Homemade Buttermilk Recipe

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Homemade Buttermilk Recipe

Easy Homemade Buttermilk Recipe 

Our homemade buttermilk recipe is so easy to make that I make it all the time! Homemade buttermilk can be made with fresh milk or milk that has gone sour. It literally takes me two minutes to throw it together, let it sit overnight and then in the morning I have fresh homemade buttermilk for my pancakes.

I use homemade buttermilk for:

  • pancakes
  • coffee cakes
  • homemade breads
  • homemade rolls
  • homemade baking powder biscuits
  • homemade cakes
  • soaking chicken before frying
  • buttermilk ice cream
  • buttermilk dressing
  • homemade scones

When I say I use homemade buttermilk for everything, I do. I just love my homemade buttermilk! If you want to try your hand at making homemade buttermilk, give our recipe a try and be ready for all the great goodies to come!


Homemade Buttermilk Recipe

3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Mix ingredients and let sit out in a warm spot for 24 hours. After that, you have a fresh batch of homemade buttermilk! This works great. Don’t forget to save a half cup at the end so you can make a new batch of homemade buttermilk. It keeps going and going! Makes 1 quart.

You can use any kind of milk including dry milk, but regular milk works better than skim or dry milk. This recipe is a good way to use sour milk without throwing it away.


Homemade Buttermilk Dressing Recipe

Homemade Buttermilk Dressing

1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Seasonings: I love dill, onion and garlic powder and parsley. If I have some chopped chives will throw some of those in too.

Mix and chill for 3 or more hours to let the flavors combine. This is a great dressing for salads but if you want to make it into a dip, then just add more mayonnaise.

This Homemade Buttermilk Recipe is from our Dining on a Dime Cookbook. For more easy recipes like this homemade buttermilk, check out Dining On A Dime here!



  1. Lauren says

    You can save even more money by adding 1 T lemon juice to 1 c milk. Let it set about 5-10 minutes until you see the milk curdling. Use this in place of buttermilk!

  2. Diane says

    When a recipe calls for buttermilk you can also add 1 tbs. cider vinegar to 1 c. milk. Done this for years. Works just fine.

    • says

      I just leave it the 24 hours usually. If it runs over an extra hour or two it won’t hurt it.

      This is an easy and good recipe just replace the milk for buttermilk. You can do this for most biscuit recipes. The buttermilk gives anything a lighter texture and good flavor.

      Mikes Baking Powder Biscuits

      We also have some good recipes in Dining on a Dime if you have a copy of it. We have a ton of “from” scratch recipes in there for everything under the sun if anyone is needing more of those.

      • says

        I’m trying to find a recipe for homemade buttermilk made with powered milk.Can you give me an idea or tell me where to search.I found this site? But no matter mention any made with powered milk. Thanks.
        Shirley : from Ms.

        • says

          Tawra for years made powdered milk the way you would for regular milk and used it to make buttermilk. Her buttermilk didn’t seem to work as good as mine which I made with regular whole milk. W decided that for some reason the powdered milk or skim milk didn’t respond quite as well as whole milk. It may be the fat or something like that it needs to grow. That too maybe why you are not finding a lot of recipes for it on the internet.

  3. Jim says

    I like to use Lactose Free 2% milk because it keeps so much longer in the Fridge. I usually only buy a quart of buttermilk because I use it so infrequently but love it in cornbread and biscuits.
    How does the buttermilk recipe work with lactose free milk?

  4. getforfree says

    I also make my own buttermilk this way.

    I also make cheese from my homemade buttermilk. I usually make about 1 gallon of buttermilk in a pot. When the buttermilk ready, bring it to boil, let it boil for about 2-3 minutes. Then it will start to separate. Steer a little with a wooden spoon as it boils. Then turn it off and wait at least 5 minutes or until it is not to hot for you to handle it. Then I run it through the cheese cloth, to get rid of the water. It might take about 20-30 minute. I don’t really know what to use the water for as it tastes sour, but the cheese is good, kind of like cream cheese and cottage cheese mix, only better. My kids like it with frozen fruit and sugar mixed.

