From milk and butter to the large variety of cheeses, dairy is a firm staple of many people’s diets.
But what can you do if you are allergic to lactose or dairy products?
With the rise in popularity of special diets, such as gluten-free and vegan, there are also a lot more dairy alternatives on the market.
You can either replace your usual cow’s milk with oat, almond or coconut milk, or you can choose to try out a few more recipes that do not contain any dairy at all.
Here are our best dairy-free recipes to cover dinners, desserts and side dishes.
We start our list of ultimate dairy-free recipes with a range of delicious side dishes that are also ideal as a healthy snack between meals.
Spinach is an incredibly healthy source of iron, and it counts as one of the superfoods for vegans and vegetarians.
This tasty spinach spread is perfect as an appetizer to be spread on oat crackers or your favorite French bread, like baguette.
And the best thing about this recipe is that it is so easy to make. You can even keep the spinach in the fridge for a couple of days, so you can make it well in advance before a party.
Brussels sprouts aren’t just a colorful addition to the dinner table for Christmas but you can get this green vegetable almost all year round.
Brussels sprouts combine well with almost any other root vegetables as well as potatoes. This recipe brings sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts together.
You can use it as a side dish with meat main meals, or you can even eat it on its own with some creamy mayo.
Carrots may be a favorite with many already but this easy recipe for balsamic roasted carrots with a touch of honey takes this vegetable to new heights.
They are a quick side for the Sunday dinner table, or with their pretty color, they also make an attractive dish for the holiday table.
Potatoes are a popular side dish for a very good reason. They can go with almost anything, and they are very quick to make.
The same also goes for these tasty garlic potato fingerlings. You will only need three ingredients, and you can choose to grill them or roast them.
They are perfect as a party food or for your next kids birthday party (see also ‘39 Birthday Dinner Meals To Wow Your Guests‘).
A big favorite with veggie lovers are grilled vegetables. You can grill almost any vegetable, as long as it holds its shape well.
One of the best grilled vegetables is cauliflower. This recipe for cauliflower kabobs is super easy to make, and the cauliflower has a gentle, sweet taste which might become your kids new favorite (healthy) treat.
Salad is always the best side to have when you are throwing a party as there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.
But coleslaw often uses cream or some other dairy products to make it a bit creamier.
This creamy cajun coleslaw is a mix of a traditional coleslaw and a classic romaine salad.
The creaminess with the crunchy texture of a salad makes a perfect side for burgers, barbecues as well as baked tofu.
Plus, you can make a little bit more of it and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days to use it up.
Mushrooms is not always on everyone’s favorite list but when it comes to cooking mushrooms, it is all about the right recipe.
These mushrooms with garlic and parsley are surprisingly easy to make and they can work as a side with almost any main meat or vegetarian dish.
Vegetables are always suitable for different dairy-free and gluten-free diets.
Grains, such as buckwheat, quinoa and rice, are all dairy-free and you can enjoy them as a side or even as a main dish (think mushroom stroganoff with brown rice!).
We love this vegetable quinoa recipe that contains a large number of vegetables, but you can add any of your preferred veggies, and it is guaranteed to be healthy.
To be fair, tofu is not for everyone. Many think that it tastes mostly bland but this is where tofu’s true strength is: you can make tofu taste like anything.
The trick to get tofu taste delicious is in the right recipe, and how you treat it. This recipe for tofu saag advises you to pat the tofu dry to keep it moist on the inside, and fry it brown on the outside.
Just like rice and quinoa, lentils are perfectly dairy-free and they are also a firm staple in many vegan diets.
These lentil fritters, also called dal vada, are a perfect finger food size making them the ultimate snack for a party.
And the best is that these fritters are even gluten-free and vegan. They are also super quick and easy to dry up, so you don’t need to prepare them too much in advance.
You may wonder why we put something as simple as mashed potatoes on our list. The answer is easy: not every dairy-free recipe has to be exotic or special.
Almost everyone has their own mashed potatoes recipe, but this one doesn’t use any cow’s milk and butter, so it is perfect for a dairy-free diet.
This also makes it much lower in fat while tasting just the same as your well-loved mash.
