If you missed part 1, you may want to read that first: How to Go Dairy Free. In this post I would like to talk about specific dairy substitutes I have used. I have not been dairy free for long, and so I have not tried many of the options out there. I am hoping, however, that my limited experience will be of help to some of you.
The three dairy ingredients that I substitute for the most are butter, milk, and cheese. I have not bothered with substitutes for ingredients such as sour cream, yogurt or cream cheese. That’s not to say I never will, but the dairy free versions are costly and they are not ingredients I used a lot of in the past.
Soy is a common ingredient in dairy substitutes, but you will notice that I do not recommend any soy based products. I am soy free as much as possible because of soy’s potential negative effects on the thyroid and the fact that almost all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified. You can read more in the article, Soy and the Thyroid, at About.com.
(Please note that the product links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.)
- Almond Milk – I like Almond Breeze. Some varieties do contain soy lecithin, but I have found ones that say soy free on the front. I usually buy it in a jug in the refrigerated section at BJs. Almond Breeze is my favorite brand of almond milk, and in some ways I prefer it to cows milk. I use it for drinking, putting on cereal, adding to smoothies, and in cooking and baking.
- Coconut Milk– I have used different brands, and I usually buy the kind sold in cans rather than cartons. The reason for that is that I primarily use it for making ice cream and I like to use the full fat versions for that. I use coconut milk occasionally in cooking, but my family does not care for the flavor in most things.
Butter: I have found that most solid fats work well as butter substitutes. I have used the following in baking:
- Spectrum Organic Shortening (palm oil)
- Coconut Oil
- Earth Balance buttery sticks (contain soy)
- Earth Balance shortening sticks (contain soy)
I have also used Earth Balance soy free tub margarine on cooked foods, but I have not tried baking with it.
Cheese: I mentioned in part 1 that I have used Daiya Cheese, both the shredded cheddar and mozzarella styles. For me, Daiya does not compare to real cheese, but it is the best soy free substitute I have tried and I know that many other people like it. I have occasionally used the cheddar cheese on tortilla chips and in macaroni and cheese. I use the mozzarella version on pizza and find it it be better than no cheese at all, or no pizza at all.
Cream: I don’t use cream very often, but I have found that MimicCreme is a product I like using on occasion. I used it to make a mock Alfredo sauce which my family really enjoyed. One of my pickiest eaters seems to especially like MimicCreme. When I made the Alfredo sauce he said he liked it better than normal Alfredo sauce. Then one evening I used the MimicCreme in mashed potatoes and he loved them! I don’t think it’s always a great substitute for real cream, but it does work well in some things.
Update: MimicCreme is no longer available
Creamer: So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer. Creamer is another thing I don’t use often. In fact, before going dairy free I rarely used it. However, I find that I like this creamer in coffee and tea better than using a plain milk substitute or MimicCreme.