Dairy Substitutions

Missing an ingredient? Don’t fret! Skip that second trip to the grocery store and consult this handy guide for baking substitutions instead.

Vegetable/Canola Oil

You can use butter as a substitute for oil when baking! Simply melt it down and measure the same amount that your recipe calls for. Be sure to let the butter cool before using. Still don’t have enough oil or butter for the recipe? You can swap half of the amount of oil with 3/4 the amount of yogurt. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, you could use 1/2 cup of oil and 3/4 cup of yogurt.


Buttermilk is slightly acidic, making it a great ingredient to keep baked goods moist and tender. For a quick buttermilk substitute, mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and let sit for 5-10 minutes before using. You can also add milk or water to plain yogurt or sour cream until it reaches a consistency that is similar to buttermilk.

Baking Powder

Baking powder is actually just baking soda that is combined with acids to make it double acting. So, adding an acidic substance to baking soda can yield the same results! If you’re out of baking powder, combine baking soda with buttermilk or yogurt as a substitute.

Half and Half

No half and half? You can make your own in a variety of ways! If you have whole milk on hand you could combine a 1/2 cup of whole milk with 1/2 cup of light cream or 3/4 cup of whole milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream. No whole milk? No problem. Try mixing 2/3 a cup of skim milk with 1/3 cup heavy cream or 7/8 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of butter.

Sour Cream

Greek yogurt is a healthy swap for sour cream. Simply substitute the same amount of plain Greek yogurt for sour cream and enjoy the added protein in your diet!

Baking Chocolate

You can replace baking chocolate in a recipe with cocoa powder and butter! Mix 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and you’ve got a chocolate substitute.


Okay, you probably have water on hand. However, you can add richness, tenderness and moisture to bread dough and other baked goods by replacing water with milk! You can also add milk to canned or packaged soups for a creamier texture and added nutrition benefits.

Discover more tips for cooking and handling dairy foods, as well as frequently asked questions about enjoying dairy.

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