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6 Versatile Vegan Substitutes for Milk


Plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk have been growing in popularity for years. Whether for dietary, environmental or ethical reasons, more people are looking for the best milk substitutes.

There are many different kinds of plant-based beverages that you can substitute for milk in cooking, baking or to simply put in your cup of coffee. Let’s take a look at the best vegan milk alternatives that you can try.

Popular Vegan Alternatives to Milk

Oat Milk

When it comes to flavor, oat milk is hard to beat as a substitute for cow’s milk. It’s creamy and slightly sweet with a hint of oatmeal flavor.

Oat milk is made from rolled oats that are liquified and then blended with water. This pulp is strained, producing a light beige beverage. As a milk substitute, it has a creamy consistency that makes it ideal for cooking and baking.

Original and flavored varieties, including Pacific Foods Organic Oat Original and Pacific Foods Organic Oat Vanilla are tasty enough to drink alone and are popular with coffee drinkers.

Almond Milk

One of the biggest players in the plant-based milk alternative market is almond milk. It’s made from soaking almonds, which are then ground into a paste. It’s then strained to remove any pulp and excess water, which gives it a thinner consistency. This produces a white-colored beverage that looks very similar to dairy milk.

Almond milk retains a very noticeable nutty flavor, and you can find it unsweetened and sweetened. Sweetened almond milk can come in flavors like vanilla or chocolate, which makes them great for smoothies. Unsweetened almond milk has a mild taste that is suitable for many different savory recipes.

Our varieties include:

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is made by soaking hemp seeds, which have a mild, nutty flavor. These seeds are then blended with water to create a creamy beverage. It has an earthy flavor that’s similar to unsweetened almond milk and is rich in nutrients. Like almond milk, you can find it in different flavors.

Hemp milk steams well for hot beverages and can add a thicker consistency to recipes, which makes it a great substitute for milk in cooking. It’s especially ideal for savory vegan meals.

Our lineup of hemp beverages includes:

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a great substitute for cow’s milk when it comes to just about everything. You can use it for baking, cooking, coffee drinks and vegan smoothies.

Coconut milk is made by shredding the coconut meat. This inside meat is mixed with water, and then strained into a milk-like beverage. It has a higher fat content and a silky texture, along with a distinct coconut aroma and flavor.

It’s important to note that coconut milk can come in a thick or thin consistency. Thick coconut milks typically come in cans, and is ideal for cooking and baking. Thin coconut milk tends to come in cartons, and is best for drinking plain, using in cereal and creating smoothies.

Many recipes have called for coconut milk over the years, and it’s a cooking staple for many. Like some other vegan milk substitutes, there’s a wide range of flavors to choose from.

Our coconut beverages include:

Cashew Milk

Like almond milk, cashew milk is a vegan milk substitute made from soaked cashews. They’re then drained and blended with water to produce a creamy beverage. It has a milder flavor than almond milk and is only slightly nutty, making it a good choice for drinking straight.

Since the flavor isn’t as sweet as other milk substitutes, cashew milk can be a solid vegan alternative for cooking savory dishes. However, it’s still great for baking your favorite vegan desserts and treats. Pacific Foods Cashew Unsweetened Original is specifically made with organic and Fair Trade Certified™ cashews.

Soy Milk

For many people, soy milk was the first readily available alternative to cow’s milk. Soy milk’s protein content gives it a rich flavor with just a hint of sweetness. It’s made from soaked soybeans, which are then ground with water. This concoction is then boiled and filtered, producing a velvety consistency.

While soy milk has given way to other alternatives in terms of market share, it’s still a great milk substitute for almost everything. Its flavor profile tends to lean more neutral, which is ideal when you don’t want your vegan milk to overpower other flavors in your favorite dishes and beverages.

Pacific Foods Organic Unsweetened Soy Original and Pacific Foods Ultra Soy Original are excellent substitutes for plain dairy milk. If you enjoy vegan milk that has a rich texture and a mild taste, go with the unsweetened beverage. If you like a little more flavor, try the sweetened option.

Vegan Milk Alternatives for Baking

Milk plays an important role in many baking recipes. Any true substitute for cow’s milk has to be able to fulfill that same role. Luckily, all six alternatives we’ve discussed here can be easily used in baking.

Vegan milk alternatives are no obstacle to making any delicious baked goods you can imagine. There’s some variation in performance, with some substitutes leaving baked goods more or less dense than others. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see which you like best for your vegan recipes!

Common Questions about Vegan Milk Alternatives

What Plant-based Milk Tastes the Most Like Milk?

This is, perhaps, the most frequently asked question when it comes to plant-based alternatives to cow milk. It is also a difficult question to answer, since each milk substitute has its own distinct flavor.

Whole milk and skim milk don’t taste or feel the same in your mouth as vegan milk. Some plant-based alternatives are closer to whole milk than skim in terms of flavor and mouth feel. In general, soy milk is often regarded as the alternative with the most similar flavor profile and texture.

What Can You Substitute for Milk in a Baking Recipe?

All six vegan substitutes are able to replicate the moisture of milk and make fine substitutes for all your baking needs. In addition, people have swapped out milk for things like yogurt, sour cream and even water to replicate its effect on a baking recipe.

The type you choose will depend on the recipe and your taste profile. If you want a vegan milk for a creamy dessert, coconut milk is probably best. If you’re creating a baked good, like cake or cookies, they might need a milk substitute that can hold together their structure. In this case, soy milk is a suitable alternative.

It might take a little trial and error to find your favorite, but all will produce a quality effect for your baked goods.

Which Vegan Milk Is Best for Cooking?

Baking is highly forgiving of almost all vegan milk substitutes. Cooking, on the other hand, requires a more careful selection.

Some vegan alternatives include vanilla flavoring and sweetener. Some come with a strong, distinct flavor of their own. Coconut milk tastes like coconut. Almond milk tastes like almonds. If you don’t want to cook something that ends up having an almond flavor, you might need to try a different vegan milk substitute.

Soy, hemp and cashew are all good choices for savory dishes. They have a flavor mild that won’t overpower your cooking. When deciding which one to use, focus on the texture. If you want a thicker consistency, soy is a safe option. If your recipe needs a thinner but still creamy texture, try cashew milk.

Pacific Foods Plant-Based Beverages Make it Easy

At Pacific Foods, we strive to help our customers eat well, without sacrificing in the areas of sustainability, local sourcing and ethical decision-making. We’re proud to provide vegan alternatives to cow’s milk for all your cooking, baking and recipe needs. Enjoy our plant-based options by shopping our products today.