9 Best Substitutes for Milk in Pancakes

Pancakes are a breakfast favorite for many. They can be made with eggs, flour, and sugar or they can come from a mix that has all the ingredients in it.

Milk is a key ingredient in pancakes. Without milk, the pancakes may turn out to be very dry.

But if you do not have any cow’s milk laying around or you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, finding the right milk to make them can be tricky. 

Lucky for you, there are various substitutes for milk in pancakes available for your different needs. Some of the best ones are coconut milk, oat milk, almond milk, heavy cream, water, etc.

To find out which substitute works best for you, let’s take a look at them all!

9 Best Substitutes for Milk in Pancakes

Substitutes for Milk in Pancakes

1. Almond Milk

Almond milk is a great replacement for people trying to avoid too much dairy. It has a nutty flavor and can be considered the most popular vegan alternative to dairy milk.

Almond milk is low in calories and saturated fat yet rich in nutrients for example vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium. The downside of almond milk is that it does not contain as much protein as cow’s milk.

2. Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk can also be used as a substitute for dairy milk in pancakes. It is thick and creamy, and it has a subtly sweet taste that reminds you of tropical islands.

Plus, coconut milk contains many healthy fats which are important for brain development. It also provides sweetness to the pancakes but in a way completely different than almonds and even vanilla extract.

3. Soy Milk

Soy milk is made from soybeans and water, this slightly sweet plant-based alternative to dairy milk contains essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2), phosphorus, and iron.

It has long been a staple in many Asian countries and is gaining more popularity in the US.

Soy milk has a unique flavor profile that works well in pancakes. It provides the pancakes with a bit more protein than cow’s milk does but may also slightly alter the taste of the pancakes.

You should avoid using soy milk if you are trying to stay away from soy products or if you have other allergies.

4. Oat Milk

Oat milk is an excellent substitute for dairy milk in pancakes, though it does contain a good amount of calories and carbs.

Oat milk is made from the pulverized oats, water, and sweeteners.

This type of milk contains some vitamins and minerals such as calcium, protein, vitamin E, thiamine (vitamin B1), magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium. However, it does not contain much iron or B2 (riboflavin) as much as cow’s milk does.

5. Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is made from raw, unsalted cashews and water, making it a really healthy choice for vegans who want to skip on dairy or soy products.

It is creamy and nutty and contains zero lactose or cholesterol but adds protein and healthy fats to your diet. Plus, it can add some sweetness to your pancakes.

But it has a high water content that can result in thin pancakes. Also, it does not have the protein content of cow’s milk.

6. Rice Milk

Rice milk is an alternative for those who cannot or prefer not to eat dairy products and soy products.

It provides a similar texture to cow’s milk but with fewer calories and no fat or cholesterol. However, rice milk does not contain calcium, vitamin D, or B12.

Rice milk is creamier than almond milk and works well in pancakes as well.

And like other milk substitutes, it can alter the taste and texture of the pancakes significantly.

7. Heavy Cream

Heavy cream provides a lot of richness to the pancakes and they appear fluffier than usual. It is not vegan because it contains generous amounts of fat that come from cow’s milk and its cream.

Heavy cream is a dairy product that contains at least 36% milkfat with a creamy consistency which is perfect for making luxurious and rich flavored pancakes.

It has about 80 calories per tablespoon and a good amount of fat which makes it perfect for increasing the nutritional value of your pancakes without changing their taste too much.

8. Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is what you should use if you want to avoid soy products, nuts, and gluten in general. It has a distinct flavor that works well in baked goods such as pancakes.

Plus it is a great source of iron, omega-3s, and magnesium which make it a nutrient-dense alternative to dairy milk.

The downside of hemp milk is that it has such a strong flavor which may alter the taste of your pancakes significantly. It has an earthy taste, so pancakes made with hemp milk may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

If you are looking for alternatives that can keep the taste of your pancakes the same, other options such as oat milk should be considered.

9. Water


If you are lactose intolerant or vegan and cannot eat soy products, nuts, gluten, or anything else in your diet that prevents you from using other substitutes, water is one option for you!

