Dairy swaps

Everyone reacts to lactose in a different way; most people can simply replace all dairy products in their diet with plant-based alternatives, while others are highly sensitive and will also need to avoid the not so obvious ingredients in foods that contain lactose. Our dairy swaps list is a guide to help you pinpoint the foods and drinks in your daily diet that contain lactose. It would be impossible to provide a 100% accurate list of dairy and lactose free pre-prepared foods, as recipes vary so much and manufacturers are always developing them. So to ensure any product is dairy free, it is important to always check the full ingredients list on packaging.

Replace foods and drinks that contain lactose with tasty lactose free alternatives

Check out the swaplist

Just go to the Ingredient list

Dairy & lactose sources
Dairy & lactose free alternatives

Milk & Dairy

  • Animal milks including: cow’s, sheep’s, goat’s, buffalo
  • Fresh, long-life, dried
  • Full-cream, low fat versions
  • Canned – condensed/evaporated
  • Buttermilk
  • Milk shakes/flavoured milks
  • Dairy yogurts – all
  • Cream – single, double, soured, whipping etc.
  • Crème Fraiche / Fromage Frais
  • Cheese – made from any animal milk e.g. cow’s, buffalo (Mozzarella), and goat’s
  • Vegetarian cheese
  • Low fat cheeses
  • Rice cheese (contains casein, a milk protein)

  • Alpro calcium enriched soya milk alternatives
  • Alpro calcium enriched hazelnut drink or almond milk
  • Alpro chilled chocolate milk alternative
  • Alpro soya shakes – choose from chocolate, vanilla or strawberry
  • Other plant based calcium enriched milk alternatives: rice, hemp, oat, pea, potato, chufa|NB Rice milk is unsuitable for children under 5 years
  • Alpro soya yogurt alternatives
  • Alpro soya alternative to single cream
  • Alpro soya simply plain yogurt alternative (instead of sour cream)
  • Other plant based cream alternatives may also be used e.g. oat, almond or coconut. Check the full ingredients listing
  • Soya cheese
  • Pea cheese (which is soya free and dairy free)
  • Soft silken tofu in cooking in place of cream cheese

Fats & oils

  • Butter / margarines / ghee

  • Pure vegetable margarines
  • Vegetable oils and hard white fats derived from vegetable sources

Cereal & potatoes

  • Breads – most sweetened/flavoured breads and some plain breads e.g. croissants, brioche, Challah, cheese and garlic breads, naan, waffles, Danish pastries, some wraps, pitta and pizza bases
  • Breakfast cereals – many are free from milk/dairy but always check the ingredients list. Those most likely to contain dairy: muesli, chocolate/yogurt covered, slimming cereals
  • Some crackers/crispbreads
  • Most sweet biscuits
  • Flavoured rice and other grains
  • Pasta – fresh/flavoured/ filled
  • Prepared potato dishes and some dried/instant potatoes

  • Most plain breads/rolls – white and wholemeal. Some wraps, bagels, pittas. Poppadoms, chapatti
  • Plain whole grain breakfast cereals using Alpro soya milk alternative e.g. Porridge, Weetabix, Shredded Wheat, most plain cereals without coatings or additional flavours
  • Ryvitas, water biscuits, some crackers and crispbreads. Plain crackers, rice cakes and oatcakes
  • Cheaper sweet biscuits tend to be free from dairy but check ingredients list
  • All types of plain rice and grains – couscous, barley, buckwheat, cracked wheat, bulgur wheat, cornmeal/polenta, quinoa, millet, ...
  • Most plain dried pasta and some fresh
  • Potatoes, yams, plantains, sweet potatoes – cooked in water, oil, goose fat and/or dairy free milk alternatives.

Fruits & vegetables

  • Pre-prepared and fruit and vegetable ready dishes with breadcrumbs, cream/cheese sauces, battered.
  • Dried fruit with yogurt/chocolate coating
  • Ready made salads with cream dressings

  • Fresh, frozen, chilled, canned in brine/juice/water, chilled.
  • Most dried fruit and dried lentils/beans/pulses

Meat, Fish & alternatives

  • Pre-prepared with milk/cheese sauces
  • Breaded/battered varieties
  • Meat pastes/patés
  • Processed meats e.g. bacon
  • Pies and pasties
  • Most frankfurters and some sausages
  • Quorn
  • Some patés

  • Fresh, frozen, canned plain meats, poultry and fish
  • Some sausages
  • Most fish fingers
  • Some pre-packed patés
  • Some battered meat/fish

Beans, pulses & lentils

  • Some pre-prepared/ready meal dishes

  • Dried, fresh and canned in brine/water or baked beans.
  • Some ready meals

Nuts & seeds

  • Seeds and nuts - flavoured, coated varieties

  • Plain seeds and nuts without other added ingredients/flavouring


  • Egg dishes
    Scotch eggs

  • Plain eggs - and egg dishes prepared at home with dairy free ingredients

Biscuits (sweets & savoury)

