Buttermilk pie is one of my favorite spring desserts—and one of my favorite pies to make. I fell in love with the tangy-yet-sweet pie, a twist on classic cream pie, years ago at a restaurant that no longer exists: Woody’s Over-the-Road Restaurant.

Woody’s Over the Road Restaurant, early days. Credit: Dayton Daily News

Woody’s started as a roadside market, grew into a grocery, and when the founder wanted to add a restaurant, and was landlocked, built a restaurant, well, over-the-road. (The entry and parking was on the other side of the road from the grocery.) Woody’s Over-the-Road restaurant served classic Midwestern and down-home fare at its best: hot shots, country-fried steak, green beans slow cooked with ham bits and onion. And, of course, pie.

When I was diagnosed years ago with gestational diabetes, I allowed myself two sweet treats for seven months until our daughter was born. (And then quickly realized I’d have to remain disciplined, since I was breastfeeding and pre-disposed to diabetes. Ah well.) One was a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving at Woody’s. I still remember that first bite of pie. (The other was a chocolate-covered cherry, from a local candy maker, at Christmas.)

When word came that Woody’s restaurant was going to close, I mourned for a bit, and then began researching recipes and trying variations until I came up with a recipe that most closely matched, to my taste buds at least, Woody’s buttermilk pie.

Woody’s Market Historical Marker

Well, fast forward to the past few months, and the uncomfortable discovery that my system and lactose no longer get along.

But what about buttermilk pie?!? I wailed.

I mourned for a bit AGAIN, and then began researching… and it quickly hit me that vegan eaters and experts might just have a solution for substitutes, even for buttermilk.

Sure enough, they do: for each cup buttermilk needed, put one tablespoon of juice in a bowl. Add one cup of soy milk. (You can use other varieties of non-dairy milk, but I found soy worked best.) Let sit for ten minutes or so, then stir.

(By the way, you can also do this with dairy milk, if you need buttermilk but don’t have any on hand.)

Here is my modified recipe for Lactose-Free Buttermilk Pie:

1 unbaked pie shell (I just made my regular crust < https://jessmontgomeryauthor.com/pie-of-the-month/  >, but substituted butter-flavored Crisco; not quite the same, but still tasty)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups vegan buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons melted dairy-free (vegetable-based) butter OR ghee


  1. Combine sugar and flour.
  2. Add beaten eggs, vegan buttermilk, melted non-dairy butter or ghee, and vanilla extract.
  3. Beat together (by hand or with mixer) until smooth.
  4. Pour into pie crust.
  5. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
  6. Bake at 350-degrees (F) for 35 minutes, or until pie filling is firm like a pudding/creme pie.
  7. (Protect pie crust rim with aluminum foil near end if needed.)
  8. Let pie cool and set before slicing.

I kind of don’t like admitting this, but… this non-dairy version is just as delicious (maybe even a wee bit tastier) than the original!

Stay well,