Whole milk is an essential ingredient for baking and cooking. However, you shouldn’t freak out when you realize that you’ve run out of it in the middle of preparing a meal. You can always use substitutes for whole milk without compromising the taste of your meal.
But what exactly can you use instead of whole milk?
Several substitutes will give you the same baking/cooking results. They include sour cream, half & half, evaporated milk, and powdered milk. This article offers a comprehensive guide on how you can use each of the whole milk substitutes to get the best results.
What is Whole Milk?
Whole milk refers to cow milk before it is processed. It’s wholly the way it came out of the cow’s teats. Since it has all the constituents, it is creamier and tastier than any other milk form.
It contains at least 3.25% of fat (8 grams of fat per 8 ounces of milk). Additionally, it has many other nutrients that make it the best cooking/baking option for your family.
Why Substitute Whole Milk When Baking
Besides shortages, you can substitute whole milk if you want to achieve desired nutritional values.
For example, if you do not need lots of fat in your meal, you can substitute whole milk (3.25% fat) with low-fat milk (2% fat).
Additionally, some homogenized milk artificially adds rich nutrients such as Vitamin D. As such, you may go for processed milk if you want specific nutrients that are not available in whole milk.
Finally, whole milk substitution is common among lactose-intolerant individuals. When cooking for such individuals, you will need lactose-free milk or any other substitute that will not affect them adversely.
Types of Milk Used In Baking/ Cooking
When baking, you should be careful to only use milk that will ensure flawless cooking without compromising health benefits.
While whole milk can be used with some recipes (such as Artichoke Ricotta Tart), there are four other milk substitutes that you can use. They include:
- Skim Milk. This milk contains the least amount of fat (0.5% or less). It has no rich or creamy flavor, making it ideal for cooking meals that require thick soup but no milk taste. You can also buy 1% or 2% milk that contains relatively more milk fat than the entirely skimmed type.
- Heavy Cream. Heavy cream contains more cream than any other milk type. Its fat content can be as high as 36%.
- Half and Half. This milk type contains approximately 12% milkfat.
The more milkfat the milk has, the tastier it will be. As such, heavy cream is the creamiest and the most flavorful of the three options.
Dairy Substitutes for Whole Milk – A Comprehensive List
This substitute has higher milk fat than whole milk. It is thick and offers a rich flavor that gives your products a unique velvet taste.
Heavy cream is crucial in making soup, soups, and other baked products that require a creamier taste. It is also used to make confectioners sugar and prepare delicious toppings for cakes, fruits, and ice cream.
To substitute one cup of whole milk, you should dilute half a cup of heavy cream with half a cup of whole milk.
Powdered milk is dry milk that comes in the form of a powder. The moisture in milk is removed to increase its shelf-life. As such, powdered milk can last for relatively long if stored appropriately.
You can use it to make creamy smoothies, thick soups, and milkshakes. When buying dry milk, you should check the milk fat content as most of it comes with varying fat content levels. It is also easy to reconstitute the milk and use it just as you would use your whole milk.
Half and Half
Half and half originate from a 50% to 50% ratio of whole milk to heavy cream. It has a superb creaminess that is not as high as with heavy cream but not as low as skimmed milk.
You can use half and half to make soups, sauces, gravy, cakes, and other meals that require a relatively high-fat content.
To constitute, you should combine half and half with water in the ratio of 75%:25%.
Evaporated milk refers to milk that has been heated to remove a substantial amount of water from it. Due to this treatment, evaporated milk will have a longer shelf-life than whole milk.
It is ideal for use when cooking soups & sauces and baking cakes & other products. Combine 50% cup of evaporated milk with 50% water to replace one cup of whole milk.
Non-Dairy Substitutes for Whole Milk
If you’re lactose intolerant or a strict vegan, then you should consider using non-dairy milk substitutes when making your meals. Some of the most popular ones are:
Soy milk has been a favorite milk substitute for a long time. It has a nutrition profile that almost resembles that of whole milk. Additionally, it is one of the richest in protein, among all the possible whole milk substitutes.
Soy milk has an impressive 7 grams of protein per cup, just a gram below the whole milk. Most soy milk brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which guarantees a whole meal.
This is your ideal whole milk substitute if your primary goal is to lose weight. It has low calories and little protein (only 1 gram of protein for every cup of almond milk).
It offers thicker and creamier cooking output, with most of its calories coming from unsaturated fats.
This product is made from a blend of cashews with water. The milk is then fortified with other nutrients, including Vitamins A, B-12, and D, and calcium.
It has low protein levels, just like with Almond milk. Every cup of cashew milk offers one gram of proteins.
This is one of the best whole milk substitutes if you’re looking for a neutral flavor. It offers creamy and thick soups and sauces. Some brands will be fortified with Vitamin D, while others will be plain, thus giving you the leeway to choose the one that suits your needs the best. Every cup of rice milk offers one gram of proteins.
This milk is obtained from a blend of shelled hemp seeds and water. It is rich in calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. It also contains a considerable amount of proteins (3 grams for every cup of hemp milk).
However, the milk has a unique flavor. Some people like it while others don’t. As such, you should only buy small quantities of the milk to determine whether you can cope with the unique hemp taste.
This milk alternative offers a creamy and sweet soup. It is rich in vitamin D and B-12. It also contains a little calcium and approximately one gram of protein for every cup.
Read more about coconut milk substitute here
Substitute for Whole Milk -The Bottom Line
Whole milk is undoubtedly one of the main ingredients in many recipes. If you’re lactose intolerant or a strict vegan, you’ll have to look for substitutes for whole milk.
If that sounds like a hassle, then worry no more!
This article details the best whole milk substitutes (both dairy and non-dairy). Read through it and revolutionize your cooking experiences.
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.