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Best Milk Alternatives For Cooking

Best Milk Alternatives For Cooking

Last Updated on 23rd April 2022 by

Milk is the main ingredient in multiple sweet and savoury dishes. While most people consider it to be a primary source of calcium, many people are currently considering other alternatives to use in their dishes and drinks. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, trying to follow a dairy-free diet, or are lactose intolerant, this article will be for you.

Finding a milk alternative can be a daunting task. Some alternatives will only work for some cooking methods, while others will have a distinctive flavour that can change the way your food and drinks taste. In this article, we’ll discuss several milk alternatives and explain the best use for each of them. So, keep on reading.

Why Do You Need Milk Alternatives?

There are different types of non-dairy milk on the market, and you might be surprised by how good they actually taste. The most important thing is to make sure that the milk you’re using will fit the recipe you’re following, whether you’re preparing a baked dish, coffee, or a refreshing smoothie.

Dairy-milk isn’t bad, although some people don’t feel comfortable consuming it. Here are some reasons why people look for milk alternatives.

  • Cow’s milk can contain hormones that have a negative impact on our health. These hormones are used to promote more milk production and be passed through the milk that we eventually drink.
  • People who suffer from IBS or irritable bowel syndrome can feel extremely uncomfortable after consuming dairy milk. Switching to a milk-free diet can make them more comfortable and can relieve some of the annoying symptoms.
  • Vegetarians and vegans don’t consume milk. These 2 diet plans exclude animals and their byproducts, so finding a milk alternative will be crucial.
  • Milk alternatives have fewer calories and fats, so they will work if you’re trying to watch your weight. Dairy milk contains more fats, even if you switch to a low-fat version.
  • If you want to limit your protein intake for any health issues, finding a milk alternative will help you. Milk alternatives, except soy, contain less protein than dairy milk. These alternatives can also be fortified with minerals and vitamins that make them healthier.
  • Non-dairy milk alternatives contain more water for hydration.

Which Milk Alternative Should You Use?

This depends on what you want to use your non-dairy milk for. There are several dairy-free milk options, and each one of them can work for various purposes.

Almond Milk

Almond milk adds a sweet, nutty flavour to your recipes, so it works best if you’re preparing a sweet dish. Nevertheless, you can use it in savoury dishes if you want to add something extra. However, almond milk should be avoided if you are allergic to nuts.

Lots of people believe that this is the best non-dairy milk for coffee. The milk’s nutty flavour works perfectly with the rich aroma of the coffee to create a new heavenly combination that you can enjoy if you’re using other types of milk alternatives.

Choosing the best tasting almond milk can be a little tricky. However, experts recommend opting for unsweetened versions because they’re more versatile and healthier.

The added sugars can significantly improve the taste of the milk if you’re drinking it alone or adding it to a sweet recipe. Nevertheless, these sugars will also add to the calories you’re consuming and will limit your almond milk applications.

Rice Milk

Rice milk has a flavour that closely resembles dairy milk, but it’s thinner and more hydrating. It works if you want to prepare any dish where milk is a crucial ingredient. Rice milk is a key player in Asian dishes, so you can prepare exquisite recipes even if you don’t consume dairy milk.

If you try to prepare your white sauce for pasta Alfredo using rice milk, the results might not be as impressive. The texture might be too runny, and you will have to add more butter and flour to help thicken it. However, rice milk can be used in smoothies and drinks because it’s refreshing and has a sweet flavour.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is another alternative that looks and feels a lot like dairy milk. Unlike rice milk, this one is also creamy, so it can be used for multiple dishes where you add milk to enrich the texture and flavour.

So, can you make mac and cheese without milk? As a matter of fact, you can. Soy milk will work perfectly, and no one will be able to tell the difference. Most soy milk on the market is also fortified, so it can be a good source of calcium. “

The best soy milk should be unsweetened, so you can use it for multiple purposes. There are vanilla and chocolate options, but these will only work if you’re drinking soy milk on its own or adding it to a smoothie that can be complemented with this added taste.

