People have differing opinions about the best type of milk for cereal, but typically, cereal milk describes classic, whole dairy milk. This dairy milk usually comes from a cow and is white, creamy, and fatty.
Suppose you’re out of dairy milk or would prefer a different type of milk for any dietary reason. In that case, there are several cereal milk substitutes, including skim milk, almond milk, oat milk, lactose-free milk, soy milk, hazelnut milk, coconut milk, and half-and-half.
In this article, we’ll look at each of the best cereal milk substitutes, going over what they taste like, some nutritional benefits, and what type of cereal they pair well with.
|Cereal Milk Substitutes||Nutritional Value||Substitution Ratio|
|Whole Milk||149 calories, 8 g fat, 8 g of protein, 120 mg sodium, 350 mg potassium, 12 g of carbs, 0 g of fiber||N/A|
|Skim Milk||90 calories, 0 g fat, 8 g protein, 42 mg sodium, 0 mg potassium, 5 g carbs, 0 g fiber||1:1|
|Almond Milk||40 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g protein, 5 mg sodium, 60 mg potassium, 3.5 g carbs, 0.5 g fiber||1:1|
|Oat Milk||130 calories, 2.5 g fat, 4 g protein, 101 mg sodium, 389 mg potassium, 15 g carbs, 2 g fiber||1:1|
|LACTAID Lactose-Free Milk||130 calories, 5 g fat, 6 g protein, 130 mg sodium, 430 mg potassium, 13 g carbs, 0 g fiber||1:1|
|Soy Milk||131 calories, 4.3 g fat, 8 g protein, 123.9 mg sodium, 286.7 g potassium, 15 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber||1:1|
|Hazelnut Milk||110 calories, 3.7 g fat, 1.2 g protein, 8.8 mg sodium, 47.9 mg potassium, 19 g carbs, 0.7 g fiber||1:1|
|Coconut Milk||552 calories, 57 g fat, 5 g protein, 36 mg sodium, 631.2 mg potassium, 13 g carbs, 5 g fiber||1:1|
|Half-and-Half||40 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g protein, 20 mg sodium, 314.6 mg potassium, 1 g carbs, 0 g fiber||1:1|
Whole dairy milk has a rich, creamy, inviting taste that is slightly sweet and noticeably smooth.
It has an overall savory flavor that makes it ideal for any cereal. Whole milk is fantastic for pouring over granola, oatmeal, and branded breakfast cereals when you are craving that delectable dairy richness.
Other benefits of whole dairy milk are that it’s full of calcium, protein, and essential vitamins that help keep your body and bones healthy and strong.
More specifically, whole milk typically consists of 8 g of protein, 12 g of carbs, 0 g of fiber, and 8 g of fat. A single cup alone contains around 149 calories, which is not too shabby for such a tasty addition to your breakfast.
Regarding cereal milk, whole dairy is often the preferred choice. However, if you’re looking for an alternative, the options below can provide similar taste and nutritional value.
When milk is skimmed, all of the creams are removed, leaving only the proteins and other nutrients. As a result, skim milk has a much lighter taste than whole dairy milk.
Skim milk is one of the most nutrient-dense kinds available, providing a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals. It provides an excellent source of calcium and protein, with just about half the calories of whole milk.
It goes swimmingly with lighter cereals like cornflakes, and it is also a great option if you are looking to cut down on fat intake, as it has zero grams of fat.
Almond milk is a vegan-friendly option that is also full of vitamins and minerals. It has a mild, nutty flavor that goes well with all types of cereals but is especially tasty with cinnamon, raisin, and oat-based cereals.
Almond milk also has less than half the calories of whole milk, so it’s a nice choice if you’re looking to cut down a few pounds.
Oat milk is heavy-duty cereal milk with a decent number of calories and fat to provide ample energy for the day.
The flavor of oat milk is slightly sweet and has a pleasant texture, making it perfect for sweeter breakfast cereals like honey nut cheerios. It also contains a decent amount of protein, making it a fantastic choice for those who like to work out after breakfast.