  • Many ready-made sweet biscuits – unless ‘dairy free’ / ‘milk free’ stated
  • Flavoured and fancy savoury biscuits

  • Water biscuits
  • Plain crackers, rice-cakes and oatcakes
  • Many sweet biscuits especially plain value varieties

Cake, desserts, ice-creams & custards

  • Sweet muffins, pancakes, sweet rolls
  • Most ready-made cakes and desserts will contain dairy
  • Ice cream
  • Ready made custard
  • Dairy yogurts

  • Jellies and plain meringues
  • Some sorbets, ice-lollies, pastries
  • Dairy free ice creams e.g. soya or rice based ice creams
  • Some custard and blancmange powders
  • Soya desserts and soya custard
  • Check the ‘free from’ aisles in supermarkets
  • Home-made desserts and custard using soya milk or other dairy free milk alternatives,
  • Cakes and icings made with pure vegetable oil or dairy free margarines.

Drinks & juices

  • Milk and malt-based drinks e.g. Horlicks, drinking chocolate, milkshakes,
  • Instant milk based coffees e.g. Cappuccinos/lattes
  • Creamy liqueurs
  • Dairy based pro- and pre-biotic drinks

  • Pure fruit and vegetable juices/drinks, pure fruit smoothies.
  • Carbonated drinks and cordials
  • Alpro soya shakes
  • Coffee/tea made with Alpro
  • Most alcohol
  • Flavoured waters
  • Dairy free pro -and pre-biotic drinks

Sweet & chocolates

  • All milk and fancy chocolates and most plain chocolates
  • Toffee, fudge, caramel, milky sweets.

  • Most plain boiled sweets, pastilles, jellies. Marshmallows
  • A few plain chocolates if made in a dairy free or vegan environment

Other snacks

  • Toffee/flavoured popcorn
  • Flavoured crisps
  • Guacamole and many other dips

  • Plain or salted popcorn
  • Most plain crisps and some flavoured crisps and most pretzels and breadsticks
  • Homous
  • Salsas
  • Dhal

Soups & sauces

  • ‘Cream of’, canned and dehydrated soup mixes
  • Cheese/milk based sauces.
  • Some tomato ketchups
  • Most salad cream and some mayonnaises
  • Most salad dressings
  • Toffee, caramel, chocolate sauces, dairy custard

  • Some clear soups/broths, some non-‘cream of’ soups
  • Most tomato ketchups, brown sauce, tomato purée, most relishes and chutneys, mustard, soy sauce, chilli sauces.
  • Some salad creams, mayonnaise, French dressings
  • Fruit coulis/sauces


  • Chocolate based

  • Peanut and other nut butters, jam, marmalade, honey, Bovril/Marmite

Sugars & sweeteners

  • Sugar substitutes/sweeteners containing lactose

  • All sugar, glucose syrup, honey, syrups, treacle

Herbs & spices

all can be used

Cooking ingredients

  • Cake mixes
  • Some pastries
  • Cooking chocolate

  • Baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar
  • Yeast – fresh, dried and sourdough
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sweet flavourings/essence and colourings e.g. vanilla, almond
  • Flours – all, including cornflour
  • Gelatin
  • Dessicated coconut
  • Coconut milk and cream
  • Marzipan/Fondant icing
  • Herbs and spices
  • Filo pastry
  • Some short crust, puff, flaky pastries

Ingredient List

Watch Out!

  • (Cow's) Milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Milk derivatives
  • Milk sugar
  • Goat's milk
  • Sheep's milk
  • Ewe's milk
  • (Any other animal milk)
  • Non-dairy ice-cream
  • Non-fat milk solids
  • Artificial creams
  • Milk powder
  • Milk solids
  • Milk protein
  • Proteins
  • Curds
  • Buttermilk
  • Yogurt
  • Fromage frais
  • All cheese
  • Cheese flavour
  • Cheese powder
  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Butter oil
  • Ice cream
  • Casein
  • Caseinate
  • Hydrolysed casein
  • Hydrolysed milk
  • Hydrolysed whey
  • Whey protein
  • Lactoalbumin
  • Lactoalbumin phosphate
  • Lactoferrin
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Lactose
  • Whey
  • Whey powder
  • Whey concentrate
  • Whey solids
  • Whey syrup sweetener

As milk is a known allergen along with eggs, nuts, peanuts, soya, mustard, lupin, fish, shellfish, molluscs, gluten, sesame seeds, celery, sulfite food labeling laws set out by the European Union (EU) require that all dairy food or foods containing dairy must be labeled as 'contains milk', no matter how tiny the quantities.

Any food containing an ingredient that may have been derived from milk must also be labeled as containing milk. See our ingredients list for more dairy derived ingredients that may be hard to spot unless you know how.