5 Best Whole Milk Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Using whole milk substitutes may be a choice based on health, allergies, or simply a desire for a bit more flavor in your milk.

Whole milk refers to cow’s milk that has not had the milk fat removed from it. It is used particularly in baking, thanks to the richness it adds to recipes. In recent times, whole milk has become unpopular because it is thought of as quite fattening and unhealthy, although many of the fats in whole milk are considered healthy fats. [1]

Whole Milk Substitutes

Many people like to replace whole milk in recipes to cut the calories, while others avoid dairy products because of lactose intolerance. Whatever your reason, there are many non-dairy, lower fat substitutes available for baking including coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and macadamia milk among others.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a go-to dairy substitution because no other milk replacement has as many creamy fats as coconut milk. Coconut milk also contains MCTs, a type of saturated fat that has been linked to lower blood cholesterol. Also, because of its high-fat content, your baking will not suffer from any loss of structure. [2]

A bowl of soy seeds with a glass and jar of soymilk on a wooden table

Soy seeds have an array of health benefits. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Soy Milk

Soy milk, made from soybeans, does not have as much fat as whole milk or coconut milk, but what it lacks in fat it makes up for in protein and nutrition. It is considered a complete protein, which means that it contains all of the essential amino acids. Soy milk is bland, and will not change the taste of your dish. However, the texture may change because of the reduced fat. [3]

Almond Milk

Made from whole almonds and water, almond milk is a low-calorie, low-fat milk alternative. Almond milk has half the fat of whole milk and only a quarter of the calories. It is generally much thinner than cow’s milk, and the flavor is slightly nutty, but not overpowering. [4]

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk has become a non-dairy nut milk favorite for many people. Unlike soy and almond, cashew milk has a creamy, rich texture that is much closer to the feel of whole milk. It has one-third the calories of whole milk, with half the fat and carbs, but it is also very low in protein and fiber. 

Macadamia Milk

Macadamia nut milk is a new product in the non-dairy world but has quickly become popular because the texture is very rich and the flavor is notably mild. It has half the fat of whole milk, but also less protein. It does contain other nutrients though, and it makes an excellent substitution for low-calories diets. [5]

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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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