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.

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

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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.

Discussion
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16 Responses to “Here Are All the Milk Substitutes You Might Need for Baking”
  1. sharon hatcher
    sharon hatcher

    I find that nut milk does not work for puddings but if I use mostly yogurt with just enough almond milk to thin it out it works well, I am going to try the vanilla since I am using yogurt.

    Reply
    • Faridha
      Faridha

      I ran out of some milk called in a espresso pudding. So I used half coconut-drink milk and half milk in my espresso steamed pudding and it worked out very well. No impact in taste & consistency. Espresso was overpowering it👍🏽

      Reply
  2. Nancy Bryan
    Nancy Bryan

    Soy milk will not work when making puddings according to package directions. If you need to use soy, try cutting back to 1.5 cups of the soy milk heated to just under boiling. Then add your instant pudding mix.

    Reply
  3. Mimi
    Mimi

    You cannot use soy for chocolate mousse either, it does not stiffen. I do remember growing up my mother used to use mayonaise as a substitute for milk, oil or eggs and it worked!

    Reply
    • Orange
      Orange

      Yep, just made chocolate frosting last nights with almond milk and Miyoko’s vegan butter, it comes out great every time.

      Reply
  4. Michelle
    Michelle

    Oat milk, which I use does change my baking. I can not use any other. Is there another way to change it, (like adding 50-50 water?

    Reply
    • Billie
      Billie

      Yes, you can use applesauce to substitute for milk. It is also a good substitute for eggs aim a recipe and I have read that it can be used in place of oil as well although I have never tried it. Another dairy free substitute for milk is coconut milk.

      Reply
      • MarJan
        MarJan

        Yes, you can use unsweetened applesauce in place of oil in baking, also baby food pureed prunes works well. I have heard of using ripe mashed bananas, or pumpkin puree, even cooked unseasoned and mashed cauliflower and mashed avocado. They may change the flavors a little, but I did not notice any significant change in flavor or texture using pureed prunes in bread machine breads, and have used it several times in different recipes. You can use nut butters in cookies in place of oils. Mayonnaise in cakes works well, or Greek yogurt works in place of butter, sour cream, oil, or buttermilk.

        Reply
    • DONNA B
      DONNA B

      I use Applesauce in all my cakes and cupcakes instead of oil-less fattening, healthier and makes everything more moist

      Reply
    • Faridha
      Faridha

      I guess any Vegan milk will do. Coconut-drink-milk, Oats-milk, Almond-milk, Hasselnut-milk.
      You can also google on YouTube on how to make your own homemade Almond or Hadelnut milk. It’s very easy once you have a blender & nuts at home. Good luck

      Reply