What are the Liquid Ingredients in Baking?

Regardless of which delicious baking recipe you’re making, one thing will almost always hold true: liquid and dry ingredients are mixed separately before being mixed together. But what exactly are the wet ingredients? 

If you’re a little confused about what liquid or wet ingredients are in baking, you’re not alone. Plenty of people don’t know what constitutes a wet ingredient in baking besides the obvious choices: water and milk.

Hey! My name is Michelle, and I’ve enjoyed baking treats for the past ten-plus years. Throughout my experiences, I’ve learned what baking recipes genuinely mean when describing “liquid” ingredients, and I’m here to share my knowledge.

Let’s dive into the liquids – and no, I don’t mean the pool in my backyard (although that does sound lovely. Pool party, anyone?)

6 Liquid Ingredients in Baking

While baking is a lot of fun, it can also be pretty confusing and challenging. After all, they say baking is a “science,” and I totally agree with that. With that said, some of these liquids in baking might surprise you. 


When most people think of liquid in baking, they think of water. And why shouldn’t they? Water is an essential ingredient in many recipes, from bread dough to chocolate chip cookies. 

It can be used as a binding agent, which is its primary purpose in bread-baking or to simply supply a batter with necessary moisture. After all, trying to work with a dried-out batter or dough is not only tricky, but the result is a crumbly, disgusting mess.

So, if your recipe calls for water, you shouldn’t try to go without it.


If your recipe doesn’t call for water, it more than likely calls for some type of milk (whole milk, skim milk, 2% milk, almond milk – you get the gist). That’s because milk and water serve the same purpose in baked goods – to moisten.

But that’s not all that milk does.

Milk actually does three magical things in baking recipes. First and foremost, it creates a soft, lightweight, and beautiful texture. Secondly, it adds a touch of sweetness and richness to the treat. Third, it establishes the desirable, delicious, and aesthetically-pleasing exterior browning we all know and love.

(Psst… want to enjoy all the advantages of adding milk to your batter or dough without actually using milk? Check out these stellar milk swaps!)


If you’re looking for unmatched textures and impeccable flavors, you won’t want to forget to add butter – a key liquid ingredient that is designed to transform your baked treats unlike never before. (OK, but you can still rock your baked goods with a butter substitute).


Some baking recipes call for oil rather than butter. While I tend to go the butter route (because I’m a slave to the richness of butter – no shame in my game), not everyone is a fan of butter – in which case, they should opt for oil.

Oil is a great liquid ingredient. It can help with the overall structure of your baked goods while also adding some much-needed moistness.

While oil is typically not used to impart flavor to the treat, that doesn’t mean it can’t. For example, this olive oil cake explicitly calls for lots of olive oil so that the cake has a flavor reminiscent of this heart-healthy fat.

Yogurt/Sour Cream

Yogurt and sour cream aren’t liquid. Or are they? When it comes to baking, yes, yogurt and sour cream are liquid ingredients. I know it’s shocking, but many things about baking are astounding!

Yogurt and sour cream are used in so many recipes. That’s because it works as a binding agent but can also add some wonderful tartness to a treat. It can also cut down on the sweetness, ensuring your goodie isn’t so sweet that it makes you sick.

Overall, yogurt and sour cream are an excellent addition to any baked goodie. You will instantly notice that the texture is light and fluffy with an enjoyable crumb, whether you’re baking bread or muffins.


Are you ready to be shocked once more? Eggs are considered a liquid in baking recipes and a vital component to your recipe, whether you’re baking brownies, cookies, cakes, or other fab desserts.

Eggs are utilized for many reasons. For starters, they work as a binder and leavener to create gorgeous treats with picture-perfect structure and rise. Not only that, but they ensure a decadent texture with plenty of rich flavors. Yum.

If you can help it, always add this “liquid ingredient” to your dough or batter. If you must live without eggs (due to an allergy or lack of desire to run to the grocery store – don’t worry, I get it), you can use an egg substitution and still be successful.

Liquid Sweeteners and Extracts

Last but not least, we can’t forget our beloved liquid sweeteners and extracts! Ingredients such as corn syrup, vanilla, and honey are all “liquid ingredients” that are mainly added to a dough or batter for sweetness. 

However, some extracts have the bonus of adding unique flavors to a dessert. For instance, lavender extract can add some lovely floral notes, while lemon extract will put some “kick” into all of your beloved lemon desserts.


Alcohol is a liquid ingredient found in some baking recipes. For example, if you bake a rum cake, you’ll need, well, rum. But that’s not the only time when alcohol can come into play while baking. For instance, some people add vodka to their pie crusts to ensure a superbly flaky crust!


Does your recipe call for fruit juice? There’s a reason. Not only will fruit juice enhance the overall flavor of your treat, but it will also ensure that there’s a delightful browning on the exterior. It can also add a hefty dose of much-needed moisture that your taste buds will thank you for.


At this point, it’s clear that “liquid ingredients in baking” go beyond water and milk. Pretty cool, huh? If you want to keep learning, I’ve added a few more frequently asked questions to pique your interest. Here we go!

What is liquid in baking?

Liquid in baking is, well, like any other liquid. They have a purpose in baking recipes, though. Mainly, they’re used for moistening. However, they can also add flavor (as is the case with milk, fruit, etc.), leaven, or bind ingredients.

What are the most common liquids in baking?

The most common liquids in baking include water, milk, butter, oil, and eggs. However, it’s not uncommon to see liquid sweeteners like honey or extracts such as vanilla in a recipe.

What are dry ingredients in baking?

At this point, you’re likely wondering what dry ingredients are in baking. While I won’t list every single potential dry ingredient, I will mention the most commonly used ones. This includes flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

Liquid Ingredients Go Beyond Water in Baking

While most people think of water and milk as the only liquid ingredients in baking, there is clearly a lot more to add to the list! “Liquids” in the baking world extend to other items such as yogurt, sour cream, oil, and even eggs.

Do you have any other liquid ingredients to add?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • R.Alton

    I am so glad I discovered your sight. Please sign me up for your newsletter.

    Thank you and I hope your holidays are merry and bright!

    • Michelle

      So happy to hear that! Happy Holidays!