19 Best Ways To Substitute For Milk In Pancakes

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Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Toya

Here are 19 easy ways to substitute for milk in pancakes. The best part? Many of these milk replacements are in your fridge or pantry right now!  

Pancakes are a staple breakfast in almost every household.

They’re thin round flat cakes fried in a pan made with ingredients like flour, milk, butter, eggs, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

milk substitutes for pancakes

While milk is always the go-to ingredient used to make pancakes, you may not always have it on hand, or you may have switched up your eating and need something other than milk.

Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to replace milk in pancakes if you aren’t willing or able to run to the grocery store for one carton of milk, and I’ll share all of these ideas here.

What are the best milk substitutes for pancakes?

  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Oat milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Heavy cream 
  • Half and half
  • Cream cheese
  • Buttermilk
  • Water
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Beer

Common Ways to Substitute for Milk in Pancakes

Coconut milk

coconut milk

Coconut milk is often used to make vegan recipes, but you can also use it as a regular milk substitute for pancakes. Coconut milk is rich, slightly sweet, fruity, and nutty, so expect your pancakes to taste somewhat different, and expect to get a ‘coconutty’ whiff from your pancakes.

Coconut milk is good for all types of pancakes and will make fluffy, light, and delicious pancakes easily. Use light coconut milk and substitute at a 1:1 conversion ratio.

In a hurry? Check out my favorite coconut milk at Amazon. I’ve tried several other ones and found this one to work best.

Thai Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk - 13.66 fl oz
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Almond milk

almond milk

Have some almond milk on hand? It’s an easy swap for regular milk in pancakes. Awesome for dairy-free, vegan pancakes, but will also work for any type of pancake recipe. It has a smooth creamy consistency so it can make delicious pancakes!

Use a 1:1 substitute ratio here.

Oat milk

Oat milk is the perfect milk substitute for pancakes because it is rich, hearty, and creamy. It’s plant-based so this type of milk is perfect for vegan and dairy-free pancakes but will work for all pancakes really.

Oat milk does have a mild ‘oaty’ flavor that you should be aware of, but otherwise, it is an excellent stand-in for cow’s milk. 

Start by using a 1:1 substitute ratio, then add a little more if the pancake batter needs it.

You could use any brand of original oat milk that you like, but my top recommendation that tastes the BEST is Oatly Original Oat Milk here at Amazon.

Not only does it taste great, but it is also very creamy and can be used just like cow’s milk to make the most delicious pancakes, etc. Find out why it’s one of the best choices on amazon. And, if you’ve never tried oat milk pancakes I highly recommend giving this fluffy oat milk pancake recipe a try.

Oatly Original Oat Milk - 64 oz

Oatly original is a creamy plant-based milk substitute worth trying out. You can use it for just about anything including pancakes.

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02/18/2024 02:10 am GMT

Evaporated milk

carnation evaporated milk

Evaporated milk is a great alternative to milk in pancakes too. In fact, my family quite prefers evaporated milk pancakes over everything else!

Evaporated milk is thicker and creamier than 2% milk. Some people even think of evaporated milk as having a subtly sweet, caramel-like flavor.

These qualities make it so that evaporated milk pancakes are rich, creamy, fluffy, and delicious. 

You can use evaporated milk to make tour pancakes in 2 different ways. 

Either use a 1:1 substitute ratio. i.e., use 1 cup of evaporated milk to replace 1 cup of milk. 

Or, dilute the evaporated milk to make it more like regular milk. That is, mix together ½ a cup of evaporated milk and ½ a cup of water then use this mixture in place of 1 cup of regular milk in your pancakes. 

Nestle Carnation evaporated milk remains my favorite evaporated milk due to how great it works in most recipes. I get mine locally sometimes, but when I’m in a hurry I also get great deals on my Nestle Carnation evaporated milk on Amazon

Sweetened Condensed milk

condensed milk

Condensed milk is sweeter, richer, thicker, and creamier than 2% milk, but it can be used to make pancakes in a pinch. 

Simply dilute the sweetened condensed milk with water to bring it to a consistency and taste that is closer to milk.

For pancakes, I usually mix ⅔ of a cup of water with ⅓ of a cup of condensed milk and use this as an alternative for 1 cup of milk. 

Another thing to consider.

Even diluted with water, condensed milk is still sweet, therefore, remove all other sweeteners in the pancake batter. Also, add about ¼ of a teaspoon of salt to balance out the pancakes. You can check out my super fluffy condensed milk pancakes if you want to see how to make tasty pancakes with sweetened condensed milk! 

