7 Best Substitutes For Milk In Pancakes

making pancake

Pancakes are undoubtedly one of the best breakfast and brunch choices of all time. You can never go wrong with its absolutely fluffy goodness and the right amount of sweetness. No wonder the majority of us are hooked and just can’t get enough of this classic breakfast dish.

Milk is a key ingredient to make the pancakes fluffier. However, if your milk is unavailable, you can substitute it with coconut milk. Other substitutes you can take advantage of are soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, or just water.

Milk Substitutes For Pancakes

Here’s a guide on how to use these substitutes including a special recipe.

1. Coconut Milk

One of my favorite milk substitutes for pancakes or with baking, in general, is coconut milk. It’s healthier, less in calories but it’s packed with aroma and creaminess. There’s no difference that can be seen when using this over milk. If you have the luxury of time, you can make your coconut milk out of it by extracting the first juice of the coconut meat. It’s fresher and creamier compared to store-bought ones.

However, if there is no fresh coconut available in your area, there’s a lot of packed coconut milk in grocery stores. I prefer organic ones with lesser sugar. 

Here’s a recipe for creamy coconut milk-based pancakes:


  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsps brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • The first step is to combine all the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients using a whisk until well combined. Then, move the wet mixture to the dry mixture and combine well. Do not overmix.
  • Heat up the pan over medium heat and add the butter. Drop a tablespoon or two on the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Flip carefully when you start seeing bubbles on the surface.

2. Soy Milk

Another healthier substitute for whole milk is soy milk. It’s a very rich source of protein and other vitamins and minerals. It’s also one of the most affordable alternatives that you can easily find in the market. Although it’s not as thick as milk, it still works as an alternative ingredient for pancakes and other baked dishes.

Unlike coconut milk, soy milk is not that aromatic. So you still need to add some vanilla extract to achieve that classic sweet smelling pancakes. 

Here’s a quick recipe for soy milk-based protein pancakes:


  • 1 cup of soy milk
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • Whisk all the dry ingredients in a clean bowl until well combined. Do the same with all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl as well. Add in the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold slowly until well mixed.
  • Heat up the pan and add some butter. Scoop 2 tbsps of the pancake batter and cook each side for 3 minutes. Serve with honey or chocolate syrup on top.

3. Oat Milk

Oat milk is also a perfect substitute for milk. It has grown its popularity from a group of vegans and health-conscious people who preferred a healthier and balanced diet. Oat milk is packed with fiber and surprisingly rich in calcium. Opposite to popular belief, it’s not true that only animal-based milk can provide calcium. Plant-based milk also has the ability to provide such nutrients.

Perfect for individuals who are lactose intolerant or just trying to avoid dairy products. Oat milk can also be used for vegan-friendly desserts or baked goodies.

Check out this oat milk-based recipe for a fiber-rich pancake:


  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter


  • Preheat the griddle over medium heat. On a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients until well combined. Do the same with the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Mix all the dry and wet ingredients together until it creates a batter.
  • Scoop some pancake batter and cook on the griddle for 3 minutes each side. Serve hot and top with chopped bananas and honey.

4. Almond Milk

Almond milk is also one of the most common milk substitutes used in cooking and baking. It’s also widely used in cafes for concocting dairy-free coffee options. The same as oat milk, almond milk is also a healthy source of calcium for stronger bones.

Making your own almond milk is very easy. You can adjust the taste and consistency. It’s only fresh almonds and water, then processed in the blender until it’s milk in appearance. Easy and quick to make.

Follow this healthy vegan pancake recipe below:


  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for cooking


  • Combine first the dry ingredients in a large bowl and do the same in a separate bowl for all the wet ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold just right to avoid it from drying.
  • On a hot pan, add in the olive oil and heaping scoop of pancake batter. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes. Top with your choice of fruits and maple syrup.

5. Cashew Milk

You can also try out cashew milk if you’re not feeling almond milk. Also considered as one of the healthiest milk substitutes that can be used for plant-based dishes. An important note to consider is to check if you’re not allergic to any type of nut before doing this substitution.

The same as almonds, you may follow the same recipe for making homemade cashew milk. I like adding a hint of honey to make it extra sweet but still healthy. You can also find packaged cashew milk in grocery stores such as Morrisons Vegan Cashew Milk.

For those following a paleo diet, here are a perfect cashew milk-based pancakes for you:


  • 1 cup cashew flour
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil


  • Preheat the griddle while preparing the pancake batter. Mix all the dry ingredients first then the wet ingredients in two separate bowls. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix evenly. You can add extra cashew nuts for an extra bite.
  • Add coconut oil on the griddle and a scoop of pancake batter. Cook for  3 minutes on each side. Serve with berries and drizzle with maple syrup.

6. Rice Milk

Rice milk is also surprising plant-based milk that can substitute regular milk. In most Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, rice milk is widely used for sweet drinks and rice cake desserts. Nowadays, it has also achieved international fame because of its added nutrients and lower calories compared to whole milk. Still, it should be used moderately to avoid consuming extra carbs.

There’s a lot of easy recipes to follow online for making homemade rice milk. However, I prefer the convenience and nowadays there’s a lot of options in the market to choose from. I highly recommend Trader Joe’s Organic Rice Drink.

Try this 4-ingredient sticky rice milk-based pancake recipe:


  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of rice milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil


  • This is by far the easiest recipe from this list. Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Heat the pan and add coconut oil. Scoop some of the pancake batter and cook each side for 3 minutes. Serve it with sweet toppings as the pancake is bland compared to the rest.

7. Water

And last but not least is of course water. The healthiest and zero-calorie substitute for milk. If you don’t have all the other 6 substitutes we mentioned above, don’t bother running to the store and get it. Water is actually doable for emergency cooking situations such as this.

The substitution is also simple, too. Just replace 1 cup of water over 1 cup of milk. However, I advise adding half a teaspoon of baking powder more and an extra egg to achieve a fluffier texture.

There you have it! Those are the 7 substitutes that you can use for pancakes if you don’t have milk. Take note that when substituting milk, expect that the pancakes might be less fluffy. Adjust the number of eggs and baking powder if you prefer softer and fluffier pancakes.

Happy cooking!

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