Top 6 Dairy Substitutes

It’s not that commonly known for those who mostly stick to traditional baking, but there are several wonderful dairy alternatives for baking. This is a list of my favorites.

So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk

I throw heaps of praise to the So Delicious coconut company! Without their cultured coconut milk products, my baking would suffer.

I use a 1:1 substitution for buttermilk with So Delicious cultured coconut milk, plain flavor. The liquid version and the yogurt-like version both work very well.  They add moistness, spring, tanginess and help with browning.

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Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread

I use this to replace cream cheese in icings and fillings. In fact, I created a delicious icing using this, and am now developing a baked good to put it on!

It’s also fantastic as is on allergen-free bagels!

 Almond Milk

I favor unsweetened plain almond milk as my go-to substitute for regular cow’s milk, but if you can’t eat almonds, try coconut milk beverage or rice milk.

Be aware that coconut milk is thick and full of fat while coconut milk beverage is similar in properties to almond or rice milk.

Coconut oil

Butter does wonders in baking and you may have missed it when you first switched baking ingredients, but the great news is that coconut oil is a fantastic substitute. Use slightly less coconut oil than butter since butter contains some milk solids and water while coconut oil is 100% oil.

The freezing point of coconut oil is 76 degrees so in our cooler Seattle climate, it is a solid at room temperature, but melts upon touch. DO NOT put coconut oil in the refrigerator, as it gets unmanageably hard and impossible to measure- trust me on this one. It’s also important that before you close it, remember to wipe the excess off of the rim so it opens easily next time!

Because of its high saturated fat content, it is slow to oxidize and lasts up to 2 years without spoiling.

Tips on measuring coconut oil:

  • Pay attention to the recipe, as some will ask for the coconut oil to be melted, and some will ask for it to be solid.
  • To weigh coconut oil, remember that it weighs 14 grams per tablespoon.
    • If the recipe does not include the amount in grams just use your calculator (your phone has one) and multiply the number of tablespoons required times 14.  There are 16 tablespoons per cup, so half a cup is 8 tablespoons so 8 times 14 = 112 grams.
  • Place an empty bowl on the scale, zero or tare it so it reads zero. Then spoon 112 grams into that bowl. See how fast and mess-free this is? Very hot tap water will clean off the spoon you used, and there is no measuring cup to wash!

Also be extra careful when adding a cold ingredient to the mixing bowl that has coconut oil in it already, because cold ingredients will cause the coconut oil to immediately solidify, which will then burn out your mixer motor. Again, you can take my word on it. I suffer so that you can bake with ease!

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Palm Oil Shortening

Palm oil shortening is another great butter substitute. Spectrum makes a very nice product that can also be used in lieu of butter or coconut oil. And of course, I weigh that too.

Earth Balance Soy-free Margarine

If I’m looking for the flavor of butter, or to omit the slight coconut flavor of coconut oil, I frequently use Earth Balance soy-free margarine.


// Have you used any of these before?

// What are some of your favorite dairy substitutes?


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