0
Resources

Our Favorite Lactose & Dairy Free Substitutions

The one thing that was the hardest since switching to a lactose/dairy free lifestyle was learning about the many products available to use as dairy free substitutions and even the “hacks” that can help going lactose and/or dairy free a little easier.

Lactose and Dairy Free Substitutions

I thought it might be helpful to create a list of all the products we use on a regular basis, to help those of you who are just getting started in your lactose/dairy free journey. If you’ve been living a dairy free lifestyle for a while now, there maybe be a few things you can add to your repertoire as well.

Please note: I’ve listed several lactose free options in this list, and I want to remind you that these are not technically dairy free. So if you have a milk allergy, or you’re trying to cut dairy out of your diet for personal reasons, you will want to avoid these. We use all of these on a regular basis, but you will need to choose what suits your needs/diet best.

Butter Substitutes

  1. Smart Balance – We’ve been using Smart Balance since day one. It’s one of the only margarine’s that’s actually dairy free (who knew?).
  2. Earth Balance – Very similar to Smart Balance, but I think it’s a little more on the “natural” side. I have also found that it has a little more sodium and saturated fat, but the reason we don’t typically buy it is because it’s not available at Costco.
  3. Crisco Butter Flavored Shortening Sticks – I use this regularly for baking, specifically because of how easy it is to measure. The pacakage says to add extra water on the package when subbing for butter, but I never do.
  4. Oil – If a recipe calls for butter to sauté vegetables or something like that, I usually just use the same amount of olive oil. If a baking recipe calls for melted better, I usually swap it for canola oil.

Other options available: coconut oil, vegan butter sticks

Milk Substitutes

  1. Lactose-free milk – This is by far the easiest substitute for milk, but it’s not dairy free. Use what’s best for your diet.
  2. Nut Milks – I typically choose almond or cashew milk. They are on the sweeter side so you can sometimes taste the difference. An extra pinch of salt tends to cancel that out.
  3. Coconut milk – Canned coconut milk is much thicker than coconut milk in the refrigerated section. Use what’s best for your the recipe you’re making. Opt for canned coconut milk if your recipe calls for whole milk or half-and-half. so it’s a decent (not perfect) substitute for cream/half-and-half. I have found lactose-free half-and-half at Woodman’s in the organic dairy section, which I use instead of heavy cream in recipes.

Cream Substitutes

  1. Lactose-free half-and-half – Organic Valley makes a lactose-free half-and-half that is a great substitute for cream in recipes. It’s not quite as thick as heavy cream, but it works in many recipes.
  2. Coconut cream – This is a thicker version of canned coconut milk that can be whipped to make whipped cream. It’s also a good substitute for heavy cream.
  3. Soy/Nut creamers – I don’t typically buy these. Since they’re sweetened, they aren’t good for savory uses, but they could be the right choice for a dessert.
  4. Coffee creamers – most flavored coffee creamers are dairy free and could be used as a replacement for cream in sweet dishes, just make sure to check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain milk.

Other options: cashew cream, non-dairy creamer (such as Coffee Rich)

 Whipped Cream Substitutes

  1. SoDelicious Coconut Whipped Topping – this is a dairy-free version of Cool Whip. Don’t let it thaw completely though (even though the package says to), it really won’t hold it’s shape like the dairy version.
  2. Coconut whipped cream – you can also whip a can of coconut cream for a homemade option.

Cheese Substitutes

  1. Lactose free cottage cheese – Lactaid makes a lactose-free version, and I have even blended it smoother to substitute for ricotta cheese.
  2. Lactose free cheeses – there are a decent amount of choices for lactose-free cheese out there, mostly in the vegan section of your grocery store. Cabot brand explains which of their cheeses are considered lactose free on their website. It’s even a good resource for cheeses that aren’t manufactured by them.
  3. Cream Cheese – Green Valley Organics makes a line of lactose free products that includes lactose free cream cheese. There are also vegan options (I prefer Daiya brand).
  4. Vegan cheese – ask where you can find vegan substitutes in your grocery stores. There are a lot of great options out there, so it’s not really worth make a specific list.
  5. Nutritional yeast – this is a common substitute for parmesan cheese in many vegan recipes. It also adds a decent amount of savory umami to a recipe.

Sour Cream Substitutes

  1. Lactose-free sour cream  – Green Valley Organics makes a lactose free version.
  2. Vegan sour cream – My favorite sub for this is Tofutti brand sour cream. It’s a vegan brand, and they also make a cream cheese that I’ve heard good things about, but haven’t tried.

Other options: lactose or dairy free plain yogurt – yogurt is always a great swap for sour cream.

