Is buttermilk low FODMAP? Short answer, no. Long answer? Yes, if you make it yourself. This post answers more than the question, “is buttermilk low FODMAP”. I’ll also share 2 of my foolproof low FODMAP buttermilk recipes (lactose free and vegan).
This low FODMAP buttermilk recipe was created because I haven’t seen any dairy-free or low FODMAP buttermilk options available in the US or European supermarkets. It’s the perfect replacement in any recipe. It only takes 2 ingredients and a couple of minutes.
Here’s everything we’re going to cover in this post:
- Is Buttermilk Low FODMAP
- 3 Types Of Buttermilk
- How To Make 2 Low FODMAP Buttermilk Recipes
- Dairy and Non-Dairy Low FODMAP Milk Alternatives
- High FODMAP Milks
- Buttermilk & Low FODMAP Diet
You have the short answer but the next part will clarify why buttermilk isn’t low FODMAP.
Is Buttermilk Low FODMAP
The first few months on the IBS diet low FODMAP was a lot of Googling and asking “is it low FODMAP?” I learned really early on as a baker that buttermilk is not low FODMAP.
So, what’s a girl on the low FODMAP diet to do if a recipe calls for buttermilk? Make your own! Buttermilk is perfect for dips, dressings, pancakes, muffins, you name it. It gives baked goods a light fluffy texture and tangy flavor that milk or cream doesn’t.
Buttermilk is actually a byproduct of butter. Traditionally, people churned cream to make butter and the leftover liquid is what we know as buttermilk. Today, commercial buttermilk is made from adding bacteria to milk.
According to Monash University, 1 cup of buttermilk (made from cow’s milk) has 9 grams of lactose and traditional buttermilk (made from cream) has 12 grams of lactose. The lactose is traditional and commercial buttermilk exceeds the recommended low FODMAP lactose intake.
3 Types Of Buttermilk
There are 3 types of buttermilk you’ll find; traditional, cultured (commercial) and acidified. The recipes I’m sharing are acidified or soured milk versions that take minutes to make at home.
Buttermilk used to be made from churning cream into butter. Churned cream fat solids clump together to form butter and the leftover liquid is buttermilk. Butter is nearly 100% fat and fats have 0 FODMAPs.
That’s because FODMAPs are water soluble just like lactose. This basically means they stay present in liquid but not solids like fat. So, all the FODMAPs left the butter and stayed in the liquid. Which is why buttermilk is low fat but high in lactose and FODMAPs.
Commercial buttermilk is made from milk and has less lactose but it’s still not low FODMAP.
Commercial (Cultured) Buttermilk
The commercial buttermilk you find in stores isn’t a byproduct of making butter. Instead, it’s milk that has added bacteria. Because of this bacteria, commercial buttermilk is known as cultured buttermilk and is considered a fermented dairy product just like yogurt.
Acidified Buttermilk Or Soured Milk
Lots of homemade recipes for buttermilk are made from adding something acidic like lemon juice or vinegar to milk. This buttermilk substitute is known as acidified buttermilk or soured milk.
The acid in vinegar and lemon juice act just like the bacteria in commercial buttermilk. It thickens the milk and gives it a sour tang. The taste and texture changes but acids don’t break down lactose like bacteria. So, acidified buttermilk has the same lactose content as milk.
Speaking of acidified buttermilk, let’s learn how to make two variations of this ingredient at home.
How To Make 2 Low FODMAP Buttermilk Recipes
Making low FODMAP buttermilk is easy and only takes two ingredients but I realized that plant based milk doesn’t work as well with this. So, I came up with two recipes to make low FODMAP buttermilk at home: lactose-free and vegan!
Lactose-Free Low FODMAP Buttermilk
This faux buttermilk is a quick and easy acidified buttermilk recipe (as explained below). It’s the perfect substitute for regular buttermilk. Simply mix milk and vinegar or lemon juice and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
The milk proteins thicken and you’ll have buttermilk ready to use for any recipe.
Vegan Low FODMAP Buttermilk
The proteins in milk react with acid and thicken the milk but plant based milk does not react the same. So, I came up with this fix:
Mix ¼ cup of plant based yogurt with ¾ cup of plant based milk and 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to get the perfect texture and sour tang as regular buttermilk. Adding vinegar or lemon juice to oat and almond milk won’t really work.
The only plant milk that thickens is soy and pea milk. Unfortunately, regular soy milk is high FODMAP unless it’s made with soy protein and pea milk hasn’t been tested. Pea milk made from pea protein is low FODMAP but also hard to find.
For the best results, use plant based milk, plant based yogurt and add a tablespoon of vinegar (or lemon juice) to make your own vegan buttermilk at home.
Which Acid: Lemon Juice Or Vinegar?
You can use either for this recipe. Lemon juice is low FODMAP at 1/2 a cup or 125 grams and white vinegar is low FODMAP at 1 serving. Different vinegars will have varying FODMAP levels.
Here’s an article about 7 types of vinegar & FODMAPs if you’re interested:
Not sure which milk to use? Check out different FODMAP levels for milk alternatives below!
Dairy and Non-Dairy Low FODMAP Milk Alternatives
“What milk can I drink on a low FODMAP diet?” is a popular question online. So, I made a list of different milks and whether or not they’re low FODMAP. All the information in this section is based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly’s research of the low FODMAP diet.
Lactose Free Milk
Is lactose free milk low FODMAP? Yes, lactose free milk is low FODMAP because the lactase enzyme which is a FODMAP is removed.
Is almond milk low FODMAP? Yes, almond milk is low FODMAP at 1 cup or 250 ml. Almonds have a limited serving size but almond milk doesn’t contain a lot of almonds which is why it’s low FODMAP.
