substitute for milk

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If you’ve run out of milk or you’re trying to cut milk out of your cooking, chances are you’re trying to find the best substitutes for milk. Whether that be milk substitutes for pancakes, milk substitutes for baking, milk substitutes for drinks or, nondairy milk substitutes, you will find an option that can work below! 

substitute for milk

Here, I’ve listed a comprehensive list of milk replacements for all occasions and needs so you never have to wonder what can be used to substitute for milk ever again!

Best substitutes for milk 

Almond milk

almond milk as a milk sub

Almond milk is a great nondairy substitute for milk. Use almond milk as a non-dairy option or even a keto or low-carb substitute option. Almond milk is good for adding to cereals, coffees, smoothies, soups, sauces, dairy-free pancakes, and even baked goods.

Note, that almond milk has a smooth and creamy texture, but it includes a lot of water, so expect it to be less creamy than whole milk. This can affect the overall results of specific recipes. Read more about almond milk and its substitutes here.

Substitution: 1 cup of almond milk = 1 cup of milk

Cashew milk

Cashew milk sub for milk

Cashew milk is another non dairy milk that can be used to replace milk in many recipes. Cashew milk has a slightly nutty flavor and a thick and creamy texture that is similar to whole milk. 

Cashew milk can be used as an alternative to milk in drinks like coffees, teas, hot chocolate, ice cream, cereal, smoothies, baked goods, soups, sauces, and more.

Substitution: 1 cup of cashew milk = 1 cup of whole milk

Soy milk

Soy milk can also make a good substitute for milk. Soy milk has somewhat of a beany flavor and a strong aftertaste, but it can be used if you’re lactose intolerant to make foods like pancakes, smoothies, baked goods, and many other recipes. 

Substitution: 1 cup of soy milk = 1 cup of cow’s milk

Oat milk 

oat milk as a milk sub

If you happen to have some oat milk, it can also be used as a milk substitute. Oat milk is made using mainly water, vegetable oil, and oats, and it has a flavor that is very similar to cow’s milk. Oat milk is also lactose-free, dairy free, and vegan and is great for tea, coffee, smoothies, soups, sauces, and even for pancake recipes like these pancakes made with oat milk.

It is a very thick and rich type of milk, but some people even tend to enjoy it on its own, like regular milk!

Substitution: 1 cup oat milk = 1 cup regular cow’s milk

Hemp seed milk

Another non dairy milk that can replace milk is hemp milk. Hemp seed milk is more nutty and earthy than whole milk, but, it is creamy, smooth, and delicious and works well in drinks like coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, and smoothies, and also great for cereals and baked goods. 

Hemp seed milk comes in different flavors including vanilla, vanilla unsweetened, original and original unsweetened. But, the closest to whole milk is the original unsweetened flavor. 

Substitution: 1 cup of hemp seed milk = 1 cup of milk

Coconut milk 

coconut milk  to replace milk

Coconut milk is another suitable sub for milk. Coconut milk is made by grinding the meat of mature coconuts.

This type of milk is sweet, and nutty, and has a distinct floral coconut scent that you will be able to perceive in your food. This distinct smell sets it apart from whole milk, but, it is okay to use as a milk substitute in dishes like curries, soups, sauces, smoothies, baked goods, beverages, and even for pancakes like in this coconut milk pancake recipe

Substitution: 1 cup coconut milk = 1 cup milk

Condensed milk

Condensed milk

Condensed milk is sweet and milky, but, when used correctly, it is a great substitute for regular milk. Condensed milk is a dense liquid that is made by adding sugar and removing half of the water found in fresh milk. It is thus more syrupy and very thick.

In order to make condensed milk comparable to whole milk, you will need to add water to the condensed milk. 1 part condensed milk and 2 parts water is ideal. Then mix well and you will get thinned-out condensed milk that can work in place of milk in certain sweet recipes like condensed milk pancakes, cookies, sweet bread, cupcakes, sweet beverages, and more. 

It is very important to reduce the amount of sugar (or eliminate it altogether) in any recipe where you will use this combination, as the diluted condensed milk already includes ample sugar. 

Evaporated milk

evaporated milk as a sub for milk

Evaporated milk makes a great milk substitute as well. Evaporated milk is good to use in place of whole milk if you do not mind the extra creaminess and richness. However, another good way to make it work is to use 1 part evaporated milk mixed with 1 part water. 

Note, that while the consistency will be closer to whole milk, this mixture will retain some of that caramel flavor. Use this substitute in any recipe that calls for milk such as these fluffy evaporated milk pancakes or this creamy evaporated milk mac and cheese.

Dry milk

If you have dry milk available, this ingredient is also ideal as a whole milk alternative. Dry milk has literally the same taste as liquid whole milk and can work for just about any recipe that calls for milk.

To reconstitute dry milk to a liquid form, add 1 part dry milk and 4 parts water to a bowl and mix well. As an example, mix ¼ cup of dry milk and 1 cup of water together to make suitably creamy liquid milk. 

Substitution: 1 cup of reconstituted dry milk = 1 cup of whole milk

Heavy cream

heavy cream to replace milk

Heavy cream also works in place of whole milk. In its natural state, heavy cream is thicker, richer, and has more fat than milk. But, with some small adjustments, you can make a suitable substitute that can work in many recipes that call for milk. 

To make such a substitute mix 1 part water with 1 part heavy cream and use it for soups, sauces, dressings, and more.

Substitution: 1 cup diluted heavy cream = 1 cup of milk

Half and half

half and half as a milk replacement

Half-and-half also works as a good milk substitute. Half-and-half is a dairy product that includes 50% cream and 50% milk. As such, half-and-half is thicker than milk but thinner than cream and it can be used as a milk alternative as is, on a 1:1 substitute.

However, some people prefer to dilute their half-and-half. In case you want to, simply add 1 part water and 1 part half-and-half to a bowl, mix, and use for baked goods, soups, scrambled eggs, ice cream, coffee, and more. Also, check out more ways to substitute for milk with half and half.

Substitution: 1 cup half-and-half = 1 cup whole milk



While yogurt is way thicker than milk and is not pourable, you can still use this product as a whole milk substitute in a pinch. A 1:1 conversion ratio is okay here.

To do so, measure out the yogurt, mix it with a little water to make it more liquid, and use this in soups, creamy sauces like Alfredo sauce, smoothies, and baked goods as a milk alternative. It goes without saying that plain yogurt is the only option that will work.

Note, that yogurt has a tangy flavor that is unlike milk.

Water + butter

water + butter

As strange as it sounds, a combination of water and butter can be used as a milk sub in a pinch. On its own, water will not work well as a milk substitute as it lacks the fat content that adds richness and increases the flavor of various baked goods, sauces, soups and more that contain milk.

Therefore, the best option is to add 1 tablespoon of butter to 1 cup of water to substitute for every cup of milk.

Milk substitutes for specific dishes

Final thoughts

Thankfully, milk is an easy ingredient to substitute as can be seen above with these 13 options. Therefore, you can easily make many recipes with milk replacements and expect great results. Who doesn’t love to hear that?!

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