Yogurt Substitutes

  1. Lactose free yogurt – Yoplait makes several lactose free yogurts, but they are all flavored and sweetened, meaning they would be okay to use in a dessert recipe, but not so great for savory applications. Green Valley organics makes both flavored and plain lactose free yogurt.
  2. Dairy free yogurt – There are so many kinds of dairy free yogurts. They range in flavor and texture, so try a few out and see what you like best. As with lactose free, many are sweetened, even the plain soy, so you’ll have to adjust your recipes a little for savory recipes, but it’s doable.

Other options: lactose or dairy free sour cream should work for baking or savory recipes.

Ice Cream Substitutes

  1. Lactose free ice cream – Lactaid and Breyers both make lactose free ice creams. They are the simplest swap, but choose depending on your diet/tolerance.
  2. Dairy free ice cream –  there are so many choices out there. Check your freezer section and see what’s there. I think the cashew milk ice creams tend to be the creamiest. The coconut ones can be a bit icy.

Other options: Popsicles – if you can’t decide on an ice cream substitute, try a fruit based popsicle. They are naturally dairy free and should satisfy a sweet tooth.

If you’ve been living dairy free for a while, what are some of your favorite dairy free substitutions? I’d love for you to leave them in the comments section so other readers can learn even more!

  • Reply
    Apple Rosemary Chicken and Dumplings - Simply Whisked
    September 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    […] made the recipe dairy free by swapping full-fat coconut milk for what would normally be heavy cream, but I had to tweak the liquid/dry ingredient ratio to make […]

  • Reply
    Karen S
    December 20, 2017 at 11:47 am

    I found this while looking for a lactose free cream cheese. I will search for and try those options. However, you left off (unless I missed it) the most magical lactose free solution of all. Heavy whipping cream has no lactose. It’s pure fat! I just use great value, actually the less posh the better. You have to experiment. If the manufacture doesn’t provide it totally fat, then I’ve had issues a couple of times over the past 10 years. Therefore, Daisy sour cream doesn’t cause me a problem either, because it uses pure whipping cream. Certainly you want to experiment whilst at home, near the toilet, but it’s worth a try. I cannot however, tolerate the amount of dairy in the smallest amount of cream cheese. But, I’ve bee know to get away with pure cream Bries. However, I buy mostly goat and sheep cheese since they are naturally lactose free, and am moving toward almond milk, since I know I should move away from dairy as much as possible. It’s just good to know, especially for that creme sauce you make once or twice a year..

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      December 28, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      That’s really interesting. Lactose and dairy intolerances can be different for everyone. It’s important to note (for safety purposes only) that I don’t suggest experimenting with dairy products if you have a dairy allergy, but it could worth trying if you just suffer from an intolerance. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Easy Dairy Free Croutons - Simply Whisked
    January 11, 2018 at 10:58 am

    […] free to be relatively easier than I thought it would be, I still occasionally struggle to find dairy free versions of common grocery items. It literally boggles my mind how many things have hidden dairy in them, […]

  • Reply
    CJ
    January 27, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Recently gone dairy free. You mentioned that there are lots of dairy free yogurts. I have found 1 store in our are that carries 1 dairy free yogurt., but it is soy which I am also avoiding. Can you recommend brands? I don’t think this is something I can order on line due to refrigeration requirements. TY.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      January 27, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      It depends on what you’re looking for. I don’t care for yogurt on it’s own, but I do like to use yogurt to cook with. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find unsweetened, even the “plain” ones have sugar added to them. I believe that So Delicious makes one that is unsweetened and plain. If you like to just eat fruit yogurt, then I would recommend experimenting with them to see which ones you like best.

  • Reply
    Dairy Free Pumpkin Cookies - Simply Whisked
    January 30, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    […] that we’re dairy free, those cookies are a thing of the past, but don’t worry. I’ve swapped things out and […]

  • Reply
    Walnut Crusted Salmon with Basil Walnut Pesto - Simply Whisked
    February 26, 2018 at 8:00 am

    […] I was at the store, I also picked up some of my favorite dairy free products and a bunch of fresh produce – honey crisp apples, baby kale and cauliflower rice, which I […]

  • Reply
    Don
    March 15, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    tofutti sour cream is nasty chemically tasting.

    Earth island dairy free sour cream is actually really good if you can find it..

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      March 15, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      I haven’t tried that brand. I actually haven’t seen it, but now I’m going to look it up and try it! Thanks for the info 🙂

  • Reply
    Jill
    April 1, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    I recently tried a cream cheese by Kite Hill, it is almond based. It is really good and I’ve used in a free recipes- tastes great!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      April 2, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Oh awesome! I’ve been meaning to give that one a try, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I’ll have to add it to my list for this week!

