If you have a dairy allergy, you’re probably looking for some dairy substitutes now that your favorite foods are off the table. Luckily, there are many alternatives available. Some of these substitutes will only be found at your nearest specialty food store but many of them can be found at your regular grocery store next to their dairy-filled counterparts.
Choose a dairy substitute category below to jump to that section of the page:
- Milk substitutes
- Butter substitutes
- Cream cheese substitutes
- Sour cream substitutes
- Yogurt substitutes
- Ice cream substitutes
- Cheese substitutes
- Chocolate substitutes
- Dairy Free Toppings
These substitutes can be used in cooking and baking to re-create your favorite recipes in a new, dairy free form. If you’re not ready to experiment with new ingredients, check out the allergy free recipes page for recipes using dairy substitutes.
If you are allergic to dairy and soy, be sure to check out the soy substitutes page for more ideas.
To substitute for butter in cooking, baking and spreading, try a dairy free margarine. The brand that we use (and that is becoming widely available at regular grocery stores) is Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread.
Earth Balance comes in a dairy free variety that contains soybean oil and a dairy and soy free variety that excludes soybean oil. This is great news for those avoiding dairy and soy. You can find both varieties in tubs as well as sticks for baking.
For more information about Earth Balance products, visit www.earthbalance.com.
Coconut oil is a good substitute for shortening or margarine in baked goods. It is solid at room temperature but, like butter and margarine, when heated will melt. I use it in place of the shortening in this recipe for wheat free sugar cookies. It gives the cookies a delicious flavor!
In many cases, cooking oil such as canola, soybean or olive oil can be used in place of butter in cooking and even in baking. If substituting oil for butter in baking, decrease the amount. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter, try using 1/3 cup oil instead.
I use canola oil instead of butter or margarine in these oatmeal applesauce cookies.
Like sour cream, I thought we would just do without cream cheese but it turns out Tofutti makes a soy based variety of cream cheese as well.
Like soy sour cream, the texture is a little different. When blended with other ingredients, however, it works just fine. I use it in the filling in this Fruit Pizza recipe and have used it in many different dips and spreads.
If you’re missing sour cream and can have soy, you’re in luck! Your specialty food store will likely have a selection of dairy free products including sour cream. One brand, for example, is Tofutti. The texture is not the same as real sour cream but it works well in recipes for dips and dressings and dolloped onto this Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet is another brand of dairy free, vegan sour cream. This product does contain soy.
You can also find recipes for dairy free sour cream using dairy free yogurt and milk. I haven’t tried to make my own (yet!)
If you’re a yogurt fan and are not allergic to soy, several different brands of soy based yogurt are available (Silk is one example). So Delicious brand coconut yogurt is a great option if you’re allergic to soy AND dairy. Obviously, this one wouldn’t work if you have a coconut allergy.
Try using dairy free yogurt as a dip for fruit or buy plain and use it to make a dill dip (think ranch without the egg and dairy!)
Ice cream happens to be one of my favorite foods so it was top priority to find a dairy substitute for the creamy treat.
My son’s dairy allergy was a great excuse to purchase an ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer…and boy, has it come in handy! I have made countless batches of ice cream, sorbet and gelato.
Here are two recipes we love:
If you aren’t into making your own ice cream, you’re in luck! You can find many dairy free ice cream options at your regular grocery store (and even more at the specialty store!) These dairy free ice cream options are often soy based but there are also rice “cream” and coconut milk ice cream options.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? You can continue to love it even if you’re avoiding dairy!
If you only have a dairy allergy and have no issues with nuts, you should be able to find baking chocolate like semi-sweet and bittersweet at the regular grocery store. I have found them but they often contain the advisory statement “may contain nuts”.
If nuts are an issue, try Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. They are made in a nut free facility, are dairy free and soy free and they work well in cookies, muffins, sauces and frosting.
Here are some of our favorite recipes using dairy free chocolate chips:
Frosting is a dairy substitute that is easy to find at the regular grocery store. The one that I currently use is a variety by Pillsbury (the one with the blue lid). Please be sure to check labels, though, because many of the same brand DO contain dairy AND product ingredients change far more often than I update this page!
Cherrybrook Kitchen also makes a ready made frosting and can be found at many regular grocery stores.
If you can’t get to the grocery store, make this easy frosting recipe that works great on sugar cookies.
Or, for a great cupcake topping, try this whipped cream frosting recipe.