  5. Simplesista says

    Hi Jill, Tawra and all the rest of u wise frugal people! I live in England and have only recently found this website. In the month or so that I’ve been following u, I’ve become totally engrossed in your great money saving tips and all of your lives- Jill, Tawra, grandma, rose, Grizzly Bear Mom, Sandi P to name a few! Even though I read a few frugal living blogs, this is by far the best. There is a real feeling of kinship and community amongst u, which I love. I have been reading as many articles as possible on the site, I’ve still hundreds to go- but I’m thoroughly enjoying each and every one. However I’m getting a little confused to what’s happening now with some if the things u guys have discussed in your posts. So please forgive me if this is a little nosy or cheeky but can I ask tawra where you are living now, is it in the house pictured in the article”being frugal is not the same as being poor”? Or have u moved from there? Are u in Colorado or Kansas now? Jill where are u living, is it close to tawra?
    Grandma, has your son moved back china? How is your health? Have the mines closed down?
    I’m very sorry if these are personal questions, it’s just the postsI’ve been reading arent in chronogical order, so I don’t know what’s happening in your lives when- if that makes sense!
    Thanks for all your support and humour via the website, I’m totally immersed!
    Best wishes from the rather cloudy and grey shores of England! Xxxxx

    • says

      No problem just ask away. Tawra has now moved to Colorado to be closer to our extended family. I still live here in Kansas. I have been trying to maybe move to Colorado too but houses are way to high for my income at this moment so I just make as many trips as I can to see my grandkids. Thank goodness there is Skype because I would be having grandkid withdrawals. :) I also spend about 4 hours on the phone with grandkids talking to them. With school starting that may??? slow down a little.
      I’m not too lonely because my son and his family live here in town too but everyone (my parents,brother,nieces etc.) else is in Colorado.
      I’m not sure what has happened to grandma – we haven’t heard from her for awhile. Last I knew her son and his family was to move back from China a few months ago.
      Don’t worry about the questions being too personal. After writing an article on how to wash and hang out my undies there isn’t too much hidden. : ) :)

  6. Cynthia says

    Wish I could track down the note in an old cookbook on how to make “instant” buttermilk (actually probably what a southerner would call “clabber” milk but it works). If I’ve got 1/2 cup buttermilk, I’ve probably got enough for any recipe I’m going to do.

  7. Trish says

    When you make cheese you end up with watery whey leftover. This is supposed to be really good for making bread-it is used as a dough conditioner in commercial bread to make it last longer. There are many uses for whey. Just google it. You can even use it as a sometime toner for your face-if it’s too strong for your skin just dilute with a little water.

  8. hixinthestix says

    We milk a cow daily and have lots of milk and make all sorts of dairy products including cheese, butter, yogurt, dolce de leche. I use buttermilk as the liquid in most baking, but have really enjoyed the taste in my homemade bread. I just replace all the liquid in the bread with warm buttermilk. It makes a really tender loaf of bread with a tangy flavor. Then top that with homemade butter! MMM

  9. Penny S says

    I tried making buttermilk by using 1/2 cup buttermilk that I already had, added 3 1/2 cups whole milk to it and let the container sit out on the counter for about 26 hours. The end product was not exactly what I expected. It was more like sour milk rather than buttermilk. It was watery, like regular whole milk, not thick like the buttermilk that I buy at the store. Also, it tasted kind of flat like it needed a little salt added. Is this the usual result for buttermilk made this way? I need some advice please.

    • says

      Penny you can leave it up to 48 hours which might help it some. It all depends on the temperature, bacteria etc. It won’t look exactly like the store bought but it works the same in the recipes as the store bought. It sometimes is a little more runny. I only use mine in recipes and not drank it so I’m not sure it the homemade is as good to drink or not as far as flavor goes and texture. What you use buttermilk for in a recipe is liquid and some leavening in the fact that it makes the texture lighter so that is why the fact it is a little runnier doesn’t matter in the recipe.

  10. Penny S says

    Jill, do you think that I can put the buttermilk that I made that was too runny back out of the refrigerator and leave it on the counter for maybe 24 hours more and see if it will be more buttermilky (my word) or would this not be a good idea as I have had the mixture back in the refrigerator?

    • says

      I don’t think it would hurt anything. I would try it and see. You may have to leave it a little longer because it would almost be like starting over.

