Cooking with non-dairy milks and oils: expert tips

April 18, 2017 10:27 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Non-dairy milks aren’t milk at all (except for sheep’s milk, which we stock in powdered form). They’re called ‘milk’ because they look like milk (being white), can be used in drinks as you would use milk, and often have a similar nutritional profile. But the fact that they’re essentially a completely different thing to dairy milk can cause some issues when you’re trying to cook with them. To help you out, we’ve rounded up a few tips from the experts.

Cooking with non-dairy milk? Check out our tips first.

We’ve got tips from the experts on cooking with dairy-free milk

Get your non-dairy alternatives ready!

First, let’s have a look at the kind of non-dairy milk you might use in a recipe. At Naturally Good Food we have a vast range of dairy alternatives. We stock various brands of soya milk, of course, with almond milk and coconut milk close behind this in terms of popularity. We also have oat milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk, cashew milk, quinoa milk, hemp milk and sheep’s milk. Some milks also come as creams, or in flavoured varieties. You may already have your favourite – if not, this blog: Which non-dairy milk to use? – might help you choose one.

Click here to see all our non-dairy milks.

When cooking, dairy-free oils can also be substituted for butter. We have a large range of cold-pressed oils here, with coconut oil perhaps the most likely to be used in baking.

Tips from the experts

Here are a few useful tips for cooking with dairy-free alternatives:

Each dairy-free milk brings its own benefits.

Soya milk? Or would almond or coconut milk work better?

  • Keep it easy: in recipes, simply replace dairy milk with the same quantity of dairy-free milk.
  • Soya milk is a particularly good choice in baking, as its natural richness prevents the end product from seeming ‘watery’.
  • Taste your dairy-free milk before you begin to cook with it. Does it have a particularly pronounced taste? Is that the taste you’re looking for in your recipe, or would you prefer something more neutral?
  • Are you making non-dairy buttermilk? Just add 2 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar to a dairy-free milk and leave to stand for a while.
  • If you’re making a savoury dish, make sure you use an unsweetened variety of dairy-free milk.
  • Coconut milk can separate when over-heated. Where possible, add it at the end of a recipe. If you still find it separates, remove from the heat and stir to remix it.
  • If you’re using coconut oil as an alternative to butter, use about 20% less.
  • If a recipe calls for melted butter, it’s possible to use olive oil, nut oils or rapeseed oils instead.
  • And for wonderful savoury mashed potatoes, try using one of these oils, rather than milk or butter. Add salt, pepper and perhaps some garlic too!


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This post was written by Yzanne

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