Is There Milk in Brownies?

Written by: Kelly Donovan

Are you craving the deliciousness of brownies but aren’t sure if the recipe contains milk?

Most brownies do not contain milk unless it is a milk chocolate brownie mix. They do, however, include butter. You can also find vegan and dairy-free brownies on the market that use plant-based milk and/or butter.

Let’s discuss if and when there is dairy in brownies and how to choose the best brownie option for you.

Is There Dairy in Brownies?

Most brownies contain dairy. Most brownie recipes call for butter; since this is derived from milk, most brownies are not dairy-free. Any milk chocolate brownies will also likely contain cow’s milk.

For dairy-free brownies, it’s best to make them from scratch using vegan butter or butter alternatives.

However, some pre-made brownie mixes that do not contain dairy include.

  • Arrowhead Mills
  • Manischewitz
  • Dr. Oetker
  • Duncan Hines

Look specifically for flavors like:

  • Premium Dark Chocolate Fudge
  • Premium Chewy Fudge
  • Chocolate Lover’s Double Fudge

You could also enjoy a dairy-free milk chocolate brownie recipe by using non-dairy milk, such as almond milk or oat milk.

brownies with nuts

When Do Brownies Contain Dairy?

Most brownies contain dairy; you can see if yours do by checking the ingredient list for butter or milk.

If a brownie’s only dairy ingredient is butter, it can typically be enjoyed by lactose-intolerant people because butter only contains trace amounts of lactose.

However, it’s best to avoid butter if you have a severe milk allergy.

What Ingredients Do Brownies Have?

The main ingredients in brownies are butter, flour, eggs, sugar, chocolate, and/or cocoa powder. Some also call for vanilla and salt. 

If you make brownies with a premade mix, you usually add water and vegetable oil.

Are Brownies Vegan?

The vegan diet excludes animals and their byproducts, including those derived from milk such as cream, butter, sour cream, and cream cheese.

Most brownie recipes use butter and eggs, so they would not be considered vegan, but there are some vegan brownie options.

Some inventive egg substitutes to make brownies are mashed sweet potatoes, milled flax seed, non-dairy yogurt, vegan protein powder, apple sauce, silken tofu, milled chia seeds, aquafaba, corn starch, and mashed avocado.

There is also an egg replacer on the market called Ener-G. You can buy this at natural food stores, online, and sometimes at regular grocery stores.

To replace butter and make your brownies vegan, try coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, black beans, prune puree, nut butter, pumpkin puree, or a vegan butter alternative.

Some premade brownie mixes don’t contain milk or eggs, making them vegan friendly. These include Duncan Hines, Arrowhead Mills, Manischewitz, and Dr. Oetker.

brownies with nuts closeup view

Final Thoughts

Most common brownie recipes contain dairy in the form of butter, although milk chocolate recipes may also contain cow’s milk.

If your diet doesn’t allow you to consume the common ingredients found in brownies, fear not because there are always substitutes.

Even vegans can enjoy many inventive and tasty replacements for ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter, allowing everyone to enjoy the delicious taste of brownies.

About the Author

Kelly Donovan is a freelance writer. She enjoys helping people reach their wellness goals by educating them about how food plays a role in their health.