Since we’ve gone dairy/lactose free, we’ve had fun trying to find the best dairy alternatives. I love all things creamy and delicious, so I had to find a way to make sure we weren’t totally deprived. Believe me, there are a lot of dairy alternatives that are pretty nasty. But luckily, there are some things that are so close to the real thing, you can’t even tell the difference. So if you are lactose or dairy free, or you are perhaps making dinner for someone that is, and need some ideas, here is my list of the best lactose free products
I talked about milk alternatives last week, and created this handy reference guide. I’ve tried a few different options, and
have decided that I love the Blue Diamond mixture of almond and coconut milk. We use it as a substitute for milk in just about everything, and never notice a difference! You can get plain or vanilla flavored, but if you are planning to use it in cooking, definitely get the plain! We now use only Silk Almond Milk, because it’s the only brand we could find without carageenan in it. Beyond that, there are lots of different substitutes — soy, hemp, rice, or even goats. The doctor told us that even though goats’ milk does have some lactose, a lot of the time, people who are sensitive to the lactose in cows’ milk won’t be sensitive to the goat milk. Who knows!
Because of my friend Amber over at Amber Simmons, I discovered that Kraft has lactose-free cheese! This was the greatest discovery, because I sure didn’t like leaving cheese off of my favorite recipes, like my favorite lasagna and chicken enchiladas. Not every bag of Kraft shredded cheese is lactose free, so before you grab one, check the back — it should say under the ingredient list if there is 0 g of lactose.
Ever since I discovered this, I’ve been SO excited. And glad that I don’t have to use one of the other alternatives for cheese. Because let me tell you, they aren’t good. Before I discovered that Jack was just lactose intolerant, I did a lot of research, trying to find a cheese substitute. Unfortunately, everyone has come to the basic conclusion that there really isn’t a good one. However, I did try Daiya, because most everyone said it actually had a cheese taste. And it did. But the texture was too much for me. It was rubbery, and made me gag. If you aren’t sensitive to textures, and just really crave that cheese flavor, you might like this. The company claims it stretches and melts like cheese…and it does. But I did not like it! I’d say it’s probably the best option out there, if you have a milk protein allergy.
Sour Cream and Cream Cheese:
I used to use sour cream and cream cheese in a lot my recipes. They are such versatile ingredients that add a yummy and unique taste. I was hesitant to try a substitute when I found them, but I’m SO glad I did. The company called Tofutti makes these substitutes, and you cannot tell a difference. I was seriously shocked. Both looked and tasted like the original. I bought both at Sunflower Market, and I’ve seen them at Trader Joes as well.
We recently discovered Green Valley Lactose Free sour cream at Sprouts, and we LOVE it.
Tofutti specializes in dairy free foods (they have sour cream, cream cheese, and ricotta to name a few), and I have a feeling just about anything they make would be delicious. I’ve been eyeing their frozen treats…which brings me to my next topic
There are a few options for whipped cream. If you don’t want to go the homemade route, I recommend Soyatoo! Whipped Topping. They have a version made with soy, and a version made with rice (which is what we opted for.) The taste is a tiny bit different, but I think it tastes pretty good.
Here is a great tutorial on making dairy free, whipped coconut cream! Can’t wait to try this!
If you find yourself with a recipe that calls for heavy cream or half-and-half, consider using coconut milk! I use it whenever I’m making a soup or sauce that calls for one of these ingredients, and it definitely is a great substitute. I usually buy the canned kind, but I imagine you could use coconut milk from the refrigerated section and yield similar results. I always let an open can of coconut milk settle in the refrigerator, and I used the heavy cream on top for dishes that I want to be super creamy, and save the liquid part for evaporated milk.
One product I’ve been dying to try is MimicCreme. It’s only sold online, but apparently it’s won some awards for being a great substitute. A lot of people like it for coffee, but since I don’t drink coffee, I’d use it for mainly cooking purposes. There are a couple of different varieties, and the one I want to try the most is the whipping cream! It’s made with coconut oil, almonds, cashews, sweet almond oil, and natural sugar cane. One of these days I’ll get around to ordering it!
Cream of “Whatever” Soups
photo credit: striatic via photopin cc
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.
Walmart carries Land O Lakes lactose free half & half.
One great lactose free milk is called ripple,it’s plant based;and you can find it at sprouts. My husband is lactose intolerant and this milk doesn’t mess with his stomach at all.
I have heard great things about Ripple!
