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Alternatives to milk: How to substitute milk, eggs, butter and more

For a number of factors, many people shift towards dairy alternatives like improved health or reducing their effects on the world. One problem people face when they give up dairy is how dairy products can be substituted daily.

We provide a guide to the best dairy replacements in this article, ranging from alternatives to milk to coffee or cereal to replacing butter in a favorite recipe.

Milk alternatives

There is a wide range of non-dairy milks available.
There is a wide range of non-dairy milks available.

Although many people still resort to drinking a glass of cow’s milk or adding it to their favorite dishes, others resort to nondairy alternatives. Fortunately there are plenty of shop-bought and homemade options available.

A cup of whole milk contains about 149 calories, about 8 grams (g) of protein and about 8 g of fat. It also contains minerals and nutrients which include calcium and potassium. A lot of suppliers add vitamin D to their milk, too.

Similarly, some plant-based milks are highly nutritious, and many manufacturers sell calcium- and vitamin D-fortified products.

Good alternatives for cow’s milk may be the following options:

Almond milk

Almond milk is a common alternative to milk because it is simple to produce, it is inexpensive to buy and it is tasty to many.

A cup of almond milk contains about 39 calories, 1 g of protein and 2.5 g of fat.

Almond milk may not have the strong taste that some other plant-based milk may have, but many people may consider it a good transition milk to try.

Soy milk

Some doctors may prescribe soy milk to people who are intolerant to dairy foods or try calorie cutting.

A cup of one of the leading soy milk brands contains 7 g of protein, 4 g of fat and just 80 calories, which means it offers almost as much protein as whole milk.

Soy milk can have a weird taste to people who don’t know it. It comes in sweetened and unsweetened forms, however, so a person can seek out different options.

Coconut milk

Obviously, coconut milk is very fatty which helps to provide the same texture as cow’s milk.

A cup of fortified coconut milk does, however, contain 74 calories and 5 g fat but less than 1 g protein.

Since of its smooth texture many people use coconut milk in their coffee. Adding cocoa powder to warm coconut milk makes hot cocoa rich and creamy too.

Rice milk

Rice milk tastes sweeter than other dairy alternatives. This is also more watery than other alternatives, but comes in several variations and can be a perfect substitute for milk in cereal.

A cup of rice milk contains about 113 calories, less than 1 g of protein and slightly more than 2 g of fat.

Other options

The aforementioned are the most common alternative to cow milk. Many dairy-free options include:

  • oat milk
  • hemp milk
  • flax milk
  • cashew milk
  • tiger nut milk

Butter alternatives

While plant-based margarine is widely available, some people are searching for natural alternatives. Including:

  • Coconut oil: In most recipes coconut oil is a simple 1:1 substitute for butter. Some people recommend that you heat the oil and add some salt to neutralize the sweeter coconut flavor.
  • Olive oil: It is possible to use olive oil instead of butter to sauté foods or caramelize them, rather than to bake them.
  • Avocados: The avocados in the kitchen are highly flexible. A ripe avocado may make the ideal butter substitute for baking, depending on the recipe. The flavor of avocado appears to dissipate, leaving only the smooth, faty texture that can be ideal for baked goods.
  • Bananas: A ripe banana will substitute butter for sweet recipes, too. Be mindful that the banana flavour can change the treat’s taste.

Cheese alternatives

There is a wide range of alternatives for cheese, including:

Soft cheese

cheeses using cashews
It is possible to make soft cheeses using cashews or silken tofu.

It is easy to reproduce the texture on soft cheese. There are several varieties of soft cream cheese based on plants on the market which are usually made from soy or coconut milk.

Those soft cheeses can be made just as easily at home. Soaking cashews nuts overnight and mixing them with a bit of nut milk and lemon juice gives the tangy cream cheese taste they want to give other people.

Strong silken tofu can be combined with salt and spices to make a dairy-free nacho cheese. The addition of chives and fried onions to the mix will make it a nice, vegan onion dip.

Smoked tofu may also substitute thin slices of provolone cheese in a sandwich.

Hard cheese

Hard cheese’s salty-sour flavor can be hard to recreate at home, although many store-bought cheese substitutes are available in health food stores.

Strong tofu crumbling and baking it with salt and truffle oil will make an excellent topping for pasta or other dishes that may require hard cheeses.

Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy taste and is fortified with essential vitamins by many manufacturers.

A easy way to add a cheesy taste to many foods, including cheesy garlic bread and pasta sauce, is nutritional yeast.

Yogurt alternatives

Dairy yogurt is a mixture of milk, bacteria and lactic acid. For dairy alternatives the procedure is the same. Most store-bought alternatives manufacturers use cultivated soy but some use other bases like coconut milk.

Users can also buy a kit that produces yogurt and produce their own dairy-free yogurt. Most times, they will reuse the live bacterial culture to create new batches.

Ice cream alternatives

Countless dairy-free ice creams are available on the market. Usually, producers make them with nut milk, like those from coconuts, almonds, or cashews. Now available are dairy-free Fruit-based sorbets.

In addition, a person can combine frozen bananas, vanilla, and a small amount of plant-based milk to make a simple vanilla ice cream home.

Health benefits of going dairy-free

Dairy milk is a rich protein source, and a very popular dietary calcium source. These nutrients are found in many other plant-based foods, but a person making the switch should make sure they meet their daily needs.

There are also some possible health benefits of being clean of dairy, including:

Avoiding symptoms of lactose intolerance

Apparently, most people stop producing lactase, which is the enzyme required to break down lactose sugar in milk once they stop the dairy consumption.

According to one study, lactose intolerant is as many as 75 percent of the world’s population. The lactose sensitivity signs include:

  • bloating
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea or loose stools
  • gas
  • stomach rumbling

Switching to alternatives may help people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy products reduce symptoms and keep their digestive system healthy.

Some people are allergic to cow’s milk and likely have a serious allergic reaction to it. Someone who is allergic to milk should totally avoid dairy products.

Avoiding hormones and steroids

Some people remove dairy products to prevent the risk of toxins in milk, such as pesticides or hormones.

A 2015 study reported that even small quantities of hormones and steroids in milk tend to move on to the person who drinks it and may have unintended effects on the body. The researchers are calling for further research into the topic.

Reducing cancer risk

A 2017 study found a substantial reduction in the incidence of cancer among vegans who do not eat any animal products, including dairy.

However, this may not be due solely to a lack of food in their diet, since vegans often avoid meat and eggs.

Addressing ethical concerns

Some diets or diet plans that look for ethical reasons to exclude all the dairy products.

Vegans or some vegetarians may avoid dairy because they have concerns about the environmental effects of the dairy industry or the effects on the animals involved in dairy production.

Things to consider

Some dairy alternatives may contain added sugar.

It’s important to realize that it just doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe if everything is plant based.

Consumers should also review the dairy alternatives labels and look for any added additives or other factors that may influence how good the product is. Stuff to look out for include:

  • added sugars
  • added starch
  • thickeners, such as carrageenan
  • added flavoring
  • preservatives
  • lack of nutrients and minerals
  • lack of protein

While a lot of products can imitate a food’s taste or substitute a dairy product in baking, a person should be sure that they still fulfill their nutritional needs.


There are a variety of dairy alternatives to choose from, maybe more so now than ever before. Although such items can be found in supermarkets, some homemade versions can be just as delicious and have less additives.

Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka Martins is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.

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