Buttermilk is often used as a key ingredient for making fry chicken. This is because buttermilk flavors as well as tenderize the chicken and other meats, without drying them out.
You see using a buttermilk marinade will help the chicken stay juicy on the inside while maintaining a crunchy coating on the exterior. But if you don’t have or want to use buttermilk, it can be easily substituted.
So in this article, I am gonna share with you some buttermilk substitutes that you can use in any fried chicken recipe and still have the same taste and consistency.
The best substitutes for buttermilk for fry chicken are:
- Sour Cream and Water
- Milk and Lemon Juice
- Milk and Lime Juice
- Milk and vinegar
- Milk and Cream of Tartar
- Yogurt and Lemon Juice
- Heavy Cream and Lime Juice
- Heavy Cream and Lemon Juice
- Heavy Cream and Vinegar
- Plain kefir
- Buttermilk powder and water
- Lactose-free milk and Lemon Juice
- Unsweetened soy milk and vinegar (vegan and dairy free)
- Vegan sour cream and water (vegan and dairy free)
- Tofu, water, and lemon juice (vegan and dairy free)
- Unsweetened coconut milk and lemon juice (vegan and dairy free)
- Unsweetened almond milk and vinegar (vegan and dairy free)
- Unsweetened cashew milk and lemon juice (vegan and dairy free)
Now the key element for a buttermilk substitute in Fried Chicken is typically an acidic ingredient — typically lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar and a liquid, such as dairy or plant-based milk
1. How to Substitute Sour Cream & Water for Buttermilk
Sour cream is also made by fermenting cream so it is similar to buttermilk with its tangy taste.
However, sour cream is thicker than buttermilk, so to replicate a consistency similar to buttermilk, the sour cream has to be thinned out with water or milk before using it as a buttermilk substitute.
Combine 3/4 cup (172 grams) of sour cream with 1/4 cup (60 mL) of water or milk, and whisk the mixture until smooth to replace buttermilk using sour cream.
2. How to Substitute Milk and Lemon Juice for Buttermilk
Adding lemon juice to milk will give it the acidity it needs to replicate buttermilk.
To make 1 cup (240 ml) of a buttermilk substitute using lemons add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of lemon juice (freshly squeezed or bottled) to a measuring cup. Then, add milk to the 1-cup line (240 mL) and stir.
You can wait for 15 minutes for the lemon and milk to thicken or if in a rush pour it right away onto the chicken.
3. How to Substitute Milk & Lime Juice for Buttermilk
Limes can also be used with milk to substitute buttermilk. The limes like lemons add the acidity that duplicates the flavor of buttermilk.
To make 1 cup (240 ml) of a buttermilk substitute using limes add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lime juice (freshly squeezed or bottled) to a measuring cup. Then, add milk to the 1-cup line (240 ml) and stir.
You can wait 15 minutes for the milk to curdle or use it right away.
4. How to Substitute Milk and Vinegar for Buttermilk
The best vinegar to use is distilled white vinegar since it has a neutral flavor. The milk used should also be similar to the type of buttermilk used in the recipe. For example, if a recipe uses full fat buttermilk, substitute using full-fat milk.
To make 1 cup (240 ml) of buttermilk substitute, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar to a measuring cup. Then, add milk to the 1-cup line (240 ml) and stir.
5. How to Substitute Milk & Cream of Tartar for Buttermilk
Cream of tartar, chemically known as potassium bitartrate is a byproduct of making wine and has a neutral flavor. The cream of tartar is acidic and will cause the milk to become tangy like buttermilk.
To make a buttermilk substitute, use 1 3/4 teaspoons (5 grams) of cream of tartar per 1 cup (240 ml) of milk.
However, cream of tartar has a tendency of becoming clumpy. You can use two methods to avoid it not forming clumps in the milk.
- Mixing the cream of tartar along with the other dry ingredients like seasonings, then poring the milk.
- Whisking the cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of milk, before adding this mixture to the rest of the milk to avoid clumping.
6. How to Substitute Yogurt & Lemon Juice for Buttermilk
Yogurt has a tangy, acidic flavor and thick texture that is similar to buttermilk, so plain yogurt makes an ideal substitute.
You can replace buttermilk cup for cup with plain yogurt. If your brand of yogurt is a bit thicker than buttermilk, then it can be watered down with milk or water.
