What Type of Plant Milk is Best for Cooking?

Rohit Panwar

Looking for the best (vegan) substitute for milk in cooking? You are not alone. There are many of us out there looking for the best non-dairy milk for cooking.

Your reason for trying out vegan milk for cooking could be any –  veganism, environmental- consciousness or simply curiosity. Let me take you through my picks for the best plant based milk substitutes.


| What is the Best Plant Milk for Making Yogurt?  | 

11 Best Non Dairy Milk for Cooking | Alt Milks Your Recipes Will Love

I am an ardent lover of alt milk. I consume vegan milk in my cereal, I add it to baking and to my recipes of course. Here are the best options that you can add to your recipes – 

1. Soy Milk

The use of soy milk in cooking is nothing new. Its use is very prevalent in Chinese & Japanese  cuisines. Soy milk is high in protein and thus resembles cow’s milk in nutrition as well. It’s easy availability is an added advantage. 

Thick and neutral in taste, soy milk makes for an excellent whole milk substitute for cooking. It is also stable at high temperatures which makes it perfect for cooking. 

My favourite recipes that use soy milk – 

  • Corn Soup 
  • Walnut Pancakes 
  • Mac & Cheese

2. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is available in the market in two variations. The canned version is thicker and can be a good substitute for whole milk. The coconut milk beverage is much thinner and can replace low fat or reduced fat milk. 

The richness and creaminess of coconut milk makes it a great option for cooking and baking.  It goes really well as a base for soups, sauces and stews. 

My favourite recipes that use coconut milk – 

  • Thai chicken curry
  • Tom kha soup 
  • Cream of mushroom soup

3. Oat Milk 

Oat milk is also a pretty great option when it comes to choosing the best non-dairy milk for cooking. It is neutral in taste and can replace whole milk. 

You can use oat milk for both sweet and savoury dishes. It goes quite well in soups and in gravies or curries. 

My favourite recipes that use oat milk – 

  • French Toast 
  • Creme Brulee
  • Mac & Cheese

4. Almond Milk

Being one of the most popular plant milks around, almond milk is probably the most experimented one. With a thin and nutty taste, almond milk is a good substitute for skim or low fat milk.

I personally love almond milk in sweet recipes. The nuttiness goes very well with it. You can also use it in savoury recipes but using too much can interfere with its original taste.  

My favourite recipes that use almond milk – 

  • Rice Kheer 
  • Corn dogs
  • Vegetable korma 

5. Cashew Milk

The creamy and thick cashew milk is a great milk substitute for recipes that require the use of whole milk. 

Cashew milk is very creamy and goes very well with both sweet and savoury flavours. If you cannot find cashew milk near you, you can always make it at home using easily available things. 

My favourite recipes that use cashew milk – 

  • Alfredo Sauce pasta 
  • Chicken curry
  • Cream of mushroom soup

6. Rice Milk

Rice milk has a very similar taste to that of cow milk. It is neutral and thin and can be a good option if you’d like to replace low fat or skim milk in a recipe. 

Rice milk is one of the best non dairy milk for heating and can be added as a base for many recipes. However, rice milk might feel a little runny so, choose it wisely in your dishes. 

My favourite recipes that use coconut milk – 

  • Rice pudding 
  • Banana Pancakes
  • Frosting & Glazes

7. Hemp Milk

My love for hemp milk grows every time I use it. This earthy flavoured milk is one of the best non dairy milk for cooking. You can also substitute it in place of skim or low fat milk in recipes. 

Since the flavour of hemp milk is slightly strong, it is best suited for savoury dishes, rather than sweet ones. In case you are allergic to soy and nuts, hemp milk can be used in its stead. 

My favourite recipes that use hemp milk – 

  • Broccoli Cheese Pasta 
  • Banana & Walnut Pancakes
  • Sausage Gravy

8. Corn Milk 

The sweet and corn milk is another of my favourite vegan milk choice for cooking. However, it may not be as widely available as other plant milks. 

Corn milk has a starch and sweet taste which gives your dishes the thickness and texture it needs. It is also a great replacement for milk in milk based recipes. 

My favourite recipes that use corn milk – 

  • Vegetable stew
  • Soups 
  • Casseroles

9. Flax Milk 

Flax milk has a slightly nutty yet neutral taste. This makes it a great choice for cooking both savoury and sweet dishes. 

Flax milk can be used as a replacement for nut and soy milks. Just add your flax milk as you would do with the others. 

My favourite recipes that use flax milk – 

  • Chocolate Vanilla Pudding 
  • Mashed potatoes 
  • Pumpkin Rissotto

10. Macadamia Milk 

Not many people use or know about the delicious dairy free option. Much like almond milk, macadamia milk can be used in a number of ways including for cooking. 

It is an ideal choice for preparing desserts and also some savoury dishes hat need a creamy and nutty flavour. The only downside is that it may not be easily available and can be more expensive than other alt milk options. 

My favourite recipes that use macadamia milk – 

  • Chicken curry 
  • Corn chowder 
  • Fettuccini Alfredo Pasta

11. Pea Milk 

Last but definitely not the least is pea milk, one of my favourites  purely on the basis of nutrition. Pea milk has as much protein as cow milk and can be used in a number of recipes – sweet and savory both. 

Pea milk has a thick texture and an almost balanced taste. It can thus lend your dishes some texture, without interfering with its original taste.  Use it just like you would use dairy milk. 

My favourite recipes that use pea milk – 

  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Vegetable stew 
  • Vegetable curry 

I hope my blog helped you find the best plant based milk options for cooking. If you’ve been using some other kind of milk, I would love to know more about it. Do write to me in the comment section below. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Non Dairy Milk for Cooking 

  • Which is the best milk substitute for cooking?

Ans.  The best non dairy milk substitute for cooking include almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, coconut milk, etc. 

  • Which vegan milk is best for pasta?

Ans. Almond, cashew, macadamia and hemp milk in my opinion are some of the best vegan milk options for making white sauce pasta. 

  • What is the vegan milk substitute for cooking mac and cheese?

Ans.  Oat milk, soy milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk go pretty well with mac and cheese. 

  • What is the best vegan milk for soup?

Ans.  Coconut and cashew milk are the two creamiest options for making soup using vegan milk. 

Rohit Panwar

Hi! I'm Integrated Nutrition Coach Rohit Panwar. I hold twin Certifications from IIN, New York & SAFM, Massachusetts. I am a passionate vocalist of holistic lifestyle and have fully committed the past several years to educate & empower people towards their wellbeing. Despite a successful yet hectic corporate stint of 21+ years, I have prioritised nutriment in my life. I truly hope my personal journey from illness to wellness helps everybody reading this forge their own path.