8 Substitutes For Whole Milk

Many recipes call for whole milk in their ingredients list. This is a dairy-based ingredient that has a higher fat content of three and a half percent due to not being processed as much as other types of milk.

At three and a half percent. It’s often used in recipes such as baked goods, pancakes, yogurt, and even mac and cheese.

Eight Substitutes For Whole Milk

However, if you don’t want to use milk with such a high fat content, don’t have any in your fridge, or simply don’t drink dairy, then you will need a substitute for whole milk (see also ‘13 Substitutes For Evaporated Milk‘). In this article, we will look at eight substitutes for whole milk.

Dairy-Based Whole Milk Substitutes

If you’re looking for a substitute and dairy is part of your diet, you should consider the following substitutes.

1. Half-And-Half


Half-and-half has an even higher fat content than whole milk and generally has around three to six times as much. It’s made by combining cream and whole milk and is ideal for both sweet and savory baking recipes. 

If you boil half-and-half, however, the cream and whole milk will begin to separate.

When making a recipe that includes heat, you should half-and-half towards the end of the recipe to avoid this separation. It may not be suitable for recipes that require the milk to be cooked for a long time, however.

Half-and-half is ideal for baked goods, bread, soups, and casserole dishes. To replace one cup of whole milk, use three-quarters a cup of half-and-half and one quarter a cup of water.

2. Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is a great substitute in recipes that need a thicker base. It has a high-fat content of around 36 percent so it’s not the best choice for people on a diet, but it can make for delicious dishes.

Consider using heavy cream in chocolate desserts, thick soups, and creamy pasta sauces.

If you’re really looking for a thick and decadent recipe, use heavy cream as a straight one-to-one swap for whole milk. You can also lighten it by using half a cup of heavy cream and half a cup of water for every cup of whole milk.

3. Light Cream

Light Cream

As a replacement for whole milk, light cream will add a rich and creamy flavor to your recipe. Light cream is pasteurized and has a thick consistency.

It’s best used in recipes that require a thick and creamy texture, such as soups and sauces. It’s not as suitable, however, for lighter recipes or those that require baking.

To get a similar consistency to whole milk, use half a cup of light cream and half a cup of water for every single cup of whole milk.

4. Two Percent Milk

Two Percent Milk

Two-percent milk is very similar to whole milk as it only has a slightly lower fat content. Due to the one and a half percent difference whole milk is a little richer, but the difference is barely negligible.

If you don’t have any whole milk but you do have two-percent milk at hand, you can use two-percent milk instead in the same manner.

5. Yogurt

Yogurt (2)

Yogurt consistency is thicker than that of whole milk so you will need to add a little water to thin it out. It also has a tangier taste than whole milk but you can balance this out by adding a little vanilla.

Yogurt is a great substitute for whole milk in baked goods. You can use it in the same volume as you would whole milk.

Non-Dairy Whole Milk Substitutes

If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, then you will definitely need a substitute for whole milk. The following are all suitable substitutes and don’t contain any dairy.

6. Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk has a consistency that is much thinner than whole milk and it also has a subtle flavor of coconut.

It’s available as both canned and boxed coconut milk (see also ‘10 Substitutes For Coconut Milk‘), but we would recommend canned milk as it is creamier and thicker than the boxed type.

It’s best used in sweet recipes and curries. You should avoid it in any recipe that would be affected by a coconut taste. Use it as a straight, one-to-one replacement for whole milk.

7. Soy Milk

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a great substitute for whole milk when you’re making sweeter dishes. Soy milk is naturally a little sweeter than whole milk and many other options on this list and this makes it less suitable for savory dishes.

Of all of the non-dairy options, soy milk is the most available and is also one of the cheaper options.

As well as using soy milk in sweeter recipes, it can be used as a straight one-to-one replacement for whole milk.

8. Oat Milk

Oat Milk

If you’re looking for a non-dairy alternative to whole milk, oat milk is one of the best choices you can make.

It has a more subtle flavor compared to some other non-dairy options such as coconut milk but is also creamy like whole milk is. Oat milk is more expensive than some other options on this list but is becoming more popular and available.

Oat milk is suitable for most recipes that use whole milk. It can also be used as a straight swap for oat milk at a one-to-one ratio.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we detail eight different substitutes for whole milk. We included both dairy and non-dairy options so no matter what your dietary needs are, there should be a substitute for you.

Eight Substitutes For Whole Milk

Eight Substitutes For Whole Milk

Recipe by Jenna
Course: Substitutes
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  • Half-and-Half

  • Heavy Cream

  • Light Cream

  • Two Percent Milk

  • Yogurt

  • Coconut Milk

  • Soy Milk

  • Oat Milk


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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