Can You Substitute Milk for Water in Cake Mix? (Full Analysis)

Making cake straight from a box can get the job done faster and easier. Yet only adding water doesn’t sound very tasty. This concept makes many wonder, “can you substitute milk for water in a cake mix?

Quick answer:

The answer is an astounding and exciting yes. You can use milk instead of water in a cake mix. Doing this swap can result in a more moist and fluffier dessert.

Whether whipping up something homemade or grabbing a box from the store, milk is a great swap. Yet there are some rules to follow when making the change.

Can You Use Milk Instead of Water When Making a Cake?

This is a practice not only done at home but also utilized by culinary artists everywhere.

Substituting milk for water in any recipe will lead to a more delectable dessert—one with substance and flavor.

Should You Substitute Milk for Water in Cake?

People tend to get nervous about replacing ingredients that a specific recipe calls for. And for a good reason. You can quickly ruin any dish (dinner or dessert)  with one false move.

Don’t let the idea of failure stop you from baking up an incredible creation, though. You can successfully swap one ingredient for another if you do it with care.

When it comes to making cakes, you should substitute milk for water. Doing this swap will make a yummier dessert everyone you serve will enjoy.

What is the Difference Between Using Milk vs. Water in a Cake?

Now that we have given our opinion, we want to provide you with facts to support it. There are various reasons to use milk over water when baking cupcakes or cakes. Here are a few of the most important ones.

Milk Makes Cakes Moister

Have you ever taken a bite from a slice of cake only to be utterly disappointed with its texture? Water will not add substance to the cake, leaving it dry and crumbly after baking.

Milk contains fat. Fat will make the cake much richer and moister compared to only using water.

Milk Makes Cakes More Flavorful

There is more if a better texture and pallet pleasing consistency isn’t enough. Milk has a distinct flavor. This flavor adds to the batter, giving the cake mix a richer taste.

Using a store bought powder cake mix can have a bakery taste. All you have to do is use milk instead of water.

The Best Milk For Cake Mix

Now that you know milk is the better way to go, what kind should you use? There are many options available at the grocery store today.

There are more than 20 varieties of milk, but we won’t discuss them all. Only a few options are suitable for baking cakes.

Whole Milk is Best for Most Recipes

If you want to add texture and moisture but not change the flavor of your cakes, whole milk is the way to go. Whole milk has the most amount of fat, giving your dessert more consistency and a decadent taste.

Reduced Fat, Low Fat, and No Fat

You can use milk that has reduced or no fat added milk. It will change the texture of your cake a bit. But it won’t be as rich and thick as the results of whole milk.

Plant Based Milk/ Almond Milk

Anyone who is lactose intolerant or sensitive might want to steer clear of dairy milk. In these situations, you can use plant-based options like coconut or almond milk. Remember, when using milk with various flavors, your cake will take on that taste.

Using coconut milk in a cake batter will give you a tropical undertone. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something to keep in mind.

Buttermilk is Another Option

Buttermilk is another option to consider. It will also thicken the batter and can offer a satisfying flavor profile. 

How Much Milk Should You Use When Substituting For Water?

When you substitute milk for water in any cake mix, you should stick to the recipe. You always want to swap one for the other with the exact same measurements.

(For example, one cup of water equals one cup of milk.)

The amount you use depends on the size of the cake you decide to bake. The bigger the cake, the more water it needs. This means you will also increase the amount of milk to replace the water.

If you use buttermilk, remember it is thicker than other milk sources. Use one ⅓ cup of buttermilk for every cup of water.

The Disadvantages to Using Milk in Cake Instead of Water

Even though we often promote the use of milk in place of water, it isn’t always the best. There are a few reasons you should avoid making the swap.

  • It Can Easily Go Wrong-If you don’t stick with the direction to a T, your cake can come out too thick and heavy.
  • It is higher in calories- If you are watching your calorie intake, this is not the swap for you. Milk will add many extra calories to each batch.
  • It can crumble- If your cake doesn’t get enough time to set, it can crumble easily. (Even more so with milk than water.)


Final Thoughts

Now that you know you can substitute milk for water in a cake mix, it is time to take action. We have handed you all the information you need to get a delicious, bakery style cake right at home. If this article was helpful, feel free to leave a comment or ask us a question.

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