There are many excellent substitutes for milk that can be used in cereal, and which is the best depends on your taste and the reason for the substitution.
If you are out of milk, then the best substitute would be canned evaporated or powdered milk that can be reconstituted. Many people keep these on hand for emergencies.
If your reason for substituting milk is health-related, like lactose intolerance, then either A2, Lactaid, or any of the plant-based options is likely the best milk replacement for you. If you are following a Vegan diet, then soy, almond, rice, or oat milk will work nicely.
Here is a list of the better-known substitutes for milk that can be used in cereal and which are more readily available and affordable:
1. A2 Milk
A2 milk is a new product on the market, and studies have shown that the protein in A2 milk is much easier on the stomach than regular milk, which primarily consists of A1 protein.
According to Medical News Today, milk is made up of 8% protein in each 8-ounce glass, and the two major proteins are casein and whey. There are different types of casein proteins which, altogether, account for 80% of the protein in milk. One type is called beta-caseins, of which there are 2 variants, A1 and A2.
But keep in mind that the A2 milk is still cow’s milk for those who are trying to eliminate animal-based products from their diets.
Why Almond Milk Is So Good for Cereal: It is real cow’s milk but with fewer health concerns. Studies have shown that A2 milk does not cause the symptoms of lactose intolerance that are caused by using regular cow’s milk by persons who suffer from lactose intolerance.
How is A2 Milk Used?
A2 milk can be used in any way regular cow’s milk is used, including as a beverage and in cereal.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using A2 Milk?
A2 milk, since it is cow’s milk, provides all the health benefits of regular milk, which includes providing calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, which are necessary for strong bones, teeth, and muscle function and regulating blood pressure.
2. Almond Milk
Almond milk is a nut-based milk substitute that is made from almonds and filtered water, and almond milk is one of the easiest types of nut milk to find at the local grocery store or supermarket.
Why Almond Milk Is So Good for Cereal: Almond Milk is the best non-dairy substitute for milk in cereal because it has a creamy texture and one of the most neutral flavors of all the non-dairy milk substitutes.
Almond milk is also a great replacement for people trying to avoid too much dairy, and when compared to other non-dairy substitutes, almond milk has one of the most neutral flavors.
How Is Almond Milk Used?
- As a substitute for milk for those with dairy allergies.
- As part of a Vegan Diet.
- In any recipe that calls for milk, almond milk is quite a bit thinner than regular milk and may affect the texture of certain things like pancakes, cornbread, and other quick breads. To avoid this issue, you can add a thickener like flour or cornstarch. But, to keep them Vegan-friendly, use a Vegan-friendly thickening agent like almond or coconut flour in the batter.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Almond Milk?
Almond milk is not as nutritious as cow’s milk, but it does contain added calcium, protein, and vitamin D, as well as vitamins and minerals that occur naturally in almonds.
Pro Tip: Consider choosing a brand fortified with calcium if you do not have other non-milk sources of calcium in your diet.
Related 9 Ways to Make Cheerios Taste Better.
3. Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is a non-dairy milk substitute made from cashews and water. It is the creamiest of the nut milks and has a light, sweet taste with just a hint of nut flavor. Cashew milk is not as sweet and nutty as almond milk and tastes more like dairy.
How Is Cashew Milk Used?
Even though slightly thicker than cow’s milk, cashew milk can be used in most recipes as a milk substitute. It is also quite tasty for drinking and for use in cereal.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Cashew Milk?
- Cashew milk is filled with healthy vitamins and minerals.
- The fat that is found in cashew milk comes from unsaturated fatty acids, which promote heart health.
- It is naturally lactose-free, making it an excellent milk substitute for those who are lactose intolerant.
Warning: Cashew milk is nut-based and not suitable for anyone with nut allergies. Make sure that all you are cooking for are aware that you are using a nut-based milk substitute.
4. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a milk substitute made by grating the flesh of the mature brown coconut and adding just enough water to form a thick liquid that can be used to replace cow’s milk. It is rich and creamy and has a strong coconut flavor.
How Is Coconut Milk Used?
- Coconut milk can be used in most dishes normally made with dairy, but this milk substitute will significantly alter the taste of what you are cooking.
- While coconut milk was for some time only available in cans, it is now available in a milk-type carton and is very close in texture to that of regular milk.
- Coconut milk can be used as a beverage and as a milk substitute in cereal, although some find the strong coconut flavor unpleasant.
- One disadvantage of using coconut milk is that it is high in calories and saturated fat.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Coconut Milk?
According to Medical News Today, coconut milk, when used in moderation, has many health benefits, including the following:
- Weight Loss: Because coconut milk contains “medium-chain triglycerides,” its use has been linked to weight loss.
- Heart Health: There is some evidence that an antioxidant known as lauric acid, which is found in coconuts, can help prevent stroke and heart disease.
Cool Fact: Coconut water is the liquid found in the center of the coconut, while coconut milk is made from the flesh of the coconut.