Dairy-Free Dinner Recipes
While snacks can be quick and easy to make without butter or milk, many people believe that dairy-free dinners are an almost insurmountable challenge.
But as the below recipes will prove, it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to make a delicious dinner without using dairy products.
Especially if you are cooking for the whole family, a lasagna is the best answer to Friday night dinners.
This vegan lasagna doesn’t contain any cow’s milk or dairy products, but it is packed with warm flavors.
The best about this tasty dinner meal is that it doesn’t contain as many saturated fats as a traditional lasagna.
This could be your new Thanksgiving favorite (see also ‘33 Amazing Breakfast Ideas For Thanksgiving‘). Warm and soothing, you can also make this savory potpie with chicken instead of turkey.
Remember, dairy-free doesn’t have to always mean to go without meat. Unless you prefer to eat vegetarian or vegan, meats like beef, turkey, chicken and ham (see also our favorite side dishes for ham) are all fine to eat.
Although this recipe has the word butter in it, it actually uses peanut butter which is not made with cow milk but with peanuts.
This means it is an excellent dairy-free dinner alternative for you to enjoy. There are plenty of vegetables in the mix, and you can even add tofu or chicken for a little extra texture.
And one of the best things about this quick dinner recipe is that it’s perfect for family gatherings and even parties.
The creamy peanut sauce gives the noodles a smooth texture, but you can also add a few more crushed peanuts on top for some extra crunch.
We all appreciate a good Italian pizza but have you ever heard of Armenian pizzas called Lahmajoon?
Traditionally, Armenian food used to take weeks to prepare and people would spend hours in the kitchen.
Luckily, this recipe is surprisingly quick, and all the ingredients are readily available in your local grocery store. No exotic spices but plenty of flavors.
If you love your peanut butter but you are not fully satisfied with the peanut butter noodles we mentioned above, then this peanut sauce stir fry recipe offers a little twist with added shrimp.
Seafood such as shrimp offers so many minerals and vitamins, it’s always worthwhile adding in salads and other meals.
This stir fry peanut butter recipe does not contain any milk as it uses peanut butter, and if you just cannot get enough of peanuts, then why not add more peanuts on top for extra crunch!
If you find yourself craving a beautifully warming chili, then this dairy-free version of a vegetarian chili is the best option.
Packed with tomatoes, corn, peppers, beans and many other veggies, this chili is guaranteed to be one of your five a day.
If you are happy to add some meat, then you can easily adjust it by adding in some beef, and don’t forget to top it off with mature cheese.
You can also mix in some spicy chili peppers to get a little bit of extra flavor.
Aubergine is an often underestimated vegetable but it is surprisingly versatile once you start cooking with it.
This vegan curry recipe adds red lentils and aubergine into the mix of fragrant spices turning the curry into a delicious Indian dhansak.
If you fancy a little bit more for a family dinner, you can also make some basmati rice on the side which is guaranteed to fill everyone up.
You cannot ever beat a stew or soup, especially when it’s in an instant pot. You can add almost any vegetables you like into the pot and it always turns out delicious.
This recipe is absolutely dairy-free and the number of veggies will give you a healthy boost of vitamins.
Thai cuisine is not just trendy at the moment but it is also surprisingly healthy. The green color of this tasty Thai curry with fish already hints at the many good minerals in this dish.
While many curries often use milk or single cream to make it more creamy, this recipe adds coconut milk and some Thai curry paste.
But the best about this easy recipe is that it is ready within just ten minutes.
Lentils are the basic ingredient for many vegan and vegetarian recipes. This recipe for lentil bolognese also comes with added squash for your extra vitamin C boost.
The sauce is thick, rich and tastes very meaty (although there is no meat in it!). It’s dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan.
If you prefer a meat option, you can easily add beef mince to this recipe and it will taste just as good.
As this bolognese is made in an Instant Pot, it also turns out to be one of the quickest bolognese we have ever seen.
Dairy Free Dessert Recipes
Surprisingly many dessert recipes contain milk but thanks to milk alternatives, such as oat or almond milk, you do not have to live without your sweet treat.
Sorbet is one of the best desserts because it never turns out too sweet, and you can serve it after almost any kind of main meal.