  11. JoAnna Courtenay says

    Hi I’ve enjoyed reading this article thanks but have a few questions. We get our milk fresh from a farmer. Do I don’t have any buttermilk starter and would rather not get store bought milk. Can I use the vinegar or lemon juice trick to get some starter going? Also since we use raw Unpasteurized milk is it safe to leave it on the counter that long? I’ve always been super careful to keep my milk real cold. Thanks again :)

    • says

      One thing JoAnna people get confused on is that adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk is not the same as real buttermilk. Real buttermilk has a certain culture, bacteria (or something like that) used in it to make buttermilk that is why you need to use buttermilk to make more buttermilk and not vinegar or lemon juice. I am not sure about the leaving unpasteurized milk on the counter. I do know milk doesn’t spoil as fast as we think. Years ago the milk man would bring milk to each door and leave it sit outside even in the summer sometimes for hours so I think it is tougher then we give it credit for.

      Someone else who uses unpasteurized milk might have a better answer then mine. I have always stayed away from unpasteurized milk because I had a good friend who loved it and drank it for years with no problem then she got terribly sick and almost died and it was from the unpasteurized milk. She was in the hospital for a couple of weeks from it. Which is why I am afraid of it.

    • Mary Miller says

      When I was growing up we had our own cows and made our own buttermilk and butter. I remember my mother and grandmother pouring the raw milk into a ceramic butter churn and let it sit for about 23 hours to sour and then we would use the wooden dasher the agitate it (kind of like the agitator in a washing machine) until it clabbered . The more we churned it the more butter was made (hence the term’buttermilk’). It took a LONG time dashing the milk and my sister and I took turns while making the butter/buttermilk.

  12. Sue B says

    What do you store the buttermilk in? A quart canning jar? I am making my first batch right now just in a 4 cup Pyrex measure cup.

      • Irene says

        How long will this new batch of buttermilk be good?
        Love it for baking and husband has been drinking it. I just love cornbread made with buttermilk.

        • says

          It usually lasts as long as what your regular buttermilk lasts. I keep mine for at least a couple of weeks. I have only used this type of buttermilk for baking and have never drank it so I don’t know for sure if the flavor will be the same for drinking.

      • Trisha says

        I love to store my homemade buttermilk in a 1/2 gallon wide mouth jar. I just add 2% or whole milk in the amount I took out. So if I used 3 cups of buttermilk I add 3 cups of milk. I store mine in the fridge, it seems to culture just fine in there since I use it about once a week. My buttermilk has been getting nice and thick with a small layer of thinner liquid so I just stir it with a butter knife before I measure the buttermilk. I started with a small container of store bought buttermilk (on sale) several months ago and have been culturing it ever since and it seems to just get better and better. I also use kefir for the probiotics!

  13. Gabrielle Miller says

    Also in the baking sections of grocery stores are little canisters of buttermilk powder. Not too expensive. You could get your starter from that possibly, rather than a quart from the store. It has a very long shelf life. Not bad to drink either.

  14. Catherine says

    I may be missing something here but if the recipe is to make buttermilk why is it asking for milk and buttermilk in the ingredients? should the buttermilk be another ingredient like lemon?

    • says

      It has been a myth for many years that adding lemon or vinegar to milk will produce buttermilk but it doesn’t. It just makes the milk sour. Buttermilk has special bacteria in it which makes it buttermilk. By adding buttermilk to regular milk and letting it sit at warm temps you are adding the bacteria to milk and that will multiply and turn the regular milk into buttermilk. It is the bacteria that in the buttermilk that gives it good properties for baking in the same way yeast works although yeast is much more dramatic and slightly stronger.
      Lemon has no bacteria as a matter of fact it is often used in cleaning to kill bacteria. Like I said it just sours the milk. Now it may seem like it works find but often that is because the leavening part and other properties are not that important in the recipe you are using so you could probably get by with using even regular milk and not notice much difference.

    • says

      You treat this just like you would regular milk or buttermilk. Usually it last a couple of weeks at least. Until it smells sour or gets lumpy or moldy. You don’t need to be afraid of milk products. They are one product that you can tell right away they are spoiled by their smell unlike can goods where you can’t always tell.


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