Great Dairy-Free Cupcake Recipes

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Updated on May 28, 2024

Understanding the struggle of finding a scrumptious, dairy-free cupcake recipe can be quite the task, isn’t it? We know how tricky it can feel. But fear not! After copious research and numerous kitchen experiments, we’ve rustled up more than just one remarkable solution to whip up delightful cupcakes minus any dairy products.

This blog is set to guide you through several favourite substitutes for ingredients typically laden with dairy and help you bake out-of-this-world cupcakes that everyone can savour – because, let’s face it, no one should have to forego a heavenly dessert!

Exploring Alternative Dairy Products for Baking

Dairy-Free Cupcake

There are various types of alternative dairy products that can be used in baking, including almond milk and almond yoghurt, which is commonly preferred.

For many, the comforting aroma of freshly baked goods evokes warm memories and a sense of pure indulgence. But for those following a vegan diet, lactose intolerant, or with dairy allergies, traditional baking can feel off-limits. Thankfully, alternative dairy products have exploded in recent years, offering a treasure trove of options to create delicious and satisfying baked treats.

This article delves into the exciting realm of alternative dairy products for baking, exploring popular substitutes, their unique properties, and how to choose the right one for your recipe.

Milk Alternatives: A Spectrum of Flavours and Functions

The foundation of many baked goods, milk plays a crucial role in texture, richness, and overall flavour. When selecting a dairy-free milk alternative, consider the specific function it needs to fulfil in your recipe:

  • Neutral All-Stars: Soy milk and oat milk are versatile choices, offering a neutral flavour profile and a slightly creamy texture that works well in cakes, muffins, and pancakes. Soy milk, with a higher protein content, can even contribute to a fluffier crumb.
  • Nutty Delights: Almond milk, while slightly thin, adds a subtle nutty note that complements pastries and quick breads. Cashew milk, with its richer texture and hint of sweetness, shines in frostings and glazes.
  • Coconut Cream Dream: Unshaken full-fat coconut milk lends a tropical flair and luxurious richness to vegan cheesecakes, pies, and frostings. However, its distinct flavour may overpower some recipes.

Beyond Milk: Exploring Dairy Substitutes for Various Applications

While milk alternatives form the backbone of dairy-free baking, other substitutes play a vital role in achieving the desired textures and flavours.

  • Butter Alternatives: Vegan butter made with plant-based oils like canola or coconut can be used for 1:1 substitution in most recipes. However, some may find the texture slightly different. Consider using a combination of vegan butter and vegetable shortening for a flakier crust in pies or cookies.
  • Cream Replacements: For heavy cream, full-fat coconut milk can be used, but be mindful of its flavour. Soy-based cream alternatives often perform well in whipped cream and frostings.
  • Egg Replacements: Flaxseed or chia eggs, made by mixing ground flax or chia seeds with water, can provide binding power in some recipes. Commercial egg replacers are also readily available.
  • Cheese Substitutes: Vegan cheeses made from cashews, soy, or other plant-based ingredients can be used for fillings, toppings, or even creating a vegan cheese board.

Choosing the Right Substitute: Matching Function and Flavour

When navigating the world of alternative dairy products, consider these factors to ensure successful baking:

  • Fat Content: For recipes that rely on butter or cream for richness, opt for substitutes with a higher fat content, like full-fat coconut milk or soy cream.
  • Flavour Profile: Consider each alternative’s inherent flavours. For a neutral base, choose soy or oat milk. For a touch of nuttiness, opt for almond or cashew milk.
  • Acidity: Some recipes, like buttermilk pancakes or certain cakes, rely on the acidity of dairy to activate leavening agents. You can replicate this simply by substituting 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of your chosen milk alternative.

Tips and Tricks for Baking with Alternative Dairy Products

Here are some handy tips to ensure your dairy-free baking endeavours are a success:

  • Read Labels Carefully: Not all plant-based milks are created equal. Some are pre-sweetened or flavoured, which may not be suitable for all recipes. Look for unsweetened and unflavoured varieties.
  • Thicken Your Batter: Since some plant-based milks are thinner than cow’s milk, you may need to adjust the amount of liquid in your recipe. Start with slightly less milk than what is called for and add more by tablespoons if needed.
  • Embrace Experimentation: Don’t be afraid to experiment! Some alternative dairy products may surprise you with their functionality in baking. For instance, mashed bananas can add moisture and sweetness, while applesauce can act as a binder in certain recipes.

