Need to swap out milk? Here’s the best substitute for milk in baking, with both dairy and non dairy options.

Substitute for Milk in Baking

Are you baking and need a quick substitute for milk because you’re all out? Or, need to make a recipe dairy free or vegan? There are lots of great options to stand in for the traditional cow’s milk. Milk is an important ingredient in baking: it softens the baked good, provides moisture, and helps with browning.

Baking is a science, so you’ll have to be careful with how you substitute. Note that any change you make can slightly affect the texture. That said: here’s what to substitute for milk in baking!

Best substitute for milk in baking

1. Non dairy substitute for milk in baking

If you’re looking for dairy free options, here are your best bets for baking:

  • Oat milk: Oat milk is our top choice for baking: it’s creamy and has a neutral flavor. It’s easy to find at the grocery and works well in baking (and even in lattes!)
  • Almond milk: Almond milk is very popular. The texture is more similar to water, so it doesn’t add the creamy body that milk would. But it works well in baking!
  • Cashew milk or hazelnut milk: These nut milks work similar to almond milk in baking.
  • Soy milk: This milk is another great option for baking! It has a creamy body and has almost as much protein as dairy milk.
  • Coconut milk: Coconut milk can work because it has a high fat content, making it ultra creamy. Keep in mind it has a strong coconut flavor. But if you’re using small quantities, that flavor might not be perceptible in the finished baked good.

2. Dairy-based substitute for milk in baking

Looking for a substitute for milk in baking because you ran out? Here are some of the best dairy-based replacements:

  • Yogurt: Yogurt is thicker than milk: stir in water until it resembles the consistency of milk. Then you can use it as a 1:1 substitute. To offset the tangy flavor of yogurt, add a touch of vanilla. The tang may actually enhance the baked good, similar to buttermilk.
  • Sour cream: Same as yogurt: stir in water until it resembles the consistency of milk.
  • Heavy cream: Cream has much more milk fat than milk. Use ½ cup cream and ½ cup water as a substitute for 1 cup milk.
  • Half and half: Use ½ cup half and half and ½ cup water as a substitute for 1 cup milk.
  • Water (in a pinch, but not recommended): Substituting water vs milk in baking is risky: water can alter the texture of your baked good. If it’s all you have, add add 1 tablespoon melted butter per 1 cup water to add fat so that it resembles milk.

Here are some of our favorite baked goods featuring milk or a milk substitute:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.