It’s been over two years since my body started to reject dairy (not just lactose but all animal-milk based items). Even though we went through the process of looking for substitute products when Frans had to go gluten free, we found it much more challenging to do the same when searching for dairy free alternatives. There are a ton of products available, from a variety of brands, in even mainstream grocery stores. The problem, though, is that most of them are just plain gross. But, after a lot of taste testing trial and error, I was able to find some really amazing substitutes. I can actually enjoy food again (minus the dairy, of course)!
Best Dairy Free Alternatives (aka Vegan and Plant-based)
- Silk Protein Almond & Cashew — Milk substitute. Thicker than almond but not as “earthy” as cashew; only 2 g sugar. Great for most instances you’d use regular milk for including hot chocolate, cereal, cooking, baking, etc. I use the unsweetened one for everything except drinking it straight. A chocolate milk variety is available as well and tastes good.
- Earth Balance — Butter substitute. I prefer the soy free one since it cooks, bakes, spreads, and broils well. Both varieties of baking sticks are good too.
- Forager Project — Yogurt substitute. Smooth and thick consistency. The Organic Unsweetened Plain Cashewgurt works as a fab alternative in parfaits and smoothies. I like that the fruit varieties have a good flavor but aren’t as sticky sweet as other dairy free yogurt brands that I’ve tried.
- Kite Hill — Cream cheese substitute. Chive and everything varieties are good but the plain one is boring. I do find that this develops mold pretty quickly, even if it’s unopened and way before the expiration date. The new “dips” are kind of nasty though.
- Violife Foods — Cheese substitute. The Parmesan doesn’t really taste like parmesan. But, it’s still delish grated on pasta or when used in any other application when you need shredded cheese. I always keep this on hand now. The Smoked Provolone slices taste kind of like smoked gouda. They are a bit plastic-y but melt nicely and work on burgers or in sandwiches. Avoid the cheddar shreds at all costs though.
- So Delicious — Shredded cheese substitute. I tried the Cheddar Jack Shreds recently and actually like it. It does require more heat to melt though. This one is just “okay” but it’s the closest option to tasting like cheddar that I’ve found.
- WayFare — Sour cream substitute. I FINALLY found a decent sour cream alternative! The consistency is right on and the taste is exactly what I was missing! Oh, and the nacho cheese is also amazing. My daughter is now convinced that nacho cheese isn’t actually cheese anyway since this is better than the “real” thing. The onion dip is okay but I prefer to use the regular sour cream and add the Knorr onion dip mix we like (the Kosher one is gluten free too).
Best Dairy Free / Vegan Desserts
- King Arthur Gluten-Free Brownies — You may not be gluten free but these are dairy free too and so yummy!
- OCHO coconut candy — Similar to Mounds but dairy-free. I recommend the mini pouch since a full bar is too rich and overwhelming in my opinion.
- Reddi Wip Non-Dairy Almond Whipped Cream — The aerosol/spray kind from a brand we already use but now without dairy. There’s a coconut variety too but the almond one already has a distinct coconut flavor.
- Enlightened Dairy Free Bars — The Mint Chip is my fave and it’s only 90 calories.
- So Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Ice Cream — The mint chocolate taste clean and smooth.
- Breyers Non-Dairy Ice Cream — LOVE the Oreo cookies & cream but it’s not GF.
On a side note, I do not like Daiya stuff AT ALL and, though others rave about it, I’m not a fan of Miyoko’s (weird sour flavor) or Follow My Heart (the parmesan shouldn’t even be allowed on shelves). I’m still searching for more yummy dairy free alternatives since my craving for all things milky, cheesy, and creamy is still not 100% quenched. So, let me know if you find any must-try items that I should check out!
This post is completely unsponsored and only includes items I personally use on a daily basis and tell my close friends about.