This tasty dairy-free grapefruit sorbet is absolutely perfect in summer because it’s so light. You may even find that you prefer it over ice cream.
If you ever fancy a dairy-free milkshake, then this delicious coconut smoothie is a great alternative to the milk option.
You can use almost any type of alternative milk here, from almond milk to coconut milk. Cashew milk is also great to use here because it is a little thicker.
Just add in some coconut flakes, banana, chia seeds and coca powder, and then blend the mix. You can serve the smoothie in your favorite glass or small jar to scoop the delicious liquid out.
It tastes so creamy and smooth that it’s almost like drinking a candy bar!
The secret ingredients for this dairy-free and gluten-free recipe are rice milk and a gluten-free pancake mix.
Just whisk everything together, bake and add bananas (or any of your favorite fruit) on top.
For a little extra sweetness, you can also sprinkle over some dairy-free chocolate sauce.
You can never go wrong with cookies, especially with dried fruit cookies that have a little bit of natural sweetness to them.
This raisin cookies recipe is super quick to make and thanks to the raisins, they also keep well in an airtight container.
If you feel confident, you can also add other dried fruit, such as dates or sultanas.
Limes and lemons are often used interchangeably but we find that there is something truly unique about the flavor of lime.
These healthy lime bars are made with a little bit of maple syrup and a good quality tart lime juice.
Dairy-free and gluten-free, this quick recipe shows you how to make the no-bake cookie crust with dates and the delicious creamy filling as a topping.
Mousse simply has to melt in your mouth, and this dairy-free, vegan chocolate mousse is guaranteed to do that.
Made with silken tofu, it is surprisingly creamy and smooth, and it is one of the best dairy-free mousses that we have ever tasted.
Plus, this recipe also only includes plant-based products which makes it vegan friendly.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a dairy-free cheesecake. This recipe is very quick to make and although it is vegan and gluten-free, it tastes just like real cheesecake.
While it will take a little longer due to the baking, the cheesecake base and topping whips up very quickly.
Vegan and dairy-free ice creams are a big foody trend right now. This tasty recipe for coconut and sea salt caramel ice cream is made with coconut milk.
You can also use other milk alternatives, such as almond milk or oat milk.
While most of our dairy-free recipes on this list are quick and easy, this recipe does take a little longer to make but once you know the basics, it’s definitely worthwhile.
In addition, these dairy-free peanut bars are a lot cheaper than the store-bought ones.
This is almost a must-have for the holidays, and no one will ever guess that it is not made with milk.
For this recipe, you will only need nine ingredients, and there are even some alternatives listed to swap out anything that may cause allergic reactions.
It’s ideal for a dairy-free and plant-based diet.
Do you usually get rid of the liquid in a tin of chickpeas? This is your chance to make use of it in this recipe for vegan Eton mess.
The chickpea liquid is used to make a chewy meringue, which is combined with a lot of berries and creamy coconut yogurt.
This does not only sound delicious, it also tastes surprisingly wonderful. Plus, the recipe uses up any of your chickpea syrup.
Last but not least, these gluten-free brownies may be tempting to eat straight out of the oven but we would recommend to let them rest for a bit.
This will make them taste sweeter and more like fudge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Pasta Contain Dairy?
Pasta does not contain any type of milk and it is dairy-free. The majority of pasta is made with water and wheat flour, so you can safely eat pasta if you are intolerant to lactose.
While pasta doesn’t contain any dairy, it does contain wheat, so should be avoided in case of a gluten allergy.
Is There Dairy In Eggs?
Eggs do not contain any milk or lactose, which means they are not a dairy product.
You can safely eat eggs if you have a lactose intolerance or milk allergy.
What Can You Eat With No Dairy?
While a lot of our processed food contains dairy, there is a large variety of foods that do not contain any lactose.
Some of the most important dairy-free foods include fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fish, meat, seafood and poultry.
Also any type of legumes, beans, whole grains (including quino and rice) and soy products such as tempeh and tofu do not contain any milk (see also ‘23 Delicious Tempeh Recipes That Will Make You Forget About Tofu!‘).
Dairy-free doesn’t have to be difficult and you do not need even need a lot of ingredients to create a healthy meal.