How to replace cow milk in recipes: 4 alternatives from plants


After meat, the other food excluded in a vegan diet is milk. If in the ‘90 the best alternative was represented by soy beverages (note, the law doesn’t allow to call them “milk”), more recently the food industry has been proposed all sorts of varieties of plant origin.

Those alternatives to traditional milk are usually obtained by macerating the dried fruit/cereal in water and filtering the liquid from the solid part. What remains is an emulsion of fats, water and proteins with a milky resemblance. Being more and more requested as replacement of cow milk, those beverages are often fortified with vitamins as type A, D e B12, to prevent deficiencies. Although the sweetened versions are more yummy, I suggest to use to the plain ones in your recipes.

As usual, I will speak about these beverages as “technical” replacement, namely how you can use them in traditional recipes instead of common milk. If you have doubts on the nutritional side, please, consult a dietitian or even your family doctor. I know, surfing the web in search for any answer is a big temptation. So easy, so quick. Anyway, despite being a great resource, internet is also a place where, unfortunately, misinformation flourishes. And I say that because I saw things that you humans… ;)

Let’s see the most common beverage that can replace milk in traditional recipes.

Soy beverage

A classical. It popped up in Italy during the ’90 in Italia and became quite popular right away. It has a neutral taste with a slight floury aftertaste. It can replace common milk in almost all recipes. Being a soy derivative, it contains a good amount of lecithin (an excellent emulsifier) and, thanks to that, can replace eggs in the preparation of a vegan mayo.

Almond beverage

The famous Sicilian almond “milk”! A mouth watering milk. More suitable for sweet recipes , as the almond taste is quite pronounced. Cashew and hazelnut beverages are also available now. I have never tried them, but I believe they retain a bit of the flavour of the orina dried fruit.

Rice beverage

Never tried to be honest, but I have been told that has a rather neutral taste. However, it does’t have the versatility of soy milk. Certain people love it, others detests it. It’s difficult to judge.

Coconut milk

The only beverage of plant origin that can boast the appellation of “milk” :) It is widely used in the Thai Kitchen to quench the spiciness of their intriguing sweet-sour recipes. It has a typical and pronounced coconut taste. Unless you plan to cook some Thai food, I recommend its use in sweet recipes.

And now that the overview of the alternative “milk” is over, I just have to pass to the practical part…I’ll wait you next week for the usual recipe :)