5 Amazing Dry Milk Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Knowing your way around dry milk substitutes can be critical if you find yourself in the kitchen without this rather common baking ingredient.

Dry Milk Substitutes

Using the right dry milk substitutes can help you retain the flavor of your recipe when you don’t have this ingredient on hand. Dry milk is milk that has been turned into powder through the process of evaporation. It is long lasting, economical and easy to transport. Used in beverages and in recipes for bread, cakes, desserts, and soups, dry milk is a kitchen staple – but not irreplaceable! There are five amazing alternatives to dry milk including fresh milk, coconut milk, ground cashews, coconut milk powder, and other vegan milk powders. Let’s take a look.

Fresh Milk

An obvious candidate as a replacement, fresh milk is the prime substitute for dry milk. It is best for liquid recipes, or at least recipes that include some amount of water. You can reduce liquids elsewhere from the recipe to balance out the added liquid of the fresh milk. Semi-skimmed or low-fat milk are healthier and the most similar to dry milk.

Glass bottles of coconut milk, whole coconut, and shelled coconut meat

It is easy to make coconut milk at home. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a rich, vegan and healthy alternative to dry milk. If you’re not a fan of the coconut taste, this substitute isn’t for you, as it will give your recipe or drink a coconut flavor. You can either buy coconut milk in a can or make your own fresh coconut milk by soaking grated coconut in warm water, straining, and then refrigerating to separate the cream and water.

Ground Cashews

This is a healthy, vegan alternative to dry milk that is great for thickening and adding protein to your dish. You can buy cashews pre-ground or make your own from whole, plain cashews by using a coffee grinder, pestle, and mortar, or spice mill.

Coconut Milk Powder

Not to be confused with desiccated coconut, coconut milk powder is the powdered form of fresh coconut milk. If you’re happy with adding just a slight coconut flavor to your dish, you can substitute this powder at a 1:1 ratio for dry milk. Coconut milk powder will work well in baking and for fish recipes. It’s worth noting that coconut milk powder usually contains the milk derivative casein and is therefore not suitable for those following a strict vegan diet.

Vegan Milk Powders

There are some great vegan alternatives on the market! Think about trying soy powder, rice milk powder or almond milk powder to substitute for cow milk powder. Although more difficult to find than other types of milk powder, they are excellent dairy-free alternatives. Soy milk powder works well in soups, sauces, and in baking, rice milk powder makes a thinner milk but is more versatile, and almond milk powder is slightly sweet and therefore works best in dessert recipes.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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