The 8 Best Substitutes For Buttermilk In Banana Bread

What can I use instead of buttermilk in banana bread? The best substitutes for buttermilk in banana bread are cultured or fermented dairy products like powdered buttermilk, clabbered milk, kefir, yogurt, and sour cream. Plant milk, yogurt, or blended tofu with added acid are vegan alternatives.

Buttermilk is a fermented milk product. Adding buttermilk to banana bread gives it a deliciously tangy flavor and a calcium and protein boost. Buttermilk’s acidity creates a tender crumb and impressive rise by softening the gluten and activating the baking soda. Here are the eight best substitutes for buttermilk in banana bread.

The 8 Best Substitutes For Buttermilk In Banana Bread

Powdered Buttermilk

The most practical substitute for fresh buttermilk in banana bread is powdered buttermilk.

Like powdered milk, this product consists of dehydrated buttermilk, which you can rehydrate using water. The liquid buttermilk, made by following the instructions on the package, has the same qualities as fresh buttermilk.

To use powdered buttermilk in baking, either add the powder to the dry ingredients and the water to the wet ingredients or reconstitute the milk and use it as you would regular buttermilk.

You can replace a cup of buttermilk in your banana bread recipe with four tablespoons (1/4 cup) of powdered milk and cup of water.

DIY Buttermilk

Another easy substitute for buttermilk in banana bread is making DIY buttermilk.

Because buttermilk is fermented or cultured milk, you can add an acid to regular whole milk to make it sour or clabbered.

Regular milk would make up the required liquid in the recipe, but the lack of acid would mean a poor rise and a dense loaf.

Note that you could use any dairy milk to make DIY buttermilk.

Use goat, sheep, or camel’s milk, especially if you are making banana bread for someone with lactose intolerance or sensitivity. However, you may taste the robust flavor of the alternative milk.

To sour milk as a buttermilk replacement, take one cup milk and add a tablespoon white or cider vinegar or lemon juice. You could also add a teaspoon cream of tartar mixed with two tablespoons milk to prevent clumping.

Allow the milk to stand for five minutes to sour. Whisk the milk to recombine.

Use DIY buttermilk in your banana bread recipe in the exact quantities as buttermilk.


Kefir is an excellent substitute for buttermilk in banana bread.

Also a cultured dairy product like buttermilk, kefir is made by adding kefir yeast grains to milk and allowing them to ferment for 24 hours. You can then remove the grains and reuse them.

Kefir has a similar sour, tangy flavor and liquid consistency as buttermilk. It contains gut-friendly bacteria, protein, calcium, and vitamin B.

Unfortunately, heating the kefir can destroy some of the valuable microbes.

Use unsweetened, unflavored milk-based kefir instead of buttermilk in banana bread.

Kefir can replace buttermilk 1:1.


Yogurt is a common pantry item that can replace buttermilk in banana bread.

Like buttermilk, yogurt is made with cultured milk. It contains high lactic acid levels, providing the same tangy flavor as buttermilk. As a dairy product, yogurt is rich in protein and calcium.

Ideally, use natural, unflavored, unsweetened yogurt as a buttermilk alternative. Avoid fruity or dessert yogurt, as it will change the flavor of your bake.

Greek yogurt is ideal but may need to be thinned: whisk ¾ cup thick yogurt with ¼ cup milk or water, adding more liquid to get a perfect consistency.

Substitute equal amounts of yogurt for buttermilk in banana bread.

Sour Cream

Sour cream makes a luscious substitute for buttermilk in banana bread.

If buttermilk is made with the addition of lactic acid to whole milk, sour cream uses lactic acid to ferment cream. Sour cream thus has a similar taste, nutritional profile, and acidic qualities to buttermilk.

However, sour cream contains more fat than buttermilk, adding richness to your banana bread.

Sour cream is thicker than buttermilk, so you should combine ¾ cup sour cream with ¼ cup milk or water to get the same consistency as buttermilk. Whisk the mixture until smooth, adding more milk if necessary.

Use the thinned sour cream as a volume-to-volume replacement for buttermilk in banana bread.

DIY Dairy-free Buttermilk

Use plant-based milk to make a dairy-free alternative to buttermilk in banana bread.

Follow the same process where you add acid to dairy milk to create a buttermilk substitute but use your choice of unsweetened, unflavored, non-dairy milk.

Although coconut milk has the best consistency as a buttermilk replacement, you can use any plant-based milk you have on hand.

Add one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to a cup coconut, soy, almond, or cashew milk. Allow the mixture to stand for five minutes, then whisk to combine.

Use DIY dairy-free buttermilk in equal quantities to regular buttermilk.

Dairy-free Yogurt

Another plant-based alternative to buttermilk in banana bread is dairy-free yogurt.

Because dairy-free yogurt is not a fermented product, it will not have the qualities necessary to tenderize gluten and activate baking soda. Plant-based yogurt is also thicker than buttermilk, so it needs thinning.

To use plain almond or coconut yogurt as a buttermilk replacement, combine ¾ cup yogurt, ¼ cup plant milk, and ½ teaspoon white vinegar.

Set the mixture aside for five to ten minutes before using it as a direct replacement for buttermilk in your banana bread.


Tofu makes a handy plant-based substitute for buttermilk in banana bread.

Made from coagulated soy milk, tofu or soybean curd is a popular Asian ingredient. It is high in protein, calcium, and vitamins, and comes in many forms, ranging from firm cubes to a soft, custard-like texture.

To replace buttermilk, choose silken tofu, which has a consistency like yogurt and is ideal for pureéing. You will need to add an acid.

Combine ¼ cup silken tofu, ¾ cup water, and a tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Allow the mixture to stand, and then blend until smooth.

Use the tofu blend instead of buttermilk in banana bread on a one-to-one basis.