Can You Substitute Milk For Vegetable Oil?

Last updated on July 14th, 2022 at 12:50 am

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Every ingredient that goes into a recipe is important. For instance, vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is a staple ingredient in many recipes. 

In baking, oil keeps the baked good moist. Oil can make your product tender and fluffy in texture. When you are out of vegetable oil or just want to opt for something else in your recipe and need a substitute there are many. 

These substitutes for vegetable oil actually include a lot of dairy products. So, what about milk? Can you substitute milk for vegetable oil?

Regular whole milk alone cannot be substituted for vegetable oil. But, when mixed with yogurt or applesauce, you can substitute milk for vegetable oil. Buttermilk and non-dairy milks can also be used instead of vegetable oil.

If you are wanting to substitute milk for vegetable oil in a recipe then it is mostly likely that you are baking. In baking, vegetable oil helps the product to be moist, fluffy, and tender in texture. 

So, when you are out of this particular ingredient it can throw a wrench in things. Some dairy products are actually good substitutes for vegetable oil. Butter, sour cream, yogurt, and even mayonnaise can be used instead of oil. 

If you are wanting to use milk, this must be added to another ingredient before you use it as a vegetable substitute.

Milk can be used as a substitute for vegetable oil but it should be mixed with another ingredient because by itself it will make your recipe too dry. Oil makes your recipe moist and doesn’t evaporate during baking and so when you use plain milk instead, it will turn out to be dry because milk will evaporate as it is baked. 

Milk alone is not one of the substitutes for vegetable oil. But mix it with some yogurt and you have the right consistency to add to your baked goods. There are some types of milk that are an acceptable substitute. Skim milk mixed with applesauce, and non-dairy milks can be used in place of the oil.

Can You Replace Oil With Milk?

Oil is used in so many cooking and baking recipes. So, what happens when you are out of this ingredient?  Searching for a recipe, you find some milk. But, can you replace oil with milk?

You can replace oil with milk if you add another ingredient to it. By adding some applesauce to skim milk or yogurt to milk you can simulate the consistency that vegetable oil would give the recipe.

When you use only milk as a substitute for vegetable oil, your finished product will turn out dry. 

This is because milk (or water) evaporates during the baking process. Oil does not. That is why your recipe will be moist when you use oil. 

So, to copy the effect oil would have in a recipe with milk, you have to add it to something that will first of all, retain the same taste as the recipe, and also be thick and moisten the baked good. 

So, if you want to use milk in your baking instead of vegetable oil, mix it with applesauce or yogurt for the best results.

On the subject of oil substitutions, the article, Oil Substitutes for Cooking and Baking If You Run Out by Better Homes & Gardens states, “While it’s true that vegetable and other oils add richness to many baking recipes, if you wish to cut down on calories or fat, you can usually find a healthy oil replacement for at least some of the fat. Try one of these options as a substitute for oil in cakes, muffins, and other baked goods…To substitute applesauce for oil, as a general rule, use half applesauce and half fat. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup oil, use ½ cup applesauce and ½ cup oil…As a substitute for vegetable oil or other oil called for in a baking recipe, swap in mashed bananas for half the oil called for…swap in the pureed pears for half the oil called for…Note that in some cases, you can use olive oil as a substitute for vegetable oil in baking.”



What Can Be Substituted For Vegetable Oil?

Now, this question all depends on if you are simply cooking or baking. For cooking with oil, any other oil can be used in place of vegetable oil. In baking, there are certain ingredients that can be used as a replacement. 

So, what can be substituted for vegetable oil?

For baking, there are a few dairy products as well as fruit and oil products that can be used as a vegetable oil substitute. When you are substituting for vegetable oil you want to make sure that the ingredient will make the baked good moist and not dry.

Some things that can be substituted for vegetable oil in baking recipes are flaxseed oil, applesauce, coconut oil, ghee, yogurt, sesame oil, mashed fruit or fruit puree. All of these ingredients have a thick texture which resembles vegetable oil. 

Applesauce even has fewer calories than vegetable oil so if you want a healthy option, then this is the way to go. If you want to use milk as a vegetable oil substitute, you can. Just be sure to mix it with things like applesauce or yogurt so your recipe turns out to be the right consistency.

According to the article, Oil Substitutes in Baking by Bob’s Red Mill, You can use skim milk with applesauce, buttermilk, sour cream, greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and non-dairy milks in place of vegetable oil in baking recipes. They state, “…Mayonnaise…actually gives the closest result to having used oil, and it retains the flavors of your cake or whatever baked good you are creating very well! Yogurt and sour cream also work in a pinch, but do change the flavor profile a tad. We like Greek yogurt as a substitute if health is your main priority–plus, yogurt adds natural probiotics! Buttermilk can also work as an oil substitute, but you should mix about three quarters of buttermilk with one quarter of melted butter before subbing it into your batter.”

Final Thoughts

Many things including dairy products can be substituted for vegetable oil. However, just plain milk cannot be used instead of vegetable oil. It is said that non-dairy milks can work, but it is recommended to mix milk (whether it is dairy or non-dairy) with applesauce or yogurt. 

Since milk will dry out during the baking process, you will need to add the milk to another ingredient to give your recipe the moistness it needs. 

You want your baking recipe to have the right consistency so you can use milk as a substitute for vegetable oil if you use it with a thickening ingredient. So, add some other ingredient to milk and then you can use it as a vegetable oil substitute.


Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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