Almond Milk vs Milk: Which Bakes the Best Muffin?

Tips and tricks for the best baked goods using almond milk, rice milk and dairy milk.

Almond milk, rice milk or dairy milk: WHICH BAKES THE BEST MUFFIN | @TspCurry - For more healthy recipes: TeaspoonOfSpice.com

This post was originally published here in 2012 – and has become one of our most popular. In the last 5 years, the formulations of some plant-based milks have changed, so I retested these muffins. I’ve also updated the recipe, all the photos and information to give you the best baking results.

Almond milk, rice milk or dairy milk: WHICH BAKES THE BEST MUFFIN | @TspCurry - For more healthy recipes: TeaspoonOfSpice.com

Most plant-based milk company web sites specify that alternative milk beverages such as almond, soy and rice can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio, but they give few details on the potential outcome differences in the baked products, like muffins. However, a quick glance at the differences in nutritional content between the beverages led me to believe there might be small variances in the final baked products:

2% dairy milk Almond Milk Rice Milk
Protein 8 gm 1 gm 1 gm
Fat 5 gm 2.5 gm 2.5 gm
Carbohydrates 12 gm 8 gm 23 gm
Calories 130 cal 60 cal 120 cal

Almond milk, rice milk or dairy milk: WHICH BAKES THE BEST MUFFIN? | @TspCurry - For more healthy recipes: TeaspoonOfSpice.com

When I first did this research, I used all-purpose flour only, and the results were more obvious. But I rarely make 100% all-purpose flour muffins anymore. This updated recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour which actually masks some of the differences between muffins.  However, some differences were still apparent. This is not formal research, but the folks I asked to taste my muffins are accustomed to doing taste-tests; so the results can be viewed with some validity:

2% Dairy Milk Almond Milk Rice Milk
Appearance  Raised highest  Lightest color  Smooth top  Raised least                Golden color             Cracked top  Raised medium          Light color              Smooth top
Texture  Light and moist            Tender crumb  Dense and moist      Fairly tender, squishy crumb  Dryer, especially day-old                               Almost gritty crumb
Taste and Aroma  Richer ‘egg’ flavor  ‘Sweet egg’ aroma  Subtle almond flavor  Slight ‘nutty’ aroma  Sweetest flavor    ‘Toasted’ aroma

As you can see, there are certainly differences in milk vs alternative milk beverages even with formulation updates and the use of whole wheat flour. (In all photos, the white muffin paper is almond milk, silver paper is dairy milk, red paper is rice milk.)

Almond milk, rice milk or dairy milk: WHICH BAKES THE BEST MUFFIN? | @TspCurry - For more healthy recipes: TeaspoonOfSpice.com

In terms of overall performance:

  • Regular dairy milk performed the best – with higher rising, a moister muffin, and a better blank slate for flavor additions. Results are probably due to protein levels 8 times higher than other beverages.
  • Almond milk added a slightly nutty flavor to the muffins which would be a pleasant addition to many baked goods. The slightly drier texture could be remedied by under-baking the product by a few minutes or by adding juicy ingredients like berries.
  • Rice milk has twice the number of carbs as the other beverages, so it’s not surprising that rice milk muffins had a sweeter flavor. They also had the driest texture (especially one day later.) When baking with rice beverage, the amount of added sugar could likely be reduced by a couple tablespoons.  Almond milk vs. dairy milk: Which bakes the best muffin? via @TspCurry Click To Tweet

Almond milk, rice milk or dairy milk: WHICH BAKES THE BEST MUFFIN? | @TspCurry - For more healthy recipes: TeaspoonOfSpice.com

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Almond Milk Muffins

Almond milk, rice milk or dairy milk: WHICH BAKES THE BEST MUFFIN | @TspCurry - For more healthy recipes: TeaspoonOfSpice.com

Simple and sweet, but not too sweet, these Almond Milk Muffins are the perfect basic recipe for which to add raspberries, blueberries, apples, or chocolate chips!

  • Author: by Serena Ball, RD
  • Yield: 13 muffins 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk beverage, rice milk beverage, or 2% milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line 13 muffin cups with paper baking cups.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, oil and eggs. Using a wooden spoon, stir into flour mixture just until moistened, about 15-20 strokes. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups using a large cookie scoop, or ice cream scoop.
  4. Bake muffins 14 minutes or until muffin top springs back when indented.

Have you had differing results with dairy milk vs alternative milk beverages?

For more baking tips, see: Which Protein Powder is Best for Baking?

WHICH PROTEIN POWDER IS BEST TO BAKE WITH? #HealthyKitchenHacks | @TspCurry - TeaspoonOfSpice.com

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