The Final Whisk: A World of Delicious Possibilities

With a little exploration and the right substitutes, baking delectable dairy-free treats becomes an achievable and enjoyable experience. So, preheat your oven, unleash your creativity, and embark on a delicious journey into the world of alternative dairy products for baking!

Types of Alternative Dairy Products

Let’s try out different kinds of non-dairy milk in these recipes. These are the ones we’ve found work best for baking:

  1. Almond milk – It’s light and has a nice nutty taste.
  2. Cashew milk – It’s creamy and works well in cake mixes.
  3. Hazelnut milk – This one adds a special flavour to your baked goods.
  4. Hemp milk – It’s healthy and does not change the taste of your cake.
  5. Flaxseed milk – It is rich in protein and gives a good texture to your cakes.
  6. Coconut milk – A great dairy-free option which also adds a tropical twist!
  7. Oat Milk – It gets very creamy when you heat it up, perfect for making custards or puddings

Best Options for Baking

Let’s look into the best options for baking without dairy.

  1. Almond milk is a winner in my book. It gives an extra nutty flavour to your cakes.
  2. Soy milk is great, too! It blends nicely with other vegan ingredients.
  3. Coconut milk can be your new best friend in the kitchen. It’s a popular choice for dairy–free recipes.
  4. Always have oats around? Try oat milk! It adds a nice, creamy texture.
  5. For creamier desserts, almond yoghurt works wonders.

Preference for almond milk and almond yoghurt

Many people now use almond milk and almond yoghurt instead of dairy products in their baking. These plant-based options are not only good for you but also help our planet. Both almond milk and almond yoghurt have many nutritional benefits.

They also fit into many kinds of diets, even those that avoid dairy. You can use them just like you would regular milk or yoghurt in your recipes! This makes it easy to make cakes and other treats that everyone can enjoy, no matter what they eat or don’t eat.

Making Eggless Dairy-Free Cupcakes

Dairy-Free Cupcake

To make eggless, dairy-free cupcakes, we love using applesauce as a substitute in this recipe. Calling all cupcake lovers with dietary restrictions! You don’t have to miss out on delicious treats anymore. Eggless and dairy-free cupcakes are surprisingly simple to make, and the end result is a delightful dessert everyone can enjoy.

The Secret to Perfect Eggless Cupcakes

Finding the perfect substitute is key to achieving moist and fluffy cupcakes without eggs. Applesauce is a common choice, adding natural sweetness and moisture. You’ll also need to adjust the leavening agent. A ¼ teaspoon of extra baking powder will help your cupcakes rise beautifully.

Dairy-Free Swaps for a Delicious Batter

For a dairy-free base, ditch the butter and milk. Vegetable oil works wonders as a substitute for butter, and a variety of plant-based milks like soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk can replace dairy milk.

Here’s a quick tip: If your recipe calls for buttermilk, you can create a vegan version by mixing your chosen plant-based milk with a little vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for a few minutes to curdle slightly, then use it in place of buttermilk.

A Recipe to Get You Started

For a simple vanilla cupcake base, here’s a recipe to inspire you:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the plant-based milk, oil, and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Be careful not to overmix!
  5. Fill your cupcake liners ¾ of the way full and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Fun and Flavour Variations

There are plenty of dairy-free frostings available. You can use store-bought vegan frosting or whip up your own with vegan butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and your favorite plant-based milk.

Feeling adventurous? Here are some ideas to take your cupcakes to the next level:

  • Chocolate: Add cocoa powder to the batter for decadent chocolate cupcakes.
  • Fruity: Swap some of the plant-based milk with fruit puree like strawberry or banana for a burst of flavour.
  • Spicy: Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter for a warm twist.

With a little creativity, you can create delicious and delightful eggless dairy-free cupcakes that everyone will love!

The Use of Applesauce as an Egg Substitute

Applesauce is a great egg substitute in baking. It helps to stick the other things in the cupcake mix together, just like an egg would do. You need unsweetened applesauce for this.

In your dairy-free cupcakes recipe, replace each egg with 1/4 cup of applesauce. This switch works out well in most vegan and allergy-friendly baking recipes. With applesauce, you get perfect, yummy cupcakes that don’t need any eggs at all!

Gluten-Free Variation of Dairy-Free Cupcakes

For those with gluten sensitivities or allergies, don’t worry—there’s a solution so you can enjoy these delicious dairy-free cupcakes as well.

For those with dietary restrictions, indulging in sweet treats can sometimes feel like a distant dream. But fear not, cupcake lovers! With a few clever substitutions, you can whip up delicious and delightful cupcakes that are both gluten-free and dairy-free.

