Buttermilk Vs Coconut Milk – Which One’s Right for You?

Rohit Panwar

With warm weather approaching, people’s urge for healthy cold beverages also surges, which leads to the debate of Buttermilk versus Coconut milk. 

This blog will help you understand the difference between the two. As a passionate Nutritionist, I will compare these two options to offer you more clarity about their benefits.  

Buttermilk versus Coconut milk


What is the difference between Buttermilk & Lassi? |

Buttermilk Versus Coconut Milk: What’s the Difference?

To know the difference between buttermilk and coconut milk, I listed the comparisons below which are based on various factors.


Milk & citric acid

Coconut Milk

Coconut & Water



Coconut Milk



1 cup 

Coconut Milk

1 cup



Coconut Milk



8 g*

Coconut Milk

57 g*


8 g*

Coconut Milk

5 g*


281.8 mg*

Coconut Milk

38-470 mg*


Morning or Noon

Coconut Milk

Morning or Noon



Coconut Milk




Coconut Milk



Very Good 

Coconut Milk



Very Good

Coconut Milk



Very Good

Coconut Milk

Very Good

*Source: USDA; Quantity defined is 1 cup

The table above presents a quick comparison of these two drinks but for a better and deeper clarity let me elaborate on each point below –

Ingredients Used to Make Buttermilk and Coconut Milk

Buttermilk is made of milk and citric acid which is present in foods like lemon, curd, vinegar etc. It is a fermented dairy product that is full of good bacteria. Traditionally in South East Asia Buttermilk is made by churning the curd and separating out the butter.

Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of the ripe coconut fruit. Its consistency can be thick or thin depending on how much it’s processed. 

What do Buttermilk and Coconut Milk Taste like?

Buttermilk has a tangy and creamy taste. Traditional thin Buttermilk is sourer than the market version of thick Buttermilk.

Coconut milk has a sweet and nutty taste. Since coconut milk is made from the inner flesh of the coconut, it tastes quite rich and refreshing. Market versions of coconut milk come in a can and a carton. While the canned version is thick and mostly used in cooking, the carton ones are diluted and have some added flavours.

Recommended Servings of Buttermilk and Coconut Milk Per Day

For a diluted or less viscous version of coconut milk, you can drink upto1 cup. If you are using thick coconut milk, half a cup would suffice because of the high fat and calorie content.

On the other hand, Buttermilk is low in fat you can cherish it up to 2 servings per day without any guilt. However, 1 cup is ideal.

Calorie Count for Buttermilk and Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a high-calorie drink and the calorie content will depend on the thickness. The thicker the milk, the higher will be its calorie content. 

Buttermilk is low in calories. However, the calorie count in generally depends on the type of milk being used in its preparation. The traditional version using whole milk has more calories as compared to low-fat milk-based packed version which is also called cultured buttermilk. 

Fat content of  Buttermilk And Coconut milk

As mentioned in the table above, coconut milk has more fat content compared to buttermilk. Its high-fat content makes it a great product for skin care. 

Traditional buttermilk has quite less fat content compared to the market version of buttermilk. Therefore, if you are trying to watch your weight, stick to buttermilk.

Buttermilk Vs Coconut: As Protein Sources

Buttermilk is a dairy product which makes it a better source of protein. Coconut milk has less protein content as it is plant-based milk. 

Both the drinks can be added to your diet to supplement daily protein requirement which is about 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight.

How Does Buttermilk and Coconut Milk Fare As Calcium Sources?

Between Buttermilk and Coconut milk, buttermilk is hands down a better source of calcium. This is because it is derived from milk.

Buttermilk has over 7 times more calcium content than coconut milk. So, if you are looking for a good source of calcium, buttermilk is definitely a better choice.

Right Time to Consume Buttermilk and Coconut Milk

Breakfast and lunch are both good to add coconut milk to your daily intake. The same is the case with buttermilk.

While a diluted version of buttermilk can be had occasionally with dinner, I would recommend not consuming coconut milk at night. This is because it is high in fat and calories.

