substitute for milk in cookies

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Are you about to make some delicious cookies? Did you also just notice that there is no milk in your kitchen? Or maybe, you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative to milk for your favorite cookie recipe and so far you’re stumped. If any of these scenarios describes your situation, then you’re in luck. Here, you will find out 10 easy ways to substitute milk in cookies that actually work!

substitutes for milk in cookies

Most cookies aren’t made with milk as an ingredient. In fact, cookies are usually made with staple ingredients like sugar, flour, and fat. Regardless of this, other ingredients can, and are often used in cookies to make them taste even better. These ingredients include eggs, milk, chocolate, nuts, spices, and leavening agents.

But what if you’re making a cookie recipe that calls for milk but you have none in your kitchen or you don’t use it anymore? Is it possible to replace whole milk with good results? The answer is yes, you can and we will show you how!

What are the best milk substitutes for cookies?

The best milk substitutes for baking cookies are:

  • Nondairy milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Powdered milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Sour cream
  • Greek yogurt
  • Buttermilk

Keep reading to see why each works and to learn how to substitute each item for whole milk when baking cookies.

Best ways to substitute for milk in baking cookies

Nondairy milk

almond milk

If you’re out of whole milk, you can use nondairy milk options like almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, soy milk, rice milk, or oat milk. They’re great for making dairy-free cookies and vegan cookies. They’re also great for regular cookies. Use nondairy milk in the same way you use whole milk. Also, make sure to choose plain and unsweetened versions of these for the best results.

These work for all types of cookies including regular cookies like chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, gingerbread cookies, oatmeal cookies, and even no-bake cookies.

Substitute ratio: 1 cup of whole milk = 1 cup of nondairy milk 

Evaporated milk 

evaporated milk

Another great substitute for milk in cookies is evaporated milk. This is how you make cookies with evaporated milk instead of whole milk. Simply add 1 part water and 1 part evaporated milk mix well, then use on a 1:1 substitute ratio with regular whole milk. This is important to do as evaporated milk is thicker and richer with an almost caramel-like flavor compared to whole milk. 

This dilated evaporated milk will work in all types of cookies including no-bake cookies, chocolate cookies, oatmeal cookies, gingerbread cookies, and more.

You can also just use evaporated milk in its natural form, meaning without diluting it in place of whole milk. Also, feel free to check out these evaporated milk substitutes, or the best evaporated milk substitutes for pumpkin pie here.

Powdered milk

dry milk

If you happen to have some powdered milk, also called dry milk available, then this can also work in place of regular milk. To make it work, it needs to be mixed with water and made into a liquid form.

The ideal ratio is 4 tablespoons of milk powder to 1 cup of water. This type of milk can be used in any cookie recipe.

Substitute: 1 cup of whole milk =  1 cup of powdered milk liquid mixture 

Heavy cream

heavy cream for cookies

Heavy cream can also be used as a good substitute for milk in baking cookies.

Heavy cream can be used in two ways when making cookies. Some people simply add the heavy cream to the cookie batter as is. On the other hand, some other bakers mix 1 part water and 1 part heavy cream to get a consistency that is closer to that of whole milk. 

Substitute ratio: 1 cup of diluted heavy cream = 1 cup of whole milk 

Sour cream

Sour cream as a replacement for milk in cookies

Did you know that sour cream could be used as a substitute for milk in baked goods like cookies? If you didn’t know, then now you do! Sour cream makes some soft, delicious, and flavorful cookies too! 

Cream cheese

cream cheese

Did you know that cream cheese is a great alternative to milk in cookies? If you didn’t, then now you do.

While many people prefer to use sour cream, heavy cream, plant-based milk, or even buttermilk, cream cheese is a good choice too. Mainly because it can be used in recipes that need some moisture and it prevents baked goods like cookies from drying out. It’s especially great for gluten-free cookies that are made with almond flour or coconut flour.

Check out these sugar cookies made with almond flour that uses cream cheese to add moisture. You wouldn’t believe how fluffy and moist these cookies made with cream cheese really are! 

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is another great milk substitute for healthier cookies. While they’re not as popular as other ingredients they do help bakers make soft and fluffy cookies. There are many reasons why people love using greek yogurt in baked goods like cookies. These include helping make them moist, fluffy, and light with a nice tangy flavor that helps to balance the baked goods well.



Buttermilk also makes another good substitute for milk in baking cookies. Buttermilk will make for some moist, fluffy, and light cookies as well. Also, buttermilk helps to prevent baked food like cookies from browning and overcooking too quickly. Buttermilk also has some natural acidity and when mixed with leavening agents like baking powder, it produces a chemical reaction that helps baked goods rise beautifully.

The amount of buttermilk a recipe will need depends entirely on how many cookies are being made. But ¼ cup of buttermilk is ideal for every 1 pound of flour used to make the cookies. Of course, you also have to take other wet ingredients in the recipe into consideration as well. 

Cookies made with each substitute ingredient listed above 

Below, I’ve listed cookie recipes that will help you better understand how to use each of the items listed above to make your favorite cookies.

Final thoughts 

Cookies are a very popular food to make. If ever you’re making some cookies and you have no milk, rest assured you can easily use each of the milk substitutes for baking above and still come out with a batch of super delicious cookies every time!

Also, for creative solutions in cookie baking, check out these articles on substituting flour in cookies and how to substitute for eggs in cookies.

More milk substitutes for your favorite recipes


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