Today, let us talk about the best whole milk substitutes. Whole milk is an integral part of many people’s diets. It is a great source of various vital nutrients and is great for bone and teeth health. Moreover, it is an extremely versatile ingredient and a staple in most kitchens.
However, have you ever thought to use a substitute for whole milk? Whether you are lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply out of milk, having a substitute for whole milk always comes in handy! Today’s article will help you find the best whole milk substitutes.
Now I am sure you must be wondering, what are the best whole milk substitutes? The best whole milk substitutes are heavy cream, evaporated milk, powdered milk, yogurt, sour cream, almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and coconut milk.
However, before we get to the best whole milk substitutes, let me share some common facts about whole milk. This will help you understand the ingredient and also make choosing your substitute easier. So, let’s get started.
Quick Peek: Whole Milk
This section has all the information about whole milk. You will get to understand the ingredient, its flavor, texture, uses, and nutritional information. So, here we go!
What Is Whole Milk?
Whole milk is also referred to as fresh milk or regular milk in the market. Whole milk is basically cow’s milk with full-fat content. The milk retains its fat, which is about 3.5%.
It is thicker and creamier than various other milk variations, such as reduced-fat milk and skimmed milk. The reason it is called whole milk actually has nothing to do with its fat content.
It is called whole milk as it is comparatively less adulterated than other variations of milk. It goes through barely any processing once it is out of the cow, as compared to other types of milk.
Whole Milk Vs Low Fat Milk: Flavor And Texture
Considering the fact that the amount of fat in both these types of milk is different, there is a whole lot of difference between the two in terms of flavor and texture. When we talk about texture, whole milk is extremely lush, thick, and creamy as compared to low-fat milk.
You can easily tell the difference between the two, whether you are using it for cooking, baking, or even as an addition to your beverages. When we talk about taste, the flavor of whole milk is richer compared to that of low-fat milk.
Fat content is what primarily makes a difference in the flavor. However, because of the lower fat content, more people are advised to drink low-fat milk. To mimic a flavor similar to that of whole milk, quite a lot of companies have added sugar to their low-fat versions.
Uses Of Whole Milk
Now I am sure all of us know the various uses of whole milk, so I won’t bore you with that. However, what exactly does whole milk do when used in various recipes? Well, for starters, when we talk about adding whole milk to hot beverages, it adds volume to them.
In cooking, whole milk makes an essential ingredient in various recipes. It is an integral part of recipes like Mac and cheese and various curries as it adds creaminess. Most people prefer using whole milk over cream, as it has lesser fat content and provides a similar taste.
When we talk about baking, whole milk is again an essential ingredient. Whole milk, quite a lot of times, is used in vegetarian baking recipes as a substitute for eggs. Whole milk binds all the dry ingredients together and gives a lush, rich product.
Usually, baking recipes don’t really mention the type of milk needed in it. However, for most recipes, it is good to assume that they are asking for whole milk. This is because whole milk will provide a much richer tasting baked good, as compared to low-fat variants.
Whole Milk On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
By now, you already know that whole milk has a higher fat content as compared to various low-fat versions. Whole milk has 3.5% – 4% of fat, compared to skim milk which stands at around 2%. However, regardless of that, whole milk does have a lot of health benefits.
To start off, whole milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin A. Moreover, tending to its naturally rich taste, whole milk contains natural sugars and no added sugars, unlike various other low-fat variants of milk.
Moreover, certain studies have shown that people who consume whole milk have higher vitamin D levels as compared to people who consume skimmed milk.
However, whole milk does contain some amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats. Hence, it must be consumed as per your daily diet recommendations and not in excess.
Why Use A Substitute For Whole Milk?
I am sure this question must have popped into your head at least once. Why use a substitute when whole milk works perfectly well in all your recipes? While there are many reasons to use whole milk, there are certain reasons to consider using a substitute.
To start off, many recipes are not lactose intolerant friendly and vegan friendly. In case you do have a recipe that calls for whole milk and has lactose intolerance or is a vegan, a non-dairy substitute may come in extremely handy.
Moreover, quite a lot of people may actually have an issue with using whole milk, well, obviously because of the fat content. Again, in that case, not skim milk necessarily, but there are various other substitutes for whole milk which have a lower fat content.
Lastly, in case you just seem to be all out of whole milk and have one of the substitutes handy, why run to the store? The substitute will work equally well in your recipe and will save your time and energy!
Now that I have given you so much information on whole milk let me take you to the main part of this article, its various substitutes. The list below has both dairy and non-dairy substitute options. So, let us explore the best whole milk substitutes!
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12 Best Whole Milk Substitutes
This section has the best whole milk substitutes, both dairy and non-dairy based. You can pick a substitute that suits your recipe best, depending on the flavor profile you prefer. So, first, let us explore the dairy-based substitutes!
Dairy-Based Whole Milk Substitutes
1. Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is basically a thicker version of whole milk with a much higher fat content. It will give your food a rich, milky taste and works great as a whole milk substitute in various recipes.
