Luckily for those of us avoiding dairy, there are many milk substitutes available for drinking as well as for cooking and baking. The following are a few ideas for replacing cow's milk in your diet.
Replacing cow's milk as a beverage
You can find many milk substitutes in the dairy aisle of the grocery store. They vary in taste, texture (thickness/creaminess), and nutrient content. 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 are some of the milk substitutes available:
- Almond (not a good alternative for those with a tree nut allergy)
- Cashew (also not a good alternative for those with a tree nut allergy)
- Pea Protein
Nutrition comparison chart
To compare nutrients in each milk substitute, check out this Milk Substitute Comparison Chart.
As you will notice, the nutrient profile 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.
Milk substitutes for cooking and baking
The potato milk that I have used is Vance's DariFree which is 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 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 left over 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.