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Are you making pancakes but you have no milk? Are you thus looking for the best ways to substitute for milk in pancakes? If you are, then you will be glad to learn about these easy replacements for milk in pancakes.

Substitute For Milk In Pancakes


Everyone loves pancakes. Pancakes are a breakfast staple made with ingredients like all-purpose flour, milk, eggs, sugar, butter, baking powder, and salt.

Pancakes are also called names like crepes, flapjacks, slapjacks, or griddle cakes and are eaten a lot in America. In fact, 25% of Americans eat pancakes for breakfast every week.

But, what if you’re about to make a batch of fluffy pancakes for your family’s breakfast, and you just noticed that you have no milk in the fridge? Don’t worry, there is no need to fret as there are many ways you can replace milk in pancakes.

All these subs for milk will be shared here with an explanation of how to use each ingredient in place of milk and substitute ratios for each.

But before we begin,

What does milk do to pancakes?

There are 2 main reasons why milk is used when making pancakes. These reasons are to add flavor and to help dissolve the dry ingredients used to make the pancakes.

Therefore, milk is important, but it is not necessary to use when making pancakes as there are other liquid ingredients that can be used to both add flavor and dissolve dry ingredients too.

20 of those replacements for milk will be discussed below.

What to substitute for milk in pancakes

The top ways to substitute for milk in pancakes include water, buttermilk, powdered milk, almond milk, evaporated milk, oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, condensed milk, half and half, heavy cream, kefir, and yogurt.

Keep in mind that no milk substitute for pancakes listed here will be an exact match for regular milk, but you can use some of these ideas with great results and actually enjoy your favorite pancakes! 

Now, let’s discuss each in more detail below.

How To Substitute For Milk In Pancakes




Can pancakes be made with water instead of milk? 

Yes they can. Water can be used to make pancakes in place of milk. As explained above, the purpose of milk in pancakes is to add flavor, but most importantly to dissolve all the dry ingredients. Therefore, if you have no milk, water is a good alternative.

Note that water has no flavor. Therefore, be sure to use extra flavoring agents like lemon juice, vanilla, a dash of syrup or extra butter, for example to make your pancakes made with water more flavorful.  

Substitute ratio: Replace 1 cup of milk with 1 cup of water, or a 1:1 ratio.




Another milk substitute for pancakes is buttermilk. Buttermilk pancakes have a nice, slightly tangy flavor that will definitely make you wonder what’s in those pancakes. Otherwise, the buttermilk will make some amazingly thick and fluffy pancakes that you will enjoy.

Substitute ratio: Use about 1 cup of buttermilk to replace 1 cup of milk, or a 1:1 ratio.

Powdered milk

Powdered milk


Powdered milk is another easy milk substitute. This ingredient is almost indistinguishable to whole milk too! Before using powdered milk as a sub for milk in pancakes, you first have to reconstitute the powdered milk. This is how you do it:

Substitute ratio: Use 4 tablespoons of powdered milk mixed into 1 cup of water to replace 1 cup of regular milk.

Almond milk

Almond milk


Almond milk is another easy substitute for milk in pancakes. This ingredient makes a really good milk replacement for pancakes if you’re making vegan or dairy-free pancakes. And because almond milk has a somewhat similar consistency to whole milk, it will yield similar results. This means that you will get thick, fluffy pancakes made with almond milk.

See how to make fluffy almond milk pancakes. Also, feel free to check out other almond milk substitutes here.

Substitute ratio: use 1 cup of almond milk in place of 1 cup of whole milk, or a 1:1 ratio. 

Evaporated milk

Evaporated milk


Another easy-to-find alternative for milk in pancakes is evaporated milk. This ingredient can be used to make the most flavorful pancakes that are also fluffy, thick, and rich. 

Evaporated milk is thicker and creamier than whole milk because it is made from a process whereby it is heated up slowly so half of its water content is removed, leaving behind a light gold, subtly sweet milk.

As a result of this richness, evaporated milk is often used to replace milk in pancakes and other recipes where richness is desired such as pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, and even soups. You can check out this easy evaporated milk pancake recipe here. 

If you do not mind the extra richness, use 1 cup of evaporated milk in place of 1 cup of whole milk, or a 1:1 substitute ratio. If you want less richness in your flapjacks, dilute the evaporated milk by mixing half a cup of water and half a cup of evaporated milk and substitute on a 1:1 ratio. 