Heavy cream has the highest fat content amongst liquid dairy products. This translates into a very rich and creamy product, especially in baking. Moreover, even in cooking, heavy cream can make a great base for various sauces and curries that call for whole milk.
Heavy cream will end up leaving you with an extremely lush mouthfeel. Heavy cream, however, is much thicker compared to whole milk. So, you will definitely need to dilute it before using it in your recipes.
Use half the quantity of heavy cream as the amount of whole milk given and mix it with water of the same quantity. This will give you a texture similar to that of whole milk. Here is the recipe for hot chocolate with whipped cream for you.
2. Half And Half
Half and half is a mixture of 50% whole milk and 50% heavy cream. Due to its high-fat content, it will give your food an extremely creamy taste and slight sweetness. This mixture can be used as a whole milk substitute in various recipes.
If we talk particularly about baking, half and half will give you the creamiest and moistest products. This is all thanks to the fat content from both the heavy cream and whole milk.
Moreover, it also makes a great addition to various savory recipes that call for whole milk. You can generally use half and half in the same ratio as the amount of milk needed in a recipe.
However, if you want your food to be less creamy, you can either cut the quantity down by half or dilute the half and half with some water. The best part? Half and half also make a great addition to tea and coffee! Here is how you can make strata at home.
3. Powdered Milk
Powdered milk is essentially milk in a powdered form. It can be mixed with water and will give you a slightly diluted and thinner version of whole milk. This works as a good substitute, especially in baking.
Powdered milk, since it is in a very concentrated form, does have a slight sweetness to it. So, it tends to work better in baking and as an addition to hot beverages, as opposed to savory recipes.
It, however, may not give the same rich aftertaste as whole milk does. In baking especially, quite a lot of commercial bakeries have, in fact, switched to powdered milk over whole milk, thanks to its long shelf life.
So, if you are not someone that consumes milk on a regular basis, powdered milk will definitely come in handy. To make powdered milk into a liquid form, use 1/4th cup of powdered milk with 1 cup of water to get the same consistency. Here is a simple recipe for a tootsie roll.
4. Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk is milk from which all the moisture has been removed. It has a thick consistency and can be used as a whole milk substitute, especially in baking.
Evaporated milk is often confused with condensed milk. However, they are two completely different things! Condensed milk is usually much sweeter as it has sugar added to it. Hence, the name ‘sweetened condensed milk.’
Evaporated milk, however, is neutral in taste and can also be used in savory cooking in place of whole milk. It will give a rich milky taste and consistency to your food and baked products, similar to heavy cream and a half and half.
Evaporated milk, again, is usually extremely thick in consistency. Hence, dilute it with some quantity of water to get a consistency more similar to that of whole milk. Here is how you can make some delicious coquito at home.
5. Plain Yogurt
Plain yogurt is again a milk-based product. It can give a similar texture like whole milk to your food. Hence, it can be used as a whole milk substitute in cooking and baking.
Yogurt is, in fact, packed with probiotics and is extremely good for health! This gives you another reason to consider using yogurt as a substitute. When used in baking, yogurt will give a similar rich product to whole milk.
It can be used as a substitute for whole milk in a 1:1 ratio, in both cooking and baking, without making any changes to its consistency. However, there is an important thing to remember while using yogurt as a substitute in cooking.
Make sure you add the yogurt in the end, once the food is off the heat. Do this even in recipes where milk is added before. This is because when exposed to high heat, there are high chances of the yogurt splitting.
6. Sour Cream
Sour cream may not be the first ingredient that comes to your mind when thinking of a whole milk substitute. However, it does contain similar fat content, and various other properties like whole milk and hence can be used as a substitute.
In cooking recipes, sour cream generally tends to work well as a milk substitute in recipes that need baking, such as casseroles and baked pasta dishes. It will impart a slightly sour taste, which, however, can easily be masked.
You can do this by adding other ingredients that have an overpowering flavor. In baking, sour cream can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for whole milk. It will add a lot of moisture to your baked goods, similar to whole milk.
Non-Dairy Based Whole Milk Substitutes
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk is made with either whole almonds or almond butter mixed with water. It is one of the most common types of plant-based milk used in the world. It can work as a good substitute for whole milk.
Almond milk is a great substitute option for vegans and people with lactose intolerance. It is, moreover, much lower in fat content as compared to whole milk. So, it can make a great substitute option if you are trying to lower your fat content.
It can generally be used in both baking and cooking recipes and as an addition to hot and cold beverages. However, since it contains less fat content, it might not give your food the rich flavor that whole milk does.
However, if that does not bother you, almond milk can be used in almost any recipe as a whole milk substitute. You can use almond milk in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for whole milk.
2. Soy Milk
Soy milk is usually made with soybeans, with thickeners and vegetable oils added to it to improve its texture and consistency. It works as a great whole milk substitute in cooking and in beverages.
Soy milk contains a similar amount of protein to that of whole milk, with half the number of calories. In fact, it is regarded as plant-based milk with the highest amount of protein content.
