ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Dietary Restrictions

Dairy Substitutions for Cooking and Baking

Updated on June 27, 2015

Whether you are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, missing out on your favorite foods is frustrating. This guide will help you select a good substitute for dairy in all of your recipes.


There are a variety of good milk substitutes on the market which can all be used cup for cup in your recipes. Look for them in cartons in the dairy aisle of your local grocery store.

  • Almond Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Cashew Milk
  • Coconut Milk - Do not confuse this with canned coconut milk.



Butter can be a tricky ingredient to substitute because some recipes require the flavor that butter provides. Keep this in mind when substituting butter. The following substitutes may be available in your local grocery store but can definitely be found in your local health food store.

  • Coconut Oil - This can be substituted equally for butter but when baking with 1/2 cup or more, replace 1 tablespoon per cup with water.
  • Non Hydrogenated Palm Oil Shortening - May be substituted equally for butter.
  • Vegan Butter - This is a better option if you require more of a butter flavor. May be substituted equally for butter.


For use in baking, the following are great substitutes for buttermilk.

  • Non-Dairy Yogurt and Non-Dairy Milk - Blend 1/4 cup of your favorite non-dairy yogurt with 3/4 cup of your favorite milk substitute.
  • Non-Dairy Milk and Vinegar - Blend 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of non-dairy milk. Allow to sit for 2 minutes before using.


  • Full Fat Canned Coconut Milk - Use a 1:1 ratio for liquid cream. Coconut milk can leave a strong coconut flavor so consider this before using it as a substitution.


When substituting yogurt in cooking and baking, make sure you select plain yogurt. You could use flavored yogurt in baking but be aware that it will effect the flavor and sweetness of the finished product.

  • Soy-milk Yogurt
  • Coconut Yogurt
  • Almond Milk Yogurt

Sour Cream

Although there is no perfect substitute for sour cream, yogurt always works in a pinch for those that can have dairy so why not try a non-dairy yogurt.

  • Any Non-Dairy Yogurt

Coffee and Tea Creamer

  • Full Fat Canned Coconut Milk - shake or stir coconut milk to blend prior to using. For best results, pour coconut milk in cup first and then pour your hot beverage in the cup. Stir and enjoy!

Powdered Milk

  • Powdered Coconut Milk - can be used cup for cup in place of regular powdered milk in baking. You may have to purchase this from an online specialty grocer or an Asian market. Make sure that you read the ingredients because most brands have casein (a milk derivative).

Beware of Non-Dairy Foods

Beware of foods claiming to be non-dairy. Many of them contain casein which is a milk derivative. The following foods usually contain some dairy.

  • Non-Dairy Creamer
  • Non-Dairy Whipped Topping
  • Margarine

Take a Poll

Why do you go dairy free

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I was not aware that there were so many alternatives to dairy. The tip on how to make non dairy buttermilk was quite interesting.

      Voted up.