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Can you substitute almond milk for milk?


Almond milk is a versatile, tasty option that works well in just about every recipe. It has a similar texture and consistency to cow’s milk, so it can sub in seamlessly whether you’re baking or cooking.

Plant-based cooking is becoming a lot more common, but there are still a lot of recipes that call for regular milk. Don’t worry; many of them can be easily modified to suit your dietary preferences.

If you’ve been missing out on some of your favorites because of allergies, intolerances or dietary choices, we’re here to help. 

Read on for some tips and tricks that make the process easy and enjoyable.

A quick primer on almond milk

Almond milk is one of the most popular types of non-dairy milk and for good reason. It has a nutty flavor and a creamy texture that feels similar to the texture of regular milk. It comes in unsweetened, sweetened and flavored varieties. 

Almond milk is a great alternative for people who are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies. It’s not suitable for those with nut allergies, though. If you’re looking for an alternative to dairy milk and you can’t eat almonds, you may want to try oat milk or hemp milk instead. 

If you want to substitute almond milk for dairy milk in your tried-and-true recipes, here’s how to get the best results. 

Substituting almond milk in baking

Almond milk can be used as a one-to-one substitute for dairy milk when baking, with a few important considerations. 

The main purpose of milk in many recipes is to provide moisture and almond milk works great for that. In many cases, using almond milk instead of cow’s milk won’t affect taste or texture.

However, almond milk is thinner than dairy milk and has less fat, so recipes that need butterfat might have a different texture if you make them with almond milk. Almond milk also contains less protein and has a higher water content, which can affect how your baked goods brown. You’ll want to monitor your baking to make sure it doesn’t overcook because you can’t use the visual of browning as a guide to doneness. 

Cow’s milk also contains lactose, a sugar that can be important if you’re baking savory recipes or using yeast. To replicate dairy as closely as possible, choose lightly sweetened almond milk. If the recipe has added sugars like cookies or brownies do, the difference might not be noticeable, allowing you to use unsweetened almond milk.

Using almond milk in other types of cooking

Looking for alternatives to dairy milk in your stove top cooking or roasting? You can easily use almond milk as a replacement for 2%, 1% and skim milk since they have a similar consistency. 

Flavorful dishes like curries and casseroles can easily sub almond milk for dairy milk. These dishes usually have lots of spices, so you might not notice the taste of the almond milk at all. 

When making creamy sauces and soups, remember that 2% or higher dairy milk contains more fat than almond milk. Fat helps give these dishes a luscious texture, but you can still use almond milk if you add fat in other ways. 

For example, if you’re trying to replace heavy cream or whole milk in a recipe, you may need to add some other fats, like oils or butter. Thickening sauces with a roux or cornstarch can also help you get the right consistency. 

Using almond milk in desserts and beverages

For all the lovers of sweets reading this, rest assured you can substitute almond milk in your favorite dessert recipes. Brownies, cakes and other baked desserts turn out beautifully if you substitute almond milk one-to-one. Believe it or not, you can even use almond milk to make condensed milk.

Almond milk can be used to craft delicious puddings and mousses if you pay attention to the consistency. You might need to add ingredients to thicken these types of desserts due to the decreased fat content. Cornstarch mixed with water or gelatin can help give your treats a decadent, creamy texture. Depending on the specific recipe, almond puddings may need up to a few tablespoons of cornstarch to reach the ideal consistency.

If you’re looking for beverage substitutions, almond milk is still in the running! It almost goes without saying that almond milk is perfect in smoothies and shakes. Simply replace dairy milk with the same amount of almond milk and blend away. 

If you frequent coffee shops, you might have noticed that almond milk has become very popular. The nutty flavor pairs very well with coffee and tea and is good in both iced and hot drinks. Vanilla or chocolate-flavored almond milk can be a delicious replacement for coffee creamer. 

Flavor dynamics: Almond milk vs. conventional milk

You might be wondering if using almond milk will change the flavor of your dish. Well, that depends. If your dish has a lot of other spices and strong ingredients, you’ll most likely not notice the swap. Unflavored almond milk has a subtle taste and will blend well with many dishes. 

Almond milk adds a nutty flavor to some recipes, which can be a big plus. Some ingredients really shine with the added depth of flavor almond milk brings. Almond milk and chocolate make a delicious duo. The subtle nut flavor balances out the chocolate’s richness. 

The warm, creamy taste of almond milk can be a good complement to savory foods like bechamel sauce, too.

Tips for successful substitution

Here are some quick tips to help you make your almond milk substitutions a success.

  • Almond milk can be substituted one-to-one for dairy milk. 
  • Temperature and cooking times usually don’t need to be adjusted.
  • Check your baked goods to make sure they’re cooking as expected, especially if it’s a new recipe.
  • Use low-to-medium heat when cooking with almond milk to avoid burning it.
  • Read labels to ensure you get the right sweetness and flavor. Vanilla is delicious in coffee, but not in curry!

Our favorite recipes using almond milk

Are you ready to try out some recipes that include almond milk? Here are some of our favorites. 

Lemon Blueberry Baked French Toast

This baked French toast is sure to be a hit at weekend brunch. 

See the full recipe: Lemon Blueberry Baked French Toast

Mushroom Pasta with Spring Peas in Cream Sauce

This savory main dish proves you don’t need dairy to make cream sauces. 

See the full recipe: Mushroom Pasta with Spring Peas in Cream Sauce

Plant-Based Brownies with Chocolate Almond Ganache

Enjoy the four-star flavor combination of chocolate and almond in these decadent brownies.

See the full recipe: Plant-Based Brownies with Chocolate Almond Ganache

Carrot Cake Smoothie

If drinks are more your style, try this delicious smoothie that tastes just like dessert.

See the full recipe: Carrot Cake Smoothie

Substitute almond milk for cow’s milk in your favorite recipes.

No matter the recipe, almond milk can be a great substitute for dairy milk. The question is less “Can you substitute almond milk for milk?” and more “What is the best way to substitute almond milk for milk?”

Luckily, Pacific Foods proudly offers wholesome plant-based drinks to help you enjoy the recipes you love without cow’s milk. Try using almond beverages in your cooking today.