Vegan alternative nut milk in glass bottles
Whether you are looking to eat more plant-based foods or need to give up dairy for health reasons, here's a list of dairy alternatives to add to your diet.

The Best Dairy Alternatives

Whether your issue stems from an allergy or intolerance, an illness, or looking to turn to a plant-based diet, you have decided to say goodbye to dairy. Now, the hard work begins as you quickly realize that, over the years, dairy has crept into every meal of the day.

Moving away from dairy can be challenging, but it is possible. Consider these seven diary alternatives to commonly used dairy products.

1. Non-Dairy Milks

The starting point in the dairy-free journey usually involves milk. You put it in your cereal in the morning, your coffee when you need a midday boost, and your famous weekend pancakes just would not taste the same without milk in the batter. How can you go dairy-free without milk?

Many people have found themselves in your situation, and fortunately, there are many non-dairy milk options to help ease your transition. Some of the most popular varieties of non-dairy milks include:

  • Soy milk.
  • Rice milk.
  • Almond milk.
  • Cashew milk.
  • Hazelnut milk.
  • Hemp milk.
  • Flax milk.

Not all milk alternatives are equal though, so be on the lookout for choices with high protein and low sugar. Taste, of course, is important, but keep nutrition as an essential element.

2. Dairy-Free Butter

Butter may not be the everyday staple that milk is, but people regularly depend on butter for baking or to liven up an otherwise bland slice of toast.

Margarines and other spreads may market themselves as butter alternatives, but some may still contain milk products while others will list a host of unhealthy ingredients on the label.

For a healthier substitution for butter, look into coconut oil. When used for baking, coconut oil can work as a direct exchange for butter. People feeling even more adventurous can consider adding avocado and subtracting the butter. Be sure to experiment to find the best amounts to balance the recipe.

3. Cheese Alternatives

For many, going dairy-free means having to give up cheese. After all, there is nothing else out there that can produce the same creaminess cheese is known for, right?

You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that many dairy-free cheese options exist. If you go into the taste testing with an open mind the results could surprise you.

Some vegan cheese options are made with nuts, yeast, seasonings, coconut, or flour. If you are searching for an experience closer to cottage cheese or ricotta, tofu varieties may fit the bill.

None of these options will be a fantastic dairy alternative for your plate of nachos, but they might fill a hole created by the loss of dairy. Try some options to see which works for you.

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4. Ice Cream Substitutes

Giving up milk means giving up ice cream because every ice cream contains milk, and any ice cream without dairy must taste awful. Wrong and wrong.

Just as there are many dairy-free milk options, there are many dairy-free ice cream options with more emerging every summer. Depending on how handy you are around the kitchen, you can even make your own variations based on coconut milk or bananas.

Your local grocery store will surprise you with the various dairy-free ice cream choices in the freezer case. There are so many ice cream alternatives that anyone can find a milk-free way to satisfy their sweet tooth.

5. Non-Dairy Whipped Cream Options

Okay, so maybe you can have ice cream, but there is no way you could top your bowl with a bit of whipped cream. You cannot have whipped cream without cream.

Actually, with a little work, you can make your own dairy-free, milk-free whipped cream substitute to plop on your ice cream or to mix in with some fruit to make a parfait. The key is coconut cream.

Put a can of coconut cream in the fridge, remove the solids and put them in a bowl. Whip them with some sugar and vanilla to make some of the best whipped cream you have ever tasted.

6. Milk-Free Yogurts

Yogurt makers have been following the lead of the dairy-free milk alternatives and using soy and nuts to create yogurts for people interested in leaving dairy behind them. Others offer coconut purées or a creative blend of fruits and veggies to match the flavors and textures of yogurt.

Along the same lines, pureed tofu is an excellent option for recipes that call for a scoop of yogurt or sour cream to change the consistency of a dish.

7. Milk-Free Condensed Milk

How many recipes do you think you are going to say goodbye to since they use condensed milk? The ingredient seems pretty irreplaceable.

Worry, not because even condensed milk can get a dairy-free makeover. By using a simple combination of full-fat coconut milk and maple syrup, you can make a condensed milk substitute that offers great sweetness and creaminess.

Remember, going dairy-free does not mean making sacrifices.