Here Are All the Milk Substitutes You Might Need for Baking

Milk alternative being poured

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You know that horrifying feeling when you’re halfway through a recipe that calls for milk and realize, uhh, there’s no milk in the fridge? Yeah, we’ve all been there. But there are dairy and non-dairy milk substitutes for baking that will do the trick without anyone knowing the difference. Be sure to keep some on hand at all times — you never know when you might need ’em.

Dairy Substitutes for Milk

If you’re just running low on milk and don’t want to head to the store, use these swaps to save your baking.

Cream or Half-and-Half

Cream is richer than milk, so to avoid heavier dough or batter use a ratio of about 60 percent cream to 40 percent water. With half-and-half, use the same amount that’s called for in the recipe.

Special Considerations

Cream or half-and-half that contain stabilizers can change the texture of your baked goods.

Evaporated or Powdered Milk

Milk alternative in a bowl

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Evaporated milk has a caramelized flavor that can overpower other ingredients. For best results, mix it with equal amounts of water for a 50-50 ratio. For powdered milk, follow the instructions on the box.

Special Considerations

The beauty of these milk substitutes is they have a long shelf life, so they can hang out in your pantry for a really long time. Once you open a can of evaporated milk, stick it in the fridge and use it all in three to four days. Ditto for your powdered milk mixture.

Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt

Substitute for the milk in a recipe, in an equal amount. Or, if you prefer a more liquid batter, thin out with a bit of water.

Special Considerations

Sour cream and yogurt are thicker than milk, so they can affect the density of your baked goods. They’re also tangier, so if you’re worried about that, add a bit of vanilla to the recipe to balance any sourness.

Water (or Water and Butter)

Pie crust or cookie dough usually needs just a couple of tablespoons of milk, so the same amount of water will keep the dough from crumbling.

Special Considerations

If the the recipe calls for more milk, add a tablespoon of melted butter per cup of water so the fat content stays similar.

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Non-Dairy Milk Substitutes

If you’re lactose-intolerant or going vegan, try one of these milk substitutes.

Nut Milk

Whether you prefer almond, pistachio or a different kind of nut, these substitutes can be swapped for equal quantities of milk in most recipes.

Special Considerations

Nut milks taste, well, nutty, so choose flavors that blend in well with whatever you’re baking (think hazelnut milk with brownies). Be sure the nut milk doesn’t have added sugar, as that could throw off the taste.

Soy Milk

Soy milk and beans image


Substitute an equal amount of soy milk for what’s called for in the recipe for practically identical results.

Special Considerations

Choose a soy milk that doesn’t contain added sugar or you’ll end up with sweetness overload.

Oat Milk

In small amounts — for instance, a few tablespoons in cookie dough or crust recipes — oat milk will do the job.

Special Considerations

Oat milk is starchier than cow’s milk, so using more than ½ cup may affect the texture of whatever you’re baking.

Rice Milk

Swap in an equal amount for the milk in the recipe and your end result will be fine.

Special Considerations

Stay away from the sweetened varieties because … you should know why by now. (See “Soy Milk” above.)

Non-Dairy Yogurt

Substitute an equal amount for the milk in the recipe.

Special Considerations

If you want batter with a more liquid consistency, thin out the yogurt with water.

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22 Responses to “Here Are All the Milk Substitutes You Might Need for Baking”

  1. Suzanne

    Thank you very much for these great tips! This was most helpful.

  2. Taleeya

    Thank you so much .. this was very helpful!

  3. Linda

    Can you use non dairy creamer for substitutes?

  4. Cristie

    Thanks for the info, i can now finish baking!! :)

  5. Deborea Jones

    What about buttermilk?

  6. Tab

    Thank you for such informative information.

  7. Robin

    Can I use berry juice and coconut milk/cream as a substitute for milk ?

  8. Ivory

    We need more information on this

  9. Sheryl C Stanley

    Do you have a suggestion to make the yogurt taste less tangy if using in a savory recipe?

  10. Sonia

    "Evaporated milk has a caramelized flavor..." Isn't that condensed milk? Looks like it in the picture. If using condensed milk, how much do you water it down?