What’s a good substitute for milk in waffles?

Quick Answer

Popular substitutes for milk in waffles include non-dairy milks, dairy alternatives, and other liquids. Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and oat milk make great non-dairy substitutes. Yogurt, buttermilk, and kefir can provide a tangy dairy alternative. Water, juice, or coffee can also be used in place of milk in waffles. The substitute used will affect the taste, texture, flavor, and nutrition of the waffles.

Non-Dairy Milks as Substitutes

Non-dairy milks like soy, almond, coconut, and oat milk are lactose-free options that can replace regular dairy milk in waffle recipes. Here is more about using each non-dairy milk variety:

Soy Milk

Soy milk has a creamy consistency that is similar to cow’s milk. It has a mild bean-like flavor that blends well into waffles. Soy milk adds protein to waffles and can be used as a direct 1:1 substitute for cow’s milk. Choose unsweetened varieties for the best results.

Almond Milk

Almond milk has a thin, watery texture that works well for making lighter, crispier waffles. It has a mild nutty almond flavor that pairs nicely with sweeter waffle toppings like fruit or syrup. Some settled separation may need to be stirred back in before using almond milk.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is naturally sweet and thick with a strong coconut flavor. It makes waffles rich and dessert-like. Full-fat coconut milk works best as a 1:1 milk substitute. Light coconut milk or canned varieties may curdle. Shake cans well before using.

Oat Milk

Oat milk has a creamy consistency similar to dairy milk. It has an inherent sweet oat flavor that tastes great in waffles. Use thicker oat milk varieties for the most success as a milk substitute. Stir well before using as separation can occur.

Dairy Alternatives

Some dairy products make good milk substitutes for waffles with different tastes and textures. Options include:


Plain yogurt can be used in place of milk in waffle recipes. It provides a nice tang that goes well with sweet toppings. Greek yogurt is thick and produces dense waffles. Regular yogurt makes waffles lighter. Make sure yogurt isn’t expired before using.


Buttermilk is thicker than regular milk and gives waffles a tender, cake-like texture. It has a tangy flavor from lactic acid that enhances any mix-ins used. Replace milk with an equal amount of buttermilk.


Kefir is fermented milk that makes waffles taste rich and tangy. Its liquidy texture produces lighter waffles. Use plain, unsweetened kefir to substitute milk. The probiotics in kefir may help improve gut health.

Other Liquid Substitutes

When in a pinch, water, coffee, juice or other liquids can work in place of milk in waffles:


Water is an easy substitute that allows you to make basic waffles if you’re out of milk. It won’t provide flavor or extra nutrients but does add moisture. Use equal parts water to replace milk.


Strong brewed coffee can replace up to half the milk in waffle recipes. It adds rich coffee flavor that enhances chocolate or banana waffles. Too much coffee can make bitter waffles.


Fruit juices like orange juice can replace milk and provide sweet flavor to waffles. Apple juice, pineapple juice, or other varieties also work. Limit juice to 1/4 cup per cup of milk replaced.

How Substitutes Affect Waffles

Substituting the milk in a waffle recipe changes the outcome in various ways:


Non-dairy milks and dairy alternatives impart their own flavors like coconut, oat, or tanginess. Other substitutes like coffee and juice also influence the flavor. Water provides no added taste.


Thinner liquids like almond milk make waffles lighter and crispier. Thick non-dairy milks like soy produce substantial waffles similar to dairy milk. Yogurt makes waffles dense.


Some substitutes like coconut milk can burn faster while cooking waffles. Keep an eye on waffles and adjust cook times as needed based on the substitute used.


Non-dairy milks often have fewer calories than whole dairy milk. Added proteins, vitamins, and minerals vary based on the substitute. Check labels to compare nutritional values.

Choosing a Milk Substitute

With so many options for replacing milk in waffles, which one is best? Here are some tips:

– For easiest substitution, opt for unsweetened soy milk or oat milk. Their consistency is closest to cow’s milk.

– For nuttier flavor, try almond milk. Shake it first as separation can occur.

– Coconut milk makes super rich, sweet waffles perfect for dessert. Just watch cook times.

– If you want tangy waffles, use buttermilk or kefir to provide a tasty fermented twist.

– For dairy-free waffles, any unsweetened non-dairy milk works wonderfully in place of regular milk.

