One of the hardest parts of going dairy free is find dairy alternatives to your favorite dairy products. We’ve complied a list of dairy substitutes for you to easily find.
So many people say they could give up meat easily when asked about veganism, but dairy….dairy is where they struggle. When you think about dairy, the first three things that probably come to mind are cheese, ice cream, and milk. After that, you start thinking about butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, and more.
It’s easy to think about all the good things, which makes it even harder to think about dairy alternatives and how you could ever have great tasting foods again.
For most people that are dairy free, it’s not a choice. A dairy free life usually comes from an allergy themselves or their children. Whether finding out about milk intolerance when breastfeeding or early in toddlerhood, many parents choose to go dairy free with their children. In these cases, going dairy free is harder because unlike veganism, it’s not their preferred way of eating.
I’m here to tell you that there are a whole host of dairy substitutes that you can use for dairy alternatives for your very favorite foods. Many of which you won’t even noticed a difference. Once you get into a habit of finding your best foods, you will rarely, if at all, even miss dairy.
WHAT PRODUCTS ARE DAIRY?
Obviously if you are going dairy free, you want to know what products you need to avoid. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t exactly easy as there are a lot of hidden dairy ingredients –>> GET THE FULL 100+ DAIRY INGREDIENTS LIST HERE <<–
Although, there are a ton of hidden dairy ingredients in everything from hot dogs to spaghetti sauce, many people start by looking for how to replace the very most common dairy products. There’s roughly 14 things that most people immediately start to look for dairy alternatives for when going dairy free. The products people want dairy alternatives too are:
- ice cream
- coffee creamer
- sour cream
- heavy cream
- sweet condensed milk
- evaporated milk
- half & half
- cream cheese
Dairy Milk Alternatives
Obviously, the very first thing people want to find a dairy substitute for is their milk. Many households drink a few gallons of dairy milk a week, so having to switch that to something else is a bit intimidating at first. Luckily, there are so many dairy milk alternatives and the list continues to grow. Some of the most popular options are:
After those three very popular choices that you should be able to find in every grocery store, you start getting into other popular, new and/or emerging dairy milk alternatives. Those options include:
Even more than these six, we are starting to find even more dairy milk alternatives available such as macadamia milk, quinoa milk, hazelnut milk, peanut milk, and mixed nut milk. There are also plenty of blends of dairy milk alternatives such as coconut almond. Additionally, most brands you can find sweetened or unsweetened, as well as chocolate varieties.
*Note: the links to the milks above are for shelf stable milks; however, any grocery has regular milk in the refrigerated milks as does Amazon Fresh if you have that service near you.
Non Dairy Butter Substitute
Most people use butter for so many things. It’s another on of the most popular dairy substitutes people are looking for. Luckily, like milk, there’s many options available.
Dairy Free Margarine or Vegan Butter are the most comparable. Earth Balance is one of the most known and best tasting brands that is readily available. Other brands like Miyokos, Olivio, and Wayfare are also popular.
It is important to note that many margarines on the market are not actually dairy free, so you’ll want to make sure you double check the labels.
Alternatively, shortening in baking works well in many baking scenarios. Coconut oil is also very versatile, whether for baking or cooking dinner. For most of these a 1 to 1 ratio is perfect. For things like sauting or baking vegetables, olive oil or other oil alternatives like avocado oil, algae oil, or grapeseed oil making great dairy substitutes.
Dairy Free Cheese
Ahh, the great cheese debate. Honestly, this may be more discussed than milk or butter. Some people decide to just give up cheese altogether, not wanting to rely on a “fake” alternative. This is widely one of the hardest things also to find a replacement for. Some people switch easily, while other yearn for the taste of their favorite gouda, cheddar, or brie. Unfortunately, this category isn’t as easy as telling you to make an easy switch. You’re going to likely have to test out a few different brands before you find something you really like.
Dairy Free Cheese is gaining in popularity and you can typically easily find a sliced or shredded cheese option in most grocers now.
Some of the most popular dairy free cheese companies are:
- Follow Your Heart
- So Delicious
- Go Veggie
So stores, like Aldi, are even starting to create their own line of vegan cheeses with their own labels.
Alternatively, in things like soups and pastas, maybe people add nutritional yeast for the same nutty, cheesy flavor that you’d get from cheese.
