Does Sour Milk Make Good Pancakes?

There are so many recipes for pancakes.  Which one should I use? Many of those recipes use buttermilk.  And if you are like me, you don’t have buttermilk on hand. But did you know that you can substitute sour milk for buttermilk? Especially in pancake recipes. But the big question is “Does sour milk make good pancakes?” Out of curiosity, I decided to make some pancakes using sour milk and buttermilk and compare the two. 

Made With Sour Milk

Made With Buttermilk

Does Sour Milk Make Good Pancakes?

My little experiment consisted of making 2 separate pancake batters. I used the exact same ingredients in each one with the exception of the milk. One using sour milk, the other buttermilk.  I let the batters rest for 20 minutes before cooking the pancakes.

The pancakes made with sour milk came out light and fluffy.  The ones made with buttermilk, not so much.  They were much flatter and not near as fluffy. 

 And the ones made with sour milk? They tasted so much better than the ones made with buttermilk. It made me wonder why the big hype about buttermilk pancakes? Yes Yes Yes sour milk makes good pancakes!


does sour milk make good pancakes

Sour Milk


What is Sour Milk And Is It The Same As Buttermilk?

Sour milk is not the same as milk that has gone bad. Sour milk is made by adding an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or white vinegar to “sour” the milk. Spoiled milk is milk that has gone bad naturally due to bacteria growth. Sour milk is for cooking and not to be consumed as a drink. Spoiled milk just needs to be thrown out!

Buttermilk is the liquid left over when fat is removed from cream when making butter. Despite its name, buttermilk has no butter in it.  The name comes from how it is made. It is used for cooking and drinking as a beverage.  

Both are dairy products that have a sour and acidic flavor and are often used as substitutions for each other. And although they are similar, they are made completely different.  And buttermilk is thicker than sour milk.

When I was younger, the neighbor girl always had a cup of buttermilk in her hands.  Buttermilk is great for cooking but I personally don’t like it as a drink and always wondered how she could drink it!

How To Make Sour Milk

In a glass measure 1 cup of milk.  Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. You can also use cider vinegar as well. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before using. I usually let mine sit for about 15 to 20 minutes.  

Did you know that you can even use pickle or lime juice? Yep, any liquid that is acidy. (is that a word?).  Well, you get the idea.

After the milk has sat at room temperature for the recommended time,  gently stir.  You will notice that the milk has curdled and thickened.  Don’t skip this step. This allows the acid to work its “magic” on the milk. Trying to use the sour milk without letting it sit for a while defeats the purpose and you will not achieve the results you are wanting.  

Making sour milk is sooo easy.  And more than likely you have the ingredients you need on hand.  After all, it’s just milk and white vinegar or lemon juice.  You can use either one.   I always have white vinegar but I don’t always have lemon juice on hand.  That’s the beauty in using either one. 

I use 2% milk because that is the milk my grandson prefers to drink.  I actually bought whole milk one time and he wouldn’t touch it.  So back to 2% I went.  But you can use either whole milk or 2%.  They both work just fine.


I have to admit that I was really surprised by the results of my little experiment. I honestly expected the buttermilk pancakes to turn out better, in appearance as well as taste.

I have always made my pancakes with sour milk. But I have never made any using buttermilk. So I went to my local grocery to specifically buy buttermilk for just this reason.

Now it makes me wonder about biscuits as well. Maybe that will be my next experiment. Who knows.

Final Thoughts

In my little experiment, I found that sour milk indeed makes good pancakes.  In fact, I preferred sour milk over buttermilk. The pancakes were light and fluffy with the sour milk and not so much with buttermilk. I also preferred the taste of pancakes made with sour milk.

Sour milk and buttermilk are both dairy products that have a slightly sour and acidic taste.  They can be easily substituted for each other.  They are just made in different ways.

For every cup of milk add 1 tablespoon of your acidic ingredient to make your sour milk. Just be sure to let it sit for at least 10 minutes before using it to allow the acid to work on the milk. 

Go here to check out how to make your pancakes fluffy.

How do you make your pancakes?  Sour milk or buttermilk?  Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts. I love hearing from you!

And As Always

Have A Wonderful Day!

Spread the love

2 thoughts on “Does Sour Milk Make Good Pancakes?”

Leave a Comment