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Easy Substitutes for Buttermilk, Whipping Cream, and Cream of Tartar


Many recipes call for items I don’t always have on hand like buttermilk, whipping cream, and cream of tartar. Luckily, there are several ways that you can make substitutes for these items using things that you already have at home.


Lemon Juice
Add one tablespoon of Lemon Juice to one cup of milk. Stir and let sit for five minutes before using.

Vinegar works in the same way as the lemon juice, add one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of milk. Stir and let sit for five minutes before using.

Cream of Tartar
To use cream of tartar as a substitute for buttermilk just add 1 3/4 teaspoons Cream of Tartar to one cup of milk.

Plain Yogurt
Use one cup of plain yogurt in place of every one cup of buttermilk called for.

Whipping Cream

One note to keep in mind when it comes to using substitutes for whipping cream is that the substitute may change the consistency or taste of the recipe. Be sure to choose the most appropriate substitute for your recipe.

Butter and Milk
For one cup of whipping cream, mix together 1/3 cup of softened butter with ¾ cup of milk using an electric mixer. You can use the electric mixer to beat the mixture until the desired consistency is reached. This substitute works best in baking or cooking recipes.

Chilled Evaporated Milk
Chill a thirteen ounce can of evaporated milk in the refrigerator for at least twelve hours and add in one teaspoon of lemon juice. Then beat with an electric mixer until it reaches the desired consistency.

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Milk, Flour, and Cornstarch
Whisk together one cup of milk with two tablespoons of cornstarch. When they are combined, continue whisking and add in one tablespoon of flour. This substitute works best when the whipping cream is being used as a thickening agent.

Frozen Non-Dairy Topping
You can thaw out Cool-Whip or another frozen non-dairy topping and use it in place of whipping cream.

Half and Half
Half and Half can also be used in place of whipping cream.

Cream of Tartar

As with the whipping cream in recipes you need to determine the use of cream of tartar in recipes before choosing which substitute to use. Please choose your substitute depending on your use.

When Beating Egg Whites
When the recipe calls for cream of tartar to help with the beating of egg whites you can either omit the cream of tartar completely, or use an equal amount of either vinegar or lemon juice.

When cream of tartar is called for in frosting you can skip the cream of tartar completely as no substitution is necessary.

Leavening Agent
When cream of tartar is called for in a recipe generally baking soda will be called for as well. When substituting cream of tartar in these recipes leave both the cream of tartar and baking soda out of the recipe and use baking powder in place of both. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/3 teaspoon of baking soda and 2/3 teaspoon of cream of tartar use one teaspoon of baking powder.