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The Best Milk Substitutes for Baking

Cake
Jug of milk alongside dairy-free milk alternatives, including nuts and coconuts

Milk is a versatile baking ingredient used in lots of baking recipes. Luckily, there are also lots of delicious milk alternatives you can use in your bakes that will do just as good a job. Whether somebody’s finished off the last drop making a round of tea or you want a dairy-free bake, you can see our favourite milk substitutes below.

Why is milk used in baking recipes?

There are lots of benefits to using milk in baking recipes. Mainly, milk is great for adding moisture and improving the texture of your bakes. It also keeps them from being too dry and crumbly.

Milk can also be used to encourage ingredients to brown in the oven, like cookies, biscuits and pastry crusts. Due to the protein and sugar found in milk, it also adds more sweetness to your baking recipes than using just water.

Dairy-free alternatives for milk

There are plenty of dairy-free milk alternatives you can try in your baking recipes.

Soy milk

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of cow’s milk with 250ml of soy milk

Soy milk is probably the best dairy-free milk for baking. It has a similar consistency to cow’s milk, so will give a nice texture to your recipe. It also has a neutral flavour, so it won’t affect the taste of your final bake.

Oat milk

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of cow’s milk with 250ml of oat milk

Oat milk is thick and smooth, making it useful when used for baking in terms of adding depth and texture. However, oat milk also has a slightly sweet flavour so this will likely alter the flavour of your bake if you’re making a savoury recipe.

Coconut milk

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of cow’s milk with 250ml of coconut milk

The thick texture of coconut milk means it will add moisture and texture to your bakes, however, this substitute will also slightly alter the taste of your final recipe. This could work well depending on the recipe. You can also use canned coconut milk instead of coconut milk which comes in a carton; however, this will make your bake even sweeter, so you might want to cut down on the amount of sugar you use.

Almond milk

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of cow’s milk with 250ml of almond milk

Almond milk isn’t as thick as cow’s milk, so it won’t give as smooth a texture to your finished recipe. Almond milk also may slightly affect the taste of your final bake.

When using dairy-free milk alternatives in your baking, it’s important to consider they don’t contain as much fat as cow’s milk. This means your recipe may not turn out as rich as usual. 

Milk alternatives with dairy

Cream

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of milk with 125ml of cream mixed with 125ml of water

If you’re out of milk and don’t fancy a trip to the shops, cream makes a great alternative to milk for baking. Cream has a higher fat content than milk, which will affect the texture of the bake if it’s used on its own.

Powdered or evaporated milk

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of milk with 125ml of evaporated milk mixed with 125ml of water

If you happen to have a spare can of evaporated milk in your cupboard, this will make a useful milk replacement for your bake. You’ll need to mix this with water with a 50:50 ratio to get the right texture for your recipe. This sweet substitute may also alter the taste of your bake.

Sour cream

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of milk with 250ml of sour cream

Sour cream's neutral flavour profile and smooth texture make it a fantastic milk replacement for baking. It will add moisture to your recipe and won’t alter the flavour either.

Yoghurt

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of milk with 250ml of natural, unsweetened yoghurt

Yoghurt is another ingredient with a smooth and thick texture that will add moisture to your bake. Natural yoghurt may also give a slight tang to the finished product; we’d avoid using flavoured yoghurts, as this will change the taste of the recipe too much.

Water

Replacement ratio: Replace 250ml of milk with 250ml of water and 1 tablespoon of butter

As a last resort, you can also use water to replace milk for your baking recipe. Your final bake will not be as rich as if you used milk or other milk alternatives.

If the recipe only needs a small amount of milk, such as 60ml, then replacing milk with just water should be fine. However, if you need any more than this, you can also add a tablespoon of butter for every 250ml of water to add some much-needed richness to your bake.