Recipes & Diet

Cooking and Baking without Milk Ingredients

The following is a general guide to using ingredient substitutions for milk allergy. Please verify the ingredients and safety of any products named to ensure that it is safe for your child's unique allergy issues.

If you need additional assistance in finding product suggestions or where to find ingredients for substituting, post a message in the KFA Food and Cooking Support Forum to get suggestions from other parents who are also managing the same food allergies with their children.

Basic Ingredient Substitutions for Food Allergies
Many common allergens are also common ingredients in your favorite recipes. There are some ingredients for which you can easily and successfully use non-allergenic substitutes, and there are others for which satisfactory substitutes do not exist.

Whether or not a "safe" version of a recipe can be successfully made often depends on two important factors. First: what is the role of the allergen in the recipe? Second: how many of the recipe's ingredients require substitutions? If the recipe only has 5 ingredients and you need to swap out 4 of them, the end result might bear little resemblance to the original dish. The bottom line: sometimes you can create a "safe" version of a recipe, and sometimes you are better off finding a different recipe altogether.


Substitutes for Dairy Ingredients

Be aware that some brands and varieties of soy-based products (especially soy cheeses) may contain casein (a milk protein)  or are made in production facilities on equipment shared with dairy.

Substituting for Butter

One of the easiest substitutions to make is for butter: simply use a dairy-free margarine instead. However, you may need to do some searching and taste-testing to find the best dairy-free margarine available in your area, as a good margarine can make a big difference in many recipes. For baked goods, try to find a dairy-free margarine with a low water content and high fat content (e.g., stick of margarine usually contains less water than a tub of margarine). Margarines with high water content may affect your baked goods.

Substituting for Yogurt, Sour Cream, and Cream Cheese

Soy-based, coconut-based, and pea-based "yogurt," "sour cream," and "cream cheese" products are available. These generally work very well in recipes.

Substituting for Cheese

Dairy-free cheeses are a bit of a challenge.  If a child is old enough to remember "real" cheese, you may want to wait a while before introducing a milk-free version. Younger children will usually adapt more easily. Soy cheeses do not taste or melt like traditional dairy cheeses. In some cases, soy cheese will not appear melted, but will in fact be melted inside. There are now milk-free and soy-free cheeses available from several brands. They are available in shreds, blocks and slices. These milk-free and soy-free cheeses also melt much better than milk-free cheeses of the past.

Milk-free cheese may not work well in recipes for cheese sauces. If you would like to make a dairy-free "cheese sauce," check our Safe Eats™ recipe database for "cheese sauce" recipes based on nutritional yeast.

Substituting for Milk

There are a number of commercially-produced liquid milk alternatives made from soy, rice, potato, oat, almond, hazelnut, cashew, hemp, flax, sunflower, macadamia, and even camel. Most of these are available in a few different flavors (such as "regular," "vanilla," "chocolate," and "mocha"). All of these milks can be substituted 1-for-1 in recipes.

Note: Goat's milk is not considered a safe alternative for those allergic to cow's milk.

Alisa Fleming has done extensive taste-testing to determine which types of milks work best in which types of recipes. The following information is reprinted with permission from her book, "Dairy Free Made Easy" by Alisa Fleming of


Milk Taste Uses
Soy Milk
  • In general, soy milk is considered "hearty" among the non-dairy beverages, and is excellent when you are craving something thick and creamy.
  • The plain varieties have a faintly sweet and nutty flavor.
  • Taste and consistency vary widely among soy milk brands.
  • Soy milk can easily be substituted for cow's milk in all baking needs, over cereal, for pancakes and waffles, in smoothies, or straight from the glass.
  • The unsweetened varieties work equally well in savory dishes.
  • Soy milk does have a more pronounced flavor, so it may not be the top choice for delicate desserts and sauces.
Rice Milk
  • For many, rice milk has that "true milk flavor." It is one of the lightest, sweetest, and most refreshing of the dairy substitutes.
  • With its natural sweetness, rice milk is perfect in desserts and baked goods.
  • Its delicate texture also works well in curries as well as lighter cream soups and sauces.
  • Rice milk is best avoided in the broader savory foods arena.
Oat Milk
  • Oat milk is light in texture and has a very mild flavor with just a hint of sweetness. It substitutes very well for low-fat or fat-free milk.
  • Oat milk has been successfully trialed as a substitute for cow's milk in both sweet and savory dishes.
  • In addition to drinking it straight from the glass, oat milk is recommended for your morning cereal; smoothies; baked goods; curries; lighter cream soups and sauces; and mashed potatoes.