Heavy whipping cream

Heavy whipping cream, (not to be mistaken with heavy cream which has less milk fat) is a fattier substitute for milk in pancakes. It would need to be diluted with water in order to make good pancakes. But keep in mind that the pancakes will be richer and creamier than pancakes made with regular milk.

⅓ of a cup of heavy whipping cream and ⅔ of a cup of water combined can easily replace 1 cup of milk in pancakes. 

Heavy cream

heavy cream

Heavy cream may not seem like a good milk substitute for pancakes because of how thick, rich and creamy it is, but, heavy cream actually works quite well in pancakes. 

The best part is that most people will have heavy cream in their fridge, so it’s very convenient. 

To use heavy cream instead of milk for your pancakes, you’ll need to dilute it. 

For a consistency that is very close to milk, I dilute 1 part heavy cream in 2 parts water. 

That means if a pancake recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, I will dilute ⅓ cup of heavy cream in ⅔ cup of water for my milk substitute. You never know. Heavy cream pancakes might just become you’re new go-to!

Half and half

Half-and-half is a popular dairy product in many kitchens. Half-and-half is 50% heavy cream and 50% milk, so it is thicker and creamier than regular milk and will add a nice richness to your pancakes. If you don’t mind the extra richness, then it’s a great cup-for-cup substitute.

If you don’t mind the extra richness, it’s okay to use ¾ cup of half and half mixed with ¼ cup of water to replace 1 cup of milk in your pancakes. You’ll be quite surprised at how delicious pancakes with half and half instead of milk actually taste!

Cream cheese

cream cheese

If you have it, cream cheese can come in handy as a milk replacement in pancakes.

For pancakes, it is best to use cream cheese together with eggs, and it’s also better to blend the pancake batter made with cream cheese to ensure everything is smooth and properly combined. 

While it is unusual, it is possible and cream cheese has been used for years to make delicious pancakes including keto or gluten-free pancakes. You can see how I made my delicious cream cheese pancakes here. 


Have some buttermilk in your fridge? If so, you can easily make some fluffy pancakes in a flash. 

Since buttermilk is tangy, you will be able to perceive a slightly tangy flavor in those pancakes. But also, pancakes made with buttermilk have the added benefit of being more tender, thicker, and fluffier as well!

Use 1 cup of buttermilk to replace 1 cup of milk in your pancakes or a 1:1 substitute ratio.


Did you know that you could make pancakes with water instead of milk? If you didn’t know, then now you do!

Water has no flavor so you’ll need to add more flavors to it. Ingredients like vanilla extract, lemon juice, butter, sugar, cinnamon or cinnamon substitutes, etc are some excellent choices to help add flavor to pancakes made with just water!

A 1:1 substitution ratio is okay here. 

Substitute ratio: Replace 1 cup of milk with 1 cup of water or a 1:1 ratio.



Yogurt can be used to make lovely thick pancakes in the absence of milk. 

Plain yogurt is the best option, but vanilla-flavored yogurt can also work too.

Also, if you want to thin the pancake batter out, you should dilute the yogurt with some water or milk, so the pancake batter is more spreadable on the griddle.

Feel free to use ½ a cup of yogurt with ½ a cup of water or milk to replace 1 cup of milk.

Also, if you’re looking for a good egg alternative for pancakes, plain yogurt is a great option too!

Sour cream

sour cream

If you can’t find milk but can get your hands on sour cream, it will work just as well as a milk replacement for pancakes . Sour cream is thicker than milk, so expect your pancakes to be heavier if you use the sour cream as is.

However, you do have the option of making delicious, light, and fluffy sour cream pancakes if you simply dilute the sour cream with some water.

Also, because sour cream has a slightly tangy, tart, milky, rich flavor, don’t be surprised if your pancakes have a little bit of a pungent vibe going on. This can easily be masked with some butter and syrup!

More interesting ways to sub for milk in pancakes 

Goat milk

Have some goat milk on hand? Use it in place of milk for your pancakes. Goat milk sometimes tends to be slightly saltier and has a bit more tang, while also being slightly sweeter. It is also more earthy and goaty compared to the mildness of cow’s milk. However, its flavor can be balanced with some syrup, juicy berries, or other pancake flavorings. It makes a great milk substitute in pancakes.

Whole milk powder

This is another great milk replacement for pancakes. Milk powder can be reconstituted with water to make a suitable milk substitute that works in just about any pancake recipe, provided you’re not keto, dairy free, or vegan.

