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Milk Substitute For Baking

Milk Substitute For Baking

If you are baking a recipe that calls for milk, but you’re all out, you have multiple great alternatives to choose from.

Milk is one of the more common baking ingredients, and even though I try to keep it stocked at all times, there have been many times that I went to bake a dessert only to find out I didn’t have enough milk.

That led me to find the best milk substitutes that work in all types of baked recipes. So if you are in need of an ingredient that provides all the benefits of milk, you will find them right here.

Best Milk Alternatives for Baked Recipes

closeup of milk in a glass measuring cup

Milk provides protein, structure, and texture to all sorts of baked recipes as well as acting as a binding agent for your dry ingredients.

In order to replace milk in a recipe, you must use an ingredient that offers the same characteristics.

So what ingredients can you use in place of milk?

The best substitutes for milk in baked dishes are evaporated milk, condensed milk, powdered milk, dry milk with shortening, and dry milk with butter.

Each of these ingredients (and combinations) will produce results similar to what you get when using milk.

Evaporated Milk

unopened can of evaporated milk

Combining evaporated milk with water can be used in any baking recipe that calls for milk.

Evaporated milk is produced by heating regular milk until much of the water content is steamed off. This leaves a concentrated form of milk.

But that also means that you can replicate milk by simply adding water to your evaporated milk.

This combination provides an identical fat content to regular milk, meaning it is the ideal substitute option for any baked recipe. So use it in cakes, cookies, brownies or just about anything else.

1/2 cup evaporated milk with 1/2 cup of water equals 1 cup whole milk


Sweetened Condensed Milk

bowl of sweetened condensed milk

My second favorite milk replacement is combining sweetened condensed milk with water. Much like evaporated milk, condensed milk has had the water content removed via heat.

It then has sugar added to it, which improves shelf life. But that added sugar must be accounted for, otherwise you will have a dessert that is too sweet (yes that is possible)!

When I use sweetened condensed milk I like to reduce the other sugar in my recipe by 10-15%. This reduction is compensated by the sugar content of our sweetened condensed milk.

1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk with 1/2 cup of water equals 1 cup of whole milk


Powdered Milk

powdered milk in bowl and glass of powdered milk with water

While not as common as days gone by, powdered milk was once a very popular baking ingredient. And it’s still quite useful in the kitchen of modern bakers.

One of my favorite uses for powdered milk is as a simple regular dairy milk replacement. It’s perfect for baked recipes when combined with water.

It’s a great option for any type of baked dessert. In fact, it’s my preferred option when making dump cake, pudding cake, and even some cream pies.

4 tablespoons powdered milk with 1 cup of water equals 1 cup of whole milk


Dry Milk with Shortening

top view of powdered milk in bowl and spoon

I’ve been asked by a few readers if they can use non fat dry milk in a baked dessert, and I’m happy to say that with a simple addition you can!

Since non fat powdered milk does not contain fat (who would of thought!) that means using it as is would result in a dessert lacking structure and flavor.

To remedy this problem we simply need to add some fat to our dry milk to compensate. In this case, shortening.

When combined, these two ingredients are an excellent all around milk replacement in baked goods.

4 tablespoons of non fat dry milk with 2 tablespoons shortening and 1 cup of water equals 1 cup of whole milk


Dry Milk with Butter

non fat powdered milk for milk replacement

The same method can be used by using butter instead of shortening. In fact, I prefer this combination over using shortening as it provides a richer flavor to your recipe.

I recommend using softened (not melted) butter as it will mix into your other ingredients easier. But cold will work for most recipes.

And if your recipe already calls for butter, no need to worry, the additional fat is needed to replace your milk.

4 tablespoons non fat powdered milk with 2 tablespoons butter and 1 cup of water equals 1 cup of whole milk


Bottom Line

When replacing milk in a baked recipe it’s important to know what role it plays. Because milk provides flavor, structure, and binding in a recipe, our substitute must do the same.

While you may find other interesting recommendations on the net, these alternatives will consistently provide you with great results no matter what type of baked good you are making.