Related: Substitutes for buttermilk in pancake recipes

Oat milk

Oat milk


Oat milk is another good sub for milk in pancakes. Oat milk is one of the creamiest plant based milk options, so if this is what you have on hand, it will work wonders. Since oat milk is plant-based it makes a great vegan substitute for milk in pancakes too.

Oat milk does have a slight oat-like flavor that you may not be partial to. If this is the case, add ingredients like lime juice to add a different flavor.

Unsweetened oat milk is the best option.`If you’re interested in using oat milk as a milk replacement, check out these fluffy oat milk pancakes here.

Use 1 cup of oat milk as a substitute for 1 cup of whole milk in a flapjack recipe. 

Soy milk

Soy milk


Soy milk is another ingredient that can be used to make pancakes. Soy milk makes light and fluffy pancakes. If you plan on using this plant-based milk, it is best to use unsweetened soy milk. 

Substitute ratio: Use 1 cup of soy milk as an alternative for 1 cup of regular milk.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk can be used to replace whole milk


Whether you’re trying to make vegan pancakes or you’re just trying to replace whole milk because you’re all out, coconut milk can work as a milk replacement.

Coconut milk is a rich liquid made from the pressed flesh of mature coconuts. it has a sweet, fruity, milky, and nutty flavor. Therefore, expect coconut milk to change the overall flavor of the pancakes.

That does not mean that the pancakes won’t taste amazing. In fact, when done right, coconut milk pancakes are usually extra fluffy, light, and delicious.

Replace regular milk with coconut milk in a 1:1 ratio

Condensed milk

condensed milk


While sweetened condensed milk is not a very good substitute for whole milk, per se, it can be used to make pancakes.

To use this ingredient in your pancake recipe, simply add about ½ cup condensed milk and ¾ cup water to a bowl and mix until properly combined. Then use 1 cup of this condensed milk and water mixture as a milk replacement for pancakes.

Also, omit all other sweeteners and sugars as the sweetened condensed milk has ample sweetness for the pancakes. Lastly, don’t skip out on the salt (about ¼  teaspoon) to help balance out the sweetness of the sweetened condensed milk pancakes. You can also feel free to check out this recipe for condensed milk pancakes here for more information.

Substitution: 1 cup diluted condensed milk can be substituted for 1 cup of whole milk

Half and half

If you have half and half in your refrigerator, this ingredient can also be used to replace milk in pancakes. Half and half is essentially equal parts of whole milk and cream and it does make some yummy pancakes, although it is not a popular ingredient for this kind of recipe.

Nevertheless, if you do not mind having pancakes with half and half instead of milk, then you should either checkout of this sweet cream pancakes recipe – which essentially shows you the concept of using half and half in pancakes – for ideas on how to make pancakes with half and half. 

Otherwise, check out the substitution ratio below to see how to use store-bought half-and-half to make fluffy pancakes.

Substitute ratio: Use ¾ cup of half and half and ¼ cup of water as a good substitute for 1 cup of whole milk in pancakes.

Heavy cream

Can I use heavy cream instead of milk in pancakes?

This is a question that is asked a lot. And the answer is yes. You can make pancakes with heavy cream instead of milk. Heavy cream makes some thick, rich, creamy pancakes that are so good, you may want to make those a staple in your home.

While some people use heavy cream on its own to make pancakes, many people may find that it is too rich and thick that way. Therefore diluting the heavy cream with water as shown below is the best way to go.

Substitute ratio: Use ½ cup of heavy cream and ½ cup of water to replace 1 cup of whole milk when making pancakes. 




If you have no milk and you don’t mind having pancakes that are a little bit different, then kefir pancakes are a good option.

Kefir has a flavor that is tart, creamy and reminiscent of buttermilk and makes fluffy, filling and tasty pancakes.

Substitute ratio: 1 cup of kefir milk is an ideal substitute for 1 cup of whole milk.

Rice milk

Rice milk

If you have it rice milk also makes a great replacement for milk in pancakes. Rice milk is a plant based milk made from rice. Therefore, it is perfect for making dairy-free or vegan pancakes.  This type of milk also makes delicious waffles.