Just make sure to add a bit more salt to the pancake batter to avoid flat or bland flavors.

Bonus: Blend Of Milk Substitutes

One of the best options is to use a blend of milk substitutes. Although cow’s milk is still considered the best choice for making pancakes, these substitutes are definitely worth giving a try.

You can choose one option that works best for you and your dietary restrictions, or you can use a combination of up to two substitutes.

You can combine oat milk and hemp milk for a more nutritious meal or choose from one of the other options that suit your preferences better.

Just keep in mind that dairy-free pancakes may not turn out as fluffy as they usually do but are still wonderful on the inside and really tasty.

Which Milk Alternative Tastes Most Like Milk?

In terms of taste and texture, oat milk is the closest to cow’s milk.

If you want a similar consistency but would like to avoid soy products for health reasons, oat milk should be your go-to choice.

Hemp milk is also very thick and creamy so it has a great mouthfeel that makes pancakes luxurious and tasty.

However, the taste of hemp milk is too strong for some people so almond milk would be a better alternative.

Oat Milk vs Almond Milk: Which One to Choose?

It can be hard to choose between oat milk and almond milk when it comes to pancakes- they both have their perks! 

Oat milk is a bit healthier because it has fewer calories so if you are looking to cut back on your calorie intake, oat milk should be the way to go.

However, almond milk contains more calcium than oat milk so it would be better for those who want to improve their bone health and increase their intake of vitamin D.

While they are both very nutritious and healthy, oat milk is a bit thicker than almond milk so it has a creamier consistency which makes pancakes fluffier in the process.

Also, oat milk has a light nutty taste that goes well with pretty much any pancake flavor you can think of!

Almond milk is very similar to dairy milk because it has a smooth and rich consistency- it also has fewer calories.

But if you want the pancakes to be fluffier, go for oat milk as it will do wonders for your batter!

Which Milk Alternative Is Healthiest?

When choosing an alternative to cow’s milk, the healthier options are almond milk, oat milk, and soy milk.

Soy milk is the most nutritious option because it has a high protein content as well as all nine amino acids essential for human health.

It also contains calcium and riboflavin which make it an excellent choice in terms of nutrition.

However, soy doesn’t always go well with other flavors and can be too strong for pancakes.

Almond milk is slightly lower in protein but higher in healthy fats than soy milk.

Oat milk has a very similar nutritional value to almond milk but it has more calcium, iron, and vitamin A!

Overall, oat milk seems like the best alternative to cow’s milk so if you want to make your pancakes as nutritious and tasty as possible, go for oat milk!

Is Pancake Mix Better With Water or Milk?

Since pancake mix is already made, it’s usually easy to substitute water for milk in this case.

Pancake mixtures generally have a lot of ingredients such as sugar and vegetable oils that can get rid of the need for any other liquids.

If you want the batter to come out less sweet or richer in flavor, you can choose to add a splash of milk.

Water is the quickest and most convenient way to make pancakes as it takes just one step to complete- mix!

However, adding some dairy-free milk would make them tastier and healthier in general so if you have alternative milk options at home, go for it!

Does Type of Milk Affect Baking?

Different types of milk have different properties and when baking, you should choose the one that will give you the desired consistency.

For example, whole milk has a thicker consistency than skim milk so it is better for sweet dishes. Skim milk is better for baked goods that require fluffy pancakes, such as waffles and muffins.

Milk doesn’t usually change the consistency of a batter but adding some alternative milk is entirely possible.

Final Words

Pancakes are like a blank canvas; they can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion! But even the simplest pancake needs some sort of liquid to make it cook and come together.

Depending on what you want out of your pancakes, oat milk and almond milk can both be an alternative for cow’s milk.

If you want the pancakes to come out fluffier, go for oat milk, and if you want them to have a creamier consistency, try almond milk!

Lastly, adding any type of milk to pancake batter will improve the taste but you can also add water rather than other liquids if you want your pancakes to be as easy to make as possible. Feel free to experiment with some of the options to see what works best for you!

Hopefully, this article has helped you find the best substitute for milk in your pancakes.

Do you have a favorite pancake flavor? Write a comment below and let me know your favorite substitute.

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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