Buttermilk and Coconut Milk: Which One Works As An Eco-Conscious Choice?

Buttermilk and coconut milk both are part of a vegetarian diet and they have a very low carbon footprintBut since coconut milk is plant-based it has a more positive impact on the environment than a dairy product.

Coconut trees need very little water to grow and just like other plants they naturally absorb carbon dioxide. This makes them a much better eco-friendly choice. Raising cows for dairy has a negative impact on the environment as they lead to the overutilisation of resources.

Can Buttermilk and Coconut Milk be Part of a Vegan diet?

Buttermilk is a dairy product so you can not consider it as a vegan option.

Coconut milk is plant-based milk so it is definitely a vegan-friendly food. 

Strong Teeth and Correlation Between Buttermilk and Coconut Milk

Between Buttermilk and coconut milk, buttermilk is better for teeth. Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product with a good amount of calcium, that contributes to strong teeth. Buttermilk is also good for overall oral health as they reduce soreness of the mouth

Coconut milk is also good for teeth because it has the antibacterial properties of coconut. However, if you are consuming it from the market, make sure you buy the unsweetened versions to prevent tooth decay from the consumption of too much sugar.

Buttermilk and Coconut Milk are Boons for the Belly

Buttermilk is full of good bacteria which helps to digest food quickly. A cup of buttermilk gives instant relief from sourness in the tummy.

Since coconut milk is plant-based milk that contains a lot of minerals and vitamins. Therefore body absorbs it without much difficulty. However, since it is high in fat and calories, it may cause some issues in people with weak digestion.

Buttermilk Versus Coconut Milk for Summer

Buttermilk and coconut milk are considered the best cooling drinks in the summer. They both help to maintain the water level in the body and keep the body cool. 

Buttermilk with a pinch of cumin and mint makes it a perfect refreshing summer beverage. Add fresh fruits to your coconut milk and keep yourself hydrated for a long time. Both are excellent drinks for hot weather. 

I hope that after reading my blog, you won’t have this question bugging your mind again, ‘Can I use Buttermilk instead of Coconut milk or vice versa?’

Both kinds of milk are excellent for your health but I would like to know which one you prefer? Do share your choice in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buttermilk Vs Coconut milk

  • Is buttermilk the same as coconut milk?

Ans. Buttermilk is a dairy product that has been cultured with good bacteria. It has the nutrients of milk plus the good bacteria or probiotics. It has a tangy, creamy taste and can be used as such or used in baking and as a marinade. Coconut milk is a dairy free liquid made from blending coconut meat with water. It has a sweet, creamy coconut flavor. It can be consumed as such or used in curries, soups, and desserts.

  • Can buttermilk be used as a substitute for coconut milk?

Ans. Buttermilk is tangy while coconut milk is nutty and slightly sweet.Due to this difference in texture and tastes, they are not interchangeable in all recipes. Buttermilk can be used as a substitute for coconut milk in some baking recipes, but the final product will have a different flavour and texture.

  • Can I use coconut milk to replace buttermilk?

Ans. Coconut milk can be used as a substitute for buttermilk in some recipes. You can substitute coconut milk for buttermilk in a 1:1 ratio.  Mix 1 cup of coconut milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar, and set aside for 5 minutes. This will give it a tangy taste similar to buttermilk.

  • What is healthier buttermilk or coconut milk?

Ans. Both buttermilk and coconut milk have their own advantages. Buttermilk being a dairy product is a good source of calcium, Vitamin B12, and other nutrients. Coconut milk is rich in healthy fats and can be a good dairy-free, lactose-free alternative.

Rohit Panwar

Hi! I'm Integrated Nutrition Coach Rohit Panwar. I hold twin Certifications from IIN, New York & SAFM, Massachusetts. I am a passionate vocalist of holistic lifestyle and have fully committed the past several years to educate & empower people towards their wellbeing. Despite a successful yet hectic corporate stint of 21+ years, I have prioritised nutriment in my life. I truly hope my personal journey from illness to wellness helps everybody reading this forge their own path.