  • Reply
    Dairy Free Vanilla Cupcakes + a Double Celebration - Simply Whisked
    April 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    […] you want to learn more about substituting butter, I wrote an in-depth post about it. Butter and milk are some of the easiest ingredients to […]

  • Reply
    The Best Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes - Simply Whisked
    May 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    […] it’s just a matter of substituting the dairy-based ingredients for plant-based […]

  • Reply
    Dairy Free Asparagus Bacon Quiche - Simply Whisked
    May 29, 2018 at 8:09 am

    […] dairy. So many of our favorite recipes have cheese, butter or milk in them. The good thing is that swapping out dairy isn’t actually that hard, and most of those recipes are equally good without dairy in them. […]

  • Reply
    Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Dip - Simply Whisked
    May 30, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    […] make this recipe dairy free, I swapped out the cream cheese for vegan cream cheese. I added a splash of Worcestershire sauce for a little extra umami and some […]

  • Reply
    Savory Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 7:59 am

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
    June 12, 2018 at 8:01 am

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy free, or see the dairy free version of this […]

  • Reply
    Irish Beef Stew - A Teaspoon of Happiness
    June 12, 2018 at 8:07 am

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Light Jalapeno Popper Dip - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    1234 Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Caprese Salad with Avocado - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Baked Macaroni and Cheese - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Butternut Squash Pasta with Italian Sausage and Fresh Spinach - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy free or check out the updated version of this […]

  • Reply
    Grandpop's Meatballs - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Spicy Smoked Sausage & Spinach Skillet - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Salted Caramel Turtle Sundaes - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Chelsea's Chocolate Cake Martinis - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Leftover Halloween Candy Cookie Bars - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Salted Caramel Sauce - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Creamy Chicken Barley Stew with Lemon & Fresh Dill - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Ranch Popcorn Party Mix - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Italian Chop Salad - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Irish Champ - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Peanut Cookies - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Irish Potato Candy - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos with Guinness Horseradish Cream Sauce - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Sweet Almond Baby Buns - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Moroccan Salmon with Cucumber Raita - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Pesto Fries - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Spinach Basil Pesto Sauce - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    One Pot Chili Mac - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    BBQ Chicken French Bread Pizza - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Super Soft Sugar Cookies - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells - Simply Whisked
    June 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Farfalle with Italian Sausage and Broccoli - A Teaspoon of Happiness
    June 12, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    […] I used to make this recipe using pecorino cheese, but since that’s not an option anymore, I add two tablespoons nutritional yeast with the reserved pasta water to add additional umami. See more about how I make substitutions for dairy products here. […]

  • Reply
    Whipped Feta Dip - Simply Whisked
    June 13, 2018 at 8:43 am

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Strawberry Spinach Salad with Pesto Balsamic Vinaigrette - Simply Whisked
    June 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Triscuit Crackers topped with Balsamic Mixed Greens, Whipped Goat Cheese and Blueberries
    June 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese - Simply Whisked
    June 13, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Sweet Olive Oil Cornbread - Simply Whisked
    June 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Meatball Burgers - Simply Whisked
    June 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Denver Omelet Quiche - Simply Whisked
    June 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Arugula Parmesan Salad with Simple Lemon Vinaigrette - Simply Whisked
    June 13, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Cranberry Shortbread Streusel Bars - Simply Whisked
    June 19, 2018 at 10:06 am

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy free. Please also note that the granola mentioned in the […]

  • Reply
    Blueberry Cardamom Frozen Sandwiches - Simply Whisked
    June 25, 2018 at 8:06 am

    […] Summer desserts can be a tricky thing when you’re living dairy free. With the exception of a few, delicious frozen desserts, classic store-bought treats tend to be off limits, but when the summer heat hits, I want nothing to do with baking. Instead, I’ve turned to creating my own frozen treats using my favorite store-bought ingredients and dairy free products. […]

  • Reply
    Salted Caramel Boozy "Milkshake" - Simply Whisked
    July 18, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    […] free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy […]

  • Reply
    Liz
    August 19, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    If u r looking for a really good sour cream lactaid brand makes their own sour cream now. it’s amazing. If u give it to someone who isn’t lactose intolerant or dairy free they would never know the difference it’s that good.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      August 21, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks so much for the tip! I didn’t know they were making sour cream. We don’t personally use any dairy based products anymore (allergy), but it’s great to know for the readers who still do! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

@simplywhisked

Make dairy free easy!

spatula removing one slice of a strawberry tart on a gray background with small mint leaves and a red striped kitchen towel

Sign up and get fresh, dairy free recipes delivered straight to your inbox.