whole milk

5 Whole Milk Substitutes You Can Try

There are still a few people who prefer whole milk over other dairy products. However, there are times when your recipe calls for it but it’s not available. What can you do if you don’t have any at home?

If you are also looking for a lower-fat choice, then you have come to the right place as there are some very easy-to-find whole milk substitutes you can use instead. 

Nowadays, kids are the only ones drinking whole milk, and nutritionally speaking, they are some of the few who actually need it. So instead of going to the store to get a jug of whole milk that will expire soon, why not find another solution for your recipe? 

First, though, let’s talk about some milk facts!

Cow milk has a ton of nutrients that are beneficial to our health. This food is high in protein, minerals, and vitamins, particularly vitamin D and Calcium. But there are some downsides to having a full-fat glass of milk. Just one cup of whole milk gives you 13 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fat, and 8 grams of protein. 

There are other reasons why milk may not be the right choice for you. Some people are incredibly allergic to milk and could have a severe reaction if they consume it.

Others may have severe lactose intolerance, which makes it very hard for their bodies to break down the sugar in milk, and can cause indigestion and gas, as well as more dangerous symptoms. 

And of course, there are always those with dietary restrictions who don’t like to consume animal products, or because they are afraid of chemicals in the milk production. 

Regardless of the reason, here are the best whole milk alternatives you can find: 

#1. Coconut milk

This “milk” is made from water and the white part of coconuts. If you like Thai food you have probably used this in the past, or maybe you’ve had it in a piña colada at the beach. This milk can be found in boxes next to other milk alternatives, or you can find it canned and more concentrated in the international aisle of your grocery store. 

This milk substitute contains only 45 calories per cup and 4 grams of fat, but it doesn’t have any protein. The flavor is very subtle, but canned coconut milk is thick, so it can be a good replacement for your baking needs or even for a creamy sauce.

#2. Plain yogurt

If you don’t have a lactose allergy or intolerance, you may want to include plain yogurt among your choices. Because yogurt is also made from cow milk, it is a good way to save calories, yet still, it has a similar result. Make sure you pick plain flavored yogurt so the taste isn’t overwhelming. 

Plain yogurt can be used instead of whole milk in all sorts of recipes, from soups, sauces, baking goods, and even dips. It is found more often as a breakfast food, but it can be a great way to save calories and end with a very similar final product. 

#3. Almond milk

Commonly, almond milk is made by blending water with whole almonds or almond butter. This alternative to milk has been gaining popularity recently, and that’s because it is low in calories and fat, but still packs some protein. Because almonds have a large number of vitamins and minerals, this is a healthy choice that can support your immunity as well. 

It is better to make your almond milk at home, as you can pick exactly what goes into it. Just make sure you leave almonds soaking in water overnight, and then just blend them with water, and whatever else you may want. Use almond milk in your baking and sweet recipes, but be careful with other dishes, as the flavor is very nutty and unique.

#4. Soy milk

Soy milk has been around for years and it is a good way to save calories and create a lactose-free recipe. This milk option is made from soybeans or soy protein isolate, but it also contains vegetable oils and thickeners. The flavor varies depending on the brand, but it is typically subtle and creamy.

This substitute also has more fat than other choices, but it has more protein too, so it is a good healthy selection. Soy can be hard to digest for certain people though, so be careful if you have a hard time with complex carbohydrates, this milk may not be for you.

You can find soy milk in your local cereal or milk aisles, and it is widely used as a lactose-free option in coffee shops and restaurants. 

#5. Oat milk

This milk is made from oats and water, as well as gums, oils, and salt to add flavor. The oats add a sweet but mild flavor without the lactose, but this milk does have a similar fat and calorie content. However, oats have a high fiber content, which could be good for your gastrointestinal health and can help reduce your blood cholesterol levels. 

Oat milk is used in smoothies and breakfast dishes, but it can be used for baking, and even as part of savory dishes if used in the right amount. This choice is cheap and easy to make at home, so you can do it yourself and choose what ingredients you want in it. 

Some Things to Keep in Mind

Before picking the alternative you want, some things can help you make the decision. Consider the added sugar in these milk substitutes because some store-bought choices add more calories than regular milk.

Also, take into account the amount of calcium and vitamins, remember that cow’s milk is full of nutrients, so cutting it out completely may not be the best choice.

And last but not least, keep the price down! You can make your milk alternative easily and with less added sugar or ingredients, all while saving money and calories. 


Can evaporated milk substitute whole milk?

Yes! Evaporated milk is a good substitute for when you run out of milk. This choice lasts longer on your kitchen shelf and can be added along with water for a similar taste. 

What is the best substitute for milk in baking?

It is a good idea to use another dairy option when baking, such as plain yogurt or sour cream. If you don’t want any lactose in your baking recipe, then consider using a thicker choice like coconut cream or milk. 

Can water substitute whole milk, especially in baking?

Water may not be the closest substitute to whole milk but it can be used whenever the need arises. A few teaspoons of butter added to every cup of water could save your need for whole milk. One and a half teaspoons of it can go a long way.


It used to be hard to change a recipe that calls for milk, but now, you can find several choices in your local grocery store. Keep in mind the amount of sugar and fat, and maybe taste the milk alternative before you use it. These are just a few choices, but you can consider other nut milk products and other dairy options. 

whole milk substitutes

*Photo by Feirlight/depositphotos

About The Author

Scroll to Top