18 Best Milk Substitutes For Every Occasion

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Milk was formerly believed to be a symbol of luxury when it was added to tea. These days, however, milk is a vital element in baking and cooking and a staple food for many people’s diets owing to the great nutritional content it provides.

On the other hand, there are occasions when you just run out of it, and you need an alternative to milk as soon as possible. Alternately, you could not consume any dairy products at all and be seeking for a vegan substitute. There may be a variety of factors at play here, including intolerance to lactose, sensitivities to certain environmental factors, a personal preference, an allergy to milk, or dietary limitations.

The good news for those who like dairy products as well as those who do not consume dairy products is that there are numerous alternatives to milk. Some are more suited for the recipe or the application than others, but it all depends. In this piece, we will discuss the most effective alternatives to using cow’s milk in culinary applications, such as baking and cooking, as well as drinking it.

Dairy Milk Alternatives

Evaporated Milk

Because it can be stored for a longer period of time and is less expensive, evaporated milk is an excellent alternative to ordinary milk. It is milk that has been reduced in volume by cooking until about sixty percent of the water content of the milk has been evaporated.

It is sold in cans and has a flavor that is comparable to milk but significantly sweeter. In recipes, both sweet and savory, which call for a creamy consistency, it is possible to use it in place of milk’s consistency. It also has a pleasant flavor when added to coffee or sprinkled over cereal. The little variation in flavor could have a huge impact on the end product, but it also might not.

Combine one half cup of evaporated milk with one half cup of water to make one cup of ordinary milk. You may dilute it a bit less than 1:1 if you want it to have a more creamy consistency.

Condensed Milk

Because they are both kinds of concentrated milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk are sometimes mistaken with one another. The fact that they are offered in cans is another thing that is working against them. The primary difference between the two is that evaporated milk does not have any sugar in it, but condensed milk has between 40 and 45 percent sugar in it.

Due to the fact that condensed milk is very sweet, it can only be used in lieu of conventional milk in dessert dishes, such as pudding, pie, and ice cream, and even then, the total quantity of sugar that the recipe asks for will need to be adjusted. It is also possible to use it as a sweetener for coffee or tea.

As a substitute for one cup of milk, combine one-half cup of condensed milk with one-half cup of water.


Milk and cream are combined in an equal ratio to create the dairy liquid product known as “half-and-half.” Although it’s most often known for being used as a coffee creamer, it really has a wide range of applications.

It is possible to use it as a milk substitute despite the fact that it has a distinct texture and taste due to the fact that it contains more milkfat than milk does. Because it is more viscous than milk, it lends creaminess and richness to beverages like coffee and foods like sauces and soups.

You are going to really like using half-and-half as an alternative to whole milk in quiche, mashed potatoes, and ice cream. However, you should try to avoid boiling it since it has a tendency to curdle. In a same vein, you ought not to beat it.

In the event that you do not have any half-and-half in your refrigerator, it is not difficult at all to make dairy or vegan versions of half-and-half at home. It is possible to use half-and-half in lieu of milk at a ratio of 1 to 1.

Heavy Cream

A product of milk, cream is formed from the fat that rises to the top of whole milk before the milk is homogenized and is separated from the rest of the milk. It has a more robust flavor than milk and a more substantial consistency.

When it comes to nutrition, both cream and milk are excellent choices since they include high levels of protein, carbohydrates, and essential elements such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A, D, and B12. However, due to the higher levels of cholesterol, fat, and calories that are included in cream, only a moderate amount should be consumed daily.

It is possible to substitute it for whole milk in a wide variety of dishes, including sauces, puddings, soups, stews, and cakes. As a result of its higher fat content, however, it must be combined with water at a ratio of 60 percent cream to 40 percent water in order to be used in place of milk.

It is important to note that the texture of your baked goods may change if you use cream that includes stabilizers.

Sour Cream

You may replace one cup of sour cream for one cup of milk in a variety of recipes. Sour cream is a healthy alternative to whole milk and can be used in place of whole milk. However, since it is more thick, you will need to make some modifications to the amount of the other ingredients that you use in your baked items, and you may thin it down with a little water.

