Ever had a craving for waffles, just to realize you’re out of milk? Or maybe dairy isn’t your thing, and you’re looking for a vegan substitute. Luckily for you, there are loads of alternatives to milk that you can use in waffles, ranging from plain water to condensed milk.
For this post, I tried out 12 different ways to replace milk in waffle batter, and I take you through each one in detail.
You can substitute most dairy products for milk in waffles. Cream, yogurt, and buttermilk will all work, but you might want to thin them out with a little water. For non-dairy substitutes, use club soda, plant-based milk, or orange juice. Regular water can work as a last resort.
(Spoiler: condensed milk was a real unexpected treat!)
To skip straight to my waffles without milk recipe, click the link!
A note on my experiment
After many hours making waffles, I narrowed down my potential milk substitutes to a comprehensive list of 12 (I also made a control batch with regular milk for comparison).
Some of these options are dairy-free, so suitable for vegans and anyone who is lactose intolerant. Others are convenient pantry staples that most people will have easy access to.
For each batch of batter, I swapped the milk out in a 1:1 ratio for the substitute. However, I thinned out the thicker liquids like cream, condensed milk, yogurt, and evaporated milk with some water. For the sweeter substitutes, I also used a little less sugar.
Psst… I was left with a lot of leftover waffles, which I reheated in the toaster over the next few days.
|Water||1:1 ratio||Light and crispy but lacked flavor|
|Vegan milk||1:1 ratio||Similar to milk|
|Plain yogurt||1:1 ratio, thinned with water||Slight tangy flavor, tender texture|
|Evaporated milk||Bit less than 1:1 ratio||Similar to milk|
|Condensed milk||Slightly dense||Cakey texture but delicious|
|Powdered milk||1:1 ratio, mixed with water||Similar to milk|
|Buttermilk||1:1 ratio||More flavor than milk|
|Apple juice||Bit less than 1:1 ratio||Sweet and fruity, light texture|
|Cream||use 1/2 cream, 1/2 water in a 1:1 ratio||Rich and dense|
|Club soda||1:1 ratio||Super fluffy texture|
Most of the milk substitutes worked great. However, some were definitely better than others.
I loved the creamier, sweeter options like condensed milk or oat milk. But I wasn’t a fan of yogurt or apple juice, or water really. But water is super convenient.
With most of these substitutes, you have a bit of wiggle room.
Depending on how rich or light you want your waffles, you can adjust the ratios or even combine substitutes.
For example, if you find using just cream too heavy, you can mix it with some almond milk.
Water is the most convenient swap on my list because it’s always readily available and it’s something you can use last minute.
However, because it lacks any fat (i.e fewer calories!) it doesn’t give the same depth of flavor that you get from milk.
The waffles were a little bland and not as creamy, but they did have a nice light texture. And the edges were crisp.
Overall, water is okay in a pinch but it should be a last resort option. If you do use it, make sure you have some oil or melted butter in the batter so there’s at least one source of fat.
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How to substitute: swap the milk out for water in a 1:1 ratio. Stir the water in slowly, making sure to catch any potential lumps as you go. This also helps you keep an eye on how thick or thin your batter will end up being.
Vegan milk (oat, almond, and soy milk)
I tried three different vegan milks in this experiment: oat milk, almond milk, and soy milk.
But any vegan milk alternative will work, so pick your favorite.
An unsweetened version will be most like traditional milk (and is what I used).
If you’ve got a sweet tooth then you can go for sweetened milk, but consider reducing the amount of sugar in the batter so your waffles don’t end up overly sweet.
You can also experiment with different flavors. Vanilla and chocolate both sound great to me! You could even give coconut milk a go.
My favorite was oat milk. Oat milk is slightly thicker than regular milk, and more creamy so the waffles were really tasty.
Soy milk was most similar to dairy-based milk. While almond milk gave the waffles a hint of nuttiness.
How to substitute: you can swap any vegan milk in a 1:1 ratio for regular milk. The consistency is very similar. Reduce the sugar in the batter if you use sweetened milk, and maybe reduce the vanilla extract too but that’s up to you.
Plain yogurt is the best option if you’re using yogurt as a milk substitute, but you can also use Greek yogurt or even sour cream (if it’s all you have).
For the adventurous among us, flavored yogurts are an option, too (hello, vanilla!).
The yogurt added a tangy taste to my waffles, which I loved but I know not everyone will. And the texture was tender but dense, while the edges weren’t as crispy.
Although you can alter the ‘thickness’ of the yogurt easily with water.
Quick tip: yogurt can have quite a strong aftertaste – a good way to counteract this is to add a little cinnamon or other warm spice.
How to substitute: thin the yogurt out with a little water and then add it to your batter in a 1:1 ratio. How much water you add is up to you. For a thick, dense batter add a splash. For a light, crispy batter add a decent amount.
Evaporated milk is the sort of thing people buy and then forget about.
Have a look in the back of your cupboard – you might find some!
And if you don’t have any, it’s worth buying a few cans to have for the next time you’re out of milk.
It’s milk that has been boiled to reduce its water content, so it tastes very similar (just a bit thicker and creamier).
