Medically reviewed on June 14, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Having lactose intolerance, a dairy-related allergy, or a daily-related sensitivity can be a struggle, especially when there are so many delicious foods with dairy in them. Even if your stomach grumbles in protest after every bite of ice cream, you still may crave that creamy texture.
Is there a solution for this, or a milk alternative that can satisfy your dairy craving?
Luckily, there are dairy substitutes. Today’s health food markets have created many tasty and nutritious milk alternatives for those with dairy sensitivities. In some cases, you may not even notice the switch. To take the leap, read our guide on the best dairy alternatives, including:
(And to check for potential sensitivities to dairy-related products, try the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test.)
Today, the word “milk” has expanded far past traditional dairy. From nuts to grains, you can turn various plant-based foods into delicious and nutrient-packed liquids, often referred to as “milks.”
Whether making a latte or a creamy pasta dish, non-dairy milk can get the job done in style. Many alternatives naturally include vitamins and protein, but some might even be fortified options. In general, it’s best to avoid ones with added sugars or preservatives—the more natural and less sweet, the better.
New to non-dairy milks? First off, be mindful of any other problem foods for you—besides dairy. Then, choose an alternative that keeps your digestive health happy, such as :
If you ask any ex-dairy eater what they miss the most, many have one answer—cheese.
This salty, rich, tangy dairy product used to be tough to replace. Fortunately, cheese alternatives have massively improved over the last decade. You can now find both soft and hard non-dairy cheeses to satisfy your cravings. Most include some form of blended or mashed plant-based ingredients, including:
One easy at-home alternative to cheesy flavor? Nutritional yeast.
This ubiquitous ingredient found in many vegan recipes has the distinct nuttiness and saltiness of parmesan, alongside some impressive nutritional stats. Just two tablespoons provide eight grams of protein and four grams of fiber .
For centuries, cultures have fermented dairy milk into this tangy, creamy concoction. Thanks to modern innovation, non-dairy yogurts come close to the real deal.
Yogurt’s nutritional powers come from its high-protein content and probiotics. The bacterial cultures used to ferment milk into yogurt create extraordinary bacteria for your gut health . To replicate this benefit, most non-dairy yogurt makers add probiotic bacteria to popular varieties like:
Another important note? Most non-dairy yogurts won’t have the same protein content as dairy-based yogurt. The highest non-dairy alternative is hemp yogurt, containing 11 grams per cup compared to Greek yogurt’s 18 grams per cup .
To be fair, it might be tough to find that sunny, golden flavor of butter in just any non-dairy butter. However, there are still some excellent alternatives with a delicious flavor all on their own.
Texture-wise, butter is relatively easy to replicate. Since butter is mostly solidified fat, non-dairy fats can easily mimic the texture. From spreading on toast to sauteing vegetables, most non-dairy butter includes plant-based fats like:
Layer one of these options onto a freshly toasted slice of sourdough, and you might not even notice the difference.
1. The 9 Best Nondairy Substitutes for Milk. Healthline. URL. Accessed June 14, 2022.
2. Yogurt, living cultures, and gut health. Healthline. URL. Accessed June 14, 2022.
3. Morelli L. Yogurt, living cultures, and gut health. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5 Suppl):1248S-50S.
4. Nutritional Yeast: Is It Good for You? WebMD. URL. Accessed June 14, 2022.