Usually, ¼ cup of milk powder mixed with 1 cup of warm water is enough to replace 1 cup of whole milk.

Note that even though you may not have any whole milk powder on hand at the moment. It is such an incredibly handy substitute for milk, I’d recommend you grab some right now for the next time you run out. It lasts for quite a while and will save your recipe! I like Judee’s whole milk powder, but many other brands work just as well.

Judee's Pure Whole Milk Powder - 11oz

Whole milk powder is a great milk substitute that keeps well in the pantry. You need to get some milk powder so you never have to make a store run in emergencies.

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Ever heard of beer in pancakes? I know it’s out there, but it actually works. Beer can be used in the absence of milk to make fluffy pancakes. Beer is a great replacement for milk in pancakes if you want to make pancakes without milk. Note that beer should only be used for making pancakes for adults. You can find a great recipe for beer pancakes right here.  


Without milk, you can still add moisture and flavor to pancakes with eggs. It’s super easy to do, and I’ve shown you how to do so in the recipe card below. I’ve always found eggs to be an excellent way to substitute milk in pancakes, even though they do not provide the same liquid volume as milk. Check out the recipe below to see how to make pancakes with just eggs!

Apple juice

Yes, apple juice can be used as a liquid ingredient and flavor enhancer in a pancake recipe. Apple juice is a really good milk replacement for pancakes if you’re making apple flavored pancakes. You can check out these delicious apple juice pancakes right here to see how they’re done.

Apple cider

Lastly, if you’ve run out of milk at the last minute, you can use some apple cider instead. It’s not a very popular method, but if you’re craving pancakes, these apple cider pancakes may be a great way to enjoy pancakes with no milk. 

Other easy ways to substitute milk in pancakes 


Using mayonnaise to make pancakes is a clever twist on the classic pancake recipe. As a milk substitute for pancakes, mayonnaise can be used as is or made into a milk-like substance before use.

I personally prefer to make it into a milk-like substance. It’s super easy that way and can be incorporated into pancake batter with ease.

To make mayonnaise pancakes, I often start by adding ¼ cup of mayonnaise into ¾ cups of warm water. Then I mix the mayonnaise and water together until a consistent, milky appearance is achieved. Stir until there are no visible lumps or separation between the two components.

Use this milky mixture in the same way you’d use milk in any pancakes recipe where you need a quick way to substitute milk in pancakes. This mayo and water mixture is also a great way to make no milk pancakes too!

Potato milk is an excellent milk substitute in pancakes 

Every heard of it? Potato milk is a plant-based milk alternative made from potatoes. It’s a relatively new addition to the array of non-dairy milk options available. If you’re looking for a good dairy free milk alternative for pancakes, then you should give potato milk a try. See how to make fluffy pancakes with potato milk here.

Pancake recipes made with milk alternatives

Pancakes with heavy cream

cream cheese pancakes

Almond milk oven-baked pancakes

almond milk oven baked pancakes

Coconut milk pancakes

coconut milk pancakes

Heavy cream carbquick pancakes

heavy cream carbquick pancakes

Finally, click here to see how to make pancakes without milk of any kind. Just eggs, flour, butter, baking powder, and a sweetener!

Best Pancakes With No Milk (+19 Great Substitutes For Milk In Pancakes)

Best Pancakes With No Milk (+19 Great Substitutes For Milk In Pancakes)

Yield: 4 pancakes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Enjoy delicious fluffy pancakes with no milk if you're looking for a simple milk substitute for your pancakes! Also, check out 13 more great ways to substitute for milk in pancakes!


  • • 3/4 cup almond flour, or other flour of your choice
  • • 2 large eggs
  • • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • • 1 teaspoon of Stevia, or other sweetner of your choice


  1. Start by separating the egg whites. Then beat the egg whites until they’re stiff. Reserve for later.
  2. Grab a separate bowl and mix the egg yolks and the melted butter for about 2 minutes until they’re properly combined. 
  3. In a third bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and the sweetener. 
  4. Next, mix the dry ingredients with the melted butter and egg yolk mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Lastly, add the egg whites in an enveloping way with a spoon. Do so very gently so that the mixture becomes spongy.
  6. Spray some oil onto a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, put ¼ of the pancake mix in the pan and cook covered, for 1-2 minutes on each side.
  7. Repeat the process until all 4 of the pancakes are cooked. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2 pancakes
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 340mgSodium: 532mgProtein: 15g

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