Can Apple Cider Vinegar Make Buttermilk Better?

When it comes to baking or cooking, there are certain ingredients that we just can’t do without. Buttermilk is one such ingredient that finds its way into a myriad of recipes, ranging from cakes to pancakes. But what happens when you don’t have buttermilk at hand, and you need it for a recipe? Can you use apple cider vinegar instead of buttermilk? More importantly, can apple cider vinegar make buttermilk better? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Buttermilk?

Before we delve into the question of whether apple cider vinegar can make buttermilk better, let’s first understand what buttermilk actually is. Buttermilk is a sour milk that is left behind after churning butter out of cream. In the olden days, buttermilk was a by-product of the butter-making process. It was used as a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink, especially during the summer months. Nowadays, however, buttermilk is used in a wide variety of dishes because it helps to tenderize the gluten in flour, making baked goods soft and fluffy while also adding a lovely tanginess to the recipe.

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Be Used In Place of Buttermilk?

If you are short on buttermilk and need a substitute, then apple cider vinegar can come to your rescue. Simply add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of milk and let it sit for a few minutes. The acidity of the vinegar will curdle the milk, making it thick and tangy, just like buttermilk. This is an easy and convenient way to make buttermilk substitute at home without having to run to the store.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Make Buttermilk Better?

While apple cider vinegar does make for a decent buttermilk substitute, it does not necessarily make buttermilk better. Buttermilk has a specific flavor profile and acidity that sets it apart from other ingredients, and while apple cider vinegar will lend a tangy flavor to the dish, it will not replicate the taste of buttermilk exactly. However, there are a few instances where apple cider vinegar can elevate the flavor of a recipe.


When used in baking, apple cider vinegar can help to activate the baking soda in the recipe, making the baked goods rise better. This is because both apple cider vinegar and baking soda are acidic, and when combined, they create a reaction that releases carbon dioxide gas, which makes the batter rise. The result is baked goods that are light, fluffy, and tender.


Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a marinade for meat, poultry or fish. It adds a tangy flavor to the protein while also breaking down the fibers, making the meat more tender. Apple cider vinegar can also be used in salad dressings, adding a zingy flavor to the greens.


Apple cider vinegar can be added to water, and sweetened with honey or agave, to create a refreshing drink. It is said that drinking apple cider vinegar can help boost the immune system, improve digestion, and aid in weight loss. While the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are not yet scientifically proven, it is a healthy alternative to sugary drinks like soda or fruit juice.


While apple cider vinegar may work as a buttermilk substitute, it is not an exact replica of the tangy, creamy flavor that buttermilk imbues. However, apple cider vinegar can be used to elevate the flavor of your dishes, particularly in baking and marinating. So, if you are out of buttermilk, don’t hesitate to use apple cider vinegar as a substitute, but don’t expect it to make buttermilk better.

Top Common Questions on Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Make Buttermilk?

  • 1. Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of buttermilk?
    Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute for buttermilk.
  • 2. How much apple cider vinegar do I add to milk to make buttermilk?
    Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of milk.
  • 3. Why does apple cider vinegar make the milk curdle?
    The acidity of the vinegar causes the proteins in the milk to coagulate, resulting in the milk thickening and forming curds.
  • 4. Can I use any type of vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar?
    While other types of vinegar may work as a buttermilk substitute, apple cider vinegar is the most commonly used vinegar as it has a mild flavor and does not overpower the dish.
  • 5. Can I use a plant-based milk in place of dairy milk?
    Yes, plant-based milks like soy, almond, or coconut milk can also be used to make a buttermilk substitute.


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