When my sons were young, I learned that if there are only a few eggs in the refrigerator, the best way to stretch those eggs to feed a family of four is to either make pancakes or French toast. At my house, the most requested of the two was French toast. Although I use only a small amount of milk in my French toast, what should I use if there is no milk in the house?
Here are 12 of the best substitutes for milk in making French toast, some dairy, and some non-dairy. These substitutes are all familiar to most people and are available in most supermarkets and grocery stores.
The Best Dairy Substitutes For Milk In French Toast
1. Condensed MIlk
Condensed milk, also called sweetened condensed milk, is cow’s milk that has been heated until the milk has been reduced by approximately 50% , and then enough sugar is added to bring the sugar content up to 55%.
Condensed milk is normally used in making desserts, but it is also good in making French toast. To use condensed milk in French toast, mix the milk with water at the rate of 2 parts condensed milk to 1 part water, and then substitute that mixture for the milk in your recipe.
French toast made with sweetened condensed milk is excellent when served without syrup and is instead topped with powdered sugar or fresh fruit.
Pro Tip: Sweetened Condensed Milk is another milk product that is good to keep on hand as a substitute for milk because it is easy to store for long-term use.
Cream can be used instead of milk in making French toast and the 36% fat in cream will make them full of flavor. While one-half cup of cream adds a whopping 400 calories, that amount can be reduced by thinning the cream with water before adding it to the eggs.
In the past, it was believed that the high fat content of cream would lead to obesity and heart disease. But, recent studies have shown that cream is actually healthier than the low-fat substitutes.
A mixture of 50% Cream and 50% water can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
3. Evaporated Milk
Evaporated Milk is basically whole milk which has been reduced by about 50%, so all that is required to use it in cooking is to reconstitute the milk by adding equal parts evaporated milk and water and then measuring the amount called for in the recipe. There should be no difference in the taste or texture of food made with evaporated milk and that made with regular milk.
But, for richer tasting French toast, add the evaporated milk straight out of the can without combining it with water.
Reconstituted Evaporated Milk can be substituted for milk at a 1.1 ratio.
Pro Tip: I always keep a few extra cans of evaporated milk on hand because it is such a good substitute for milk in almost every recipe and because it is easy to store long term.
Half & half is another milk substitute that will make rich and flavorful French toast, and because half-and-half is the combination of equal parts whole milk and cream, it has a fat content of only 10-18% which is a much healthier option than those with a higher fat content such as cream.
I would have to say that half-and-half is probably the best dairy substitute for milk in French toast because its rich flavor is similar to that of cream. But, because half-and-half consists of 50% cream and 50% milk, the lower fat content (10-18%), makes it the healthier option.
So, the taste of cream with the lower percentage of fat, what’s not to like?
A mixture of 75% Half-and-Half and 25% water can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio with the same percentage of fat as milk.
Lactaid is almost the same texture as cow’s milk, maybe just slightly thinner, and can be substituted for milk in French toast without significantly affecting or changing the taste or texture. And because Lactaid is milk that has had the lactose removed or neutralized, this would be a good option for people who are lactose intolerant.
Lactaid can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
6. Powdered or Dry Milk
Powdered Milk can be used as a substitute for milk in making French toast. While many people do not like the taste of reconstituted powdered milk for drinking, it will work very well as a substitute in French toast or pancakes.
Reconstituted Powdered Milk can be substituted for milk at a 1.1 ratio.
Pro Tip: Powdered milk is definitely a good item to keep on hand as a substitute for milk in most recipes because it is easy to store for long-term use.
The Best Dairy Free Substitutes For Milk In French Toast
7. Almond Milk
Almond Milk can be substituted for milk in preparing French toast, and even though almond milk is slightly thinner than cow’s milk, there should be very little difference in the finished product, maybe just a little less rich in flavor.
A big plus for those who are lactose intolerant is that almond milk is nut-based rather than dairy which is much easier on the stomach.
Almond Milk can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
8. Oat Milk
Oat Milk is a plant-based milk made from whole oats that has a creamy texture and a mild oatmeal-like taste. Here again is a dairy-free milk substitute that will produce rich French toast.
Oat milk is high in fiber and protein which promotes a healthy digestion and will provide an option that is perfect for persons with lactose intolerance, as well as being soy and nut free.
Oat Milk can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
9. Rice Milk
Rice milk is made from milled brown or white rice and water and is a sweeter plant-based dairy substitute than most of the dairy alternatives made from plants. It also offers a refreshing alternative to coconut or nutty flavors in your French toast and is probably the nearest flavor match to cow’s milk.
Rice milk is a little thinner than cow’s milk and will not create French toast that is as rich as some of the other options, but it is a solid option for folks with food sensitivities/allergies.
But, even though rice milk is one of the most hypoallergenic of all the milk substitutes and provides balanced nutrition and the lowest amount of fat of all the milk substitutes, it is high in starch and could not be used by persons with diabetes.
Rice Milk can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
10. Soy Milk
Of all the dairy-free options to substitute for milk in making French toast, I would have to say that soy milk is the number one option because it is easier to find, is reasonably priced, and is the most similar to cow’s milk in amount of protein, texture, and taste.
Soy Milk is a plant-based substitute for dairy that is made from soybeans and filtered water, and is the only non-dairy substitute with a similar amount of protein as cow’s milk. This is one of the more common milk-replacement options that is easy to find and is affordable.
Soy milk is a thicker substance than almond milk and rice milk because thickeners have already been added in an effort to mimic milk’s volume and expand the product’s shelf life, so it should create rich French toast, but be sure to use unsweetened plain soy milk to avoid making the French toast too sweet unless you plan to add a fruit topping or sprinkle with powdered sugar instead of serving with syrup.
Soy Milk can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
Jelly Grandma’s French Toast Recipe
This is the recipe I always use when making French toast:
- 1 Egg
- 2 T Milk
- Dash of Salt
- 2 Dashes of Ground Cinnamon
- Bread of any kind (2-3 slices)
- Preheat skillet to medium heat.
- Add butter or oil to the skillet.
- Break the egg into a shallow bowl.
- Beat the egg with a fork or whisk.
- Add other ingredients and mix well.
- Dip bread slices into egg mixture and add to skillet.
- Cook on both sides until browned.
To double the recipe:
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1/8th tsp ground cinnamon
- Bread of any kind (5-6 slices)
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss The Best Substitutes for Milk in a Recipe | Ultimate Guide.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.