Milk is a common ingredient used to add moisture, tenderness, and richness to baked goods, soups, sauces, and more. But what if you don’t have milk on hand or want a dairy-free alternative? Thankfully, there are a number of suitable milk substitutes you can use in cooking and baking.

1. Soy Milk

Soy milk has a similar creamy texture and protein content as cow’s milk. Plain, unsweetened soy milk works best as it won’t throw off the flavor or sugar balance in recipes. For each cup of milk called for, replace with 1 cup of soy milk. Be aware that soy milk may cause baked goods to brown faster due to the sugars naturally present, so reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

2. Almond Milk

With its mild flavor and light consistency, almond milk is suitable for both savory and sweet recipes. Opt for unsweetened almond milk and use an equal amount to replace the dairy milk. When baking, almond milk may result in a slightly denser texture. Add an extra tablespoon or two of the dry ingredients to balance this out.

3. Coconut Milk

The richness of coconut milk mimics the fat content in whole dairy milk. Canned coconut milk works well in curry dishes, stews, creamy soups and some baked goods. Shake the can first and use a 1:1 ratio to replace milk. For lighter recipes like pancakes, dilute thick coconut milk with a bit of water first.

4. Cashew Milk

For a remarkably dairy-like milk alternative, cashew milk is a great option. It’s creamy with a neutral flavor and can be swapped 1:1 for regular milk in nearly any recipe. Like nut milks, it may lead to denser baked goods, so increase flour or other dry ingredients slightly.

5. Evaporated Milk

In cooked recipes, evaporated milk can often stand in for regular milk. The cooking process helps concentrate the flavor and caramelize the sugars in evaporated milk. Use the same volume of evaporated milk as regular milk called for. For baked goods, you may want to dilute evaporated milk slightly with water to avoid a strong caramelized taste.

6. Buttermilk

Buttermilk makes an excellent substitute in baked goods thanks to its acidity, fat content, and liquid volume. Replace milk with an equal amount of buttermilk. The acidity helps items like cakes and quick breads rise higher and makes muffins extra tender. For savory recipes, go for a milder substitute to avoid buttermilk’s tang.

7. Yogurt

Plain yogurt can be mixed with water to form a milk replacement. For every 1 cup of milk, use 3/4 cup yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup water. The yogurt adds tang and richness similar to dairy milk. This substitution works well in muffins, cakes, pancakes, and quick breads. Avoid strongly flavored or Greek yogurt which may overpower a recipe.

With so many plant-based and dairy options available, milk can easily be swapped in nearly any recipe. Get creative and don’t let a lack of milk stop you from whipping up your favorite foods.

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Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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