To make 1 cup (240 ml) of buttermilk substitute, combine 6 ounces (170 grams) of plain yogurt with 1/4 cup (60 mL) of water or milk and whisk until smooth.
7. How to Substitute Heavy Cream & Lime Juice for Buttermilk
Heavy Cream along with an acidic ingredient such as lime juice will also replicate a flavor profile similar to buttermilk.
If you would like the buttermilk substitute to be on the thicker side then you can use heavy cream mixed with lime juice alone. However, if you want a thinner consistency then this mixture can be thinned out with water.
To make a thin buttermilk substitute with heavy cream, add ¾ cup of heavy cream, ¼ cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Just omit the water if you want the mixture to be thicker.
8. How to Substitute Heavy Cream & Lemon Juice for Buttermilk
Lemon will also work as an acidic ingredient along with heavy cream as a buttermilk replicant.
To make a thin buttermilk substitute with heavy cream, add ¾ cup of heavy cream, ¼ cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Just omit the water if you want the mixture to be thicker.
9. How to Substitute Heavy Cream & Vinegar for Buttermilk
To make a buttermilk substitute using heavy cream and vinegar, mix ¾ cup of heavy cream, ¼ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar together and set aside for 10 minutes before using.
(For a thicker mixture you can leave out the water).
10. How to Substitute Plain Kefir for Buttermilk
Unflavored Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that has a taste and consistency similar to that of yogurt and buttermilk.
You can use kefir in a 1:1 ratio to replace buttermilk, meaning if a recipe calls for one cup of buttermilk use one cup of kefir.
11. How to Substitute Buttermilk Powder and water for Buttermilk
Buttermilk powders can be used instead of buttermilk for any fried chicken recipe. These buttermilk powders are usually powdered or dehydrated buttermilk. You can return these powders to a liquid form by adding the amount of water as recommended on the package.
Generally, 4 tablespoons of powdered buttermilk powder must be dissolved into a cup of water to make liquid buttermilk.
Powdered buttermilk is amazing because it lasts a longer time than regular buttermilk – which often goes bad quickly.
To view my recommendation for a great Powder Buttermilk, you can click here to see it on Amazon
12. How to Substitute Lactose Free Milk & Lemon Juice for Buttermilk
If you are sensitive to the lactose found in regular milk then using lactose free milk along with an acidic ingredient will give you a substitute for buttermilk.
Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice to a measuring cup. And then, add lactose-free milk to the 1-cup line (240 ml) and mix well. Use as recommended for buttermilk. The lack of lactose can lead to a sweeter tasting milk.
13. How to Substitute Unsweetened Soy milk & Vinegar for Buttermilk
Unsweetened Soy milk along with vinegar is used as a vegan and dairy-free alternative to buttermilk in fried chicken.
To use soy milk as a buttermilk substitute put 1 tbsp of vinegar into a measuring cup, next add the soy milk to the 1 cup line. You can also use lemon, lime, or cream of tartar instead of vinegar.
14. How to Substitute Vegan sour cream and water for Buttermilk
Vegan sour cream can also be used to substitute buttermilk in fried chicken.
However, vegan sour cream is thicker than buttermilk so it has to be watered down to imitate the consistency of buttermilk.
To water down vegan sour cream combine 3/4 cup of vegan sour cream and 1/4 cup of water. Mix well and use as desired.
15. How to Substitute Tofu, Lemon Juice & Water for Buttermilk
For every one cup of buttermilk, blend one-quarter cup of silken tofu with a pinch of salt, one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice and half a cup water in a blender.
Add water tablespoon by tablespoon (up to three total) and blend to get the proper consistency, then let the mixture sit for about ten minutes before using it.
16. How to Substitute Unsweetened Coconut Milk & Vinegar/Lemon juice for Buttermilk
Instead of using 1 cup of buttermilk, use coconut milk! So add vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measurer and then fill the rest of the measuring cup with coconut milk.
17. How to Substitute Unsweetened almond milk and vinegar for Buttermilk (Vegan & Dairy Free)
- Combine 1 cup almond milk and 1 tbsp. vinegar, and whisk together.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken and curdle.
18. How to Substitute Unsweetened cashew milk and lemon juice for Buttermilk
Cashew Milk and lemon juice is a vegan as well as dairy-free substitute for buttermilk.
To make this substitute pour 1 tbsp. of lemon juice in a measuring mug and the buttermilk until it reaches the 1 cup mark. Leave for 10 minutes then use as required.