Is cashew milk low FODMAP? Yes! Monash tested cashew milk to be low FODMAP at 1 cup or 240 ml serving sizes.
Is coconut milk low FODMAP? Yes, at certain amounts and depending on what kind of coconut milk you choose. There are 2 types of coconut milk; in a carton for drinking or canned for cooking.
- Coconut milk in a carton or ultra-high temperature (UHT) processed coconut milk is low FODMAP at 1/2 cup or 120 ml. It contains average amounts of sorbitol at 150 ml.
- Canned coconut milk is low FODMAP at 1/4 cup or 60 grams. Don’t exceed more than 100 grams to be safe. Larger serving sizes or 1/2 cup or 120 grams contains average amounts of sorbitol.
Made from hemp seeds, hemp milk is low FODMAP at 1/2 cup or 125 ml of hemp milk. Larger serving sizes of 1 cup or 240 ml contain moderate fructans.
Macadamia milk is low FODMAP 1 cup or 240 ml.
Oat milk is low FODMAP at 1/2 a cup or 140 grams. Larger serving sizes contain moderate fructans.
Quinoa milk is low FODMAP at 1 cup or 240 ml servings. Larger serving size from 280 ml contains high amounts of fructans.
Is rice milk low FODMAP? Yes, rice milk is low FODMAP at 3/4 cup or 200 ml servings. Don’t exceed 200 ml of rice milk because a 250 ml serving contains high amounts of fructans.
Is soy milk low FODMAP? It depends on the kind of soy milk. Regular soy milk made from soybeans in not low FODMAP. Soy milk made from soy protein is.
- Soy milk made from soy protein: I have never seen this in a grocery store but this version of soy milk is low FODMAP at 275 ml.
- Regular soy milk made from whole soybeans is low FODMAP at 1/4 cup or 60 ml. It’s high in FODMAPs at ½ cup or 125 ml.
There are different types of soy milk (hulled, etc) listed in the FODMAP app but you can read up all about soy milk in this post:
Honestly, I suggest playing it safe and choosing another milk with a higher serving size since the low FODMAP serving size for regular soy milk is so small.
Let’s look at high FODMAP milks that should be avoided now that you know which milks are safe.
High FODMAP Milks
I think we know the answer to, “is milk low FODMAP” is no. Monash suggests that milks should be avoided until you know how you react to lactose or if you’re in the elimination phase.
Cow’s Milk & Goat Milk
Milk contains lactose and that makes it low FODMAP in very small serving sizes. Skimmed cow’s milk has a low FODMAP serving of 15 ml and whole milk has a 20 ml serving size. Goat’s milk has a 30 ml serving size.
Is evaporated milk low FODMAP? No, it isn’t. Evaporated milk contains lactose. Only lactose-free evaporated milk is low FODMAP.
Condensed milk contains lactose and is low FODMAP at 1 teaspoon.
Is buttermilk low FODMAP? We’ve covered that buttermilk is low FODMAP at 1 tablespoon or 16 grams.
Buttermilk & Low FODMAP Diet
Have some questions about buttermilk and IBS? Here are some of the web’s most asked questions about buttermilk.
Can I Have Buttermilk On A Low FODMAP Diet?
You can have a small serving size of buttermilk (16 grams or 1 tablespoon). Buttermilk FODMAPs are high because of the lactose but you can easily increase this serving size by making your own low FODMAP version with lactose free milk.
Is There Such A Thing As Lactose Free Buttermilk?
I have not seen lactose free buttermilk in grocery stores in Asia, the US or Europe (I’ve checked in the Netherlands and the UK). But you can make your own lactose free buttermilk at home with 2 ingredients.
What Can I Use As A Buttermilk Substitute?
Buttermilk has a special quality in terms of taste and texture. A great buttermilk substitute that mimics the real thing is using a mix of milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Plant based milk doesn’t react the same way as dairy based milk.
I use a mix of yogurt and plant milk because the only plant milk that thickens is soy and pea milk. But soy milk is high FODMAP and pea milk hasn’t been tested. Pea milk made from pea protein is low FODMAP but hard to find.
It’s easier to use a mix of plant based milk, plant based yogurt and add a tablespoon of vinegar (or lemon juice) to make your own vegan buttermilk at home.
I think we’ve covered everything possible in this “Is buttermilk low FODMAP?” article. I always hated buying a whole carton of buttermilk only to use a cup or 2 for a recipe. But now, I never run out of buttermilk or waste a whole carton and I get zero IBS triggers.
Curious about other FODMAP topics?
Low FODMAP Buttermilk Recipe
Regular store-bought buttermilk is not low FODMAP. But you can easily make your own low FODMAP buttermilk at home with only two ingredients.
- LACTOSE FREE:
- 1 scant cup or 230ml (measure out 1 cup of milk and remove 1 tablespoon) of lactose-free milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar (white, apple cider or rice wine vinegar)
- 1/4 cup plant based yogurt
- 3/4 cup plant based milk
- optional: 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
Measure out milk 1 cup of milk and remove a tablespoon.
Add lemon juice or vinegar of choice and mix thoroughly.
Let the milk sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
Use immediately for any recipe!
Mix plant based yogurt with plant based milk.
You can add a tablespoon of vinegar to give the vegan buttermilk a sour tang. I've used this in place of buttermilk in recipes and it works wonders.
You can use vegan milk options but they might not thicken as much as regular lactose-free milk. I use plant based yogurt and plant based milk for vegan buttermilk because it resembles the texture of regular buttermilk. The only low FODMAP plant based milk that works is pea protein milk.