For Vegans: While coconut milk is Vegan friendly, there are other plant-based options that are lower in saturated fat.
5. Dry or Powdered Milk
Dry or powdered milk is made by evaporating or dehydrating the moisture from regular milk and turning it into a shelf-stable powder, which can be stored at room temperature for an extended period of time. When needed, the powdered or dry milk can then be reconstituted by mixing it with water to make a liquid that is very close in texture to the original milk that started the process.
What Is Powdered Or Dry Milk Used For?
Reconstituted dry or powdered Milk can be used as a substitute for milk in any way that milk is used. Even though many people find the taste of powdered milk not as good for drinking or using in cereal, it works quite well as a milk substitute in cooking.
Everyone Should Have Powdered Milk on Hand
Powdered milk and dry buttermilk are both excellent items to keep on hand as a substitute for milk and buttermilk when we need them. But not only are these excellent items to keep in stock for when we are out of fresh milk and buttermilk, but they are excellent for emergency situations because both of these items are shelf-stable for long-term storage.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Powdered Or Dry Milk?
Powdered or dry milk has the same nutrients as fresh milk, so the health benefits would be the same:
- Healthy immune system: Calcium and vitamins A, D, E, and K promote cell repair and a healthy immune system.
- Muscle Strength: Amino acids found in the whey proteins in milk work to build strong muscles and provide energy.
- Bone Health: The calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and proteins in milk build bones that are strong and healthy.
- Heart Health: Potassium found in milk promotes heart health and reduces blood pressure.
6. Evaporated Milk
Evaporated Milk is whole milk that has been reduced by about 60%, and it can be reconstituted by adding equal parts evaporated milk and water. That mixture can be substituted for milk in all your recipes, calling for milk. It can also be used as a beverage and in cereal, but, like dry or powdered milk, there is a change in taste that is unpleasant to many. However, many recipes call for using evaporated milk straight from the can without thinning it with water.
Preparing Evaporated Milk for Use
You will need to mix equal parts evaporated milk and water. Expect any baked goods like pancakes, cornbread, biscuits, or banana bread to be slightly heavier, but it will not be as heavy as if you had used heavy cream as a milk substitute.
What Is Evaporated Milk Used For?
- Evaporated milk can be used in any recipe that calls for milk. It can replace milk in casseroles, soups, sauces, and for baking.
- Reconstituted or thinned evaporated milk can be used as a beverage or on cereal, although there is a significant change in taste that is unpleasant to many.
- Used straight from the can makes an excellent coffee creamer.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Evaporated Milk?
- Evaporated milk contains the same nutrients that are found in whole milk, calcium, protein, and vitamins A & D for strong bones, and is a healthy choice for any use.
- Because evaporated milk is condensed, it contains more than twice the nutritional value of milk. For example, it contains over 50% of the daily value for calcium, while fresh milk only contains 21%, evaporated milk contains 15% of the daily value for magnesium compared to fresh milk’s 6%, and evaporated milk has 18% of the daily value for zinc as compared to fresh milk’s 8%.
Pro Tip: I find that it is a good practice to keep a few extra cans of evaporated milk on hand because it is such a good milk substitute and so easy to store.
7. Goat’s Milk
According to WebMD, goat’s milk is the most commonly used dairy product in the world, and provides between 65 and 72 percent of the milk consumption worldwide.
Goat Milk is very similar in taste and texture to cow’s milk and should make any dish you are preparing indistinguishable from the same dish made with cow’s milk.
What Is Goat Milk Used For?
- Goat and cow milk have a very similar flavor and can be used interchangeably, although goat milk is richer.
- While many people do not drink goat milk, health-conscious people around the world are making a change to different types of animal milk.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Goat Milk?
- Studies have found that goat milk can help to reduce cholesterol levels.
- Goat milk is high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
- Goat milk has higher levels of beneficial fatty acids.
- Because goat milk has less lactose and alpha s1-casein protein, it is much easier to digest than cow milk.
Important: While goat milk has less lactose, it does not have zero lactose. As a result, those persons with severe lactose allergies probably should not drink goat milk. But it might be worth asking your doctor if he or she thinks you would be able to tolerate it.
8. Hazelnut Milk
Hazelnut Milk is a nut-based substitute for cow’s milk that is made from hazelnuts and water. This is a delicious dairy-free, lactose-free, Vegan-friendly milk substitute.
How Is Hazelnut Milk Used?
Primary uses for hazelnut milk:
- As a beverage,
- In cereal, hot and cold,
- As a base for coffee and tea beverages,
- In smoothies, and
- As an ingredient in puddings.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Hazelnut Milk?
Hazelnuts are a source of many vitamins, minerals, plus omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, including:
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant and supports healthy hair and skin, brain health, and heart health
- Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and fight damaging free radicals
- Thiamine and manganese accelerate metabolism.
