as it helps tenderize meat.
  • Salad Dressings and Sauces: Yogurt can be used in place of buttermilk to add creaminess and tang to salad dressings and sauces.


  • The fat content of the yogurt can affect the texture and taste of the finished dish. It’s usually preferable to use full-fat or low-fat yogurt rather than non-fat.
  • The ratio of yogurt to milk or water can be adjusted to better match the consistency of buttermilk as needed for the specific recipe you are following.

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