Smoothies are usually made from blended fruits and vegetables that are thinned by some sort of liquid, usually milk, water, or fruit juice, and are primarily used as a meal replacement. If you use milk to thin your smoothies and you happen to be out of milk, what can you use as a substitute?
Here are 12 of the best substitutes for milk in making smoothies, some dairy, and some non-dairy.
The Best Dairy Substitutes For Milk In Smoothies
Cream can be used instead of milk in making smoothies and with 36% fat will make a smoothie that is thicker, creamier, and full of flavor. While one-half cup of cream adds 400 calories to any dish, that amount can be reduced by thinning the cream with water before adding it to the smoothie.
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 the opposite is true and that individuals with a higher intake of cream have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes than those using the low-fat substitutes.
A mixture of 50% Cream and 50% water can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
2. Evaporated Milk
Evaporated Milk is basically whole milk which has been reduced by about 50%, so all that is required to use it in making a smoothie 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 a smoothie made with evaporated milk and that made with regular milk.
But, if you prefer a super thick and creamy smoothie, 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.
I would have to say that half-and-half used full strength is probably the best dairy substitute for milk in smoothies because it has a rich and creamy taste, without the high fat content of cream.
Half & half is another milk substitute that will make a thick and creamy smoothie, 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.
You can pour it full strength into your smoothie machine or you can mix it with water, 3 parts to 1 or ¾ cup half-and-half and ¼ cup water for a closer option to the consistency of milk.
A mixture of 50% Half-and-Half and 50% milk or water can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
Lactaid is almost the same texture as cow’s milk, maybe just slightly thinner, and can be substituted for milk in smoothies 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.
5. Powdered or Dry Milk
Powdered Milk can be used as a substitute for milk in making smoothies. While many people do not like the taste of reconstituted powdered milk for drinking, it will work very well as a substitute in smoothies, and is a great way to get a little extra calcium and protein. After adding fruit and vegetables, those ingredients will dominate the taste of the smoothie, not the milk.
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.
6. Yogurt, Plain or Greek
Plain or Greek Yogurt can be substituted for milk full strength in smoothies for a thick and creamy texture. Plus, yogurt adds protein and live probiotics, which aids in intestinal health. A half-cup of Greek yogurt adds 12 grams of protein.
Using plain yogurt will not affect the flavor of the smoothie as much as Greek yogurt, but could possibly add a little tartness.
Using Greek yogurt will change the flavor of the smoothie because it isn’t as sweet as plain yogurt.
The Best Non-Dairy Substitutes For Milk In Smoothies
7. Almond Milk
Almond Milk is a plant-based dairy-free milk that can be substituted for milk in preparing smoothies, 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 creamy.
By using almond milk, the smoothies will be Vegan friendly.
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. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a thick milk made by grating the flesh of the mature brown coconut and mixing it with just enough water to form the thick liquid that can be used to replace cow’s milk. It is rich and creamy and has a strong coconut flavor. For these reasons, coconut milk is one of the best non-dairy substitutes for milk in making smoothies. But, keep in mind that coconut milk is high in saturated fat and calories.
A big plus is that mixing coconut milk with fruits and vegetables will result in a Vegan smoothie.
Pro Tip: Coconut water is the liquid found in the center of the coconut, while coconut milk is made from the flesh of the coconut.
9. 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 a creamy smoothie similar to cow’s milk, and oat milk will pair well with any of the fruits and vegetables you choose.
Oat milk is high in fiber and protein which promotes healthy digestion and will provide a Vegan-friendly 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.
10. 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 smoothies and other dairy-free treats 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 a smoothie that is as thick and rich as some of the other options, but it is Vegan friendly and a solid option for folks with food sensitivities/allergies. 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.
11. Soy Milk
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 a thick and rich smoothie, but be sure to use unsweetened plain soy milk to avoid changing the flavor of the smoothie.
Soy Milk can be substituted for milk at a 1:1 ratio.
Many people ask if water can be substituted for milk in smoothies, and the answer is yes, water and crushed ice are good ways to add liquid to your smoothies without adding milk.
What Is The Best Dairy Free Substitute For Milk In Smoothies?
Of all the dairy-free options to substitute for milk in making smoothies, I would have to say that:
- For those people who are trying to add protein to their smoothies, 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.
- For those people who are trying to reduce calories and sugar intake, water is the number one option for adding liquid to the fruits and vegetables in their smoothies.
How Can I Make My Smoothies Sweeter?
The best way to make your smoothies sweeter is by adding one of the following:
- Fruits that are naturally sweet,
- Raisins and dates,
- Maple syrup,
Jelly Grandma’s Dairy-Free Smoothie
- ½ cup fresh Strawberries that have been sliced and sprinkled with a little sugar and allowed to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- ½ cup frozen Blueberries
- 1 cup Soy Milk
Add ingredients in this order, processing after each addition:
- Pour milk into the blender first.
- Add strawberries and liquid to the milk and process.
- Add blueberries to the blender and process until smooth.
Smoothie Flavor Options:
Jelly Grandma’s Dairy-Free Milk smoothie recipe is delicious as is, but here are a few flavor options to try:
- Banana + Strawberries + Milk
- Tomato Juice + Carrot Juice + Kale + Crushed Ice
- Blueberries + Strawberries + Milk
- Hazelnut Spread + Banana + Vanilla Yogurt + Milk
- Watermelon + Banana + Vanilla Yogurt + Crushed Ice
- Pineapple + Coconut + Banana + Milk
- Strawberry + Banana + Peach + Orange Juice
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss The Best Substitutes for Milk in a Recipe | Ultimate Guide.
Hi, I’m Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page.
I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.