Best Milk Substitutes & Alternatives To Try

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Have you ever found yourself out of milk and had to make a quick trip to the store? If you’re like me, you probably have a few milk alternatives in your pantry that you didn’t even consider. So what can be used as a substitute for milk?

The best milk substitutes are dairy products with higher fat content, such as heavy cream, half and half, and whipping cream. They provide a similar flavor and can add creaminess to your recipes. However, goat’s milk is the best alternative if you’re not opposed to something new.

But depending on how you plan to use the alternative, it may make better sense to use a nondairy option or something a little less creamy.

It’s important to note that both dairy and nondairy options may trigger an allergic response in some people, so keep you and your guests in mind before choosing to keep everyone safe.

So if you need a dairy-free option or are just running low on supplies, the following milk substitutes will do the trick.

Goat’s Milk

The closest thing to cow’s milk is goat milk. It has the same fat percentages, and viscosity as cow’s milk, and some people who have problems with A1 proteins in regular milk are able to digest goat’s milk better since it has A2 proteins.

pouring goat milk on farm

I was surprised by the taste the first time I tried it in my coffee. You might expect goat’s milk to taste grassy or goat-like, but it just has a slightly stronger milk taste which is the perfect substitute.

Use can easily replace your measurement of milk with the same amount of goat’s milk in coffee, cereal, microwaved milk, or in your favorite recipes.

How likely are you to have goat’s milk on hand? Not likely, but if it’s all they have at the grocery store, give it a try.

Canned Evaporated Milk

Unlike sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk doesn’t have a load of sugar in it. It is made by removing water from fresh milk, which gives it a thicker consistency and a more stable shelf life at room temperature.

condensed evaporated milk in a bowl

It tastes just like regular milk in general, so you can add water to thin it down if your recipe calls for it. Even while very similar to milk, it just tastes weird if you were to drink a freshly mixed glass of it.

However, its thickness makes it a good alternative for baking recipes that call for milk since it will add more body to your baked goods. It can also be used in place of cream in sauces since it will thicken them up without making them too heavy.

Remember that evaporated milk is not sweetened condensed milk. Sweetend condensed milk should not be used interchangeably in recipes.

Half-And-Half Cream

Half-and-half is a mixture of whole milk and cream, so it’s not as thick as heavy cream but still has a good amount of fat.

It’s a great milk alternative for coffee since it will give it some creaminess without making it too rich.

It can also be used in baking recipes that call for milk, but you should water it down slightly to get the right consistency.

Try mixing 3/4 cup of half-and-half and 1/4 cup of water together, taste test, and then use for any recipe or on its own.

Heavy Cream Or Whipping Cream

These creams are very similar with high-fat content. However, using them as a milk substitute will require you to water them down before using them in your recipes.

You will need to mix half a cup of water with half a cup of heavy cream to give it the consistency and taste of whole milk.

You can use them in coffee as is, but it may make it too rich for some people. It’s very popular to do this on a keto or carnivore diet.

Powdered Milk

I grew up having to use rehydrated powdered milk for breakfast, and I hated it. You would think that it’s just dried milk, so adding water should be fine. But the taste was not good for cereal, let alone a full straight glass.

Milk Powder

But powdered is an excellent substitute for baking. In fact, some recipes call for powdered milk to keep the amount of water down in the recipe while still delivering a milk taste. It’s kind of funny how it just works for baking.

If you do a lot of baking, keeping powdered milk on hand is probably a good idea!

Plain Yogurt

You might be thinking that I’m stretching it a bit by suggesting yogurt, but if that’s all you have, you can make it work.

Of course, adding plain yogurt in place of milk is only going to work for cooking and baking, where it’s not the main flavor enhancer of the dish.

If you or your guests aren’t fans of yogurt, then it’s best to skip this one. Some plain yogurts can be quite overpowering for those sensitive to the taste.

Sour Cream

As with yogurt, sour cream can be used but in far fewer situations. Remember that its sour tang can ruin the taste of more delicate baked goods such as pastries or a hot milk cake.

The best case for using sour cream as a milk alternative is in bread or savory muffins, but don’t let it sit out for long because it will spoil.

Nondairy Milk Alternatives

If you’re using any of these products in baked goods, be sure to avoid flavored options and those that have sugar added.

Nondairy Milk Alternatives

In most of the following options, you can substitute a one-to-one ratio.

  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Nut Milk

While a hint of sweet vanilla can be very tasty in soy or almond milk, it won’t translate well into your recipe compared to fresh vanilla extract. Opt for the plain versions.

And while these substitutes may be enticing because of their long shelf life and are promoted as “healthy,” you have to keep food allergies in mind.

Unfortunately, more and more people are allergic to gluten or nuts, which could make your recipe unsafe for you or your guests.

Water

In absolute desperate times, replace milk with water in a 1:1 ratio.

Some recipes just need that extra bit of hydration to combine their batter, while others also need the flavor. Adding it to coffee or cereal doesn’t work.

So, if you’re looking for flavor, you’re going to have to use another substitute or head out to the grocery store.

There is not much you can do to make water taste better besides adding a bit of sugar to sweeten it if your recipe already calls for it.

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.