When using an alternative to sour cream, the amount of leavening agents should be adjusted accordingly. Alternately, for each cup of sour cream, increase the amount of baking soda by one teaspoon while simultaneously reducing the amount of baking powder by one teaspoon.

Decrease the amount of butter or shortening that the recipe calls for. Reduce the amount of shortening, oil, or butter in the recipe by one-half cup for each cup of sour cream. When you combine wet components with sour cream, you can anticipate that the mixture will be a little bit thicker. Additionally, you shouldn’t be shocked if the baking time for your muffins or cake increases by a couple of minutes.

Special Recommendations

  • You should avoid using fat-free sour cream in your baked products since, when cooked, it can split and destroy the texture of the finished product.
  • The tanginess of sour cream goes well with most baked goods, but if you are concerned about it, you may temper it with a little vanilla extract to create a more harmonious taste.

Plain Yogurt

There are a lot of individuals who are curious about whether one, yogurt or ordinary milk, is healthier. Although both are abundant in vitamins and minerals, yogurt has a greater protein content and less sugar, salt, and saturated fat than other dairy products. Both of these options are equivalent in terms of cholesterol.

Yogurt is a more acceptable substitute in diets that are low in fat, low in glycemic index, and low in carbs; nevertheless, milk is a better choice for those who are following diets that are low in calories. In addition, thanks to the fermentation process, most yogurt may be consumed by persons who are lactose intolerant since yogurt is simpler to digest after fermentation. However, if the yogurt is heated to a high temperature, then the good bacteria that yogurt contains for the stomach are destroyed.

In any recipe calling for milk, you may use an equal amount of plain yogurt instead. This works well for both savory and sweet dishes. Because yogurt is more viscous than milk, using it in your baking may result in a slightly different density for the finished product. If you have Greek yogurt on hand, you may start by diluting it with a small bit of water.

Powdered Milk

If you are searching for a milk alternative that won’t break the bank, powdered milk, which is often referred to as dry milk, is an excellent option. Milk that has been dried and powdered does not need to be refrigerated since it does not spoil. In terms of its nutritional value, it has a similar high nutrient content to that of raw milk.

In baked products such as bread, cakes, cookies, puddings, and pizzas, milk powder may stand in for milk as the liquid ingredient. It is used in cooking to give soups and sauces more body, and its flavor is delicious enough that it may be consumed as a beverage or sprinkled over cereal in the morning.
Coconut milk powder, soy milk powder, cashew milk powder, almond dry milk, and a number of other alternatives are all types of powdered milk that do not include dairy.

Follow the directions on the back of the dry milk box to prepare a substitute for ordinary milk using the dry milk. Make use of dried milk in a ratio of 1 to 1.


In some recipes, particularly those in which milk is not the primary ingredient, water may often be substituted for milk with successful results. If the quantity of milk called for in the recipe is just a few tablespoons, you may simply substitute the same volume of water for the milk in the recipe.

In the event that the recipe asks for an additional quantity of milk, consider substituting 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 cup of water for each cup of water that the recipe demands. Your baked items will turn out more delicious, airy, and moist if you use this ingredient.

Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

Almond Milk

It should come as no surprise that almond milk is the most widely consumed kind of plant-based milk in the United States. In addition to containing far more calcium than cow’s milk, almond milk is also free of lactose, cholesterol, and sugar.

People who are lactose intolerant or who try to avoid dairy products often and successfully choose this option. Due to the fact that it is poor in protein, however, it is not a suitable option for children who have not yet reached their second birthday or as a replacement for breast milk.

The flavor of almond milk may be described as somewhat sweet with a hint of nuttiness. In recipes for salad dressings, soups, sauces, and baked goods, it may be substituted for milk made from dairy cows. You may experiment with it in dairy-free ice cream, bread puddings, and vegan smoothies, or you can just add it to your breakfast cereal, coffee, or tea.

Replace milk with almond milk in the same proportions, but stay away from almond milk that has been sweetened, as this can produce a significant shift in the flavor profile of the dish you’re preparing.

Because almond milk has a higher water content than dairy milk, baked items produced with almond milk could be ready to eat a little earlier. If you don’t want them to turn out dry while they’re baking, you’ll need to keep a tight check on the timer.