Some people believe that soy milk should be avoided because it contains a protein that mimics the oestrogen hormone. If you have breast cancer or have breast cancer history in your family, you might want to decrease your consumption of soy milk and other soy products.

Oat Milk

Oat milk will work as a potent milk substitute if you want to bake something, as long as there’s an acid used in the recipe. It works for leavening your dough, making your cakes and baked pastries fluffy and creamy.

It also has a high protein content, so it’s a healthy and nutritious option. Since it has a neutral flavour, oat milk can be used for every recipe, from a cappuccino to Indian curry, béchamel, and everything in between.

Coconut Milk

Coconut is another key ingredient in Asian cuisine and can be used to substitute milk in multiple recipes. Its coconutty flavour might not work for numerous recipes where you don’t want that sweet aroma to be part of your dish.

There are 2 versions of coconut milk, the ready to drink and canned milk. The canned milk is usually thicker, so it can be used in sweet and savoury recipes where you want to enjoy this creamy, coconutty flavour. The ready to drink milk is more suitable for lattes and smoothies because it’s hydrating and refreshing. It can also be used in Thai and Indian dishes.

What Does Buttermilk Taste Like?

Buttermilk tastes sour, so to most people, it’s an acquired taste. Although some people love to drink it, most people will prefer to use it in recipes. Originally, this is a byproduct of making butter from cream, but nowadays, companies prepare buttermilk by adding bacteria to the milk to increase the lactic acid and change its taste.

You can use buttermilk instead of dairy-milk in cakes and other baked dishes. However, you’ll have to adjust the amount of baking soda added to guarantee the success of your recipe.

People drink buttermilk because it’s low in fats and high in proteins. It also helps with digestive problems and is packed with all the nutrients that you can find in dairy milk.

Due to its high acid content, buttermilk can be used in marinades as it helps soften the meat. You can use it to marinate chicken before frying, and it will add a delicious flavour to your recipe. You can also prepare buttermilk pancakes, use it in salad dressings, and mix it with mashed potatoes.

How Long Does Buttermilk Last?

Once you have opened the carton, buttermilk will last for about 2 weeks. It should be kept in the fridge during this period.

You can keep buttermilk in a freezer for up to 3 months if it hasn’t been opened yet. If you feel that the taste, colour, or smell of your buttermilk has changed, you should toss it away.

Buttermilk can get chunky if kept for too long. If you have difficulty pouring it, or feel that there are chunks in your glass, then it has gone bad, and you need to replace it.

Is Buttermilk Dairy-Free?

Buttermilk is made of dairy-milk, so you can’t use it if you want a dairy-free milk alternative. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can prepare dairy-free buttermilk using soy milk.

To achieve a slightly acidic taste, you need to add about a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to one glass of soy milk. It won’t be as heavy or chunky as buttermilk, but it will work in recipes where buttermilk is a key ingredient as it will deliver the same sour and tangy taste.

Wrap Up

Finding a milk alternative depends on your diet requirements, personal taste, and the recipes you want to prepare. There are lots of dairy-free options on the market, but they won’t work for every recipe.

You should experiment with various options to find one that works for that particular recipe you’re preparing. Some dairy-free milk options won’t work if you suffer from allergies or have a health issue that can get worse if you consume this particular milk alternative. However, since there are lots of options out there, you’ll definitely find something that works for you.

3.3/5 - (3 votes)

I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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Sunday 3rd of March 2024

Your article helped me a lot, is there any more related content? Thanks!

Sariah Morales

Tuesday 20th of December 2022

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Monday 24th of January 2022

Thanks for this list. Very helpful. FYI, most vegetarians consume dairy products unless they have an allergy or aversion or other reason to avoid it - we consume non-meat products made by animals - eggs, dairy, honey, etc. It's vegans who completely avoid all animal products (including leather, down jackets, etc). Some within both category are not 100% strict, of course, so there are exceptions.