milk substitutes in pan cakes

13 Best Substitutes for Milk in Pancakes

Pancakes are arguably one of the most popular breakfasts worldwide. But what do you do when you don’t have the key ingredient milk? Fortunately, you have 13 substitutes for milk in pancakes to choose from.

Believe it or not, you can get the same fluffy pancakes with these substitutes! Better yet, you can alter the texture to better suit your palette. 


13 Best Substitutes for Milk in Pancakes

1. Soy Milk

soy milk

A substitute ingredient that is recommended across the board for any kind of recipe that needs milk, soy milk is perhaps the best alternative for vegans and people with lactose intolerance. 

Some even consider this to be a healthier substitute, with soy milk being a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, soy milk is not as thick as cow’s milk. The consistency of the pancake mixture will differ slightly.

Soy milk is also an affordable milk substitute, and you just need an unsweetened variety to use to make pancakes. For flavored ones, use lesser sugar in the overall batter. Unsweetened soy milk is also not aromatic, so you would need things like vanilla extract to compensate for that. 

How to Substitute:

Soy milk can substitute regular milk in a 1:1 ratio. 

2. Almond Milk

almond milk

Another great substitute for milk, almond milk has been a staple for many vegan recipes, or for people who want milk alternatives. 

Though almond milk is the closest you can get to regular milk in terms of consistency, using this will give you a thinner pancake. If you want lighter and more fragile pancakes, almond milk is a perfect choice!

Almond milk has a nuttier and sweeter taste than regular milk. It is also a great source of calcium, making it a healthy option too. Moreover, you can make your own almond milk by using almonds and water in a blender.

How to Substitute:

1 cup of almond milk can substitute for 1 cup of regular milk.  

3. Coconut Milk

coconut milk

Coconut milk and coconut cream both work as remarkable substitutes for milk. It is a rich fluid made by pressing the juice out of coconut meat. 

Coconut milk is comparatively nuttier and sweeter in flavor than regular milk. It is also more aromatic and creamier in texture. While this substitute still makes the perfect pancakes, they come out lighter and sweeter tasting.

I recommend organically sourcing your coconut milk/cream. Either make it at home or get an organic brand. If you’re in a pinch, the regular store-bought variant is enough to get by.

Also Read:  15 Best Substitute for Milk in Mac and Cheese

How to Substitute:

1 cup of coconut milk can substitute for 1 cup of regular milk. 

4. Oat Milk

oat milk 

If you want to go a step further into the health-conscious section, then all you have to do is go for oat milk.

Oat milk has been a popular dairy alternative for years now, considering it is one of the creamiest plant-based milk on the market. It is used as a substitute for pancakes, and other baked products by vegans for years now. Oats provide a rich source of fiber and calcium.

You would want to look out for the unsweetened variety in the market. Oat milk has a subtle flavor and almost no aroma, so you’re free to choose whatever flavoring or essence you want. 

How to Substitute:

Oat milk can substitute regular milk in a 1:1 ratio. 

5. Cashew Milk

cashew milk

If you wanted more plant-based options but didn’t quite feel like going for almonds or soy, cashew milk is the substitute that will suit you perfectly. 

It goes without saying, you should avoid almond and cashew milk if you’re allergic to nuts. Unsweetened cashew milk is the best option for you to take. Cashew milk is mildly nutty in flavor while being creamy. 

Both almond and cashew milk can be used in pancakes like you would use regular milk. For a gluten-free option, you can use the flour made from the two nuts. 

How to Substitute:

1 cup of cashew milk substitutes for 1 cup of regular milk. 

6. Heavy Cream

heavy cream

Probably the first ingredient you run to whenever you need a quick alternative to regular milk. And fortunately, heavy cream is a good substitute for milk in pancakes. 

As you know, heavy cream is much fatter than milk. Thus, it makes thicker and richer pancakes. So if you craved more decadent pancakes, here is your best bet!

However, it can simply be too much for some people. If you want lighter pancakes with heavy cream, you can simply add less of them by mixing them gradually with the batter. Alternatively, you can dilute the heavy cream by adding a bit of water to it. 

How to Substitute:

1/2 cup of heavy cream substitutes for 1 cup of regular milk. Add 1/2 cup of water to 1/2 cup of heavy cream to dilute it.

7. Sour Cream

sour cream

An entry you probably did not see coming, sour cream is truly a great substitute for milk. It is more than suitable to make fluffy pancakes.