Soy Milk

Since soy milk has the largest protein level of any dairy-free alternative milk, it is the ideal choice for use in baking confections that need a significant amount of structure, such as breads and cakes. Additionally, a high protein level allows baked foods to brown beautifully, which is a benefit, particularly when creating sweets without icing or frosting.

Although it has a subtle flavor that is difficult to notice when baked with, some individuals feel that soy milk has an ashy aftertaste. It may be substituted for raw milk at a ratio of 1 to 1.

In terms of its positive effects on one’s health, it has less calories, less fat, and no cholesterol than cow’s milk does. It contains a lower total amount of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 than the latter. There are, however, choices for soy milk that are available on the market that have calcium added to them. These calcium-fortified soy milk options are excellent sources of calcium, and they are often also fortified with other minerals.

Coconut Milk

Due to the significant amount of fat and calories that are included in canned coconut milk, only a little amount should be drunk at a time. On the other hand, since it has such a high percentage of fat, it is the only dairy-free alternative that can be beaten in the same manner as whipped cream.

It is not the best milk substitute for many recipes because of the taste of the coconut, but it is an acceptable alternative as long as you are certain that it will not throw off the flavor of the final result. The coconut flavor makes it less suitable than other milk substitutes. The coconut is king when it comes to utilizing it in Indian curries and other famous Asian cuisines, since it is regarded a fundamental component in both of those types of dishes.

In addition to this, it works very well as a sweet filling for coconut cakes and pastries. As a result of coconut milk’s higher fat content, muffins cooked with it have a greasier texture and are more thick than those produced with dairy milk.

Milk substitute should be used at a ratio of 1 to 1. If the recipe asks for full-fat milk, you should use full-fat coconut milk; however, if it calls for low-fat milk, you should use a version that is lower in fat.

Oat Milk

Because it does not include any nuts, oat milk is an excellent substitute for individuals who suffer from nut allergies and are unable to drink soy or almond milk. People who are lactose intolerant, vegans, and others who don’t consume dairy products often choose for this option.

In terms of viscosity and taste, oat milk is quite comparable to cow’s milk, which is one reason why so many people prefer to eat it. Since of its thick consistency, it is simple to mix, and because it foams, it is an excellent addition to your coffee.

In addition, it can be used effectively in cooking, and it is perfect for baking; in fact, oat milk muffins are the alternative that comes the closest to dairy milk muffins.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk, much like almond milk, only has 1 gram of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 1 gram of carbs per cup. Almond milk is a popular alternative. Because of its thick and creamy texture, which is quite similar to that of cow’s milk, it may be used in place of dairy milk in a wide variety of recipes. In addition to that, it has a somewhat sweet flavor.

It is an excellent option for putting on cereal, drinking on its own, blending into smoothies, or adding to coffee. In many of our recipes, it may be used in place of cashews in baking and cooking, and it can be included into both savory and sweet meals. The texture of muffins produced with cashew milk is very comparable to the texture of muffins made with dairy milk.

Hemp Milk

One cup of hemp milk satisfies the body’s daily need for omega-3 fats and is thus a valuable source of nutrition. It also has a greater protein content than other dairy-free milks, with the exception of soy milk, making it an excellent choice to use in baking.

The protein in hemp milk contributes to the batter’s or dough’s ability to rise when it is coupled with an acidic component, such as vinegar or lemon juice. Your baked products will have an increased level of softness, and your pancakes will turn out better than ever thanks to the use of this ingredient.

A much like almond milk, hemp seed milk has a smooth texture and a flavor that’s somewhere between nutty and somewhat sweet.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is naturally low in fat and does not contain any lactose. Calcium and protein are not prevalent in this food item, but carbs are abundant. As a result, it is possible that diabetics should not choose this option.

Because of its waterier texture in comparison to that of other plant-based milks, it is more suited for use in liquid preparations like soups and sauces than in baked goods. Because of its naturally sweet flavor, it is not the best choice for savory dishes, but it works well in sweets and may be added to beverages like coffee or porridge. In addition to this, it is an excellent method for transforming oats into a scrumptious and velvety porridge.

Other Dairy-Free Substitutes

  • Macadamia milk
  • Pea milk
  • Flaxseed milk