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Substitutes for Milk in Recipes

Do you know anyone who is allergic to milk? How about someone who is lactose intolerant? Maybe you have found yourself in a situation where you need some milk to make something along the lines of pancakes, and that you have none? If you have ever found yourself answering yes to one of these questions, then you need to know how to substitute milk in those recipes.

Substituting milk (or milk products) in a recipe, like anytime you substitute any other kind of ingredient, is a simple matter as long as you have a little knowledge. Listed below is a short list of milk and a select few other dairy products, and the best substitutions for them. Where possible there will be complete substitutions, items that are not based off of milk or milk products, however there are going to be some instances where the only possible substitution would be another form of a dairy product.

  • Butter (salted). One cup of salted butter can be substituted with one cup of shortening and half a teaspoon of salt, or half a teaspoon salt and 7/8 a cup of vegetable oil, or the same amount of lard and salt. Also you can simply use one cup of margarine to replace the butter, or use one tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Butter (unsalted). To replace one cup of unsalted butter, simply replace with one cup of shortening or 7/8 cup of vegetable oil or lard. Another substitution would be to use one tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Buttermilk. One cup of buttermilk can be replaced with a single cup of yogurt or one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice and enough milk to make one full cup.
  • Cheddar cheese. For one cup of shredded cheddar cheese, you can substitute one cup of either Colby or Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Condensed milk (sweetened). Mix together 3/4 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of water and 1-1/8 cup of dry powdered milk. Gently boil the mixture for about twenty minutes until it has thickened.
  • Cottage cheese. One cup of ricotta or farmer's cheese can be replaced for one cup of cottage cheese.
  • Cream cheese. Pureeing one cup of cottage cheese or one cup of strained plain yogurt (strained overnight) will give you the equivalent of one cup of cream cheese.
  • Evaporated milk. To substitute one cup of evaporated milk, you could use one cup of light cream.
  • Half and Half. Mix together one tablespoon of butter and 7/8 cup milk until well blended and you will have the equivalent of one cup of half and half.
  • Heavy cream. Either use one cup of evaporated milk or 3/4 cup milk and 1/3 cup of butter well blended to make the equivalent of one cup of heavy cream.
  • Light cream. Either use one cup of evaporated milk or 3/4 cup of milk and 3 tablespoons of butter that is well blended.
  • Margarine. Mixing one cup of shortening and 1/2 teaspoon of salt will provide you with the equivalent of one cup of margarine. You can also use 7/8 cup vegetable oil (or lard) and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Finally, you can also use one cup of butter.
  • Mayo. For every single cup of mayonnaise that a recipe calls for, instead use either one cup of sour cream or one cup of plain yogurt.
  • Whole milk. For one cup of whole milk, you can also use one cup of soy milk, rice milk, water, or juice. Another possible substitutions would be 1/4 cup of dry milk powder and one cup of water.

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