Muffins are yummy and make the perfect breakfast item or snack for the kids, and since there are all types of them now available, it is all but guaranteed you’ll find a recipe that you love.
But many muffin recipes these days use milk as one of the ingredients, and if you’re allergic to milk, you may wonder if you can find a dairy-free muffin recipe that actually tastes good.
Fortunately, the answer to that is yes, although it isn’t always as clear-cut as it sounds.
Why Is Milk Added to Muffin Recipes?
Milk is not just added to muffin recipes to make sure all of your ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
Milk also adds a creamy texture to the muffins and can even give them a sweeter taste, especially if it is mixed with other ingredients such as butter and eggs. For both texture and taste, milk is an important ingredient to add to your muffin recipes.
But that isn’t all milk does. Milk also liquefies your leavening ingredients, such as baking soda and baking powder, which means the chemical process will begin that creates the carbon dioxide necessary to make the muffins light and fluffy. Without the milk, your muffins would likely be flat and dense, and this is something no one wants.
Finally, milk is added to muffins so that they can be more nutritious. Milk is an incredibly healthy food because it has tons of calcium and various vitamins and minerals, so you can feel good about adding it to your muffin mix, whether they are made from scratch or made from a box.
Reasons to Eliminate Milk From a Muffin Recipe
So, why do people want to make their muffins without adding milk to the recipe? For most people, it is an allergy to dairy products that causes them to want milk- and dairy-free foods.
In fact, it is not that uncommon these days for people to be lactose-intolerant, and this is the number-one reason for people to aim for milk-free muffin recipes.
Another reason people do not want milk in their muffins is because they are vegans or otherwise have decided to eliminate most or all dairy products from their diet. At one time, people thought that eating a lot of dairy products was what helped you stay healthy, but nowadays we know different. Not all dairy products are good for you, in fact.
Dairy products such as milk and even yogurt can cause inflammation in people who have arthritis or other joint problems, so for people like this, it’s best to stay away from muffins that are made with milk.
There are many personal reasons for not wanting to consume dairy products, so when making things such as muffins, it is good to look for recipes that have no milk or other dairy products in them. If you can’t, you can always try another option – a substitution for the milk itself.
What to Use as a Substitute for Milk
The first thing most people do if they’re making muffins and find they cannot or will not add any milk to the recipe is consider using water instead, but is this the best thing to do?
Does water really do the same things as milk does when you add it to a muffin recipe? Yes and no. Water will definitely do its job well if all you want is to add something that is going to mix all of the other ingredients together, but sometimes that’s all it does.
Using water instead of milk doesn’t always provide you with the right texture for your muffins, either. For instance, if you are using a muffin recipe that requires yeast, then adding water instead of milk might make your dough a lot stickier or even cause it to rise a lot slower than if you’d used milk instead.
In addition to water, are there alternatives that you can add to your muffins to give them the taste and texture you’ve come to love? Nutritionally, other types of milk may or may not be equal to cow’s milk, but they can generally be used as a substitute for regular milk.
Types of milk you can use in place of regular cow’s milk include:
- Soy milk or some other plant-based milk. You can choose almond milk as well, because both of them are very good sources of protein.
- Rice or oat milk. While these are both healthy, they pale in comparison to soy and even cow’s milk, in part because neither of them has a lot of protein in them.
Remember, milk is used to jump-start the leavening process, mix all of the dry ingredients together, and give the muffins a certain taste and texture, and other types of milk are just as good at the process is regular cow’s milk.
What About Other Options?
What if you don’t have a milk allergy or intolerance, but simply don’t have milk on hand? Do you have other options available that will work? Fortunately, you do, and below are a few of them.
- Evaporated milk: use the same amount as you would if you were using cow’s milk.
- Plain yogurt: use it in the same amounts, but if you’re using Greek yogurt you might want to add some water to thin it out some.
- Powdered milk: just add water to it to make the milk, then add the same amount to your recipe.
- Sour cream: a good substitute but it will likely add some tangy flavors to your recipe.
- Sweetened condensed milk: you can use the same amount, but you may want to cut back on any sugar added to the recipe.
If you don’t want to make your muffins with milk, you still have a lot of choices. It’s best to use another type of milk product as a substitute because it still provides the same texture and taste as regular milk.
Water will do in a pinch, but it may not give you the same texture or even the same taste as milk, which is why you should choose other types of milk instead.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.