7 Best Dairy Substitutes

Published

4.11.22

By

Coline R.

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Do you know your options for going dairy-free? You don't have to give up milk with this list of the best dairy substitutes from Jow.

By now, you've probably heard the hype about non-dairy alternatives. When you order coffee at most coffee shops, you now have the option to ask for your latte made with one of several non-dairy milks.

When did dairy-free options become so popular? If you have always bought dairy milk for yourself or your family, you might wonder what the big deal is. Let's talk about why people might purchase dairy-free alternatives for their refrigerators. Then, we'll show you the dairy-free milk options that are popular today and explore easy non-dairy recipes.

Reasons To Try a Dairy Substitute

Some people prefer cow's milk. If you don't have any allergies, you may enjoy cow's milk for its slightly sweet flavor. However, there are several reasons a person might reach for an alternative milk option instead of dairy. 

Let's take a look at a few primary reasons.  

Some People Are Lactose Intolerant

Ordinary dairy milk from an animal contains a type of sugar called lactose. Although many people prefer dairy milk, over half the population can't digest lactose easily past childhood. This is because they stop producing lactase, the enzyme needed to digest dairy. Lactose intolerance and dairy allergies can make it difficult for a person to enjoy many meals since dairy is a stabilizer in baking and cooking. 

Plant-based milk options make it possible for someone with a milk allergy to enjoy desserts and dishes that include dairy.

Some Like the Taste of Alternative Milk

Everyone has different tastes! If you've grown up drinking dairy milk for years, you may prefer its taste to non-dairy options. However, some people like the sweet, creamy taste of many non-dairy substitutes. 

Some May Desire a Lower-Calorie Milk

If you have unique nutrition goals, you might customize the food you intake to meet your needs. For example, if your needs require a lower caloric intake, you might choose thirty-calorie coconut milk to make your breakfast smoothie rather than dairy milk.

On the other hand, if you're trying to load up on calories to supplement your energy output, you might opt for 130-calorie oat milk. Choosing alternate milk can allow you to meet your body's needs. 

How Shopping for Non-Dairy Products Can Be Easy

Have you been thinking about trying non-dairy milk soon? When you're thinking about what ingredients you need to make meals for your household this week, it may be overwhelming to compile a list. We can make that easier!

At Jow, we're happy to create personalized shopping lists based on the recipes you're interested in. You can throw in a few household necessities, too! From there, we can have your groceries shipped to your doorstep, or you can select store pickup from a nearby grocery store. 

After that, you can use your customized groceries to make easy meals with our simple Jow recipes. All you have to do is enjoy the straightforward cooking process and the tasty meals you make with your ingredients. 

Seven Dairy Substitutes You Can Try

Maybe you've been questioning whether you have a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance. If you want to try alternative milk for yourself, there are several options to consider! Start looking at some labels and see what you can find.

Let's take a look at seven dairy substitutes you can check out for yourself.

Hemp Milk

Did you know male hemp seeds contain nutritious ingredients? The hulled seeds from male hemp plants contain essential amino acids, healthy fats, and complete proteins. 

In addition to providing considerable health benefits, hemp milk is also relatively eco-friendly. Hemp milk is one milk option you can try out when you're ditching dairy.

Soy Milk

This non-dairy option has been around for a while, and you've probably recognized it on the menu at mainstream coffee shops for years. In fact, soy milk has been a well-known substance since fifth-century China. Since then, many people have enjoyed this dairy alternative for its similarity to dairy milk.

It's high in essential proteins and amino acids, as well as potassium. Consider these nutrition benefits when weighing your non-dairy options!

Coconut Milk

There's nothing quite like the taste of creamy, non-dairy coconut milk. If you've ever had a coconut-flavored dessert, you'll know why this milk is such a tasty choice. 

How do you milk coconuts? Like all plant milk, coconut milk doesn't come from milking animals. Instead, coconuts contain a fleshy white interior that harvesters can blend with water to create a silky beverage. This dairy substitute is excellent for smoothies since it naturally has a fresh, fruity flavor. 

Coconut cream is also an option when you’re looking for a heavy cream substitute or something to use in place of coffee creamer, as long as you don’t mind a slightly sweeter flavor profile. 

