Substitute for Milk in Pancakes
Substitute for Milk in Pancakes

Pancakes are one of people’s favorite breakfast treats. They are so yummy when eaten with maple syrup or other toppings aside ingredients.

However, most pancake recipes call for milk. You have flour, eggs, baking powder, and no milk.

What to do when you don’t have any or don’t want to use dairy milk? Does that mean that you have to give up on pancakes? Not.

Whether you run out of milk or just following a vegan diet and want no-dairy pancakes, it’s good to know that there are substitutes for dairy milk when you’re making pancakes.

The purpose of milk in pancakes is to dissolve the flour and other dry ingredients and give a liquid structure to the mixture. Therefore, you can substitute milk with almost any other liquid when making delicious pancakes.

Water may be the most obvious substitute, but pancakes made with water only can be a bit tasteless. No worry, we have other options in mind.

Keep reading to find out all substitutes for milk so you can make the best homemade pancakes!

Can you make pancakes with water?

Yes, you can make pancakes with water, and the procedure will be the same, just like when you’re making regular pancakes.

The main difference between milk and water-based pancakes is their taste. Whether dairy or non-dairy, milk gives fullness and creaminess and brings additional flavor to this treat.

Even when you make store-bought pancake mix, you’ll read instructions to add some water, meaning that powdered milk is already one of the ingredients.

You can make pancakes with water instead of milk
You can make pancakes with water instead of milk (

If you’re making yummy pancakes without milk, with water only, be sure not to spare on vanilla extract, butter, sugar, or even a sprinkle of lemon juice – you’ll need them to add some taste to your milk-free pancakes.

Pancakes without milk recipe

Here is a perfect no-milk pancake recipe:


  • 1 1/2 cups (355 milliliters) water
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) neutral-tasting oil or 1/2 cup (113 grams) melted, warm butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (297 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Mix wet ingredients – water, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add dry mix to the wet and stir until combined. Don’t stir out all the lumps. You don’t want gigantic lumps but some medium lumps are okay.
  • Grease a pan with cooking spray or butter and place on medium-low heat (I used 3 out of 9 but stoves vary and you may need higher heat).
  • Pour 1/8 of the batter (120 grams) into the center of the pan. Use a spoon to form into a more circular shape, if desired.
  • Cook until you start to see some bubbling under the surface, rather than actual bubbles you see in some pancake recipes. Once the pan is really hot, this should only take about 2-3 minutes per side. Once you see the bubbling, check and if it’s brown on the bottom, then flip.
  • Cook another 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve immediately. Let leftovers cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for 3 months

What is pancake batter without milk like?

Pancake batter without milk is the same as dairy-based pancake batter. Consistency is the same. Still, be careful when adding water – add it little by little, following the pancake recipe until your mixture is perfect.

Milk substitutes for pancakes

Water is only one ingredient that can substitute milk when you make pancakes – and there is an entire list of others.

Using plant-based milk or any other dairy product in the proper ratio will give your pancake recipe liquid texture and fluffiness, and fullness of taste.

As a substitute for milk, you can use almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk, soy milk, hemp seed milk, cashew milk, sour cream, and yogurt. Your pancakes will be delicious with these substitutes.

How to use almond milk for pancakes?

Almond milk is one of the favorite substitutes for dairy milk for pancakes – it’s beautifully creamy, and it has a nutty flavor that gives a special touch to this treat. Almond milk has a texture that’s most similar to regular milk.

Almond milk
Almond milk (

When you use almond milk as a substitute in cooking and baking, use it in a 1:1 ratio for whole or 2% milk.

Tip: When you’re shopping for almond or any other kind of plant milk for cooking and baking, choose unsweetened options. In this particular case, if you buy or have sweetened milk, make sure to reduce the amount of sugar in the pancake recipe.

How to use oat milk for pancakes?

Oat milk can be a good substitute for milk when you’re making fluffy pancakes.

Oat milk is derived from oat grains by extracting it with water. Oat milk has a creamy texture and, naturally, the flavor that reminds of oat. Oat flavor won’t be recognizable in cooked pancakes.

Oat milk comes in sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, or chocolate flavors. For pancakes, use unsweetened oat milk.

Shake it well before use and use it in a 1:1 ratio.

Tip: If you decide to use oat milk instead of whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour, you can use oat flour to add some extra oaty taste to your pancakes! It’s also gluten-free!

Oat milk (

How to use rice milk for pancakes?

Rice milk is another excellent milk alternative, and of all substitutes, it has a flavor that reminds me of dairy milk the most. However, rice milk is thinner than animal milk, and your pancakes could be a bit runny if you pour too much of it.

Use rice milk in a 1:1 ratio – measure for measure.

Rice milk is plant milk made out of brown rice and brown rice syrup. It can be sweetened with sugar or sugar substitutes and flavored with everyday ingredients, for example, vanilla or chocolate.