– If you’re out of milk, water, coffee, or juice in small amounts can work in a pinch.

Sample Milk Substitute Amounts

Milk Substitute Amount
1 cup cow’s milk Soy milk 1 cup
1 cup cow’s milk Almond milk 1 cup
1 cup cow’s milk Coconut milk 1 cup (full-fat)
1 cup cow’s milk Oat milk 1 cup
1 cup cow’s milk Greek yogurt 1 cup
1 cup cow’s milk Buttermilk 1 cup
1 cup cow’s milk Kefir 1 cup
1 cup cow’s milk Water 1 cup
1 cup cow’s milk Coffee 1/2 cup
1 cup cow’s milk Fruit juice 1/4 cup

Tips for Using Milk Substitutes

– When using non-dairy milks, opt for unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugar in waffles.

– Stir or shake substitutes before adding to the waffle batter to distribute consistency.

– If batter seems too thin with some substitutes, add an extra tablespoon of flour or cornstarch.

– Adjust cooking times and temps since some subs like coconut milk brown faster than dairy milk.

– Combine milks for flavor like half dairy milk and half almond milk.

– Check expiration dates to ensure substitutes like buttermilk or yogurt are fresh before baking.

– Read ingredient lists to avoid unwanted additives or preservatives.

– Consider nutritional differences when swapping milks. Compare protein, calories, vitamins, etc.

Recipes with Milk Substitutes

Get creative with these delicious waffle recipes using non-dairy milks and dairy alternatives in place of regular milk:

Vegan Coconut Waffles

– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1/4 cup water
– 2 cups flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together coconut milk, water, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Gently stir in coconut oil and vanilla until just combined. Cook according to waffle maker directions.

Protein-Packed Kefir Waffles

– 1 cup plain kefir
– 2 eggs
– 2 cups whole wheat flour
– 2 tbsp honey
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Beat together kefir, eggs, flour, honey, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in oil. Pour batter into preheated waffle maker and cook until crispy and brown.

Pumpkin Spice Oat Milk Waffles

– 1 cup oat milk
– 1 cup pumpkin puree
– 2 eggs
– 1 3/4 cups flour
– 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1 tbsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix together oat milk, pumpkin, eggs, flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt. Fold in vegetable oil. Cook in waffle iron until crispy outside and cooked through inside.

Storing Leftover Waffles

End up with leftover waffles after using a milk substitute? Here are some storage tips:

– Allow waffles to cool completely before storing.

– Place waffles in airtight container or resealable plastic freezer bag.

– Refrigerate waffles for 3-5 days.

– Freeze waffles up to 2-3 months. Thaw in toaster or microwave before serving.

– Reheat refrigerated waffles wrapped in paper towel for 1 minute in the microwave.

– Toaster or oven can be used to reheat frozen waffles directly from freezer.

– Cut waffles in half or quarters so they thaw and reheat faster.

– Consume reheated waffles within 3-5 days for optimal freshness and taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why substitute milk in waffles?

The most common reasons for substituting milk in waffles recipes include food allergies or intolerances, dietary restrictions like vegan or paleo diets, and simply being out of fresh milk when you want waffles.

Do waffles made with substitutes taste different?

Yes, the taste of waffles can change significantly based on the milk substitute used. Non-dairy milks and dairy alternatives lend their own flavors ranging from nutty to tangy to coconutty.

Which milk substitute is most like cow’s milk?

In terms of creaminess and consistency, soy milk or oat milk come closest to regular cow’s milk. They are thicker than nut milks and can typically be swapped 1:1 in waffle recipes.

Can I use water as a milk substitute in waffles?

Yes, water can work as a substitute for milk in waffles in a pinch, though it won’t provide any additional flavor or nutrition. Use equal amounts of water to replace the milk.

Do I need to make other recipe adjustments with substitutes?

You may need to slightly alter cook times, temperatures or batter thickness when using certain substitutes. Coconut milk waffles may cook faster. Thinner nut milks may require added flour.


With a wide variety of milk substitutes available, everyone can enjoy delicious homemade waffles regardless of dietary needs or what’s in the fridge. Non-dairy milks, dairy alternatives, and other liquids can all stand in for regular milk in waffle batters. Just keep in mind how the substitute used affects texture, taste, cook times, and nutrition. With the right substitute and a good recipe, you’ll have scrumptious waffles in no time.

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