Dairy Free Substitutes

Dairy Free Substitutes

During my recent travels I have been surprised to see how far & wide the ‘gluten free’ options on offer are yet ‘dairy free’ options in cafes, restaurants and general ‘food on the go’ are very different. As I’m dairy intolerant and don’t have any  in my diet, it’s something I am always on the watch for as it is so often hidden and there seems to be even less community awareness around this allergy……..

Not whinging just observing however I thought it would be timely to share with you my tried and used often substitutions 🙂


This is often hidden away in so many prepared foods – it still trips me up! Think mayaonnaise, packaged protein balls, packaged bars, crackers, tomato sauces, biscuits, pasta’s……

Substitute with:

  • Unsweetened almond milk or rice milk
  • Oat milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Soy milk (i personally don’t consume soy however it’s an option)


This is the one dairy product that I miss daily and terribly! 🙂 I have found nothing comes close however if I’m going to go off the rails and consume, I have a tiny bit of goats milk cheese!

Substitute with:

  • Soy cheese(again I don’t eat this however I have in the past and its ok flavour wise)
  • Nut cheeses(cashew)
  • Nutritional yeast – this provides a ‘salty cheese’ flavour like parmesan


Personally I find that only avocado and Nuttelex come close to a direct sub for butter.  Yes you can add oils etc but you won’t be able to mimic the ability to hold air in cookies etc so that’s why I use the above. If you’re product doesn’t need aeration to hold form then these below are a good sub.

Substitute with:

  • Coconut oil(what the taste as it may smother other beautiful delicate flavours)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (really light in flavour)
  • Cacao butter – especially if you want it to hold once cold


This one is really easy(in my opinion) to substitute as real choc is dairy free!  Substituting Milk or White choc with Dark to make dairy free is quite simple however check your recipe as it may need the chocolate form/texture to create a great end result.

Substitute with:

  • Dairy free chocolate – found in all good health food stores and super markets
  • Make your own – that way you can cut down on sugars/sweeteners too – check this recipe
  • Raw cacao


There’s quite a few delicious options on the shelves now – lucky for us!

  • Coconut youghurt
  • Soy Yoghurt


I find cream challenging to replace especially from my pastry chef background however Coconut cream does whip fabulously so that can be used directly instead of dairy cream.

Substitute with:

  • Coconut cream – simply place a can of coconut cream upside down in the fridge for a few hours, turn, open and scoop out the solid ‘cream’ on the top.  This can be whipped or simply used ‘as is’.  See ‘how to’ here
  • Coconut cream in a ganache is quite tricky and requires very gentle heating as it can split very quickly – not for the faint hearted this exercise!


There’s the ‘nice’ cream which is based on frozen bananas being whipped in your food processor or vitamix – its just sooooo good! but sooooooo many other options that can be purchased!

Substitute with:

  • Nice Cream
  • Gelato – if using a ice cream churn
  • Almond and coconut icecreams from any reputable health food stores – I find these pricey however they are lower in sugars/sweetners and worth the budget blowout once a month!


It’s a common mistake when it comes to protein powders to think that there isn’t a lot of options – in particular relating to the protein levels –  Yes, whey and casein are great sources of protein but there are loads of pea, rice and other proteins that it’s hard to choose sometimes 😉

Substitute with:

  • Plant based protein powders (pea protein, rice protein, plant blends)

So living dairy free isn’t too hard at all. Even if you aren’t dairy intolerant I use the ethos that it’s good to lower dairy products – this allows for more variety in our diets plus helps to clean out our bodies.

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