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Using a boxed Hamburger Helper is a quick and easy way to make a tasty and comforting meal for the family. The hardest work is browning the hamburger – then it’s just a matter of adding the raw pasta, spice mix, water, and milk, and you’re done with prep. But what happens if you don’t have any milk? What is a milk substitute for Hamburger Helper?
The best milk substitutes for Hamburger Helper are other dairy products, such as evaporated milk, cream or sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, or cream cheese. Plant-based milk is also a suitable milk substitute, such as soy, coconut, and oat milk. You can use water, mayonnaise, and bouillon as well.
Milk is one of the main components in making the sauce for Hamburger Helper. The richness of the milk makes the dish creamy and delicious, so you can’t leave it out. But what can you use if you want to change the flavor of your hamburger or when there’s no milk in the fridge?
Kitchen Staples: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
If you’re out of milk, take a look in your fridge or pantry for other staples you can use instead of milk.
Water: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Most Hamburger Helper includes water as part of the sauce, so if you don’t have any milk, you can just make up the rest of the liquid with water. You will lose out a bit on flavor and texture, but the sauce will still be thick enough to be tasty.
If you are concerned about losing that rich flavor, add a tablespoon of butter for each cup of water you use. Butter on its own would be far too thick as a milk replacement but combined with water, the butter enriches your sauce with fat.
Substitute equal amounts of water for milk when preparing the meal.
Half And Half: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
If you’re out of regular milk, half and half can be a good milk substitute. Half and half will make a rich, creamier sauce because it contains nearly twice as much fat as regular milk.
You can replace milk with an equal amount of half and half. Or, for a less rich sauce, use ½ cup of half and half and ½ cup of water to replace a cup of milk in your Hamburger Helper.
Dry Milk Powder: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Dry milk powder is a fantastic kitchen staple for when you run out of fresh milk. It’s easy to mix up some powder and water to get a milk substitute.
Follow the instructions on the tin or package, and you can use the mixture as a one-to-one substitute for milk in Hamburger Helper.
You may have run out of milk, but a staple you most likely have in your fridge is mayonnaise. Grab the mayo as a milk substitute when using Hamburger Helper because its luscious texture and richness from oil and eggs make it ideal for thickening your sauce.
Mayo will change the flavor of your dish a little, as it has a tangier flavor than milk does, but it’s a delicious change.
In terms of texture, you will have to thin the mayo a little with water as it is much thicker than milk or use 1/3 the amount of mayo than you would milk. (So, for every three tablespoons of milk, use one tablespoon of mayonnaise.)
Bouillon: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Bouillon cubes, beef, or chicken broth are pantry staples that you can use as substitutes for milk.
If you’re using a bouillon cube, mix it with boiling water, then add it to the sauce instead of milk. You can use other broth as is.
Bouillon or stock will not significantly impact the flavor of your dish because there is already meat in it, but take care that the dish does not get too salty. The spice mix from the Hamburger Helper already contains sodium, so you may want to use half the bouillon and half water instead of milk.
The texture of your sauce will be less rich and creamy than if you use milk, so it will please those who prefer a lighter, more savory dish.
Mushroom Soup: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Instead of milk, you can reach for a can of cream of mushroom soup in the storecupboard. If you use concentrated soup, first dilute it a bit with water. Then add the soup as if it were milk.
Using soup will add flavor and thickness to your hamburger, as well as a quick vegetable portion.
You could experiment with other cream soups –cream of potato or onion soup sounds tasty.
Dairy-based Substitutes For Milk in Hamburger Helper
The most suitable substitute for milk in Hamburger Helper is another dairy product, as it will offer a similar flavor and texture to milk.
If you only have a little milk, make up the amount required with another dairy product.
Evaporated Milk: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
According to Betty Crocker’s Emergency Substitutions advice, evaporated milk is the best milk substitute when using Hamburger Helper. Evaporated milk is milk with much of its water removed by heat, but not as much as is evaporated when creating powdered milk.
The makers of this brand of Hamburger Helper recommend using ½ cup evaporated milk and ½ cup water to replace a cup of milk. You need to dilute evaporated milk because it has a naturally sweet, almost caramel flavor, which you’ll want to play down in a savory dish.
Cream: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
An excellent substitute for milk in Hamburger Helper is cream. The best options are double cream, heavy cream, whipping cream, or cooking cream. Avoid sweetened dessert cream as the flavor will be peculiar.
You can replace milk with equal amounts of cream. This substitution will result in a more decadent dish with a richer flavor. If you prefer a lighter sauce, replace half of the cream with water.
Sour Cream: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Sour cream is another suitable substitute for milk is sour cream, which will add a tangy flavor to your dish, as well as a gorgeous creaminess.
