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11 Best Substitutes For Milk In Meatloaf

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Milk is an important ingredient in meatloaf is it helps keep it moist. But what if you can’t use milk due to its unavailability, a personal choice, or a dietary restriction? Don’t worry – there are several other options to use in its place!

So, what are the best substitutes for milk in meatloaf? The best substitutes for milk are any type of liquid that prevents the meatloaf from getting dry and unpalatable. Some common options include water, cream, yogurt, and chicken, beef, or vegetable stock.

Read on to find out more about the best substitutes of milk in meatloaf, how they affect its taste and texture, along with some great vegan options:

Can You Make Meatloaf Without Milk?

To make meatloaf, you need ground meat, eggs, diced onions, diced bell peppers, breadcrumbs, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, some seasonings, and milk.

The majority of the recipes you will find will list milk as one of the ingredients. Its role is to add moisture and allow the flavors to distribute evenly throughout the meatloaf.

Milk soaks up the breadcrumbs and makes mixing the ingredients much easier so that you get a properly combined meatloaf that is easy to form into its desired shape.

Milk is an important ingredient when it comes to baking a meatloaf. Without milk, the meatloaf will become dry and unappetizing.

Can you make meatloaf without milk? You can skip adding milk to your meatloaf but will have to replace it with an ingredient that performs the same role.

If you’re just learning how to make meatloaf, here’s a great starter recipe from Tasty Treats Made Easy on YouTube so that you know the basics before you swap out milk for a substitute.

Best Substitutes For Milk In Meatloaf

There are several great ingredients that can replace regular milk in meatloaf and add the required moisture to it. 

Whether you are lactose intolerant, vegan, don’t enjoy the taste of regular milk, or simply don’t have some available in your pantry, you can easily swap milk with one of these easily available ingredients you are most likely going to find in your kitchen:

1. Water

What’s better than water to add moisture to your food, right? Water is the easiest and most readily available substitute for milk in meatloaf.

While it is a good replacement, bland water will make the meatloaf lack richness and the texture won’t be as smooth; two things that you expect in a meatloaf.

To overcome this issue, you may add 1 tbsp of butter to every cup of water in order to keep the fat content the same. You may also make an onion or garlic broth with the water to make the meatloaf more flavorful.

How much to use: use 1 cup of water for every pound of ground meat used in the meatloaf recipe.

2. Chicken, Beef, Or Vegetable Stock

Stock can be made with different ingredients and is another great alternative for milk in meatloaf. To make chicken or beef stock, you have to cook the bones in water for a long time.

Same is the case with vegetable stock. You can use vegetables of your choice and prepare not only a flavorful alternative but also a healthy one. The longer the chicken, beef, and vegetables cook, the more nutritious the stock will be.

Although more popular than using plain water, stock may alter the final taste of the recipe, so it is best to keep that in mind.

How much to use: use ¼ to ½ cup of stock for every pound of ground meat. You may adjust the quantity according to your taste.

3. Heavy Cream Or Half-And-Half

Heavy cream and half-and-half are two rich and creamy ingredients that you can easily use in place of milk in meatloaf.

For the best results, mix some heavy cream or half-and-half in water and add it to the breadcrumbs to make them soggy.

The soaked breadcrumbs can be mixed with the other ingredients to make a super moist meatloaf that is thicker and denser.

How much to use: use ½ cup of heavy cream or half-and-half with ½ cup of water in place of 1 cup of milk in the recipe.

4. Sour Cream

Sour cream is made by fermenting regular cream with certain kinds of lactic-acid-producing bacteria. It is thick, rich, and tangy, and can replace milk in meatloaf recipes.

You may need to thin it down a bit by adding some water to it. It may also change the flavor of the meatloaf by adding a slight tang to it and making it thicker and denser compared to meatloaf made with regular milk. 

How much to use: use 75% sour cream mixed with 25% water in place of milk in a 1:1 ratio.

5. Yogurt

Yogurt, both plain and Greek, can be substituted for milk in meatloaf to retain moisture in the dish. 

However, like sour cream, you will need to thin it down to prevent the meatloaf from getting a texture that is too thick. To do so, you may add water to the yogurt to counteract the thickness.

Yogurt may not affect the flavor of the meatloaf to a great extent, but it may add a little tartness to it.

How to use: use 75% plain or Greek yogurt with 25% water to use instead of milk in a 1:1 ratio.

6. Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is whole milk that has been reduced to about 50%. By adding equal parts of water and evaporated milk to your meatloaf, you should be seeing the same results as meatloaf made with regular milk.

Reconstituted evaporated milk makes no difference to the taste or texture of the meatloaf and is one of the best substitutes for milk in the recipe.

How much to use: reconstitute evaporated milk by adding equal parts of water to it and substitute it with milk in a 1:1 ratio.

7. Almond Milk

If you wish to make your meatloaf dairy-free, almond milk is a great option to use in place of regular dairy milk.

Plain unsweetened almond milk works wonders to add moisture to the meatloaf. It is slightly thinner and less creamy than whole milk, but there should be little to no difference in the final product.

Almond milk is much easier on the stomach and the perfect substitute for lactose-intolerant individuals.

How much to use: use 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk in place of 1 cup of regular milk for your meatloaf recipe.

8. Soy Milk

Soy milk is a nutritious dairy-free by-product of soybean processing. A popular dairy alternative in the US, it can also be used as a replacement for regular dairy milk in meatloaf.

Unsweetened soy milk is creamy and mild with a slightly nutty flavor, and will not overpower the flavor of the other ingredients.

Meatloaf made with soy milk will have the same amount of moisture without any notable changes to its taste and texture as meatloaf made with regular milk.

How much to use: use 1 cup of soy milk for 1 cup of milk in your meatloaf recipe.

9. Coconut Milk

Another plant-based milk that can work as a substitute for regular milk, coconut milk can add both creaminess and moisture to the meatloaf and help it bind together.

It has a slightly nutty, sweet, and coconut-y flavor that can overpower the other ingredients if they don’t have a strong flavor. 

For this reason, coconut milk is not the most popular choice when looking for milk substitutes for meatloaf, though it is a great option for vegans and people with lactose intolerance.

10. Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is simply milk that has been pasteurized and then dried through evaporation. While many people may not prefer it for drinking purposes, it can be a very handy ingredient in cooking.

You can find different varieties of powdered milk made from whole milk, skimmed milk, and even dairy-free milk. 

It works very well in place of milk in meatloaf and adds the required moisture without altering the flavor of the final product.

How much to use: reconstituted powdered milk can be used in a 1:1 ratio for milk in meatloaf.

11. Mayonnaise

Like sour cream and yogurt, mayonnaise can also be used as a substitute for milk in meatloaf as it can add both richness ad moisture to the dish.

Compared to using regular milk, meatloaf made with mayonnaise may be too thick and sour-tasting, and for that reason, you need to adjust the quantity of the mayonnaise used.

How much to use: use 1/3 cup of mayonnaise for every cup of milk to avoid the meatloaf taking on a thick texture and strong flavor.

Final Thoughts

Milk is an important ingredient in meatloaf, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make an equally moist meatloaf without it.

With so many great ingredients to choose from, you can get the same incredible results using one of the many substitutes.

This list of both dairy and dairy-free ingredients shows you easy ways of substituting milk in meatloaf with kitchen staples that everyone usually has on hand so that you don’t have to make an emergency grocery run!

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