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7 Instant Malai Substitutes You Can Try Today!

Malai is one of the most loved and popularly used ingredients in classic Indian dishes. And the thought of kulfi gives most Indians so much nostalgia!

Malai is just irreplaceable. But what if we told you there are some malai substitutes you can try?

If you promised your loved one a delicious malai dish and forgot to go grocery shopping, what would you do?

Well, this is where we enter as your knight in shining armor.


Best Malai Substitutes

A butter and milk mixture makes for the perfect malai substitute. Yogurt with cottage cream and milk or a cornstarch and milk mixture work as excellent substitutes as well. If you’re watching what you eat, we recommend going for olive oil and soy milk.

Are you not convinced yet?

Believe us, the substitutes are going to discuss with you will leave you pleasantly surprised.

After all, we don’t want you to crave a malai dish and have nothing to do about it! 

Continue reading our article to learn about 7 malai substitutes you can use today!

Let’s Clear the Malai and Cream Confusion First!

Essentially, malai and cream are one and the same. Malai constitutes some of the most delicious Indian dishes such as malai kulfi, malai kebab, malai paneer, and more!

Are you not familiar with what malai is?

Well, in countries where “malai” is not a popular word, people use the word “cream” interchangeably.

So, if you were confused about what substitutes we are discussing, they are basically alternatives for fresh cream. You can use it for all sorts of sweet and savory dishes!

You must be eager to find out what these malai substitutes are. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

7 Quick and Easy Malai Substitutes

Are you desperately trying to scour your kitchen while trying to find malai?

There are many situations in which malai may not be easily accessible to you, especially when you’re on a time crunch. Now, this is when malai substitutes rescue the day!

The absence of malai or cream in your kitchen should not stop you from enjoying your favorite malai dish. Let’s look at some 7 quick and easy malai substitutes to make your favorite malai dishes!

1. Milk and Cornstarch

If you are looking for a malai substitute while also trying to stay health-conscious, milk and cornstarch are fantastic options.

The cornstarch enhances the milk’s heavy texture.

Milk and cornstarch mixture doesn’t contain as much fat or calorie content as malai and still serves as a suitable alternative.

Here is what you need to make the milk and cornstarch substitute:

Ingredients Quantity 
Gluten-free Cornstarch 2 tablespoons
Skim milk1 cup

How to make a milk and cornstarch mixture?

Here is a short stepwise guide to making the milk and cornstarch substitute:

#1: You’ll need a stainless-steel saucepan. Now, pour one cup of milk into the saucepan.

#2: Next, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. We recommend mixing the cornstarch with 5 to 6 tablespoons of water before adding it to the saucepan. This will allow the cornstarch and the milk to mix more efficiently.

#3: Adjust the stove setting to low heat and thoroughly mix both ingredients. Continue stirring the mixture until it looks like heavy cream.

The milk and cornstarch mixture is most suitable for cooking malai dishes and not baking them. Using this substitute in baked malai dishes can alter the texture. Please keep this in mind to ensure the best results.

2. Milk and Butter

Both milk and butter are two ingredients that you can easily find around your kitchen. This is an effective way for replacing malai in many malai-based dishes.

The point of adding butter to milk is to get some additional fat for better consistency. Malai substitutes need to achieve a rich texture and consistency to be as similar to malai as possible.

Now, it’s time to make it. Let’s look at the quantity of milk and butter you will require:

Ingredients Quantity 
Unsalted butter¼ cup
Whole Milk ¾ cup

Start the recipe off by melting the butter. Once it’s been melted, you can mix it with milk at a low heat setting. Continue mixing both ingredients until it is creamy enough.

It is essential to observe the milk and butter mixture thickening.

If you’re having trouble achieving the right consistency, you can always take the help of a handheld mixture or a food processor. Continue blending until it thickens.

This malai substitute is the perfect option for cooking or baking many malai dishes. While it doesn’t have the same shiny texture that malai does, it still gets the job done efficiently!

You can use low-fat milk like Horizon Organic Milk and also add one tablespoon of flour to the blend. Doing this will help your milk condense further.

3. Milk and Greek Yogurt

An excellent way to substitute malai which gives your dish a thick consistency is the milk and Greek yogurt combination.

Greek yogurt doesn’t only contribute to the thickness of the dish but also its protein content.