Lactaid is one of the best milk substitutes to use as a beverage or in cereal because it is so close in taste and texture to cow’s milk.
Lactaid is a commercially produced lactose-free milk that is made by adding lactase to regular cow’s milk. Lactase is the enzyme produced by the human body that breaks down lactose, so that those people with lactose intolerance can tolerate the use of milk. Lactaid is very similar in texture to cow’s milk, although slightly thinner, and can be substituted for milk in any dish without significantly affecting or changing the taste or texture of the meal.
What Is Lactaid Used For?
Because Lactaid is a dairy product that is made from regular cow’s milk, it is almost identical in taste and texture to regular milk. It can be used as a beverage, in hot or cold cereal, and as an ingredient in any recipe calling for milk.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Lactaid?
- Aids Digestion: Lactaid and other lactose-free milk products which contain lactase eliminate or at least greatly reduce the reactions to dairy that cause gas, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea.
- Builds Strong Bones: Since Lactaid Milk is made from regular cow’s milk, one cup of Lactaid contains 30% of the daily value of calcium, and 25% of the daily value of vitamin D. Calcium is needed for building strong bones and vitamin D aids the body in absorbing calcium.
- Heart Healthy: Lactaid contains calcium and potassium that help lower and regulate blood pressure.
- Builds Hair, Skin, Bone, and Muscle: Lactaid contains 8 amino acids in each cup of milk. Those amino acids are instrumental in building hair, skin, bone, and muscle strength.
10. Oat Milk
Oat Milk is a plant-based milk that is made from whole oats. It has a creamy texture and a mild oatmeal-like taste.
How Is Oat Milk Used?
- Oat milk is a delicious beverage and can be used in cereal.
- Oat Milk can be used in making pancakes, biscuits, cornbread, quick breads, sauces, custards, and creams.
- Oat milk is a lactose-free, dairy-free, nut-free, Vegan option to be used in any way regular cow’s milk can be used.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Oat Milk?
Oat Milk provides the following health benefits:
- Is high in fiber and protein that promotes healthy digestion.
- Is high in vitamins B2 and B12 for cell and nerve health and strength.
11. Rice Milk
Rice milk is made from milled brown or white rice mixed with water. It is a sweeter dairy substitute than most of the plant-based dairy alternatives.
How is Rice Milk used?
- Rice milk can be substituted for milk in almost any dish. However, since it is a little thinner than cow’s milk, be sure to add some butter or other fat, or a non-dairy thickener to make your dish a little thicker and richer.
- Rice milk is a good option for those with food sensitivities and/or allergies.
- Rice milk is a close flavor match to cow’s milk and does not have a strong flavor to compete with the taste of your food.
- Although rice milk is thinner than regular cow’s milk, it can be used in making pancakes, biscuits, and cornbread that are Vegan friendly and lighter in texture than when made with milk or other dairy products.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Rice Milk?
- Rice milk is highly hypoallergenic and provides balanced nutrition.
- Rice milk is lower in fat than other milk substitutes and is cholesterol free.
- Rice milk contains higher levels of manganese and selenium than any other milk substitute, which fights infections and helps protect you from cancer.
- Drinking rice milk can boost your immune system.
Major drawbacks Of Using Rice Milk:
- Because rice milk is high in starch, it cannot be safely used by persons with diabetes.
- Rice Milk is low in protein and would not be useful as an appetite suppressor.
12. Soy Milk
Soy Milk is a plant-based substitute for dairy that is made from soybeans and filtered water and is the dairy substitute that has the closest amount of protein to cow’s milk. Soy milk is much easier to find and more affordable than most of the other substitutes, and because thickeners have been added, it is very close in texture to cow’s milk.
How Is Soy Milk Used?
- Soy Milk can be used as a beverage and in hot or cold cereal. I recommend trying the sweetened version and the unsweetened plain version to see which you prefer as a beverage.
- Soy Milk, the unsweetened plain version, can replace cow’s milk in most dishes. The sweetened version would make your food too sweet.
- The unsweetened plain version of soy milk can also be used in making pancakes, biscuits, cornbread, and other quick breads.
- Soy Milk makes an excellent Vegan-friendly option to dairy.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Using Soy Milk?
Soy Milk provides the following:
- Except for people with soy allergies, soy is considered safe.
- Soy milk contains 7 grams of protein per cup compared to 8 grams of protein in two percent cow’s milk. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, soy protein can help lower LDL, or bad cholesterol.
- Soy milk provides all nine essential amino acids that aid in tissue, cell, and immune system health.
- Soy milk contains calcium and iron, which are necessary for building strong bones.
- Soy milk provides B-complex vitamins that provide good cell function and nerve health.
It may be unsafe for women who are pregnant to use soy in greater amounts than are normally found in food because “estrogen-like substances from soy could be harmful to the fetus.” However, there is little known about this issue.
I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss The 32 Best Milk Substitutes for Recipes (Dairy & Non-Dairy).
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.