How to Substitute Yogurt for Buttermilk

Is there any way to substitute yogurt for buttermilk in recipes for pancakes and biscuits?

Is there any way to substitute yogurt for buttermilk in recipes for pancakes and biscuits?

We tested yogurt against buttermilk in a few of our favorite recipes: buttermilk biscuits, buttermilk pancakes, and lemon buttermilk sheet cake. Supermarket buttermilk is typically low fat, so for a fair comparison, we used low-fat yogurt. We made each recipe three times—once with buttermilk as usual, once with yogurt in place of the buttermilk, and once with a mixture of half yogurt and half low-fat milk (to thin the yogurt to the same consistency as buttermilk).

All three batches of biscuits and lemon-buttermilk sheet cakes turned out well. In our buttermilk pancakes, a one-for-one substitution of yogurt for buttermilk didn’t turn out so well. The batter was too thick, in turn making too thick pancakes that didn’t cook all the way through until the exteriors were too dark. The thinned yogurt performed well here, though. (You can also thin the yogurt with water to similar effect.)

THE BOTTOM LINE:  When making cakes or biscuits, you can substitute low-fat yogurt for buttermilk. For pancakes, however, first thin the yogurt with an equal amount of low-fat milk or water.

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