Can I Use Buttermilk Instead Of Milk? *2023*

Do you want to know whether you can use buttermilk instead of milk? well, if yes then you are landed on the right page today. I will explain to you today whether is it good to substitute milk with buttermilk or not.

Buttermilk and milk may appear similar in appearance. Leading to confusion between the two products. However, despite their resemblance, they possess distinct characteristics when it comes to taste and consistency. Hence the question arises: can buttermilk serve as a suitable substitute for milk in recipes?

Although buttermilk and milk look almost the same, they are quite different in their taste and consistency. Despite this difference, buttermilk can be used to replace milk in many recipes ranging from baking to salad dressings and soups to batters. 

Now without wasting any further time let’s see in this guide whether buttermilk can be used to replace milk or not, keep reading to find out all about it.

Overview of Milk And Buttermilk

Buttermilk Instead Of Milk

Now we have all been drinking milk ever since we were little kids and are familiar with buttermilk as well. So let us delve into some of their nutritional benefits and discuss more about their appearance and taste.

Milk is no doubt a very nutritious form of liquid that we get from different mammals such as goats, cows, etc. However, the milk that we mostly use in making coffee, tea, etc is the one that we get from cows. However, that milk is further processed and pasteurized before reaching us.

And there is no doubt that milk has so many health benefits, and it is very rich in calcium. Especially for kids, it helps in improving their bones and teeth because of the calcium that is available in milk.

Buttermilk, on the other hand, is a residual liquid that is leftover after churning butter. It is generally found to be much more thicker and tangier than milk. Buttermilk acts as a great source of protein and is beneficial for digestion, and improves the overall health of our gut. 

Now that we have understood how milk and buttermilk really are let us see how and where buttermilk can be substituted in place of milk. 

Difference between Buttermilk and Milk

There is a huge difference between buttermilk and milk, it is very important for all of you to know about all of those differences before you substitute buttermilk for milk. So, what are those differences? well, let’s find out now.


The taste of buttermilk and regular milk is very different from each other, if you have both in your kitchen available right now then go and taste it, you will notice the difference. Let me further explain it to you, the buttermilk is more on the sour side than regular milk.

Color Difference

There is a very slight difference in color between buttermilk and regular milk, the regular milk is always white in color, I mean really white, on the other hand, the buttermilk has a slight yellow tone in it. If you see both of them side by side then you will clearly see the color difference.


So the thickness is another difference that you will notice in buttermilk and regular milk, the buttermilk is always thicker, whereas, regular milk is comparatively less thicker than buttermilk.

Nutritional Value

Another difference between buttermilk and milk is the nutritional value attached to them. The difference is not very huge, both of them have an almost similar amount of nutrients.

100 grams of buttermilk has around 116 mg calcium, 0.5 g fat, and 40 calories.

100 grams of milk has around 125 mg of calcium, 0.6 g fat, and 42 calories.

Buttermilk Vs Milk in Baking

Buttermilk Instead Of Milk

While substituting milk with buttermilk, the first thing you need to keep in mind is the acidity and thickness of the products. The thing about buttermilk is that it’s acidic by nature, which helps it react with baking powder or soda, which makes the dough much more fluffy. 

Getting to the main differences here, milk has a very natural flavor that doesn’t really affect the taste of the baked cake or cookie. On the other hand, if you’ve noticed, buttermilk is slightly tangier and gives this acidic flavor that can enhance the overall taste of the cake or cookie. It’s a very slight and subtle change, but it’s definitely there.

When you add milk to your dough, it gives a softer texture, whereas buttermilk is much thicker, which can give a more velvet kind of texture. This creates a dense dough for cakes and pancakes especially. 

Can I use buttermilk instead of milk in soup?

Now who doesn’t love a good sauce with pasta and noodles, right? So we definitely want to make a mouth-watering one. Don’t worry if you run out of milk and need to replace it with buttermilk because it is definitely possible. 

While milk surely helps in making creamy and sweet sauces, buttermilk can help add a tangier taste to the sauce that gives it a unique flavor. You can also use the sauce with buttermilk to fry your food. 

Buttermilk adds a whole new flavor to dressings when it replaces milk. Believe it or not but it is, in fact a popular ingredient in dressing salads, especially for ranch dressing, whose tanginess adds a great twist to the flavor. 

In soups and stews, to ensure a much thicker and more creamy texture, you can definitely replace milk with buttermilk. While milk gives a sweeter taste, buttermilk, on the other hand, provides a tangy undertone and helps in thickening the stew.  

Can I Substitute Buttermilk for Regular Milk in Marinades?

Let’s be honest; marinating different meats is the main process to give them the best taste, so it better be done well, right? But what if there’s no milk, is it okay to use buttermilk? Well, don’t worry because buttermilk is a great alternative and you’ll know why within a few minutes. 

Milk gives a natural sweet flavor to the marinade and can be easily replaced by buttermilk which actually provides a more tangy flavor and can lead to an enhanced taste of the meat. So if you were worried about ruining the flavor, well, buttermilk has you covered and in fact can even make it more tastier. 

Another thing is that buttermilk is also known for its tenderizing properties due to its acidic nature that helps it break down the enzymes and proteins in the meat. So your meat is going to be more tender and flavored for sure. 

Also Read: Substitutes For Yogurt In Naan Bread

While milk helps in retaining the moisture in the meat, buttermilk does a good job at giving a slightly thick and creamier texture along with the retainment of moisture as well. It also gives it a juicy appeal!

Some Mistakes To Avoid While Using Buttermilk Instead of Milk

Now that you are confident that using buttermilk instead of milk is a great idea, there are a few mistakes that you should try to avoid while doing so. A major and most common one is that the other ingredients used in the recipe are not adjusted accordingly. 

As we mentioned before in this article, the acidity of buttermilk is naturally high compared to that of milk which means that if the quantity of the other components such as salt or sugar is not altered, it might lead to a bitter or extra tangy flavor. Now we don’t want that, do we? So to avoid this mishap, make sure you add the other ingredients in the right quantity. 

Another mistake that you should be aware of is to use buttermilk that is full-fat instead of one which is low or no-fat at all. This can lead to less consistency and no flavor in your recipe. 


Now I hope I have made all your doubts regarding buttermilk and regular milk crystal clear. Now you know the answer to “Can I use buttermilk instead of milk”.

Buttermilk is a great substitute for milk for its nutritional benefits, great taste, and other unique properties. Now you can use buttermilk instead of milk with full confidence and get your recipe to come out exactly how you wanted or even yummier.

Do let us know in the comment section below what next are you going to do with buttermilk, there are lots of recipes that can be made with buttermilk. However, while substituting buttermilk for milk you should be a little careful of the points that I have discussed above in this article to get the best possible outcome.

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