Substitutes of Milk When Baking

Fantastic Substitutes of Milk When Baking

Running out of milk? Don’t worry. There are a lot of milk substitutes for baking that will come to your aid when an emergency cooking problem arises. On the days of our grandparents, baking seems to be a lot stricter. What you need for a recipe cannot be replaced by another. Now that people have been very good at experimenting, you’ll see a lot has changed in the way we view baking. For now, we’ll focus at possible alternatives for a very important ingredient in baking which is milk in the absence thereof. We’ve rounded up the following to be the best substitutes: water, yogurt, evaporated milk or dry milk, condensed milk, and non-dairy milk. The following will tell you why and how. 

The purpose of milk in baking

Before we deal further on how you can respond to a milk crisis during baking, you need to know first what milk does to your baked goodies. With this, you can identify on your own what medium is best to be used as replacement. In general, milk functions as a hydrating agent that will provide moisture for the dry ingredients.

Now that you know this fact, you may come to think that all liquid ingredients can serve as milk substitutes for baking. It may be true however, you also need to know that aside from providing hydration, depending on the product, it also performs a number of function. For example, it gives a good texture and mouth-feel to your baked goods. It also contributes to an appealing color and flavour. Thanks to the protein present in milk, all these are possible. Before deciding to toss whatever liquid food item you have in your cupboard, you need to assess first whether or not it will function only to hydrate or perhaps it will do more than just that. Also, consider whether or not it will affect the final taste of your baked product.

Common Milk Substitutes for Baking

Commonly used substitutes are detailed as follows.


Being the universal solvent, water is the cheapest alternative to milk in baking. A cup of milk is equivalent to a cup of water plus 1 ½ teaspoons of butter. If you do the math right to come up with whatever’s required on the recipe, you’ll have no problems on the outcome.

Here’s the logic behind. More than 50% of milk is water and the rest of the major components is fat. Using water and butter as alternative creates few to no difference on the outcome. Butter, which is loaded up with fat, can still provide the moisture and delectable mouth-feel of the baked goods that is attributed to the milk’s job. Consequently, if butter is also lacking and you use just water to moisturize, expect that while it will be baked, your bread or cake may fall short to the expected outcome.


Plain yogurt and sourdough are excellent milk substitutes for baking. Whatever amount of milk is called for in the recipe, use the same for either yogurt or sourdough. Regarding outcome, these fermented products have a slightly pungent taste which may or may not affect the overall taste of the product. If you’re worried about this, you can neutralize their acidic nature by adding ½ teaspoon of soda for every cup of yogurt used. In relation to this, if you’re doing a recipe that calls for baking soda for leavening purpose, you may need to amplify it a bit because the acid on yogurt and sourdough may render the activity of it neutral. Expect also that your baked product will come out moister and richer. In the event you found yogurt in your fridge but only the Greek type, you can still use this but thin it out with water first. Greek yogurt is comprised with more fat and protein components hence, the need for dilution.

Condensed milk

While condensed milk is not a popular milk substitute for baking, some desperate times make use of it anyhow. Its high sugar content can alter the sweetness of your product and can result to a more intensified browning of the crust. In this case, you may need to adjust the proportion of sugar to be added.

Evaporated or Powdered milk

These milk products offer superb alternate solution when you realized milk is lacking in your grocery items. Its components are same with milk except that you remove a portion of water in evaporated milk and you completely drain out in powdered milk. So yes, you guessed it right. The way to mimic the function of an ordinary milk is just to add water. For evaporated milk, if a recipe calls for a cup, combine half a cup of it with half a cup of water. For powdered milk, check the packaging how much tablespoons are needed to make a certain volume you need.

Non-dairy milk

The rise in the number of vegetarians has brought forth innovations in baking also. You can use the same amount of non-dairy milk whichever you prefer as the indicated volume of milk needed on the recipe. Below are common non-dairy milk substitutes for baking:

  1. Almond milk – The unsweetened version of this is more preferred for ease in controlling the sweetness of the product. This gives a nutty taste so it’s generally recommended for baked chocolate-flavored products.
  2. Coconut milk – This will give a hint of coconut taste to your product so be careful on which baked good you’ll use this on.
  3. Rice milk – In terms of regulating flavor, this is preferred by most bakers because it has a mild taste.
  4. Soy milk – This is preferred by many because it has a texture similar to milk without too much effect on the outcome. Remember to use unsweetened ones.
  5. Oat milk – This also loved by vegetarian bakers because of its creamy texture. The oat flavors also give a fantastic twist on baked products.

When a milk emergency breaks in the middle of your baking, there’s no cause for you to panic at all. You have these substitutes in handy and you have a wide variety to choose from. Hope you learned a trick or two from these.

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