Dairy-free baking hacks for cakes, cookies, and pies

Dairy-free baking opens up a world of possibilities for individuals with lactose intolerance, dairy allergies, or those following a vegan lifestyle. By substituting traditional dairy ingredients with plant-based alternatives, you can still enjoy all your favorite baked goods without any dairy-related discomfort. In this guide, we’ll explore various dairy-free baking hacks, tips, and tricks for creating mouthwatering cakes, cookies, and pies that are sure to impress.

Region and History

Dairy-free baking has gained popularity worldwide, reflecting the growing demand for plant-based alternatives in the culinary world. While traditional dairy-rich recipes have deep roots in many cultures, modern innovations in dairy-free baking have made it easier than ever to enjoy dairy-free versions of classic desserts. Whether you’re in North America, Europe, Asia, or elsewhere, you’ll find dairy-free baking enthusiasts experimenting with innovative techniques and ingredients to create delicious treats for all to enjoy.


For dairy-free baking, you’ll need the following plant-based alternatives:

  • Non-dairy milk: Choose from options like almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or oat milk, depending on your preference and the flavor profile of your recipe.
  • Dairy-free butter or margarine: Look for brands that are specifically formulated for baking and have a similar fat content to regular butter.
  • Plant-based yogurt: Substitute dairy yogurt with coconut yogurt, almond yogurt, or soy yogurt for added moisture and richness in baked goods.
  • Aquafaba: The liquid from canned chickpeas can be whipped into a fluffy foam and used as an egg substitute in recipes calling for egg whites.
  • Nutritional yeast: Adds a cheesy flavor to dairy-free recipes and can be used in savory dishes like vegan cheese sauces or dairy-free pesto.
  • Applesauce or mashed banana: Acts as a binder and adds natural sweetness to baked goods, making them moist and flavorful without the need for dairy or eggs.

Cooking Instructions

Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1/2 cup dairy-free butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the dairy-free butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and non-dairy milk, and mix until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a smooth dough forms.
  6. Fold in the dairy-free chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  7. Drop tablespoon-sized portions of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dairy-Free Apple Pie


  • 1 prepared dairy-free pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
  • 6 cups peeled and sliced apples (such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free butter, cut into small pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced apples, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Toss until the apples are evenly coated.
  3. Roll out the prepared pie crust and place it in a pie dish. Trim any excess dough and crimp the edges.
  4. Pour the apple mixture into the pie crust, spreading it out evenly.
  5. Dot the top of the apple filling with pieces of dairy-free butter.
  6. Roll out the remaining pie crust and cut it into strips. Arrange the strips in a lattice pattern over the top of the pie.
  7. Brush the top of the pie crust with a little non-dairy milk for a golden finish (optional).
  8. Place the pie on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing and serving.


Can I use dairy-free substitutes in any recipe that calls for dairy?

In most cases, yes! Many dairy-free alternatives can be used as direct substitutes for dairy ingredients in baking recipes. However, it’s essential to consider the flavor and texture of the substitute and adjust the recipe accordingly to achieve the desired results.

How do I know if a recipe is dairy-free?

Look for recipes that specifically mention dairy-free or vegan ingredients, or recipes that use plant-based alternatives instead of dairy products. You can also modify traditional recipes by swapping out dairy ingredients for dairy-free alternatives.

Are dairy-free baked goods suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies?

Yes, dairy-free baked goods are perfect for individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies since they do not contain any dairy ingredients. Be sure to check the ingredient labels on packaged foods to ensure they are dairy-free.

Can I freeze dairy-free baked goods for later?

Yes, many dairy-free baked goods can be frozen for later enjoyment. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. When ready to eat, simply thaw the baked goods at room temperature or reheat them in the oven.


Dairy-free baking opens up a world of possibilities for creating delicious cakes, cookies, and pies without the need for dairy ingredients. By using plant-based alternatives like non-dairy milk, dairy-free butter, and nut-based ingredients, you can achieve the same great taste and texture in your baked goods while accommodating dietary restrictions or preferences. With these dairy-free baking hacks, you’ll be able to whip up dairy-free treats that are sure to impress friends and family alike. Whether you’re lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, or simply exploring vegan baking options, these recipes and tips will help you navigate the world of dairy-free baking with ease and confidence.

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