Almond Milk

If you have been consuming non-dairy milk for a few years, you probably already know about almond milk. This non-dairy alternative offers a milk flavor and low sugar content, making it preferable for many people. 

However, it's worth noting that some people choose to go with other alternative milk because of the process of making almond milk. While almond milk is more environmentally friendly than dairy milk, it still uses a considerable amount of water to produce. If you like to make nutritional choices with the environment in mind, you may want to select another non-dairy milk.

Cashew Milk

Perhaps when you think of cashews, you picture delicious nuts that provide healthy fat to your nutrition. Did you know cashews can also make a terrific milk alternative?

Cashew milk contains magnesium, iron, and potassium vitamins, making it a dairy alternative with nutritional benefits. It's also low in carbs and super creamy. You might fall in love with making milkshakes with this dairy substitute.  

You can also find cashew cream products.

Oat Milk

Oats aren't just for making warm breakfasts and energy bars. If you like your milk to taste creamy, this may be the dairy alternative for you. 

The reason for this is that oats absorb more water than nuts. During the milk-making process, the blend of steel-cut oats and water produces a rich mixture, and much of the flavor and nutrients seep through the cheesecloth. As a result, oat milk can taste more creamy than nut milk. 

Flax Milk

Flaxseeds can make milk, too! This dairy substitute is another lesser-known alternative to traditional dairy, including protein and fiber. In addition to that, this seed milk is low in calories and can be a good source of Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, and phosphorus.

Alternatives for Butter and Cheese

When you're going dairy-free, you're probably looking to find substitutes for more than just milk. Although butter and cheese are tasty, they're not irreplaceable.

An option you can try instead of butter is extra-virgin olive oil. The two are quite similar, making this substitute one you may hardly notice. Olive oil is excellent for baking and frying and makes a delicious pairing with toasted bread. It's also similar to butter in its calorie and fat content, making it an excellent choice for ditching butter.

Need a dairy-free cheese option? It may seem impossible to replicate the tangy flavor of dairy cheese, but cashew cheese makes an excellent substitute. This substance incorporates nutritional yeast to give it an authentic taste. You might want to add this one to your grocery list! You can also find alternatives for products like cream cheese and yogurt.

What Recipes Can You Make with Milk Substitutes?

While you might feel that making recipes with milk substitutes would be limiting, the truth is that you can make dozens of recipes with non-dairy milk. Here are a few of our favorite vegan recipes that call for a dairy alternative:

  • Vegan Pancakes: These tasty hotcakes bring all the yummy maple flavors of traditional pancakes with no dairy content. You can make these pancakes and start enjoying them in under twenty minutes, making it a terrific go-to option for your mornings.
  • Polenta with Summer Veggies: What do you know about polenta? This naturally gluten-free cornmeal-based dish can make a filling part of a delicious meal. Prepare this meal in under 20 minutes. You'll love every bite!
  • Vegan Poké Bowl: Are you always on the lookout for new tofu recipes? Our vegan-friendly poké bowl makes a flavorful, fresh dish you can enjoy in under fifteen minutes. Give it a try this week if you like!

Other Easy Non-Dairy Options

You don't always need a recipe to incorporate non-dairy milk into your favorite foods. You can enjoy your favorite recipes by substituting this alternative milk in the place of dairy. Here are a few ideas for everyday treats you can enjoy with dairy-free milk:

  • Smoothie: This on-the-go fruity treat is perfect with coconut milk. 
  • Coffee: You don't have to say goodbye to creamy lattes! Try substituting nut milk for your usual dairy. The subtle flavor compliments the taste of coffee, so you don't have to compromise on the flavor.
  • Matcha: Ever tried a matcha latte? Making this beverage with oat milk or another milk substitute can make for a refreshing pick-me-up.
  • Cereal: Eating a bowl of cereal with milk is one of the simple joys of life. Try enjoying this snack with non-dairy milk!
  • Banana "Nice" Cream: You can make non-dairy ice cream that passes every taste test. Blending frozen bananas with alternative milk is a delicious way to enjoy ice cream.

You Can Get Creative Without Dairy

When you're switching from dairy to non-dairy milk, you don't have to limit yourself to bland, tedious recipes. Trying out our quick dairy-free recipes can make meal preparation easy and yield creative, flavorful results!