Cashew milk

Cashew milk

Cashew milk is also good for replacing milk in pancakes. Cashew milk is plant based, but also has a creamy consistency and a slightly nutty, mild taste. This means that it is good for mixing into pancake batter if you do not have or no longer use regular milk. Unsweetened cashew milk is best.

Hemp milk

Hemp milk is also great for making pancakes in place of regular milk. Hemp milk has a smooth creamy texture, and a slightly nutty flavor. Hemp milk can be used to make all kinds of pancakes including keto pancakes, dairy-free pancakes, vegan pancakes etc. Unsweetened, original hemp milk is the best option to use.

Macadamia milk

If you happen to have this kind of milk or you prefer it, it is okay to use it to make pancakes and other baked goods. Macadamia milk is a creamy dairy free milk that has a slightly nutty taste with hints of vanilla flavor. 

Goat milk 

While pricier when compared to regular milk, goat’s milk can be a good milk substitute for your pancakes. It does have a little bit of an aftertaste so keep this in mind.

Goat milk powder

If you find that fresh goat’s milk is too expensive, you can easily use powdered goat milk instead. Its price is quite affordable and it gives you that delicious goat milk flavor that many people love.


use Yogurt as a sub for milk


Yogurt pancakes are good too! Yogurt makes pancakes very thick, so either thin it out with some milk – whichever you have on hand – or some water in order to help the batter spread butter on the griddle.

Both vanilla-flavored yogurt and plain unsweetened yogurt will make pancakes that are so so good! Try out some yogurt if this is all you have available and you don’t mind trying out some yummy pancakes without milk.

Substitute ratio: 1 cup of yogurt can replace 1 cup of milk or a 1:1 conversion ratio.

Also, if you want to thin the pancake batter out, feel free to use ¾ cup of yogurt with ¼ cup of water or milk to replace 1 cup of milk.

Cream cheese

Yes, you can use cream cheese to make pancakes instead of milk. Cream cheese will need to be used in combination with an ingredient like eggs (or flax eggs) and most likely it will need to be blended for the best results. I show you how to do so with this simple cream cheese pancake recipe here. 

There you have it! 20 tried and true ways to substitute for milk in a pancake recipe. With this list, you never have to worry about being able to make breakfast pancakes with no milk, as there are so many ways to make this dish without it! 

Common questions about milk substitutes for pancakes

Do pancakes need milk?

No, they do not. While milk is a great liquid to use in pancakes for moisture, richness, and flavor, it is not a necessity. If you have no milk, you can make pancakes without milk of any kind, or, check out these 20 other simple ways to make pancakes without milk including water, half and half, coconut milk, oat milk, and even heavy cream to name a few.

What can you substitute for milk in pancakes?

Out of milk? There are at least half a dozen milk alternatives for pancakes.  They include dairy options like buttermilk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, reconstituted powdered milk, diluted yogurt, diluted heavy cream, kefir, and half and half. Other vegan or dairy milk replacement ideas for milk in pancake recipes include water, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk and coconut milk.

Can you make pancakes with half and half?

While using half and half in pancakes is not a very popular practice, you can use it to make pancakes if you’re in a crunch. Half and half is simply a mix of cream and whole milk, so its no surprise that you can make tasty pancakes with half and half.

Try it out, a mixture of ¾ cup of half and half plus ¼ cup of water is an ideal sub for 1 cup of milk in pancakes.

Can you substitute buttermilk for milk in pancakes?

Yes you can. Buttermilk isn’t the most popular milk substitute for pancakes. However, it adds that extra little something to pancakes, and makes fluffy, delicious pancakes every time. Therefore a 1:1 ratio of milk to buttermilk is ideal in most pancake recipes.

Can you substitute yogurt for milk in pancakes?

Yes you can. Yogurt is thick so it is a good idea to diluted it. To dilute it, mix ¾ cups of yogurt with ¼ cup of water and use in place of 1 cup of milk when making pancakes.

And finally to recap. The best ways to replace milk in pancakes include with:

  • Water
  • Buttermilk
  • Powdered milk
  • Almond milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Oat milk
  • Soy milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Half and half
  • Heavy cream
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt

More milk substitutes

Are you making pancakes but you have no milk? Are you thus looking for the best ways to substitute for milk in pancakes? If you are, then you will be glad to learn about these easy replacements for milk in pancakes.

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