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Vegan Buttermilk

Vegan buttermilk is rich and creamy, with just the slightest tang, and made from fresh, whole ingredients, such as raw cashews. This dairy-free buttermilk substitute is perfect for sauces, dressings, and dairy substitutes like sour cream.

Vegan buttermilk in a small glass bottle.

The world of vegetarian and vegan eating has changed a ton over the last decade. Grocery stores now have entire sections devoted to things like dairy substitutes for milk, yogurt, and cheese, and food producers are turning out new products all the time.

But, the downside of this abundance of choice is the ingredient label situation. We like to think that vegetarian options are inherently healthier, but that’s often far from the case. Packaged vegetarian and vegan foods are just as fraught with additives, preservatives, and strange mechanized processes as other foods.

Vegan buttermilk in a small glass bottle.

So, homemade is always best. This is my go-to — and not just “a” favorite, but “the” favorite — dairy-free buttermilk substitute: Vegan Buttermilk. Cashew cream based, and completely smooth, and both light and rich at the same time, with just the right amount of tang.

I don’t even particularly care for cashews, but blended into creamy smoothness with just a few ingredients, they become other worldly: cashew cream really does not taste like cashews. Like, at all. I prefer cashew milk over almond milk in most cases, because it’s more neutral on the sweet-tangy scale (with almond milk being too sweet for things like soups and sauces).

Vegan Buttermilk and its ingredients, cashews and lemon

If you keep raw cashews on hand, vegan buttermilk is super easy to make at home in just an hour or so: soak the cashews, and then toss everything in the blender. I use this to create wonderfully creamy salad dressings, vegan ricotta, and other surprise dishes, like dumplings for my Vegetable Dumpling Soup.

Even if you’re not vegan or dairy-allergic — I’m not either — I love being able to whip up buttermilk from a stash of cashews, rather than having to a buy a bottle, from which I’ll use a 1/2 cup, leaving the rest to go to waste.

Karen xo

Vegan Buttermilk
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Buttermilk

The best non-dairy buttermilk for sauces, dressings, and vegan versions of condiments like sour cream. Note that although no cooking is involved, you will need to prep ingredients at least an hour in advance (included in prep time). Serving size is 2 tablespoons.
Prep Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Pantry Staple
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan buttermilk
Servings: 19
Calories: 37kcal
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, optional


  • Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with water by an inch. Let soak for at least one hour (two is better).
  • Drain the cashews (discard the water) and transfer to the jar of a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix or NutriBullet).
  • Add the fresh water, lemon juice, and salt, if using. Blend until smooth and creamy. Use immediately, or store in the fridge.


Technically, you don't need to soak the cashews to break them down in a mega blender like the Vitamix, but soaking them softens the nuts and produces a creamier result, imo.


Serving: 19g | Calories: 37kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

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Recipe Rating

Mandy Nelson

Saturday 4th of January 2020

When you say "one cup of raw cashews", if I use cashew pieces, what is the weight equivalent?