There's no use crying over spilled milk! We've got milk substitute options that will save any recipe.

non-dairy milk substitutes on counter, from Shelf Cooking

If you've got kids in the house, then milk is probably a hot commodity. No matter how much we buy, we always seem to run out at the worst possible times. Lucky for you, that means we've perfected the art of milk substitutes! 😉

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So, if you're in a bind and looking for some help, look no further! Today, we've got five super easy milk substitute options to share, plus some dairy-free alternatives. Oh, and we've got freezer hacks to share, too, so you'll never run out of milk again. Shall we moo (uh…do) this?!


glass of homemade almond milk, from Shelf Cooking

Whether you're baking, cooking, dipping a cookie, or making a bowl of cereal, here are some dairy-free milk substitute options that work perfectly in a one to one ratio:

These are all great options for lactose-sensitive kiddos, and they honestly make great recipe swaps, too! So, if you're out of milk, but have one of these on hand for your dairy-free family members, don't be afraid to use it. Also, FYI: you can make your own nut milk pretty easily! Check out this almond milk recipe from Detoxinista.

Pro Tip: If you're using dairy-free milk in a recipe, be sure it's unsweetened, or you may need to adjust the sugar content!


Now, let's say you don't keep dairy-free milk products around. That's okay! These milk substitute options come together with kitchen staples, so take your pick:

  • Water – What the what?! Yep, if you're baking and the recipe calls for just a tablespoon or two of milk, go ahead and use the same amount of water. No one will know the difference! If your recipe calls for slightly more milk, add two tablespoons of melted butter to your water mixture. That helps to even out the fat content.
  • Plain Yogurt – While we don't recommend swapping milk for yogurt in a bowl of cereal, it's a perfect baking substitute. Use it in a one-to-one ratio. Just keep in mind, since yogurt is denser, it may impact the texture of your dish just a bit. FYI: dairy-free yogurt will also work.
  • Sour Cream – Out of yogurt too? Sour cream works the same way!
  • Half & Half – If you water down your half and half, it makes a great milk substitute! Here's the rule, for every cup of milk, use 3/4 cup of half and half and 1/4 cup of water.
  • Evaporated Milk – Use a mixture of half evaporated milk and half water to replace milk in a recipe. For example, if you need 1/2 cup of milk, use 1/4 cup of evaporated milk mixed with 1/4 water. PSA: evaporated milk and condensed milk are not the same!

Another little hack? Powdered milk lasts forever in the pantry. So keep some in stock, and add water when you're ready to use it!


frozen milk ice cubes, from Shelf Cooking

Okay, ready for the ultimate hack? If running out of milk is a regular thing for you, then freezing milk just might save the day. Yes, you can freeze milk! Here's how to do it:

  • Transfer It – Pour your milk from its original carton, jug, or glass jar, and place it in an airtight container with a lid. If you want to freeze smaller portions for baking, you can use an ice tray to make milk cubes, and then transfer the cubes to an airtight bag or container.
  • Save Room – Just like any liquid, milk expands when frozen, so be sure to save some room. Otherwise, you'll have a big mess on your hands.
  • Storage Instructions – Be sure to use your milk within two months for best results, but definitely within a year.
  • Thawing Instructions – You can thaw your milk in the refrigerator overnight or defrost it over low heat on the stove.

One more word of advice! Frozen milk is best used in baking or smoothies instead of for drinking.


And there you have it! More than ten ways to come up with a milk substitute the next time you're running low.

Do you have other genius hacks to share? What's your go-to milk substitute? Let us know in the comments!

Frozen cubes of milk substitute from Shelf Cooking.

Want to test out these milk substitute ideas in one of our favorite baked goods?

Now, can someone pass the cookies?!