Dairy Free Ice Cream
Believe it or not, dairy free ice cream is one of the easiest dairy substitutes you can make. There’s plenty of options for making it yourself or buying brands.
Ben & Jerrys have been making a dairy free ice cream for years now, and So Delicious Coconut Ice Creams are easily found. Target recently announced a line of dairy free ice creams and Breyer’s has one available now also.
Dairy Free Chocolate
Sure, your favorite milk chocolates are now off limits, but that doesn’t mean that all chocolate is off limits. Most higher cacao percent chocolates are dairy free. Enjoy Life makes delicious chocolate chips or chunks. There’s hundreds of vegan chocolate brands that you can swap for or you can make your own homemade chocolate very easily and turn that into chocolate chips or chocolate bars for a variety of uses.
Dairy Free Yogurt
Dairy alternatives to yogurt is another easy solution. Sure, there’s going to be a few differences and you should absolutely try a few brands before you make a final decision. I will say in our house Silk’s Peach Mango yogurt is one of the best on the market.
You can find a few varieties of dairy free yogurt in almost every grocery store. Dairy Free Yogurt brands include:
- So Delicious
- Kite Hill
- Good Karma
So far Silk’s Vanilla Almondmilk is the winner for a neutral based yogurt alternative.
Dairy Free Coffee Creamer and Dairy Free Half & Half
If you are looking for dairy substitutes for coffee creamer, chances are you may be pretty desperate. There’s nothing like taking away coffee creamer for a coffee enthusiast. Now, take a deep breathe, because I have some solutions for you.
Fortunately, many coffee creamers aren’t even made with real milk, so first check to see if yours has milk ingredients in it. Next, if it does let’s talk about brands that make dairy free coffee creamer.
- Califia Farms
- Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Almond Creamer
- Silk Dairy Free Soy or Almond Creamer
- Nutpods Creamer
- So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
- Ripple Half & Half
- Some store brands also now have their own brands
Alternatively, you can try adding coconut butter or coconut oil for a bulletproof type of coffee.
Non Dairy Substitute for Sour Cream
For years before going dairy free, we simply substituted sour cream for plain greek yogurt. Now, sometimes we use a plain dairy free yogurt. Other times, for things like tacos, a dairy free avocado cream or hummus on wraps is all we need.
Follow Your Heart, Wayfare, and Tofutti do make sour cream alternatives.
Non Dairy Substitute for Buttermilk
The easiest way for make dairy free buttermilk is pour 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup and then add your favorite unsweetened dairy free milk until you reach a cup. Let sit for 10 minutes until the milk has started to curdle, and then use as directed.
I do not believe there are any dairy free buttermilks available for purchase.
Non Dairy Substitute for Heavy Cream
The most popular dairy substitution for heavy cream is by refrigerating a can of full fat coconut milk. Carefully remove the lid, and the thick, fat portion of the coconut milk can is what you want to substitute for heavy cream.
Try our homemade coconut milk whipped cream!
Non Dairy Substitute for Cream Cheese
Brands are pushing our dairy free cream cheese left and right it seems like. Which is a win, because it’s soooo good. The following brands have dairy alternatives to cream cheese:
- Go Veggie
- Kite Hill
- Follow Your Heart
Many brands are starting to come our with flavored options like Chive & Onion, Garden Vegetable and Strawberry, in addition to the normal plain.
Dairy Free Evaporated Milk Substitute
It’s easy though to make your own evaporated milk. Evaporated Milk just refers to milk that has reduced its water content by approximately 60%. To do this, you just need to simmer (be careful not to burn) your favorite dairy free milk until 60% has been evaporated. Roughly 1 cup for 3 cups starting.
Dairy Free Sweet Condensed Milk
Similar to making your own evaporated milk, it’s easy to make your own dairy free sweet condensed milk. Once you make the evaporated milk from above, just stir in 1 1/4 cups of sugar until dissolved. Now you have dairy free sweet condensed milk.
We hope that these dairy free substitutes help you with your dairy free diet and this journey that you are on to finding your way around the kitchen.
Did we miss your favorite alternative? Leave a comment and let me know or tell me which is your favorite alternative or swap! Can’t wait to hear from you!