Meet the Milk Substitutes

There's an amazing list of choices these days. Here's how they fared—sipped and cooked.

Milk Subsitute Varieties
Photo: Photo: Randy Mayor

ALMOND MILK

Taste & Texture: Nutty and toasty with a faint bitter background. Ground almonds are mixed with water, filtered, then fortified with nutrients and thickened with agents like lecithin and carrageenan for body.

Cooking: Resulted in quick bread with the best rise. But the almond flavor overwhelmed our pudding.

60 calories per cup; 0g sat fat, 1g protein

RICE MILK

Taste & Texture: Tastes exactly like sweet rice. Gets what little body it has from a small amount of safflower or canola oil.

Cooking: Our pudding was thinner and sweeter than that made with dairy. Rice milk was too watery for bread—it turned out gummy.

120 calories per cup; 0g sat fat, 1g protein

HEMP MILK

Taste & Texture: Chalky with a strong, fermented vitamin-like flavor. Even in brands that use thickeners, hemp milk—yes, made from seeds of the hemp plant—is likely to be cloudy with particles.

Cooking: Unwelcome flavor permeated the quick bread and pudding, where texture suffered (ours looked curdled).

100 calories per cup; 0.5g sat fat, 3g protein

COCONUT MILK

Taste & Texture: Similar to canned light coconut milk, but the smooth dairy-case kind has less sweet coconutty flavor and body, despite thickeners and as much sat fat as whole cow's milk.

Cooking: Imparted little flavor to either recipe. Like rice milk, it produced thin pudding and gummy bread.

80 calories per cup; 5g sat fat, 1g protein

SOY MILK

Taste & Texture: Most soy milks have thickeners to get that rich, milk-like consistency—the benchmark for dairy subs. Mildly nutty and creamy with a vegetal note.

Cooking: Browning was deep and even in the bread; the pudding turned out too thick.

80 calories per cup; 0g sat fat, 6g--8g protein

How We Tested: To learn how these milk subs cooked, we tested them in chocolate pudding and blueberry quick bread.

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