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Biscuits without milk

These Dairy Free Biscuits are made without milk and oil instead of butter. Still, they are flaky, soft, and crumbly on the inside.

Dairy free biscuits made with oil piled on a plate

These dairy free biscuits without milk are so easy to make at home.

After trying these you won’t miss the canned dairy biscuits anymore.

Originally the term biscuit meant something like a cookie.  It is still used this way outside of North America, and in North America you can see it leftover in the term “dog biscuit.”

However, today, the term biscuit in America is used to refer to a type of quick bread.

They are a quintessential part of Southern cuisine and most commonly eaten as biscuits and gravy or with fried chicken.

It is also common to find them served at family dinners such as for Thanksgiving.

Biscuits were created in the early 1800’s to substitute bread made using yeast because yeast was expensive and hard to keep. 

It was a cheap addition to a meal and had the benefit of being easy to use to wipe gravy.


This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

I do this to make the recipe easy for anyone to make.

However, many people use self-rising flour to make biscuits.

If you’d like to, then use 2 cups of self-rising flour instead of the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.

What can you substitute for milk in biscuits?

You can use water or a dairy free milk.

I like to use water because milk doesn’t add flavor to biscuits anyway.

However, if you want to add flavor to your biscuits, you can use almond milk and coconut milk.


In general, oil in baked goods makes for a superior texture than those made with butter.  

Oil cakes tend to bake up taller with a better crumb. They also stay moist and tender far longer than recipes made with butter.

Furthermore, since oil is lighter than butter, the texture of oil cakes is lighter too.

Also, given that oil is 100% fat while most American butter is 15% water, it creates a more tender crumb.

This is due to the fact that the extra water strengthens the gluten, resulting in a crumb that’s more dense.

Which Type Of Oil to Use

I use neutral oils like canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil.  However, it’s not unheard of for oils with stronger flavors like olive oil or coconut oil to be used.

If using olive oil, I recommend using pure olive oil for its milder flavor and higher smoking point.

Baking with Oil Conversion Chart

If you want to convert your butter recipes to oil recipes, check out my baking with oil butter to oil conversion chart.


I’ve had a number of comments asking me questions about baking soda and baking powder. 

I’ve also noticed that if the wrong one is used, things don’t come out as they should. 

Using baking soda instead of baking powder can give your recipe a terrible metallic taste, while using baking powder instead of baking soda leaves your baked goods looking flat.


Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps things rise.  

It does this by creating carbon dioxide when it reacts to an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. 

When the carbon dioxide is released, it causes the familiar texture and crumb in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.

Baking soda works well with sourdough because sourdough is acidic.  When combined, it makes a lighter product with a less acidic taste, since baking soda is alkaline.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour.


Baking powder is also a leavening agent and it’s a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.

Most baking powder sold is double-acting. This means that the leavening occurs in two steps.

The first time it’s activated is when baking powder gets wet, which is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later.

The second time is when the baking powder is exposed to heat.  This happens when the batter is being baked or fried.

Since baking powder already contains an acid, it’s most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient or too little of one.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.


Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda when the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking soda is not enough to leaven the volume of batter in the recipe.  

Too much baking soda gives a terrible metallic taste, so baking powder is added to give it more lift.


You may have already guessed the answer since baking soda is used to make baking powder, and you need more baking powder per cup of flour. But I’ll tell you anyway.

Baking soda is four times stronger than baking powder. 

That’s why you will more often than not see recipes that only call for baking soda rather than recipes that only call for baking powder.



Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time.

 A rule of thumb is two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package.   

However, to be honest, I’ve used very old baking soda with good results.


Like baking soda, baking powder is good indefinitely past its best by date, and can lose its potency over time. 

For both opened and unopened, it’s ideal to use it within nine months to a year.

While storing it, make sure to keep it in a dry place and away from humidity.



To test baking powder, pour 3 tablespoons of warm water into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and stir.

If the baking powder is good to use, it should fizz a little.


To test baking soda, pour 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir.  

The mixture should rapidly bubble if the soda is fresh.

Recipe Tip

I think it’s very helpful to make these biscuits on wax paper like I do my dairy free pie crust made with oil. It makes for easier cleanup and doesn’t stick as much.

Yield: 12 biscuits

Biscuits without Milk

Dairy free biscuits made with oil piled on a plate

These dairy free biscuits are made without without milk and using oil instead of butter.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes


  • 2 cups flour (250 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup water or dairy free milk (175 millilitres)
  • 1/3 cup oil (80 millilitres)


  1. Whisk flour, sugar (if desired), baking powder, and salt together in a medium size bowl.
  2. Add oil. Mix with a fork until crumbly.
  3. Add water or dairy free milk. Mix until combined into a very wet dough. If it doesn't, add more flour a little at a time until it is.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F or 218°C.
  5. Move dough to a well floured surface. Pat the surface with flour.
  6. Flour your hands well and knead the dough give times by pushing the dough away from you and folding it over itself.
  7. Use your hands, flatten the dough to 1-inch thick.
  8. Cut out biscuits as close together as possible using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a cup. Reshape the dough and cut again. Repeat until there is no dough left.
  9. Place biscuits on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet less than half an inch apart.
  10. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until tops are beginning to lightly golden brown. Remove and serve warm.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 84Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 404mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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CS Odeen

Wednesday 30th of December 2020

Hi! My daughter has just confirmed that she is allergic to casein, in most dairy products. So, I was super-excited to discover this recipe; her biggest sob was, "No more biscuits and gravy!!! WAAAAAAAAH!!!!! SAD DAY!!!" I want to surprise her!!! Question: Do you think these would make okay drop biscuits rather than rolled out? I really don't have a good surface for rolling out, but I don't want to screw them up! Thanks so much for your post, and for all the good tips you shared!! Please feel free to respond to me via email!! Yours sincerely, ~Chrissie Odeen, Black River Falls, WI


Wednesday 30th of December 2020

Hi Chrissie!

I've been meaning to share a recipe for drop biscuits but haven't gotten around to it yet. I tried to email you the recipe but the email keeps coming back. Are you sure you gave me the right email address?


Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

The intro says it uses baking soda and baking powder, it I don’t see both in the ingredients list.


Thursday 24th of September 2020

@ElissaBeth, thank you, I will try with the listed ingredients. Still, here is the text I read that made me think the recipe was missing an ingredient. “FLOUR This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, baking powder, and baking soda.”


Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

The intro explains the difference because I get that question a lot. It's not to indicate that there are both in this recipe.


Monday 17th of August 2020

Delicious! The biscuits were flaky and crumbly, but not dry. I used coconut oil, which gave them a slight coconut taste. I didn’t put enough salt in, though. They were very good with fresh fruit and would taste amazing with pan fried peaches (like an easier version of peach pie). I left out the sugar, which didn’t seem to make any difference. 5 stars!


Monday 17th of August 2020

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed them so much!


Thursday 16th of July 2020

What kind of flour would you use if you are gluten free?


Sunday 19th of July 2020

I am not sure what kind of gluten free flour would be good for this recipe since here you really need the gluten for it to keep its shape. If you figure it out, please let me know :)

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