So, even if you are not a vegan or don’t have lactose intolerance, soy milk still makes a great choice in general and not only as a whole milk substitute.
Moreover, it has a mild and creamy flavor that works extremely well. It can be used as a substitute for whole milk in a 1:1 ratio in all recipes.
3. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is made with the white flesh of brown coconuts. It is creamy and has a subtly sweet taste, and is a great non-dairy substitute for whole milk in all recipes.
Coconut milk, moreover, is much lesser in calories than whole milk. However, it is important to remember that coconut milk has lower vital nutrients, too, as compared to whole milk.
So, in case you are trying to up your protein intake, coconut milk might not be the best option for you. Coconut milk also carries a distinct taste of coconuts. This usually adds to the flavor of food and generally balances well with other ingredients.
So, if you like the flavor of coconut, it can be used in absolutely any recipe without a worry, in a 1:1 ratio. However, in case you aren’t too fond of the lingering taste of coconut, try considering a different substitute.
4. Oat Milk
Oat milk is made with oats powder and water. It has a mild taste and can be used as a substitute for whole milk in various recipes.
Oat milk is surprisingly high in protein and fiber but also high in calories and carbohydrates. So, you might want to consider that, especially if you are looking for a low-calorie plant-based substitute option.
Oat milk, however, due to its mild taste, works well in savory cooking and baking. In baking, however, oat milk will not be able to give a rich texture to your food that is obtained by using whole milk.
However, in case that is not too much of a problem for you, oat milk can work extremely well in your baked products too. You can use oat milk as a substitute for whole milk in a 1:1 ratio.
5. Rice Milk
Rice milk is made from milled rice and water. It has a mild taste and is naturally sweet in flavor. Hence, it can be used as a whole milk substitute in various recipes.
Rice milk contains the same amount of calories as whole milk. However, it contains double the amount of carbohydrates and considerably less amount of fats and proteins. So, these are things worth considering while using it as a substitute.
Rice milk also has a watery consistency as compared to whole milk. Hence, it might not give the same consistency as whole milk would. This won’t matter much in savory cooking. However, it can make a difference to the richness of a baked good.
Rice milk is, however, the best substitute option if you have gluten or lactose intolerance or are allergic to nuts. It can generally work well as a whole milk substitute in savory recipes in a 1:1 ratio. Try using a different substitute option for baking.
6. Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is another great dairy-free alternative to whole milk. It has a mild flavor and a creamy texture and can work great as a substitute for whole milk in various recipes.
Cashew milk may be available with extra sugar added to it. So, make sure you use unsweetened cashew milk, especially in savory recipes. Moreover, cashew milk is lower in calories and has half the amount of fat compared to whole milk.
However, it is also lower in protein and fiber content. So, it might not be the best choice for people trying to get some protein from milk. The creamy texture of cashew milk blends extremely well in most recipes.
Moreover, due to its thick consistency, it may work better than other plant-based milk options, especially in baking. You can use cashew milk as a whole milk substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
Short Recap For Best Whole Milk Substitutes
I am sure that by now, you must have gone through all the best substitutes for whole milk by now. However, are you by any chance still confused about which substitute will work best in your recipe?
No need to worry! I have broken it down further for both dairy and non-dairy-based substitutes. Have a look!
For Dairy-Based Substitutes
Most Suitable: The most suitable substitute for whole milk is heavy cream.
Easily Available: Plain yogurt is the most easily available substitute for whole milk.
Best Flavor Profile: Half and Half will provide the best flavor profile when used as a substitute for whole milk.
For Non-Dairy Based Substitutes
Most Suitable: The most suitable substitute for whole milk is cashew milk.
Easily Available: Almond milk is the most easily available plant-based substitute for whole milk.
Best Flavor Profile: Coconut milk will provide a slightly different but the best flavor profile as a substitute for whole milk.
How To Use Whole Milk Substitutes In A Recipe?
Whole Milk Substitutes
- Heavy Cream
- Half And Half
- Powdered Milk
- Evaporated Milk
- Plain Yogurt
- Sour Cream
- Almond Milk
- Soy Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Oat Milk
- Rice Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Now that we have come to the end of this wonderful article, I hope it has helped you find the best substitute for whole milk. Whole milk is generally used in various recipes to give them a creamy finish. However, if you don’t like milk too much, a substitute can come in handy.
That being said, all the substitute options given are extremely worthy alternatives worth considering. You can pick the best substitute for your recipe, depending on what texture and flavor profile you are looking for.
In case you are not vegan or lactose intolerant, still, try giving one of the plant-based substitutes a try. I am sure they will work well in your recipe, and they will definitely provide a great flavor profile!
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs )
Is whole milk the same as regular milk?
Whole milk and regular milk are the same.
Is whole milk good for you?
Whole milk is rich in calcium and vitamin A and hence is a good source of vital nutrients.
Why is it called whole milk?
The milk is referred to as whole milk because it is the most unadulterated version of milk.
Is whole milk the same as full cream milk?
Yes, whole milk and full cream milk are the same.