Thanks for the Kraft tip and also for the Cabot post from another reader! The best non-dairy cheese I have had is So Delicious. It doesn’t have that rubbery plastic taste of Daiya. I have found it at Whole Foods. For cream cheese, Kite Hill makes regular and chive cream cheese that tastes like whipped cream cheese. Hope this helps!
This is great to know!
Katie Are these gluten free as well? I have gluten issues as well . Thank you for all the great info Anne
Many of them are!
I substitute milk, in cooking, with non dairy powdered coffee creamer. Just add 2-3 Tbsp per cup of warm water to dissolve and you have non dairy milk. Also makes a great homemade ranch. I’ve tried coconut and almond milk, and it just doesn’t taste like ranch, but with the coffee creamer, I can’t tell the difference. Or any dry mix recipe that calls for powdered milk, just replace it with non dairy creamer. Although, I’m sure it’s not as healthy, but it tastes great.
Nancy Max says
I understand that making dairy products lactose free is a fairly simple process of adding an enzyme called Lactase, which breaks down Lactose into 2 different sugars that are digestible for those that are lactose intolerant. I am thinking about pursuing this idea, but need to know the real number of people who suffer from this problem and if they are interested in having all kinds of real dairy products that are Lactose Free readily available to them in their local supermarkets and grocery stores. The products would include, of course, milk in all forms-whole, 1%, 2%. Fat free or Skim, half and half and chocolate. Others would include: butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, hard cheeses, soft cheeses, sour cream, whipped cream, ice cream There would also be varying degrees of fat content for many of these products. I would also like to have products made with these lactose free items available as well, such as: cheesecake, cheese blintzes, mac and cheese(including boxed ready to make type), puddings, custards, cakes and cookies, and any others we can think of. I need information about what kind of a market is available in the US for now, maybe globally later on. Let me know of any info you or your followers can provide
I believe many people who are lactose intolerant have just totally given up on dairy. I think this market is totally under serviced. I am looking for people with expertise , knowledge, experience in the dairy industry or related fields who can provide info and/or guidance and maybe partnership or investment in this type of business. I also have a marketing idea that would make it easier and better to locate and purchase these items.
Christine Bousquet says
I am from Vermont and unable to find a lot of the dairy free products so if could order them it would be great
Marva T says
I would live that we cannot dine cheese and Lactaid only has vanilla and chocolate ice cream and cream cheese in our area.
A lot of cheeses are actually naturally lactose free. Mozarella, Provolone (My favorite), swiss, parmesan, cheddar… Even a lot of the blends, like pizza blend, or mexican cheese are lactose free. Remember that lactose is a sugar, so if it says 0g of sugar on the label, you can eat it.
My wife is lactose intolerant and has violent reactions to lactose, but she has eaten all of these cheeses just fine.
Larrie Tarver says
Lactaid makes/sells ice cream now. The chocolate is to die for!!! It’s up there with Blue Bell according to my family
Wow, that must be good then! I’ll have to be on the look out for that!
This was a great post, thank you! The best thing I’ve found in my quest for lactose free living has been Cabot Cheese! You can find it with all of the other block cheeses at your grocery store and it’s lactose free and delicious! I use the Monetary Jack instead of Mozzarella on my homemade pizza, I’ve come to like the flavor so much more! I hope this broadens the cheese horizons! https://www.cabotcheese.coop/lactose-free-cheese
I will have to try it out! Thanks!
I seem to have an issue when I go to make easy to make desserts like pudding or nobake cheesecake etc. I use almond milk and it never forms properly and it always watery. I was wondering what your suggestion might be for this?
I had this problem as well – you have to use less almond milk than you would use of cow’s milk. It’s usually 2 cups of regular milk for one small box of pudding, I believe, and I just use 1 1/2 cups of almond milk (I think. It’s been awhile.) Since I started using less, my pudding always sets up!
So Delicious CoCo Whip is fantastic……soooooo delicious!! Haha! 😉
I have never tried it before. I’ll have to see if I can find it locally!
If you are in Ontario, Canada, Chapman’s makes a line of lactose free ice creams, including ice cream sandwiches and fudge bars.
You can also find lactose free swiss and gouda cheeses. There used to be a brand (Dansebourg?) that made an excellent LF havarti.
The IOGO and the Yoplait brands make excellent LF yoghurts.
The Loblaw’s house-brand President’s Choice makes really nice LF Sour Cream (I find that I still need to take a small amount of lactase with this) and cottage cheese as well.
