Dairy free substitutions


Better than cow's milk
It’s easy to convert any recipe to be dairy-free if you miss your old favourites after becoming dairy free. Dairy substitutes can be used almost interchangeably in any recipe that involved a dairy item. Read labels carefully to ensure that your dairy free item was not produced on the same line as dairy items. The other issue you might encounter is that most dairy substitutes are soy-based. If you cannot have soy either, you will have to be more creative in your dairy substitutions.

Milk is the easiest dairy item to substitute. You can swap in the same volume of any non-dairy milk: soy milk, rice milk [rice milk recipe], coconut milk, or any nut milk such as almond milk [almond milk recipe] or cashew milk [cashew milk recipe]. Most of these non-dairy milks can be easily and conveniently made at home. If you require buttermilk, grab your favourite dairy-free milk and try our easy dairy free buttermilk recipe.

If your recipe calls for ice cream, substitute the same volume of non-dairy “ice cream” such as sorbet, sherbet, or any of the soy-, rice-, or coconut-based “ice creams” that are commonly available. Likewise, use the same volume of dairy free yoghurt such as coconut yoghurt, soy yoghurt, rice yoghurt, or nut yoghurt.

Dairy free cream is an easy substitution. Use the same volume of soy-based creamer, cashew cream [cashew cream recipe], macadamia nut cream, or coconut cream.

When substituting evaporated milk or condensed milk, use the same volume of coconut cream, cashew cream [cashew cream recipe], or macadamia nut cream. You should also add 8 grams of thickener (arrowroot starch, etc) per 236 mL of milk substitute to emulate the consistency of the dairy.

To substitute for solid butter in your recipe:

  • use the same weight of dairy-free margarine (check the label for hidden dairy)
  • use the same weight of coconut oil
  • 3/4 of that weight of palm oil shortening
  • 4/5 of that weight of lard

If you need melted butter, use the same volume of heavy (not extra-virgin) olive oil or nut oil.