vegan baking

The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Baking

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Whether you’re here for health reasons, more products to sell, ethical choices, or just out of curiosity, vegan baking opens a new world of delicious possibilities. In this post, we’ll talk about what is vegan baking, alternatives to common animal-based ingredients, and tips for successful plant-based baking. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll make mouth-watering treats your loved ones and customers will love. 

What Is Vegan Baking or Plant-Based Baking?

what is vegan baking

Let’s start with the basics. As the term suggests, vegan baking means creating delectable baked products— bread, cakes, cookies, truffles, you name it— without animal products. This means you can’t use eggs, cow’s milk, honey, and other animal-derived ingredients.

It might sound like a challenge, but don’t worry—it’s easier than you think. With the right ingredients and some know-how, you can make almost any recipe vegan. 

As a bonus, vegan baking encourages you to experiment and ramp up your creativity. While traditional baking heavily relies on animal products, vegan baking pushes you to think outside the box. It also helps you discover new textures and flavors. Plus, many people say plant-bsed baking is more inclusive since it caters to people with dietary restrictions and allergies.

Alternatives to Common Baking Ingredients

One of the most challenging parts of vegan baking is figuring out what to use instead of animal-based products. But you don’t have to worry because plenty of plant-based alternatives work just as well. Let’s break them down below.

Milk Alternatives

plant-based baking alternatives

Gone are the days when cow’s or goat’s milk was the only choice for baking. There are a lot of plant-based milks nowadays, with each one bringing something unique to the table.

Almond Milk

This plant-based milk features a slightly nutty flavor. It works well for cakes, waffles, muffins, and pancakes. Almond milk also has a light texture that won’t overpower your baked treats, making it a great all-around choice. 

Soy Milk

This is the most similar to cow’s milk in terms of protein content. So, if you want to hit that protein goal, use this alternative. 

It also works well in almost any recipe because of its neutral taste. As a bonus, soy milk works in both sweet and savory dishes. Lastly, soy milk is the most affordable, and you can easily find it in supermarkets nationwide. 

Oat Milk

This milk alternative features a creamy and rich flavor. Oat milk adds moisture to your baked goods, too. 

It’s especially great for making quick bread and cookies. In addition, its natural sweetness makes your desserts more delectable. 

Coconut Milk

Do you want to add a hint of tropical flavor to your treats or take your vegan tropical desserts to the next level? Coconut milk is the answer.

Coconut milk is great for making rich, moist frostings and cakes. It adds irresistible creaminess and a hint of coconut flavor that goes well with many Filipino desserts.

Each milk alternative above has unique properties, so feel free to experiment to see which one you like. You can even use a blend of different plant-based milks to get the perfect texture and flavor in your baked goods.

Buttermilk Alternatives

vegan baking buttermilk alternatives

While it seems tricky to replace buttermilk, it’s actually easy. You can make buttermilk substitutes at home using common ingredients. Doing this means you don’t have to go to the store if you run out of buttermilk.

Vinegar and Plant Milk

Make this buttermilk alternative by adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or lemon juice to one cup of your favorite plant-based milk. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, and voila— you have vegan buttermilk!

This buttermilk substitute works wonders for baking fluffy and tender muffins, cupcakes, and cakes. The acidity of vinegar or lemon juice reacts with the baking soda in your recipe, making it light and airy.


You can also use yogurt as a buttermilk substitute. Just mix equal parts plant-based yogurt and plant-based milk. You’ll get a thick, tangy buttermilk substitute for scones, pancakes, and the like. 

Bakers often use buttermilk to add moisture and tang to their baked goods. Fortunately, the substitutes above can create the same effect. So, don’t be afraid to play around with different ratios until you find the best consistency, texture, and flavor.

Cream Alternatives

plant-based baking cream alternatives

Bakers use cream to add richness and a luxurious texture to their treats. Thankfully, the plant-based alternatives below let you achieve the same effect without compromising flavor and quality. 

Coconut Cream

To use this as a cream substitute, take the cream from the top of canned coconut milk. Then, whip it up to make non-dairy whipped cream.

You can also use this alternative in recipes calling for heavy cream. Coconut cream is also incredibly flexible. You can use it in pretty much everything, from frosting to ganache.

Cashew Cream

Make cashew cream by blending soaked cashews with a bit of water until smooth. You can use this all-around cream in both sweet and savory dishes. Cashew cream also has a mild flavor that you can easily sweeten or season to fit your recipe.

Silken Tofu

Do you need a lighter cream substitute? Say no more― silken tofu is here to the rescue!

Simply blend it until smooth and use it as a replacement for cream in puddings, pies, mousses, and cheesecakes. Silken tofu also has a neutral taste and creamy texture, perfect for several desserts.

Whether you’re making a decadent cream-based frosting or a creamy pie filling, the cream substitutes above have got you covered.

Condensed Milk Alternatives

condensed milk alternatives

Sweetened condensed milk may be a key ingredient in many desserts, but you can easily make your vegan version at home. Here are some alternatives you can use: 

Coconut Condensed Milk

Make plant-based condensed milk by simmering sugar and coconut milk. Wait until the mixture thickens to the consistency of condensed milk. 

This alternative adds a wonderful flavor to pies, cakes, and more. It’s also rich and sweet, just like traditional condensed milk. But the best part is you can adjust its sweetness by adding less or more sugar. 

Store-Bought Vegan Condensed Milk

Are you short on time and therefore have no time to make vegan condensed milk? Store-bought vegan condensed milk has your back. While not as common as other alternatives, this option saves time. 