My waffles were rich and delicious with a nice texture. YUM.
How to substitute: you can use evaporated milk as a 1:1 substitute for regular milk, thinning it out with a bit of water if you want a light batter. I didn’t use any water, and the waffles were great.
Condensed milk is not so much a milk substitute as it is a game-changer. The waffles weren’t like your typical waffles, but they were DELICIOUS.
Not to be confused with evaporated milk, condensed milk is very thick and sweet because it contains extra sugar.
It turned my waffles from a breakfast meal into a cakey treat with a soft and moist, but dense texture.
I will 100% be making condensed milk waffles again.
Quick tip: because of its high sugar content, ensure your waffle iron is non-stick, or use extra cooking spray to prevent sticking or burning.
How to substitute: you can substitute regular milk with condensed milk in a 1:1 ratio but add some water to thin it out, or it can become overwhelmingly sweet (and gloopy). I would also reduce the amount of sugar you add to the batter, or omit it completely.
Powdered milk is just dehydrated milk, containing the same nutrients, minerals, and protein content as regular milk.
It’s a fantastic pantry staple because it can always be whipped out in a pinch and mixed with water to emulate the real thing.
There may be a slight difference in texture when you use powdered milk in waffles (it’s a bit heavier), but not at all in taste.
I couldn’t really tell the different between these waffles and the control waffles.
How to substitute: mixing the powdered milk with water according to the instructions on the packet. Once you have it at the right consistency, add it to your batter mix in the same quantity as the recipe calls for milk.
Buttermilk is a wonderful substitute for cow’s milk in waffles and is often used as a preference in recipes – you might find you prefer it.
Buttermilk is more flavorsome than milk so give the waffles a unique (yummy) taste, I’d describe it as rich and tangy.
But it is a bit heavier, so the waffle won’t be as light and fluffy.
Tip: if you do end up loving buttermilk, you can make it yourself by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to regular (or vegan) milk and leaving it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
How to substitute: use a 1:1 ratio. Buttermilk is slightly thicker than milk, so if you want a light texture thin it out with a small amount of water.
You can use fruit juices as a substitute for milk in waffles if you don’t feel like using water.
You can use any flavor.
I’ve seen orange be recommended but I happened to have apple in the fridge, so that’s what I went with (orange juice and apple juice are great substitutes for each other).
I wasn’t a massive fan of the flavor, but it wasn’t bad. And the waffles were crisp and fluffy.
One thing to be wary of when you’re using fruit juice is the sugar content – it can be very high! So don’t add as much sugar to your batter.
How to substitute: add the juice to your batter in a 1:1 ratio, but do so incrementally, as you may end up using slightly less. You don’t want your batter to be too thin. Reduce the sugar in your batter (or omit it completely).
Cream is an excellent substitute for milk if you have it to hand, and you can whip up the leftovers to use as a topping!
The heavier the cream, the heavier the waffle.
If you prefer a light waffle half and half would work better (or you can just mix some water into your cream).
Also be aware that cream will add a lot of calories to the mix!
How to substitute: I made a mixture consisting of 50% cream with 50% water and added that to my waffle batter as if it was milk. But if you feel like more indulgent waffles, you can use more cream. Or vice versa for a lighter version.
I included this one after I took all the pictures, so sadly it doesn’t have one! But that doesn’t take away from what a fantastic substitute it is for milk in waffles.
The carbonation in club soda acts as a leavening agent, which meant my waffles were SUPER light and fluffy. Probably the fluffiest of the bunch.
And the aeration in the batter made the outside extra crispy, while the inside stayed soft.
The flavor was less rich then when you use milk, but the incredible
Like with water – you need to make sure there’s oil or melted butter in the recipe for fat.
And a little heads up: club soda enhances browning due to the presence of bicarbonates, so keep a close eye on your waffles to prevent them from burning.
How to substitute: replace milk in a 1:1 ratio with club soda, adding it slowly so you can stop if the batter becomes too thin.
Read Next: Milk Substitute For Kraft Mac And Cheese
Recipe for waffles without milk
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 room temperature eggs
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup milk substitute (water, buttermilk, soda, juice, plant based milk)
- 1 tsp salt
- Mix together sifted flour, baking powder, and sugar.
- Preheat the waffle iron.
- In a second bowl, whisk the eggs. Then add in the milk substitute, butter, and vanilla.
- Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, whisking to avoid lumps.
- Spoon the mixture into your waffle iron and cook until golden.
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Best Milk Substitutes For Waffles
- 1 portion water
- 1 portion vegan milk oat, almond, soy
- 1 portion cream
- 1 portion juice apple, orange
- 1 portion yogurt unflavored or greek
- 1 portion buttermilk
- 1 portion powdered milk
- 1 portion evaporated milk
- 1 portion condensed milk
- Most milk substitutes can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio in whatever recipe you choose.
- If using powdered milk, mix according to the insructions on the packet.
- For cream and condensed milk, mix each with water in a 1:1 ratio.
- Evaporated milk can be used in a 1:1 ratio, but you may wish to thin it out slightly with a splash of water.