Here’s how much milk and Greek yogurt you’re going to need to make this:

Ingredients Quantity 
Greek yogurt 1 cup of yogurt
Whole milk1 cup of milk

Combine the Greek yogurt and milk in equal proportions. Please blend them thoroughly for about 2 minutes.

Are you wondering when the milk and Greek yogurt substitute is ideal?

Well, if you’re looking for malai substitutes to use in dishes like soups and sauces, this option is excellent.

The reason is that Greek yogurt has a thinner consistency than malai. The yogurt has a lower fat content which doesn’t make the texture as creamy as malai.

4. Soy Milk and Olive Oil

Are you a vegan?

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you!

For those of you looking for a suitable vegan substitute for malai, a soy milk and olive oil combination is just what you need.

Additionally, we also know the health benefits of olive oil in general.

Now, let’s take a look at how to make this malai substitute. Here is how much soy milk and olive oil you’ll need for this recipe:

Ingredients Quantity 
Extra Virgin Olive oil⅓ cup
Unsweetened Soy milk⅔ cup

Please blend the soy milk and olive oil at a low heat setting. Continue stirring the mixture until the consistency becomes thicker. 

Also, please keep in mind that the soy milk and olive oil substitute impart a tangier flavor to malai dishes. It is best to avoid using this substitute if the recipe requires considerable mixing.

5. Almond Milk and Silken Tofu

The almond milk and silken tofu substitute is a quick recipe to use in malai dishes. Silken tofu is protein-rich, dairy-free, easy-to-blend which offers a fluffy consistency.

Here is what and how much you need for this malai alternative:

Ingredients Quantity 
Silken Tofu100g 
Almond milk100g 

Now, it’s time to get it prepared for the cooking process! Add equal parts of milk and silken tofu in a bowl and thoroughly blend them.

A handheld frother is a great way to make this easier and more efficient. It will help you achieve smooth and rich consistency.

Milk and silken tofu can be used as a substitute for malai in several dishes. If you’re making a malai dessert, you can use vanilla extract and powdered sugar to top it off!

6. Milk and Cottage Cheese

The next malai substitute we are going to discuss is the milk and cottage cheese combination.

Cottage cheese is abundant in micronutrients. Its rich and thick texture makes it a suitable malai substitute on its own.

You can make your cottage cheese at home. All you need is vinegar and cow milk. Here’s a video you can watch to guide you through making cottage cheese:

It’s not always possible to make homemade cottage cheese. You may not have the time or the required ingredients.

So, you can simply purchase readymade cottage cheese.

Here are some of our top recommendations for high-quality cottage cheese:

The texture of cottage cheese can sometimes be too heavy or lack moisture to make for a good malai substitute. In such cases, please mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk with cottage cheese. 

If the malai dish you’re making complements a cheesy essence, cottage cheese is the ideal substitute. 

7. Coconut Cream

The last malai substitute we will be discussing is coconut cream.

Coconut cream is a vegan substitute for malai. It is also super convenient to use because it is readymade.

However, if you want to make a homemade version, all you need is a can of coconut oil

The process only involves leaving the coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight to create cream!

In the morning, you can remove the liquid and pour it into a bowl. You are then left with thick coconut cream which you can scoop out and use as malai.

Are you looking for some coconut cream recommendations?

Well, we’ve got you covered. Check out our favorite coconut cream products!

Another substitute for malai is canned evaporated milk.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

My malai is not turning into butter. Why?

Malai should have significant fat levels to turn into butter. Nothing below 35 percent fat content works. The high-fat levels of malai help butter acquire its shape. So, please use a high-fat cream to achieve the right fat content.

Is malai a type of yogurt?

Malai isn’t exactly yogurt. But if you’re on a diet and are looking for a healthy substitute for malai, we recommend using the Crème Fraiche.

Is malai simply butter?

Well, not entirely. Butter and malai are essentially similar. However, malai is milk that mostly contains butterfat while butter is a semi-solid version of malai.


We’ve reached the end of the article! We hope our post of 7 malai substitutes has tension-free about not having any malai at home. 

All the substitutes we discussed for malai in today’s post are excellent and suitable options. There are also healthy and vegan alternatives you can try for your next malai-based dish!

Thank you for reading. See you in our next post!

Susan Wilson

My name is Susan and I am the person behind this blog. My mission is to help you become a better cook and start cooking like a pro! Here we talk about our kitchen adventures – good or bad- so you can laugh or two about it. So let the journey of mastering the ART OF COOKING begin.