Substituting for Sweetened Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk

You can make your own sweetened condensed milk substitute by making a "safe" evaporated milk and adding sugar. Evaporated milk is milk that has water content reduced by 60%. Simmer any quantity of soy or rice milk in a pan until it reduced by 60% to get evaporated milk. Approximately 3 cups of rice or soy milk will leave 1 cup of evaporated milk left at the end. Be careful not to scald it. For sweetened condensed milk, mix one cup of evaporated milk with 1-1/4 cups of sugar. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool. It will yield 1-1/2 cups of evaporated milk substitute. It will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Another alternative for evaporated milk is to substitute coconut milk 1:1 in the recipe. This will impart a coconut flavor to the recipe, so it works in some recipes but not all.

Substituting for Buttermilk

You can make your own buttermilk substitute by mixing one tablespoon vinegar plus 1 cup milk alternative such as rice milk or soy milk.

Substituting for Light Cream, Sweet Cream, or Heavy Cream

Substitutes for light cream: light (or "lite") canned coconut milk, soy creamer, coconut-based creamers, almond-based creamers

Full fat coconut milk can be substituted for heavy cream. A coconut milk substitute will impart a coconut flavor to a recipe, so it will work for some recipes, but not all.

You can use Kineret® brand whipped topping as a substitute for sweet cream if used straight out of the carton and not whipped.

Apple or Carrot Cake

Recipes & Diet

Safe Eats ™ Recipes (Allergy-Friendly, Search Free of Your Allergens)

Apple or Carrot Cake

Rate Apple or Carrot Cake

4 starsAvg. rating: 4 from 4 votes.

 Recipe Information  
Category: Cakes
Recipe Created By: Tammy Chance


1 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 Ener-G Egg Replacers, prepared
1 1/2 cup shredded apples

Preheat oven to 325 °F.

Combine oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together oil, sugar, and egg replacers and then add to flour. Blend apples in well.

Bake in a greased 9-inch round about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

To frost, I just used the directions for a meringue topping on the side of the Egg Replacer box. It turned out yummy too.

For carrot cake, substitute shredded carrots for the apples.

EngerG Egg Replacer contain corn based citric acid. Use another egg replacer if needed.

Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in specific grains (wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye). Other grains are naturally gluten-free but may have cross-contact with gluten-containing grains. Look for certified gluten-free products if you need to avoid gluten. Find out more about wheat and gluten substitutions.

Corn Substitutions: Corn is a common ingredient in products. Starch, modified food starch, dextrin and maltodextrin can be from corn. Consult with your physician to find out which corn derivatives you need to avoid. Many corn-free options are available in the US. Find out more about corn substitutions.

Egg Substitutions: There are many egg-free products and foods available to make your recipes free of eggs. Find out more about egg substitutions.

 This recipe is free of:
 Milk  Peanut  Egg  Soy  Tree nut
 Gluten  Wheat  Fish  Shellfish  Sesame

 Keep in Mind  
  1. Always read labels! Product ingredients can change without notice. Do not assume a recipe or product is safe for you. Contact manufacturers to confirm safety for your allergy needs.
  2. A check in a box on a recipe means you can make a recipe "free of" that allergen.  You may need to use a substitution or alternative product to make that recipe safe for the allergies you are managing.
  3. If you need assistance with a recipe or ingredient substitution, post on our Food & Cooking support forums. You will receive personal help to alter a recipe to make it allergy-free for your child’s needs.
  4. You are welcome to link to our recipes.  If you would like to publish our recipes elsewhere in print or online, please contact us for permission.

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