Like heavy cream, sour cream is also thicker than milk. Using it directly means a denser and richer pancake. While it is delicious for some, you can thin down the sour cream using water. Alternatively, you can gradually add this to your batter as you mix it. 

Also Read:  7 Best Substitute For Heavy Cream In Pasta

The natural tang of the sour cream actually compliments the sweeter toppings and flavorings you add to your pancake. 

How to Substitute:

5 tablespoons of sour cream can substitute for 1 cup of regular milk. Add water to thin down sour cream to desired consistency. 

8. Rice Milk

rice milk

Rice milk is a great plant-based dairy alternative for breakfast options like pancakes and waffles. 

In many Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, rice and rice milk have long been used to make a variety of desserts. It has gained popularity in the West owing to its lower caloric content and added nutrients when compared to regular milk. 

Pancake recipes with rice milk are some of the easiest to make. However, you have to be a little cautious of the amount you use, as the carbs begin to add up. Rice milk is mild tasting while having a sweet flavor profile.

How to Substitute:

1 cup of rice milk can substitute 1 cup of regular milk. 

9. Applesauce


For when you need to make pancakes specifically for people with nut or gluten allergies and lactose intolerance, applesauce is the ingredient you want to go for. 

Since applesauce is fruit pulp, it is much thicker than regular milk, giving you denser pancakes. You can add it gradually into the batter as you mix it. Do this till you reach your desired consistency. 

But more than texture, applesauce differs from regular milk with respect to its taste. It makes the overall pancakes sweeter, whereas flavored applesauce will add the essence of the flavor you’re using.

How to Substitute:

Applesauce can substitute regular milk in a 1:1 ratio.

10. Yogurt


Greek or flavored yogurt makes for some interesting flavors while providing very thick and fluffy pancakes. 

You can enhance the flavor with sweet toppings like whipped cream and fruits, while the yogurt provides a natural tang. Apart from aiding digestion, yogurt is a rich source of calcium, protein, vitamins, magnesium, and so on. 

It goes without saying, this option is not for people with lactose intolerance. Like other dairy products, you can thin down yogurt using water to achieve the desired consistency.

How to Substitute:

6 tablespoons of yogurt can substitute 1 cup of regular milk. 

11. Powdered/Evaporated/Condensed Milk

powdered milk

Other forms of milk, namely powdered, evaporated, and condensed milk, can work as a suitable substitute for regular milk. 

Also Read:  15 Best Pine Nut Substitutes For Cooking

You can use powdered milk by adding water to the dehydrated powder. The resulting product is nearly indistinguishable from regular milk. 

Evaporated milk is another common substitute for regular milk to make fluffy and thick pancakes. It is an unsweetened alternative when compared to condensed milk. What’s better, evaporated milk yields the same texture as pancakes made from regular milk.

Condensed milk might not be the best substitute for regular milk, it is still viable when making fluffy pancakes. It is much sweeter than regular milk, which makes it a tricky substitute. Apart from omitting additional sweeteners, you can dilute condensed milk with water. 

How to Substitute:

4 tablespoons of powdered milk in 1 cup of water/Evaporated milk in a 1:1 ratio/1/2 condensed milk with 3/4 cup water to substitute 1 cup of regular milk.

12. Half and Half

Half and half are equal parts of whole milk and cream and are not always used as a substitute for regular milk. But you can still use it to make fluffy pancakes of a similar texture.

Half and half are also similar in flavor to regular milk, and you can always dilute it with water to achieve your desired consistency.

How to Substitute:

3/4 cup of half and half can substitute 1 cup of regular milk. Use 1/4 cup of water to dilute.

13. Water

Lastly, we come to an entry you did not expect to see here, water is a perfect substitution for regular milk. 

Unlike the other options, water will obviously not add any additional flavor to the pancake. However, water is a good enough ingredient to bring all the dry ingredients together. 

Pancakes made of water will make crispier and thinner pancakes, but other than that you should face no difference than regular milk pancakes. To compensate for the texture, you can add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder or an egg to achieve a fluffier texture.

How to Substitute:

1 cup of water can substitute 1 cup of regular milk. 


If you wake up craving pancakes first thing in the morning, it can be disheartening to find out you’re out of milk. 

Fortunately, you now have 13 substitutes to choose from for milk in pancakes to choose from. While each of them will give you different results, they are all viable alternatives. The best part, you can probably find most of these ingredients in your pantry right now!

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