milk substitutes for baking

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If you are in the middle of baking and suddenly realize you are out of milk, or perhaps are baking for someone with a dairy allergy, you will need a substitute that can still work with the recipe you are using. Whether it is cake, muffins, or cookies, there is a way to make a substitute work. 

milk substitutes for baking

Some substitutes will still have dairy in them, but there are still non dairy options available. Depending on the recipe and what substitute you use, there may be some changes to the texture of the final product, but overall the recipe should still work just fine.

  • Half And Half
  • Heavy Cream
  • Sour Cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Canned Coconut Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Oat milk
  • Water
Each of these is discussed along with substitute ratios below.

Best Substitutes For Milk In Baking

Half And Half

Half and half is a mixture of half whole milk and half heavy cream, hence the name. This is one of the best substitutes for milk in baking because it will give you basically the same result, except with maybe a little more richness to it. Use a one-to-one substitution. Also, check out this useful post with more ways to substitute half and half for milk.

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream needs to be diluted before it is added to a baking recipe. Make a mixture that is half water and half heavy cream and your recipe should come out with the same desired texture as it would have if you had used milk. Use a one-to-one substitution. Also, read more about heavy cream substitutes for more insight here.

And, check out this recipe for a fluffy heavy cream egg casserole, where I use heavy cream in a recipe that usually calls for milk. 

Sour Cream

Sour cream adds moisture to a recipe without adding an extra flavor. It will give your recipe a nice creaminess in the final product. Use a one-to-one substitution. 

Also, take a look at how I use sour cream instead of milk to bake this tasty sour cream egg casserole recipe here. 

Cream cheese

Cream cheese helps make baked goods moist and dense and prevents them from drying out. Cream cheese is especially great for replacing milk in baked goods like gluten-free cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. As an example, using cream cheese in these almond flour sugar cookies makes them so fluffy and they literally melt in your mouth! 


substitute for milk in baking

Like sour cream, yogurt will add moisture to a recipe. However, it has more tanginess than sour cream. Be sure to avoid using flavored yogurt in your recipe. A one-to-one substitution is ideal here.

It is important to note that you can use Greek yogurt as well, but it is thicker and has a higher fat content. Plain and unflavored yogurt will make the best substitute for milk in baking.

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is a super convenient substitute because it can be stored in your cupboard easily for longer periods of time. To use evaporated milk as a substitute, add equal parts of water to the evaporated milk to give your baked goods moisture and creaminess as with my baked evaporated milk mac and cheese recipe. Each cup of milk should be substituted with a cup of half evaporated milk and half water. A one-to-one substitution is great here.

Canned Coconut Milk

Canned Coconut Milk

Canned coconut milk has a nice fat content, which will add some flavor to your recipe. It will also add moisture. Be sure to shake the can before using it. However, it is important to note that canned coconut milk will add a slight coconut flavor to your recipe, which will likely pair better with some baked products than others. Use a one-to-one substitution.

Soy Milk

Soy Milk for baking

Soy milk is a great dairy free substitute. Soy milk is a little thicker than other dairy free milks, so the texture of the end product may reflect this. However, soy milk has a more neutral flavor compared to other dairy free milks, so it will not change the flavor of your recipe. Use at one-to-one substitution.

Related: Best alternatives for milk in cakes 

Almond Milk

Almond Milk can be used in place of milk in baking

Almond milk is another dairy free substitute for milk in baking. However, it will change the texture of your recipe. It has a lower fat content, so the end product will be less rich. It also may alter the flavor of what you are baking slightly. However, if you are baking for someone with a dairy allergy, this can still work great as a substitute at a one-to-one substitution. Also read more about almond milk replacements here.

Oat milk

oat milk can be used in place of milk in baking

This dairy free milk is quite possibly the best substitute for milk in baking. This is so because oat milk has a very neutral flavor, is very rich and creamy and its dairy free. This means that oat milk makes and ideal milk substitute in baked goods that almost anyone can use regardless of their eating preferences. A good oat milk to milk ratio is one-to-one.


If you have exhausted all possible options, you can always use water as a substitute. It is best if you do not have to use a lot of water, as it can affect the richness and texture of the final product. However, if you just simply did not have enough milk for the recipe and need a top up, water works just fine. Use 1 cup of water plus 1 tablespoon of melted butter to replace 1 cup of whole milk. 

Also, feel free to check these substitutes for flour in baking or substitutes for sour cream in baking if you’re looking for more ideas.

Related Questions

Can almond milk substitute for milk in baking?

Almond milk is a good alternative for milk in baking. While almond milk has less fats than whole milk and it is likely to change the texture of your final product, it is easily accessible, dairy free, has a neutral flavor and works great in many baked goods.

What are some vegan substitute for milk in baking?

The best vegan substitutes for milk in baked goods are canned coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk and water.

More substitutes for milk

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