First Gluten-free in Russia


  • About
  • News
  • Alternative to dairy products: What can replace milk, cheese and butter?
Alternative to dairy products: What can replace milk, cheese and butter?

The desire to exclude dairy products from the diet can be due to various reasons, whether it is concern for one's own health or concerns about the state of the environment. Very often, those who decide to give up "milk" are faced with the problem of how to replace these products. In the article below, we will share the best alternatives to dairy products.

What can replace milk?

While some people cannot imagine their life without a glass of milk, others are increasingly paying attention to its “non-dairy” substitutes. A cup of whole milk contains approximately 149 kcal, 8 grams of protein and fat, and nutrients and minerals, including calcium and potassium. In addition, many manufacturers fortify their product with vitamin D. Plant-based milk is just as rich in nutrients, and many brands offer products with added calcium and vitamin D.

Healthy alternatives to cow's milk:

Almond milk

Almond milk has become a popular replacement for regular milk due to its pleasant taste and low cost. Plus, it's easy to make at home. A cup of such milk contains approximately 39 kcal, 1 g of protein and 2.5 g of fat. The taste of almond milk is not as rich as compared to other types of plant-based milk, so it is better to start with it.

Soy Milk

Soy milk may be a suitable alternative for people with lactose intolerance or those looking to reduce their calorie intake. One cup of soy milk contains 7 g of protein, 4 g of fat and only 80 calories. This type of milk has a characteristic aftertaste, which, out of habit, may not seem very pleasant. However, on the shelves of stores you can find various types of soy milk with or without added sugar, which allows you to choose the one that suits your taste.

Coconut milk

Due to the high fat content, coconut milk is similar in structure to cow's milk. However, a cup of coconut milk contains only 74 kcal and 5 g of fat, but the concentration of protein in it is quite low - less than 1 g. Because of the creamy texture, many people prefer to add coconut milk to coffee or make cocoa based on it.

Rice Milk

Compared to other types of plant-based milk, rice milk has a rather sweet taste, and it is also more watery. To date, manufacturers offer a large number of types of rice milk, which can be an excellent replacement for cow's milk in breakfast cereals.

One cup of rice milk contains about 113 calories, less than 1g of protein, and only 2g of fat.

More options

We have listed the most popular alternatives to cow's milk above, but there are other options. For example, oat milk, hemp milk, flaxseed milk, cashew milk or ground almond milk.

What can I substitute for butter?

Despite the widespread use of vegetable margarine, some people are looking for more natural substitutes. It can be:

Coconut Oil

This oil can be used as a substitute for butter in many recipes. To neutralize the sweetish aftertaste, it is recommended to heat the oil and add a pinch of salt.

Olive oil

If you want to use olive oil as a substitute for butter, it's better to use it for frying and caramelizing than for baking.


Avocado is a universal product. It can be used as an alternative to butter in baking. When cooked, the avocado flavor disappears and the creamy, greasy texture is great for baking.


Bananas are a great substitute for butter in desserts, but be aware that the addition of this fruit can affect the taste of the dish.

What can I substitute for cheese?

There are many healthy and tasty alternatives, including:

Cottage cheese

There are many versions of vegetable curds on the market, made from soy or coconut milk. In addition, making cashew or tofu cottage cheese is quite easy at home. Soak the cashews overnight and puree them in a blender with nut milk and lemon juice. The texture of the dish is practically no different from cream cheese. Tofu "cottage cheese" is also prepared simply: grind the tofu in a blender with the addition of salt and spices. You can also make a sauce from tofu, green and fried onions. And slices of smoked tofu may well replace provolone cheese in a sandwich.

Hard Cheese

Reproducing the salty-sour taste of hard cheese at home is not easy, but there are a wide variety of alternatives available in stores. Shredded tofu baked with salt and truffle oil makes an excellent sauce for pasta and other dishes where hard cheese is usually used.

Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor and many manufacturers fortify their product with essential vitamins. Nutritional yeast is an easy way to add a cheesy flavor to a variety of dishes, including garlic bread or pasta sauce.

What can I substitute for yogurt?

Milk yogurt is a combination of milk, lactic acid and bacteria. The manufacturing process is similar for the alternatives. Many manufacturers make yogurt based on soy or coconut milk. In addition, yogurt can be prepared at home using a special kit and live bacterial cultures, which can be used several times to prepare new portions of the product.

What can I replace ice cream with?

There are many types of dairy-free ice cream on the market. They are usually made from nut milk (coconut, almond or cashew milk). Fruit-based sorbets are also available. Great vanilla ice cream can be made at home with frozen bananas, vanilla, and a little plant-based milk.

Health Benefits

Milk is a common source of calcium. Many herbal products also contain this element. When switching to a dairy-free diet, it is important to consider the amount of calcium in different foods to prevent its deficiency in the body.

Avoiding dairy has many benefits, including the absence of symptoms of lactose intolerance.

According to research, approximately 75% of the world's population suffers from lactose intolerance. The following symptoms may indicate lactose intolerance: bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea or soft stools, increased gas formation, and grumbling in the abdomen.

Avoiding dairy products will help those who suffer from lactose intolerance to get rid of unpleasant manifestations and maintain the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Switching to dairy-free alternatives is also necessary for those who suffer from cow's milk allergies and are prone to severe allergic reactions.

Hormones and steroids

Many exclude dairy products from the diet due to the possible presence of hormones and steroids. According to one study, even a small amount of hormones and steroids that enter the body through milk can harm it. In this regard, experts urge to pay more attention to this issue.

Ethical aspects

Some diets or types of nutrition exclude all dairy products for ethical reasons. Vegans and some vegetarians are avoiding dairy due to concerns about the environment or the impact of production on animals.

What should be considered?

Some dairy alternatives may contain added sugar. It is important to understand that plant-based food does not always mean healthy food, so when choosing a product, you should always pay attention to its label and check for additional ingredients that can negate all the benefits. These factors include: added sugar, starch, thickeners (such as carrageenan), flavor enhancers, preservatives, lack of vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Although many products can be used as a substitute for dairy products in baking, you need to make sure that their nutritional value matches the needs of the person.

Today, there are a huge number of alternatives to dairy products. They are usually available in stores, but homemade options can be just as delicious and contain fewer additives.