Milk Substitutes

Here are a bunch of milk substitutes that you can use when you’re baking or cooking. Includes dairy-free, lactose-free and vegan options.

  • Author: Erin Huffstetler,
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: Varies
  • Category: Ingredient Substitutions
  • Method: Measure
  • Cuisine: Global


  • Evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, plain yogurt, half and half, heavy cream, powdered milk, water, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, oat milk or hemp milk


Dairy Milk Substitutes:

  • Evaporated Milk: Mix 50/50 with water.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: Mix 50/50 with water. Use as a replacement for milk in desserts. Cut the sugar in your recipe to compensate for the added sugar (sweetened condensed milk is 40-45% sugar).
  • Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt: Replace measure for measure. This works in baked goods and savory recipes. Vanilla yogurt can also be used in desserts. To use Greek yogurt, combine 2/3 cup Greek yogurt with 1/3 cup water.
  • Half and Half: Combine equal parts water and half and half. Full strength half and half can be used, if you don’t mind the added fat.
  • Heavy Cream: To replace one cup, combine 1/4 cup heavy cream and 3/4 cup water, Straight heavy cream is an option, if you aren’t concerned with the extra fat.
  • Powdered Milk: Reconstitute following the manufacturer’s instructions, and replace measure for measure.
  • Water: Use as a 1:1 replacement in cakes and other desserts. Consider adding one tablespoon of melted better for every cup of milk that’s called for. To make mac and cheese, replace the milk with water, and double the butter called for.

Dairy-Free Milk Substitutes 

Replace measure for measure with one of the following:

  • Almond Milk: Use in desserts and other sweet foods.
  • Soy Milk: Use in sweet or savory dishes, but stick to unflavored in savory recipes. Excellent choice for sauces and casseroles. Also excellent for baked goods that contain lemon juice or vinegar, as these require a high-protein milk to rise properly.
  • Rice Milk: This tastes the most like milk, but it’s pretty thin, so it doesn’t work well in creamy sauces and dishes.
  • Oat Milk or Hemp Milk: These high-protein milks are also solid options in baked goods that rely on protein and an acid — like lemon juice or vinegar — to rise.


Nutrition facts are based on using evaporated milk as a milk substitute