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No Milk? Milk Substitutes

As people practice self-isolation amid the pandemic and stores run low on certain foods, you may find yourself without baking and cooking staples. What do you do if you don’t have milk? If you are making a recipe that calls for milk, you need to find a substitute for it. You have options.

10 Milk Substitutes

  •  Evaporated milk

To use it in place of milk, mix with an equal amount of water in a 1:1 ratio. Evaporated milk is shelf-stable canned cow milk that has about 60 percent of the water removed. When evaporated milk is mixed with water, it becomes the equivalent of fresh milk.

  • Powdered/Dry milk

Reconstitute dry milk as directed on package instructions. Regular nonfat dried milk can be used to make a variety of milk products. Instant nonfat dried milk can only be drinkable milk. Dehydrated milk has a much longer shelf life than liquid milk, so keep a box in your pantry.

  • Cream or Half and Half

Mix with water in a ratio of 60% cream to 40% water. Cream is richer than milk, so dilute it. With half and half, use as much as the amount of milk called for in the recipe.

  • Canned Coconut Milk

Skim coconut solids from the can and replace amount in the recipe. Canned coconut milk infuses a subtle coconut flavor to the food.

  • Yogurt

Use the amount in the recipe. Thin out Greek yogurt with water. Kefir can be used as a 1:1 substitute. Plain yogurt can replace milk in both sweet and savory dishes. Flavored yogurts such can be substituted for plain in recipes where the flavors will complement the food. Yogurt’s tangy flavor subtly changes the taste.

  • Sour Cream

Substitute in equal amount for milk. Add vanilla to balance the tangy flavor. Regular and reduced-fat sour cream is preferred over nonfat because it separates.

  • Buttermilk

Use the amount in the recipe. Buttermilk is a fermented liquid that’s created by culturing and fermenting milk. Cultured buttermilk is thicker than regular milk, and it has a distinctive tang.

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk

Use only in baked goods. Cut back on sugar in the recipe. Sweetened condensed milk can also take the place of milk if used in something sweet.

  • Non-Dairy Milk

Nut, oat, rice, and soy milk can be swapped for equal quantities of milk. When selecting milk alternatives, use the unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars. The taste and nutrition vary with each non-dairy beverage, so consider them when choosing one that’s best for you.

  • Water

Mix one cup of water with 1 ½ teaspoons melted butter. Water can be used in most recipes that call for milk. According to the USDA, 88 percent of the volume of milk is water.

No milk? No problem, just use one of the ten substitutes for milk in your baking and cooking at home. Some alternatives may make a minor difference in the taste, texture, richness, or moisture of the finished product. These milk substitute ideas will come to the rescue by saving from a kitchen emergency before completing your recipe.

Written by Vicki Hayman, MS, University of Wyoming Extension Nutrition and Food Safety Educator

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Almonds, Rice, Coconut, Oats, Soybeans on wood next to bottles of milk

Contact Our Experts

Email: nfs@uwyo.edu

Extension Educators:
Shelley Balls – (307) 885-3132
Denise Smith – (307) 334-3534
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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