The key to achieving these fluffy wonders lies in finding the perfect replacements for wheat flour and dairy products. Here’s a breakdown of the essentials:

  • Gluten-Free Flour Blend: Ditch the all-purpose flour and opt for a pre-made gluten-free blend. Look for blends that contain a mix of flour like almond flour, coconut flour, or oat flour. These blends often include xanthan gum, which helps bind the ingredients and create a similar texture to wheat flour.
  • Dairy-Free Milk: Many dairy-free milk options are available, each with its own subtle flavour profile. Almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and coconut milk are all popular choices. When selecting your milk, consider the overall flavour profile you’re aiming for.
  • Fat Source: Since butter is a no-go, you’ll need to find a substitute to keep your cupcakes moist. Vegetable oil, canola oil, melted coconut oil, or even applesauce can all work depending on the recipe.

Here’s a bonus tip: Since gluten helps the cupcakes rise, using a touch more baking powder in your gluten-free recipe can ensure they achieve that beautiful dome shape.

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to explore the world of gluten-free and dairy-free cupcakes! Countless recipes are available online, from classic vanilla cupcakes to decadent chocolate creations. Remember, don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavours and frostings to create your own unique masterpieces.

With a little creativity and these simple substitutions, you can indulge in delicious cupcakes that cater to your dietary needs without sacrificing taste or texture. So, preheat your oven, grab your mixing bowls, and get ready to bake up a batch of delightful dairy-free, gluten-free cupcakes!

Gluten-free Baking Tips

Baking gluten-free cupcakes can be a fun adventure. Here are some easy steps to follow:

  1. Begin by choosing the right flour. Gluten-free flour works best for baking cupcakes.
  2. Mix all your dry ingredients in one bowl. You should sift together gluten-free flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum.
  3. Mix everything well with an electric hand whisk. This tool helps ensure that your cupcake mix is smooth and fluffy.
  4. Avoid overmixing, as this can make your cupcakes hard.
  5. Add natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup instead of sugar for a healthier choice.
  6. Your cupcakes will have a bakery-style feel, thanks to the use of xanthan gum.
  7. For flavour, vanilla bean paste gives a fine touch to the baked goods.
  8. Lastly, try different dairy substitutes if you want to keep it vegan as well.

Dairy Free Buttercream Frosting for Topping

To top off your dairy-free cupcakes, try making a delicious buttercream frosting using dairy alternatives such as vegan butter and almond milk. The addition of vanilla bean paste will give it a rich and flavourful twist.

Find out how to make this creamy and decadent topping by clicking here!

Recommendation to Use Vanilla Bean Paste

We love using vanilla bean paste for the topping. It works great with dairy-free buttercream frosting. The sweet smell fills my kitchen when we add it in. It gives a rich, strong vanilla aroma to the frosting that you just can’t miss! Its taste is richer than vanilla extract or essence.

Even just a small drop of this thick, dark paste can change the taste of your baked goods. See all those tiny black dots? They’re from the actual seeds inside a vanilla pod! So don’t worry about making cakes or pies after your cupcakes—one jar of this stuff will go far.


Dairy-free cupcakes are a delight to bake and eat. They show you can have tasty treats without dairy. Try them out for your next treat or party. You will love the taste and feel good about what you eat!


1. Can I make dairy-free cupcakes without using any special ingredients?

Yes, you can make dairy-free cupcakes by substituting regular milk with plant-based options like almond milk or soy milk and using a non-dairy margarine instead of butter.

2. What is the difference between regular cupcakes and dairy-free cupcakes?

The main difference between regular cupcakes and dairy-free cupcakes is the use of ingredients. Dairy-free cupcakes exclude ingredients like butter, milk, and cream that contain lactose or dairy products.

3. Are there any alternatives for eggs in a dairy-free cupcake recipe?

Yes, you can substitute eggs in a dairy-free cupcake recipe with options like applesauce, mashed bananas, or flaxseed meal mixed with water to create an egg-like consistency.

4. How do I ensure my dairy-free cupcakes taste delicious without the use of regular butter and milk?

To enhance the flavour of your dairy-free cupcakes, you can add natural extracts like vanilla or almond extract, as well as other flavourings such as cocoa powder or citrus zest.

5. Can I frost my dairy-free cupcakes with traditional frosting recipes?

Yes, you can frost your dairy-free cupcakes using alternative options such as coconut cream-based frosting or vegan buttercream made from plant-based spreads instead of traditional butter and milk.

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