How to use coconut milk for pancakes?

Coconut milk is another of the plant kinds you can use as a milk substitute.

You can use canned coconut milk if the recipe calls for whole milk, but milk in a carton is an equally good option.

Keep in mind when you use coconut milk as a milk substitute in cooking and baking, your dishes will have a mild coconut taste.

Tip: Not only can coconut milk be used to replace milk, but you can use coconut oil as a replacement for butter. Use coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio to replace natural butter (having a slightly coconutty taste).

Coconut milk
Coconut milk (

How to use soy milk for pancakes?

The same goes for soy milk, just like every other kind of plant kinds of milk we named above.

You can use this type of milk as a dairy-free substitute for whole milk. The problem is that it separates sometimes, and it can give a grainy texture to your pancakes. To avoid this problem, always buy “full fat” soy milk and shake it well before use.

Soy milk is an excellent choice if you’re lactose intolerant, in a 1:1 ratio.

Soy milk
You can use soy milk in a pancake mixture as one of the wet ingredients (

How to use hemp seed milk for pancakes?

Hemp milk is made by blending water and seeds from the hemp (Cannabis sativa) plant.

It has a strong earthy, nutty taste and a creamy consistency, and you can use it in all recipes that call for regular milk.

Although it can be used as a substitute for milk when you make pancakes, consider hemp seed milk an alternative ingredient that you’ll use if no other types of milk are available.

Why is that so?

Hemp seed milk has a nice texture – and a robust nutty flavor that works well for coffee, but it could overtake the taste of other ingredients in cooking and baking. Maybe you should give it a try and decide.

If you decide to use it, the ratio is 1:1.

How to use cashew milk for pancakes?

Cashew milk is a popular substitute for cow’s milk, made out of whole cashews and water.

It has a creamy and rich consistency and excellent nutritional value. You can use cashew milk in cooking and baking if you want to make pancakes without milk.

Use cashew milk in a 1:1 ratio and enjoy its delicious creaminess and unique taste.

Dairy products that can be used as a substitute for milk in pancakes

Some dairy products can be used instead of milk in cooking and baking – for example, sour cream, heavy cream, or yogurt. However, you’ll need to measure the ratio here is not always 1:1.

Kind of milkSubstitute for whole milk
1% MilkSame amount + Tablespoon of melted Butter
2% MilkDirect substitute (1:1)
Half & half75% Half and half – 25% Water (3:1)
Heavy cream1/2 Heavy cream + 1/2 Water
Non-dairyNatural replacement (1:1)
Evaporated milk1/2 Evaporated milk + 1/2 Water
Substitutes for one cup of whole milk

Can you use heavy cream as a substitute for milk in pancakes?

You can use heavy cream for pancakes. It is an excellent substitute for milk, but it is thick, and you have to dilute it before adding it to your pancake mixture. Heavy cream has a fat content of 36% to 40%. Mix a half cup of heavy cream mixed with a half cup of water to replace one cup of milk.

This type of cream has a rich, creamy, and fatty taste that perfectly fits pancakes.

Can you use yogurt or sour cream as substitutes for milk in pancakes?

Yes, you can use yogurt and sour cream to replace milk in pancakes. If you decide to use yogurt, use the unsweetened plain version. Sweetened vanilla yogurt will give an even better taste to your pancakes – of course, if you’re into vanilla taste. You don’t need to dilute yogurt with water – use it in a 1:1 ratio as a replacement.

Sour cream
Sour cream (

If you have greek yogurt or sour cream on your hand, they are also great replacements for milk, but you need to dilute them first. Use 75% of sour cream and 25% water to cut it.

Additional ingredients that give flavor

Some additional ingredients can give more flavor to your pancakes. Experiment with the following:

  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Caramel extract
  • Almond extract
  • Maple extract
  • Chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips)
  • Melted butter
  • Nut butter (for extra flavor)
  • Strawberries, blueberries, or any other chopped berries
  • Jam or jelly
  • Zest of orange, lemon, lime
Maple syrup is one of the best pancake toppings
Maple syrups are one of the best pancake toppings (

Can juice be a substitute for milk in pancakes?

Fruit juice is one of the wet ingredients you can successfully use instead of milk in pancakes. It will moist dry ingredients the same way milk would. For neutral taste, choose apple juice, as you won’t even notice it is there, or you can add orange or any other liquid you prefer.

The pancake batter will be perfect.

Is baking powder necesary in pancakes?

Baking powder and baking soda belong to dry ingredients in pancakes. They work as leavening agents – when you add them, in a chemical reaction with sugar content, bubbles form, and that’s precisely what makes pancakes fluffier and lighter.

However, be careful not to exaggerate with baking soda or baking powder – your pancakes could have a weird chalky taste and be too airy and puffy. Also, if you don’t put enough leavening agents, the pancake will come out flat and limp.