The Ultimate Whole Milk Substitute for Your Dairy Needs!

Got Milk?

Whole Milk is one of the most common kitchen staples. After all, what would you use with your cereal or baked goods without this delicious drink? (*)

All jokes aside, there are various reasons why you’ll need a whole milk substitute, which we’ve also experienced before.

So, what if you have no whole milk at home or in your local supermarket?

Are your baking dreams doomed?

Will you need to buy store-bought goodies instead?

We’re here to help you find the best whole milk substitute if your recipe calls for it, so read on!


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Top 12 Substitutes for Whole Milk You Might Not Know

We use whole Milk in numerous recipes for taste and texture. This ingredient also has a lot of nutrients, being rich in calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Whether you’re lactose intolerant, follow a vegan diet, need lower calories, run out, or didn’t realize you have expired Milk (gasp), we’re not judging!

Here are the best whole milk substitutes that will still help you nail a delicious dish, whether non-dairy or Milk products:

1. Soy Milk

Soy milk is made from soaking and blending soybeans, then straining this milky liquid. (*)

You can find it in unsweetened, unsweetened, and even flavored varieties. Some brands would have a neutral flavor, while you can taste the soy-ness in others.

We recommend using unsweetened soy milk to avoid your recipe from becoming too sweet. Use one cup of soy milk for every cup of whole milk needed.

2. Almond Milk

Almond milk comes from soaking and blending almonds, straining any leftover nut fibers. You can fund it in unsweetened, sweetened, and other flavor varieties with a neutral and slightly nutty flavor. This is one of the best plant-based Milk to froth for cappuccinos, though it will be a bit lighter.

We recommend using unsweetened almond milk to keep sauces and drinks from becoming too sweet. For every cup of Milk required, you can use an equal amount of almond milk.

3. Powdered Milk

Also called dry Milk, powdered Milk is an excellent whole dairy milk substitute that won’t compromise the flavor of baking recipes.

Just mix the powder with water, following the instructions, using the equal amount as the recipe calls for.

You can use this in virtually anything that requires whole dairy milk.

4. Yogurt

Plain yogurt and Greek yogurt are fantastic substitutes for any baking recipe and batters in pancakes or fried items.

If you plan on making sweet baked goods, you can use vanilla yogurt. However, we don’t recommend using other flavored yogurts as they can alter your dish’s flavor or make it overly sweet.

When using yogurt, dilute it with a bit of water to achieve the same consistency as whole Milk.

5. Sour Cream

Sour cream is a less acidic ingredient with a higher fat content than yogurt, though it has a slightly tart flavor. That’s why sour cream is a superb substitute for baking.

Like yogurt, add a few tablespoons of water to thin out the consistency.

We recommend using this for fried batters, stews, and pancakes, but not for smoothies or coffee.

6. Evaporated Milk

Mix half part water with half part milk to thin out the consistency and flavor, and you’ve for an excellent whole milk substitute!

So if your recipe requires 1 cup of whole milk, use half a cup of evaporated milk and a half cup of water.

7. Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is thicker and with more fat than whole Milk, adding that velvety richness and creamy texture you want in recipes.

Like using evaporated Milk, mix half a cup of heavy cream with half a cup of water for every 1 cup of whole milk needed.

8. Half and Half

Half and half is thicker than Milk but not as rich as heavy cream. If you have none but have heavy cream, you can always refer to the substitute above, this time replacing the one cup of water with one of your chosen milk products.

Half and half is essentially half heavy cream and half whole Milk!

It’s a versatile ingredient adding richness to recipes and your hot cereal. However, half and half will feel lighter on recipes requiring heavy cream, which may be what some of you look for.

Half and half won’t separate in your coffee but will do so while cooking. That’s why we recommend tempering half and half.

9. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk comes in either a thick and high-fat canned version or a ready-to-drink carton.

When substituting whole Milk, use the thinner version coming in a carton.

However, the coconut flavor might change the taste in specific recipes. Because of that, we recommend using this for Asian or Indian cuisine than Italian or French recipes.

We also don’t recommend using coconut milk in coffee since the Milk tends to separate.

Learn: Can You Freeze Coconut Milk? Yes, Here’s How…

10. Skim Milk or Low Fat Milk

Also called non-fat Milk, skim Milk is just the watered-down version of regular Milk, which is a good alternative if you need something less creamy and want to lower your calorie intake.

You can use an equal amount of non-fat milk in most recipes, so every 1 cup of whole Milk will also constitute the same amount of Skim Milk.

11. Rice Milk

Rice milk is one of the best non-dairy options. Its unsweetened form would have lower calories than the other dairy-free alternatives mentioned here. Expect a mild flavor, but you get a reasonable substitute even then.

However, this dairy-free substitute has a thin and watery consistency, so it will be less effective when you want to make your baked good or drink creamier.

12. Oat Milk

Oat milk is a creamy drink and one of the best non-dairy substitutes for whole Milk.

It has a neutral flavor, perfect for frothing your coffee. It also pairs excellently with most flavor profiles! For every 1 cup of whole milk, use an equal amount of oat milk.

Learn more:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still left with questions on whole Milk and its substitutes? Here are frequently asked questions to meet your curiosity.

1. What do you need in a whole milk substitute?

Here’s what to look for in whole milk substitutes:

  • Nutrition – Full-fat dairy and sweetened non-dairy replacements would have a lot of fat and sugar. When selecting a whole milk substitute, look at the label and select products with minimal sugars and added artificial ingredients. We also recommend fortified products, which are a great source of vitamin D.
  • Properties – Nut and legume-based milk substitutes are made when blending the major component with water. For instance, rice milk would have a thinner consistency than whole Milk. High water content and fat content would also affect the ability of your whole milk substitute to thicken, emulsify, and froth.
  • Flavor – While most milk alternatives have the same smooth texture as whole Milk, they aren’t the same. The taste would vary depending on the brand, what it’s made of, and whether it’s sweetened or not.
  • Cost – Non-dairy Milk tends to be pricier than cow milk brands.

2. What’s the best substitute for whole Milk to make froth?

We recommend using oat milk or almond milk for frothing and foaming. For better results, you can find “barista blend” versions of these non-dairy substitutes.

3. Can I use the milk alternatives above to replace buttermilk, too?

If you’re making your own pancakes, which would require buttermilk, then you can use any of these substitutes.

We recommend diluted cream, soy milk, or skim milk with one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice.

Continue learning about the world of cooking in our other informative blog posts!

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