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Can You Make Cornbread Without Milk? (Simple Substitutes to Try)

Can You Make Cornbread Without Milk? (Simple Substitutes to Try)

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Cornbread is super easy to whip up and eat with a nice serving of chili or some drizzling honey. In the North, it’s the perfect Thanksgiving treat. In the South, it’s the best dinner all year round!

You might be wondering if you can make cornbread without milk. The short answer is yes, you can make cornbread without milk. You’ll just need to find a substituting liquid with a low-fat percentage.

The idea is that milk replacements will change the flavor and texture of cornbread. So you have to know how the substitute you’re using affects the taste and texture and decide whether or not that’s how you want your cornbread. Given that there are endless varieties of cornbread, you’ll probably need to explore to figure out the best milk alternative.

Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or simply caught in a situation when you’re midway preparing your cornbread and found you have no milk in your fridge, here’s how to make cornbread without milk.

Can You Use Water Instead of Milk for Cornbread?

Filling A Measuring Cup With Water


The simplest substitute for milk in cornbread is, believe it or not, water!

This is also an excellent opportunity to reduce the calories in cornbread. No added calories, no extra flavor, and always available!

How to Make Cornbread Without Milk

You can use water instead of milk to make cornbread. However, if you want to keep the cornbread’s dense texture, you might want to mix water with a tablespoon of melted butter per cup of water to maintain the fat content.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • In a bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  • Then, pour water, oil, and eggs into the dry mix.
  • Whisk together until you get a good consistency. A few lumps are okay.
  • Put in the baking pan and into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let it cool, slice, and serve!

Can You Make Cornbread With Almond Milk?

Cup Of Almond Milk

Yes, you can substitute milk in cornbread with almond milk. Yet, you should pay attention to the brand you’re using because if you choose one with a strong taste, you’ll end up with nutty-flavored cornbread.

Almond milk will make cornbread nuttier, lighter, and sweeter than regular milk. If you want to reduce the sweetness, use unsweetened almond milk and try to reduce the amount of sugar you add to the recipe.

How to Make Cornbread With Almond Milk

The ratio should be 1:1, that is one cup of almond milk replaces one cup of cow milk.

Here’s the recipe.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  • Grease your baking dish and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl (cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt).
  • Mix the liquids together in a separate bowl (almond milk, oil, and eggs).
  • Add the liquid mix to the dry mix and whisk together until you achieve a consistent batter.
  • Pour the batter evenly into your baking dish, preferably a cast iron skillet.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Can You Substitute Buttermilk for Milk in Cornbread?

Pitcher Of Buttermilk

Since buttermilk is sometimes used in making cornbread, even in the presence of milk, it qualifies as a substitute for milk to make cornbread.

Using buttermilk instead of milk in cornbread will result in a slightly tangier flavor. Yet, cornbread will keep its crumbly outsides and fluffy insides the same way it does when you make it with milk.

You can also use sour cream instead of buttermilk as a milk replacement in cornbread. Apart from having a more pungent taste, sour cream is denser than both milk and buttermilk. Using it in the recipe will result in a creamier cornbread from the inside. If you find that too much cream for you, you can thin sour cream with water for a lighter density.

How to Make Cornbread With Buttermilk

We apologize for the Southern folks, but we’ll be trying out a sweetened cornbread recipe here.

This recipe is best served with a side of honey butter to dip in. If you don’t like honey butter, you might try maple syrup. It works fine, too!

The ratio for substitution would be 1:1 here, too. For every cup of milk, use a cup of buttermilk instead.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, unsalted, melted, and slightly cooled
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Smear the baking pan with a hint of butter or oil and line it with parchment paper.
  • Sift cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  • Add the liquid ingredients (eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter) to the dry ones and stir well.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Test the bread by inserting a toothpick at the center. If it comes out clean, your cornbread is ready.
  • Mix the honey and softened butter in a small bowl and drizzle on the cornbread after it’s warm.

Can You Use Evaporated Milk in Cornbread?

Evaporated Milk

Yes, you can.

You have to be cautious about its caramelized flavor, though.

Evaporated milk can replace milk in cornbread. In fact, people who love sweet cornbread will like this recipe because of how dense and sugary evaporated milk is compared to regular milk.

How to Make Cornbread With Evaporated Milk

Because of the thick density of evaporated milk, we’d advise you thin it with some water when you use it in this recipe. You don’t want the caramelized taste to overcome other flavors in the cornbread.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • Bacon grease
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • Smear your baking pan with bacon grease and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Mix the dry ingredients and the liquid ingredients separately.
  • Stir well till you get a consistent batter.
  • When your oven is near the 300°F point, remove the pan, regrease, and put it back again.
  • Pour the batter into the smoking hot pan. If it sizzles, you’ve done it right!
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes. We’re looking for a golden top and brownish edges.
  • Let it cool, slice, and serve!

Other Substitutions for Milk in Cornbread

In addition to water, almond milk, buttermilk, and evaporated milk, here are six other substitutes for milk in cornbread.

Coconut Milk

If you’re a fan of richer, denser flavors, you should definitely try replacing cow milk with coconut milk in cornbread. The ratio would be 1:1 coconut milk to regular milk.

This works best for slightly sweet cornbread.

Half and Half Milk or Cream

A ratio of 3:2 cream to water or 1:1 half and half should be used as a milk replacement in cornbread. The cream is denser than half and half. Thus, you should thin it with water to maintain the cornbread’s consistency.


Open Jar Of Mayonnaise

Believe it or not, many people tried replacing milk with mayo in cornbread, and it worked just fine!

We’d expect it to be gummy and fatty, though. So we recommend diluting mayo with water first, then using it as a milk substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt

Similar to mayo, sour cream is tangier and denser than milk. You can use it to make cornbread if you thin it using water. To balance the sour flavor, you can add a pinch of vanilla to sour cream when making cornbread.

Soy Milk

If you’re looking for a non-dairy replacement to milk in cornbread, soy milk would be a nice option. Just make sure to use a brand of soy milk with no added sugar so as not to affect the taste of cornbread.

Oat Milk

Another nice alternative to milk in cornbread would be oat milk. Keep in mind that oat milk is starchier than regular milk, so you might want to use less of it. We’d recommend ½ a cup of oats milk for every cup of cor milk.

Tips & Tricks for Making the Best Cornbread

  1. Take your time when sifting dry ingredients together. It does make a difference in the final texture.
  2. Don’t stir all the lumps out. As tempting as it might be, cornbread batter is supposed to be that way, with a few lumps. Otherwise, it’ll turn out tough and coarse.
  1. Using parchment paper to line your baking pan helps with easy removal of the cornbread after it’s ready.
  2. While the old-school cast iron skillet is the standard baking dish for savory Southern cornbread, if you’re going to make sweet cornbread, like variations with buttermilk or maple syrup, it’s better to use a baking pan.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Around 10 alternatives to replace milk in cornbread. Whether you want a creamier texture, fluffy insides, or a nutty flavor, you’ll find a suitable milk substitute.

Try them out and let us know which one worked for you!

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