My lactose intolerance is pretty intense – I react to the lactose in medications, but – with the single exception of the sour cream – I find the other products better than merely “tolerable”. :o)
Thanks for all your suggestions, I’m sure they will be helpful for my Canadian readers! I’ll have to try out a few of these brands.
Some little known goodies:
oreos are lactose free
betty crocker’s chewy fudge brownie mix
Polly o string cheese
cool whip often is- check the label depends on the factory.
Those are great tips – I had no idea that cool whip was!
My husband is lactose intolerant, but we found that he can eat any dairy, short of a carton of ice cream or a gallon of straight milk, if he just takes a lactase enzyme pill. Lactaid is the name brand, but our pharmacy has a cheaper off-brand.
That’s great! I know that works for a lot of people.
Not sure if this product is sold everywhere ( I believe it may only be in Canada) but nutriwhip is one of the best whipped creams I have ever had! It has no lactose or any dairy proteins in it. It comes in a carton and you whip it up, it tastes just like the real thing!
Saputo is a dairy company in both Canada and the US though I’m not sure if they offer the same products in the US. Here they have a lactose free milk called TruTaste and it tastes the same as regular milk, though I find it a little creamier, so I buy a percent lower than I would with regular milk (1% instead of 2%).
Instead of ice cream you can always try sorbet which is typically lactose free.
That sounds fantastic! I haven’t ever heard of it or seen it in stores. I’ve been trying to find something that you can just whip up. And great tip on the sorbet — so true!
Marsha Carr says
Thank you sooooo much for taking the time to share your findings. I have just recently been declared lactose intolerant and of course what is one of my MOST favorite things….CHEESE and Milk! I only drink one glass of milk a week and that is on Sunday mornings with my once a week All Day Breakfast…that’s what my husband calls it! 🙂 I finally found a milk that is awesome and really….I can’t tell the difference between it and regular 2% milk. Actually I have found 2….Lactaid Milk and Smart Balance 2%. I tried all the others (Silk, Almond Milk, Soy Milk nd I just couldn’t handle the thickness and the sweetness). I have been using Go Veggie sliced and grated cheeses…which are not so bad, but definately want to try some of the others that have been listed on your site. Again…thanks a ton for all the info.
You’re very welcome, Marsha! I’m so glad that this was helpful to you. I totally know what you mean though — cheese and milk make up some of the best foods! I’ve seen the GO Veggie cheeses, but haven’t tried them, since Kraft seems to work well for us. While I like Almond and Coconut milk, they definitely are quite a bit thicker than Lactaid…which we also use! I just updated this with a new brand of lactose free sour cream that we really like, if you are interested in that. Hopefully you are able to find some good substitutes here. I just posted a round-up of recipes that use coconut milk that I think you might find interesting. We used coconut milk as a substitute for heavy cream a lot with great results!
I love your post!
any substitute advise for yogurt?? It is one of my favorite things, and the only thing I have found so far is Silk… which is ok, but has a strange taste too me.
Thank you! I’m glad you found it helpful. SO Delicious has a great brand of coconut milk based yogurt that I like a good amount. Yoplait actually has quite a few lactose free flavors that I’ve seen carried at most stores. My sister-in-law told me that a lot of people with lactose intolerances can actually have yogurt, as long as their is whey in it. I still have a reaction, but maybe you wouldn’t!
Sour Cream – Taziki (Greek sauce similar to sour cream but made from yogurt) is what I substitute for sour cream. If you are lactose intolerant you can still enjoy yogurt because of the bacteria culture. So since taziki is yogurt based it is all good.
Milk – so good vanilla flavour is the closest I could get to real milk.
Cream – there actually are lactose free creamers for coffee 😉
Thanks for the awesome post. I did not know about Kraft!
Thank you for all your input! I actually just learned a few weeks ago about yogurt being okay; I was so excited! It definitely has made it less expensive to substitute sour cream 🙂
And, you have no idea how excited I was about Kraft! I hated having to omit cheese from everything
Mimic cream is very good!!
for a whipped cream, you HAVE to try ” healthy top ” from the same brand, but, it is sold out until september!!!
it is amazingly good 🙂
I will have to try it for sure then! I’m curious about this healthy top thing, too!
I also recently found Clemmy’s ice cream (also at Harmon’s). It’s lactose free and sugar free, but it’s made with milk and natural sugars. We tried the chocolate one and it was delicious.
The day we found the Kraft cheese was a happy day. Harmon’s has MimicCreme. Or at least they used to. We didn’t care much for it, but we only tried it in homemade ice cream and it definitely gives it a different taste than milk does. I believe it was on the baking aisle.