This post may contain affiliate links. These help support this website.
For the past few years, I have been pulling together the best dairy-free substitutions for cooking and baking that actually work! These substitutions are also easy to come by and don’t require anything expensive or hard to find.
I have been baking dairy-free for many years now and it has become second nature to me!
Many of my readers know a little bit about my husband’s health situation. He was very sick for many years and eventually lost his colon. He did pretty good for a few years, until 2014 when he developed a strange reaction to anything dairy related. Basically, he has to avoid it at all costs.
It is amazing how many items you eat or buy that have dairy in them. All of his favorite foods were centered around sweets that had butter or milk, even foods with cheeses were some of his favorite dishes. I started recreating dairy-free options for him at home so he could still enjoy his favorite things.
It all started with this dairy-free pumpkin pie recipe I shared last year, and now I have tried out just about everything.
Many of my readers are in the same boat and cannot have dairy. I wanted to share with you my BEST dairy-free substitutions that you can start using for pretty much everything in the kitchen. Almost everything can be purchased at the regular grocery store and a few I buy on amazon for minimal costs.
First, let’s check out the list:
PIN THIS ↓
Although there are so many dairy-free milks on the market today, these three are the best options for baking. I have found that any recipe that calls for milk, like a cake, does best with almond milk most. Cashew is also really creamy and coconut milk is always a good substitute. The best part, is it is a 1:1 ratio, so you don’t have to change the recipe at all.
HEAVY CREAM (ALSO FOR SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK)
I tried some other tips I read about years ago for substituting heavy cream. I didn’t have much luck until I went with full-fat canned coconut cream. It is pretty much the exact same and works great in recipes! If you don’t like coconut, read my notes below 🙂
A key ingredient for that pumpkin pie I mentioned! This works the exact same with canned coconut milk. Full-fat or light coconut milk work just as good for most recipes. You don’t even notice a difference in baking!
There are two methods I typically use for butter substitution, coconut oil and vegan butter. Most vegan butter will work just like regular butter. Although, I don’t like it as much in cookies. The key to using coconut oil is using it in the solid state. If it’s hot where you are (like it always is in Texas), I pop it in the fridge to harden up. The science behind doing this is to create a similar texture without sacrificing the fat. Just like in these delicious coconut oil chocolate chip cookies!
When you make cornbread or ranch dressing, you need buttermilk. Buttermilk is chemically a sour milk, so the easiest method is to create the same thing with dairy-free milk. I have used this with all milks mentioned above with lemon juice. I used to do this with regular milk when I needed buttermilk, but ran out. I decided to try it with these dairy-free milks and it works great!
Sometimes you need to add yogurt to cakes or maybe you just want to eat it. For eating it plain, coconut yogurt is the perfect substitute. Frozen coconut yogurt is also a great substitute for frozen yogurt. My husband has lived off that for years! He used to be a HUGE ice cream fan, and coconut yogurt has been a great substitution. For baking, you can sub coconut yogurt or applesauce equally. I have used applesauce in so many recipes and it is the perfect addition.
I saved the hardest for last. Cheese is really the most difficult to recreate. There are many dairy-free cheeses on the market made from almond milk and also vegetables. We can never find them at the store where we live and the few times we do, it is pretty expensive. My husband wasn’t a fan of the soy cheese either. I try not to use many soy products in general.
The best one we have tried is definitely nutritional yeast. It has the same cheesy texture and taste, especially on things like pasta.
Baking and cooking dairy-free doesn’t have to be hard, you just need items that have the same scientific texture in your recipes. This list can replace almost any dairy product in your recipes!
If you have any questions email alexis @ chemistrycachet.com for more details!