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Baking Without Milk and Dairy: Best Milk Alternatives for Dairy-Free Baking

There are so many non-dairy milks to choose from when vegan baking, it can be hard to pick which one to use. You'll have to replace the milk in recipes in order to make them vegan. But is it best to use soy milk, almond milk, or another non-dairy milk?

As the owner of the award-winning vegan bakery, Curious Cat Bakery, I've tested every milk alternative out there. I've been on a mission to find the best non-dairy milk for vegan baking so I can help beginner vegan bakers.

Comparing Soy, Oat, Flax and Hemp Milk

Soy milk is one of the most popular vegan milk alternatives, and works well for making things like vegan cake. Oat milk is also a popular option that works great as a milk replacement in vegan baking.

Flax milk is not as common, but I also found it to work very well as a milk replacement.

The key to using any of these milk alternatives in vegan baking is to make sure they are unsweetened and unflavored. A vanilla-flavored, sweetened, non-dairy milk is not going to work well in your vegan cake - it will overpower the flavor, and make it too sweet.

One non-dairy milk that I would not recommend for vegan baking, particularly for making vegan cake, is hemp milk. Personally, I felt like it had an aftertaste that was not the best.

You can watch me test all of these milk alternatives here.

Baking with Almond Milk and Other Nut Milks

Plain almond milk is my favorite choice for vegan baking, and it's what I use in all of my vegan cakes. I feel that it has the most neutral flavor, so it's perfect for a vanilla vegan cake that tastes like the real thing.

Macadamia milk would be my second option out of nut-based milk alternatives. It added a little bit of sweetness, but it was not bad.

Cashew milk and hazelnut milks are good options for vegan baking, just be prepared for a nutty aftertaste. Hazelnut especially had a distinct nut flavor when I used it to make vegan cake.

I tested out vegan cakes with all of these nut milks. Watch here.

Homemade almond milk vs. store bought

I've also tested out whether homemade almond milk or store bought almond milk works best in vegan baking. I was curious if making almond milk from scratch with real almonds would work better in a vegan cake compared to the store-bought version.

I felt that the two versions were nearly identical in taste and texture. It might not be worth it to take the extra, overnight process of making homemade almond milk. You can watch the test here.

I've also created an entire playlist of videos about baking without milk and dairy. You can check it out here.

And if you're just getting started with vegan baking and looking for an overview, check out this blog post on vegan baking 101.

How about replacing eggs in vegan baking? I walk you through that in this blog post.