I don’t drink milk or eat cereal, and neither does my husband, so it’s tough for us to use up milk before it goes bad. We do now buy a half-gallon every other week, but it’s used entirely for yogurt, leaving none for other purposes. That’s fine with me. Over the years, I’ve found several milk substitutes that are great for cooking and baking.
I used to buy a quart of acidophilus milk every month or so. This kind of milk keeps longer, so it’s perfect for baking or cooking where you just need a little. But there is still the opportunity for waste if you don’t use it all up before it goes bad. It also costs slightly more than regular milk.
This is my favorite milk substitute. I keep a box of non-fat instant milk in the cupboard. Then I mix it up a cup at a time when I need it. It’s best if you put it in the fridge for a couple hours after you mix it, but it will work even last minute.
If you hit the grocery store sales around the holidays, you probably have a can or two of evaporated milk. Just add an equal amount of water to get milk suitable for cooking or baking. It sounds gross, but this is how they stored milk before refrigeration was common.
This will add a hint of sweetness, but coconut milk can be used in place of regular milk in baking or cooking. Add an equal amount of water to get the same consistency as milk.
Rice or Soy Milk
If you can’t tolerate dairy, then you probably have rice or soy milk in the fridge or cupboard. Again, the flavor will be slightly different, but both can be used in place of regular milk.
You can actually freeze milk. Freeze it in ice cube trays, but don’t let it stay in the freezer too long because it will pick up other flavors. Use it to stretch your milk for a few weeks. Once frozen and thawed (in the fridge), stir or shake well. It’s best for cooking and baking because the texture will have changed.
Buttermilk or Cream
If you’re making something like mashed potatoes, you can use buttermilk or cream instead of milk to impart a slightly different flavor or texture, and use them up before they go bad.
A Word on Organic Milk
Many people are choosing to buy organic milk. If you do, make sure you can use it up before it goes bad. Letting it go bad is pouring money down the drain, literally.
With these substitutions, you’ll not only avoid throwing away spoiled milk, but you’ll also avoid running to the store mid-recipe when you realize you’re out of milk or the milk you have has gone bad. Do you have other tips for making milk last or substituting other things for it? Share them in the comments.