Milk Substitutes

Luckily for those of us avoiding dairy, there are many milk substitutes available for drinking as well as for cooking and baking. Following are a few ideas for replacing cow's milk in your diet.

Replacing Cow's Milk As A Beverage

You can find many varieties of "milk" at the grocery store.  These "milks" are made from a variety of plants including:



Hemp Seeds photo by Author= ElinorD





These milk alternatives vary in taste, texture and nutrients.  The amount of protein especially varies between cow's milk and milk alternatives, however, they are usually fortified with similar amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

Here is a chart comparing content of key nutrients in milk and milk alternatives.

Click on the image to open the pdf file.

As you will notice, the nutrients of soy milk is most similar to cow's milk.  If you can have soy then soy milk is a good option.

If you can't have soy, choose a substitute based on what taste and texture you like the most and, of course, what is safe for you.

* Almond milk is not a good alternative for those with a tree nut allergy.

** Coconut is considered a tree nut by the FDA.  Ask your allergist to be sure coconut is safe for you if you're allergic to tree nuts. 

The Versatility of Powdered Potato Milk

The potato milk that I have used is Vance's DariFree which is a powdered potato milk.

The advantage of using a powdered form of any milk substitute is that you can control the concentration of the milk which can be useful in making other substitutes.

You can use powdered potato milk to make the following milk substitutes:

Half and Half

I've used powdered potato milk as a half and half substitute in many recipes and it works well. Just mix 1/3 cup powdered potato milk to 1 cup hot water and mix well.

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is just concentrated milk (with about 60% of the water removed). To make a dairy free version, mix 1/2 c. of potato milk powder with 1 c. of hot water. 

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is just evaporated milk with sugar added. To make your own dairy free version, make 1 c. of evaporated milk (recipe above) and, over medium heat, dissolve 1-1/2 c. of granulated sugar in the mixture.  I used this substitute in this Dairy Free Fudge recipe.


Traditional buttermilk is the slightly sour liquid that is leftover after butter is churned.  It is often used in recipes for a more complex flavor and helps baked goods rise.

To make 1 cup of buttermilk:

  • Pour 1 tablespoon vinegar OR lemon juice in a glass measuring cup
  • Add your choice of milk to equal 1 cup

Of course, the flavor will not the same as buttermilk but that acidity will still be present.

Go from Milk Substitutes to Dairy Substitutes

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