The majority of the meatloaf recipes that I am familiar with and all of the recipes that I have used over the years all list milk as one of the ingredients. But what do you use as a substitute for milk in meatloaf if you are either out of milk or on a diet that excludes milk?
Here are 12 of the best substitutes for milk in making meatloaf in the order of which you are most likely to have on hand. I’ll also give you the correct substitution ratios for each.
1. Water and Butter
Water can be substituted for milk in meatloaf, but the recommendation is that 1 tablespoon of butter should be added for every cup of water used to keep the fat content the same.
Water + 1 T of butter/cup of water can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
2. Cream or Half-and-half
Cream or Half-and-Half can be used instead of milk and will make a meatloaf thicker and denser. For that reason, I recommend using approximately equal parts of cream and water to prevent making such a thick dish.
A mixture of 50% Cream or Half-and-Half and 50% water can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
3. Sour Cream
Sour Cream can be substituted for milk in meatloaf but will need to be thinned. I recommend using 75% sour cream and 25% water. Sour Cream will also change the taste of the meatloaf, making it thicker and denser, and will add a slightly tangy flavor.
A mixture of 75% sour cream and 25% water can be substituted for milk at a 1.1 ratio.
4. Yogurt, Plain or Greek
Plain or Greek Yogurt can be substituted for milk in meatloaf, but like sour cream, it will need to be thinned to avoid creating a thicker texture. Here again, I would recommend using 75% yogurt and 25% water to counteract the resulting thicker texture.
Using plain yogurt will not affect the flavor of the meatloaf as much as Greek yogurt, but it could possibly add a little tartness.
A mixture of 75% plain or Greek yogurt and 25% water can be substituted for milk at a 1.1 ratio.
Mayonnaise can be substituted for milk in preparing meatloaf, and like sour cream and yogurt, it will create a richer and more moist dish.
Substitute the total amount of milk for 1/3rd that amount of mayonnaise, or the meatloaf will be too thick and sour tasting.
6. Meat Stock
For a more savory rather than creamy meatloaf, use vegetable or beef stock instead of milk or a milk substitute in making meatloaf. Be sure to either use a low-sodium version of the meat stock or reduce the amount of salt called for in the recipe to avoid the meatloaf being too salty.
Meat or Vegetable Stock can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
7. Cream Cheese
Cream Cheese is a good substitute for milk in preparing meatloaf. It will produce a much richer flavor, and because cream cheese is much more dense than whole milk, only use half as much cream cheese as milk and add approximately ¼ cup of water to thin the cream cheese slightly.
Substitute 50% cream cheese + ¼ cup of water for every 1 part of milk called for in the meatloaf recipe.
8. Evaporated Milk
Evaporated Milk is basically whole milk which has been reduced by about 50%, so all that is required to use it in preparing meatloaf is to reconstitute the milk by adding equal parts evaporated milk and water and then measuring the amount called for in the recipe and adding it to the other ingredients to prepare the meatloaf. There should be no difference in the taste or texture of meatloaf made with evaporated milk and that made with regular milk.
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.
9. Powdered Milk
Powdered Milk can be used as a substitute for milk in making meatloaf. While many people do not like the taste of reconstituted powdered milk for drinking, it works very well as a substitute in most dishes that call for milk, including meatloaf.
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, and a dry version of buttermilk is also available that can be used as a substitute for buttermilk in many dishes that call for buttermilk. Both of these items are easy to store for long-term use.
Lactaid is almost the same texture as cow’s milk, maybe just slightly thinner, and can be substituted for milk in meatloaf 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.
11. Almond Milk
Almond Milk can be substituted for milk in preparing meatloaf, 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 moist.
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.
12. Soy Milk
Soy Milk should make meatloaf that is very similar in taste and texture to that made with regular milk but be sure to use unsweetened plain soy milk to avoid changing the flavor of the meal.
Soy Milk can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
What Is the Best Dairy Free Substitute for Milk in Meatloaf?
Of all the dairy-free options to substitute for milk in making meatloaf, I would have to say beef or vegetable broth will be more flavorful than the rest of the dairy-free substitutes, which will give the meatloaf a more savory taste.
Can I Make Meatloaf Without Ground Beef?
Making meatloaf without ground beef can result in a very tasty low-fat and low-calorie meal if you use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Just substitute the same amount of ground turkey for the amount of ground beef called for in your favorite meatloaf recipe for a much healthier but delicious meal.
Meatloaf is a staple in most households these days for several different reasons.
- It is economical because most ground beef and ground turkey dishes will stretch to feed more people, more economically than other types of meat.
- Plus, meatloaf is easy to make and doesn’t take that long to prepare.
- There are many different recipes out there for meatloaf, and the ingredients list can be tailored to your own preferences. Check out my meatloaf recipe in the video below.
- And last but not least, meatloaf is one of those dishes that most people like.
Should you find yourself in the position of wanting to make meatloaf, but you have no milk on hand, this list will help you find a substitute. If all else fails, you can always try the water version. By adding a tablespoon of butter for each cup of water, the dish will be more rich and flavorful.
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.
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With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
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