LACTAID is one of the most popular brands of lactose-free milk because it tastes almost exactly like regular whole dairy milk and has almost all of the same nutritional benefits.
The key difference between the two kinds of milk is that LACTAID is lactose-free, meaning it’s a perfect choice for lactose-intolerant individuals who still adore the taste, flavor, and smoothness of whole milk.
And just like whole milk, it goes well with any type of cereal, making it one of the best cereal milk substitutes out there.
Soy milk is a vegan-friendly and lactose-free option that is packed with protein and calcium.
It has a faintly sweet taste and a creamy texture that makes it an excellent alternative for those who are hoping to eat something a bit lighter. It pairs nicely with sweetened cereals and also pairs perfectly with a fresh bowl of oatmeal.
Soy milk has slightly more calories than its main “light-tasting” competitor, skim milk, but has a more inviting, richer flavor that some prefer.
For those looking for an interesting twist on cereal milk, hazelnut milk is a great choice. It has a similarly smooth texture as whole milk and a nutty flavor like almond milk, making it a great choice to pour over nut-based cereals like granola.
It contains a similar number of calories as soy milk but has a more distinct flavor that can hold up to more decadent cereal flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and maple.
Coconut milk is not a common choice as a cereal milk substitute, as people usually use it in dessert recipes, smoothies, or as a substitute for dairy milk in coffee.
It has the most calories than any other options on this list, but it makes up for that with its high amount of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Coconut milk is an ideal choice in moderation, especially if you want to combine it with honey-based cereals like Honey Bunches of Oats.
Half-and-half is the best cereal milk substitute if you love the taste of whole milk but want less of its calories and fat.
It has half the fat and calories of whole milk but still provides a rich flavor that goes nicely with any type of cereal. It also contains a decent amount of protein to help fill you up and power you through the day.
It’s also a great choice if you’re already eating sugary, high-calorie cereals like Cocoa Puffs or Lucky Charms and want to cut down on the calorie intake overall.
- Vanilla Ice Cream: This ice cream is made with whole milk for a creamy texture and rich flavor.
- Cheddar Cheese: Cheese made with whole milk that’s creamy and full of flavor.
- Mashed Potatoes: Soft mashed potatoes made with butter and a splash of milk for extra soft consistency.
- Pancakes: Delicious classic pancakes that get their sweetness and softness from the milk or buttermilk.
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bars: Tasty, crunchy treats held together by milk, sugar, and butter.
- Fruit Parfait with Granola: Sweet parfait layers of yogurt, granola, and fruit using whole Greek milk for full flavor.
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milkshake: Thick milkshake blended with cinnamon toast crunch cereal and enriched with vanilla ice cream (made with whole milk).
- Yogurt: A super easy treat that uses 2% milk with cereal and a dollop of honey.
- Chocolate Milk Pudding: Rich and decadent pudding made with chocolate cereal milk, cream, and sugar.
- Ultra Creamy Baked Macaroni & Cheese: Classic cheesy casserole dish made rich through whole milk cheese sauce baked over macaroni pasta shells.
- Baked Quiche Lorraine Pie: Hearty quiche pie filled with bacon, gruyere cheese, and eggs, all bound together in a savory custard using milk.
- Homemade Panna Cotta with Coffee Syrup: Traditional Italian creamy dessert thickened up with the help of milk.
- Flat White: A simple espresso with milk recipe.
Cereal milk is usually seen as whole milk, likely due to whole milk’s creamy consistency and rich flavor that pairs well with sweet cereals.
However, if you’re looking for a lower calorie, lactose-, or dairy-free option, or you just want to switch things up, there are plenty of options to satisfy your cereal-milk cravings. Options like almond milk, soy milk, hazelnut milk, coconut milk, and even half-and-half can all be used to give your cereal a distinct boost.
Overall, the best cereal milk substitutes for you will be the ones that match up with the type of cereal you love and your overall dietary goals. So whichever cereal milk substitute you choose, ensure it meets your dietary needs and taste preferences.
Fortunately, no matter which you choose, you will surely have a delicious and nutritious bowl of cereal. So experiment with different kinds of milk until you find the best one for you and your family!