You can make a one-to-one substitution with cream but thin the cream with water for a lighter sauce.
Cream Cheese: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Cheese goes well with hamburger dishes, so using cream cheese as a substitute for milk is a good idea. Use plain cream cheese or one of the flavored varieties, like herb or garlic.
The only issue with using cream cheese as a milk substitute is its texture, which is much thicker than milk. It is helpful to melt the cream cheese gently in a separate pan before adding it to your hamburger.
You won’t need to use as much cream cheese as milk – use half the amount of cream cheese and add a bit of water if necessary to thin it.
Buttermilk: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Buttermilk isn’t just good for baking biscuits – this rich, sour dairy product gives any savory dish a lovely tang, rather like sour cream.
Buttermilk has the advantage of being thinner than cream, sour cream, or cream cheese so that you can substitute equal quantities of buttermilk for the milk.
Yogurt: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
If you don’t have any milk, grab your breakfast yogurt to use in your dinner – so long as the yogurt is plain, preferably full-fat Greek yogurt. (Of course, you can use non-fat, but your sauce will be a lot thinner and less tasty.)
Yogurt has the advantage of being less rich than cream and sour cream, so it is a good milk substitute. It also retains the flavor of milk without the sour tang of sour cream, cream cheese, or buttermilk.
You can comfortably replace equal amounts of milk with yogurt as the texture is thin enough to replace milk.
The only disadvantage of using yogurt is that it does tend to curdle or separate when heated, so you may want to heat the yogurt in a double boiler before adding it to your hamburger.
Other Dairy: A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
There are various other dairy milks, such as goat, sheep, or camel milk, which you can substitute for cow’s milk in Hamburger Helper. Use any of these as a one-to-one substitute for regular milk.
These kinds of milk do have a different flavor to cow’s milk, so they may change the flavor of your dish, although the texture and creaminess will remain the same.
Plant-based Substitutes For Milk in Hamburger Helper
Hamburger Helper is not suitable for those with lactose allergies, as it does contain cheese and buttermilk. That means that you won’t be able to replace the milk in Hamburger Helper and serve it to someone with lactose intolerance.
However, if you have plant-based milk, you can use it as a milk substitute in Hamburger Helper quite successfully, especially if you want to change the flavor slightly. There is a variety of these kinds of milk, ranging from those made from grains (like oat, rice, or quinoa), seeds (hemp or sesame), or nuts (almond, cashew, etc.)
One challenge with using plant-based milk in Hamburger Helper is that it can separate when exposed to prolonged heat, so they are best added at the end of the cooking process. That is why many brands of plant-based milk contain emulsifiers, like lecithin.
Another challenge is that many kinds of plant-based milk textures differ from regular milk, and they don’t thicken a sauce as milk would. If your sauce doesn’t thicken, add a little cornstarch mixed with water to make a paste.
Soy Milk As A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
One of the most common plant-based milk is soy milk, which works well in Hamburger Helper, as the intense flavors of the dish will mask the taste of the milk.
You can use equal quantities of unflavored, unsweetened soy milk instead of regular milk.
Coconut Milk As A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Coconut milk is a possible milk substitute when using Hamburger Helper, as it has a similar texture to regular milk and will make your dish equally creamy.
Replace your milk portion with an equal quantity of coconut milk. You can use coconut cream, but it will make the dish very thick and creamy and give it a rich, coconutty flavor.
However, the flavor of coconut milk is not the best match for hamburger dishes, so it would be best to use unflavored, unsweetened coconut milk.
Oat Milk As A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
To replicate the thick, creamy texture regular milk gives your hamburger sauce, use oat milk, as it has the same smoothness and slight sweetness that regular milk has.
Substitute equal quantities of unflavored oat milk for regular milk.
Nut Milk As A Milk Substitute For Hamburger Helper
Nut-based milk is readily available and made from several kinds of nuts. The challenge with using nut milk in your hamburger dish is that the nutty flavor can still come through, changing your dish considerably.
Almond milk is your best bet as a milk substitute for Hamburger Helper, as it has the least nutty, bitter flavor, which can characterize other nut milk, such as hazelnut milk. However, almond milk is often relatively thin and runny, so it will not give your dish the same texture as regular milk.
Cashew and macadamia milk have a thicker, creamier texture but do have a more robust nutty flavor – not unpleasant, but a little unusual in a hamburger dish.
There Are Hamburger Helper Milk Alternative Options
If you don’t have any milk or not enough milk to use in your Hamburger Helper dinner, you can use kitchen staples, like water, mayo, or broth instead. However, the best substitutes are other dairy products, like evaporated milk, cream, cream cheese, yogurt, or buttermilk. You can use plant-based milk, but the texture and flavor of your dish will be different.