Condensed milk is often used to sweeten and make treats creamy. The vegan alternatives above can do the same, ensuring that your treats are just as delicious as their non-vegan counterparts.

Cheese Alternatives

vegan baking cheese alternatives

From cheesecakes to more savory pastries, cheese often takes center stage. Here’s how to keep your cheese vegan:

Cashew Cheese

Make cashew cheese by blending soaked cashews with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt. Doing this produces a creamy, cheesy spread perfect for both sweet and savory recipes. 

You can also season or sweeten cashew cheese in many ways, making it an incredibly versatile substitute for regular cheese. 

Store-Bought Vegan Cheese

If you’re baking cheesy bread or a casserole, make sure to pick varieties that melt well. Many vegan cheeses are made from soy, nuts, or coconut. They come in a range of flavors and textures.

You can use vegan cream cheese for cheesecakes. It has the same texture and tangy flavor as traditional cream cheese, making it a perfect substitute.

Whether you’re making a savory quiche or a rich cheesecake, the substitutes above help make your dish a success.

Egg Alternatives

egg alternatives

Eggs give your baked goods structure and moisture. It can also act as a leavening agent. Thanks to bright minds, there are now plenty of plant-based alternatives that can do the job just as well.

Flaxseed Meal

Mix one tablespoon of flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes. This alternative works well when making cookies, muffins, and pancakes. Flaxseeds also contain lots of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia Seeds

Combine three tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of chia seeds for a gel-like egg alternative. Chia seeds also have lots of nutrients and give your recipes a nice texture.


Use 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg. This alternative adds moisture, making it perfect for cakes and brownies. Applesauce also has a mild flavor that won’t overpower your baked goods.

Mashed Banana

Get half a banana and mash it to replace one egg. This substitute makes your baked goods sweet and moist, making it perfect for quick breads and muffins. Bananas are also a great option for recipes where a hint of banana is welcome.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Combine one tablespoon of vinegar and one teaspoon of baking soda to replace one egg. This alternative works well for light and fluffy cakes. The chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda produces bubbles that help your baked goods rise.

Store-Bought Egg Replacements

Another option is to use commercial egg replacers. They’re available in many grocery stores. These egg alternatives are usually made of starches and leavening agents. 

Eggs play a huge role in many baking recipes, but these plant-based alternatives can do the same. Whether you need a binder, a leavening agent, or more moisture, there’s a vegan egg substitute above that can do the job.

Butter Alternatives

butter alternatives

Butter is another ingredient that’s easy to swap out in plant-based baking. Here are the top alternatives worth checking out: 

Vegan Margarine

There are many vegan margarines and buttery spreads in the market that work like regular butter. Look for brands that don’t have hydrogenated oils. We also recommend looking for one with a similar fat content to regular salted or unsalted butter.

Coconut Oil

You can also use coconut oil instead of butter as long as it’s solid at room temperature. Use it in place of butter in a 1:1 ratio. Doing this also adds a slight coconut flavor, which is especially good in coconut-based cookies and pie crusts.


Replace half the butter in a recipe with applesauce for a lower-fat option. This alternative works well in cakes and muffins. Applesauce also adds moisture and natural sweetness, making it a healthier alternative.

Nut Butter

You can also use nut butter, such as almond or peanut, as butter substitutes in certain recipes. They add richness and a unique flavor to baked goods, making them perfect for those who want their desserts to stand out. 

Enjoy your cookies, cakes, and pastries with the butter alternatives above. Trust us, they’re just as delicious without any dairy.

Tips for Successful Vegan Baking

tips for plant-based baking

Now that you know the vegan alternatives, let’s talk about some tips and tricks to make your vegan baking journey a success.

Start Simple

If you’re new to plant-based baking, start with simple recipes that don’t call for a lot of complex substitutes. For instance, try making vegan cookies, muffins, or quick bread first. These recipes are generally forgiving and will help you get comfortable with vegan ingredients.

Read Labels

Always read the labels carefully when buying vegan ingredients. Some products that seem vegan might contain hidden animal-derived ingredients like whey, casein, gelatin, and certain food colors.

Experiment and Have Fun

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Vegan baking is all about creativity. Try different ingredients or a combination of them to see what works best. Keep notes on what you like and don’t like so you can adjust your recipes over time.

Adjust for Moisture

Plant-based ingredients can sometimes alter the moisture content of your recipes. If your batter or dough seems too dry, add some liquid. If it’s too wet, try adding flour or another dry ingredient.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are vegan desserts made of?

Vegan desserts are made of plant-based milk, vegan butter, and other plant-based ingredients. They don’t contain animal-based products like regular milk, cheese, and butter. 

Is vegan baking hard?

Yes, vegan baking is hard at first because you have to adjust your recipes. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes easy. 

How to start vegan baking?

Start vegan baking by learning about plant-based alternatives to common baking ingredients like egg, butter, and milk. Then, learn how to adjust your measurements to make your recipes vegan. 


With all these fantastic alternatives at your disposal, you can create delicious, plant-based versions of all your favorite baked goods. Plus, don’t be afraid to try new ingredients, combinations, and techniques. Happy vegan baking!


Over the years, HICAPS has helped bakers and businesses make delicious products by offering ingredients like ChiffonAide Cake Oil, Magic Whizk Whipping Cream, Red Velvet Flavor Emulco, and Instabake Brownie Mix

HICAPS also provides tools and resources to valued partners, such as the free “How to Increase Your Sales Amidst the Pandemic” E-book and free dealer locator that helps look for baking ingredients near me

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