I’ve been replacing cow’s milk with alternatives long before becoming a vegan over the summer, but when I wasn’t totally strict about it (because I was still consuming dairy at the time). Since making the switch, I’ve discovered even more dairy-free brands that have become staples for me, and I thought I’d share some of those here in case you’re also interested in exploring some alternative milk options for whatever reason.
The good news is, there’s never been a better time to be dairy free. Whether you’ve given up all animal products (like I have), or have cut out dairy to help clear up skin issues, to reduce inflammation, because you’re breastfeeding and your baby is intolerant, or any number of different reasons, you have some delicious options to choose from. Just about any grocery store these days is well stocked with tasty brands that will work great to meet your needs. I’ve found that Publix and Whole Foods have the best selections of these brands, and Trader Joe’s has lots of great dairy-free options, too. (Did you know that TJ’s semi-sweet chocolate chips just happen to be vegan? So fun!)
I’m still new to this “all-in dairy-free” lifestyle, so I definitely have lots more brands to try, I’m sure, but hope this will be helpful if you’re new to making the transition. If you have other favorites, please share those with me!
Just a quick note: I haven’t tried a ton of vegan cheeses. That’s because, for me, cheese isn’t something I miss or really feel like I need to replace. I know that’s not true for everyone, and often cutting out cheese can be the hardest part of acclimating to a dairy-free diet! That said…
- I’ve heard that Daiya is a good brand of vegan cheese (our local Mellow Mushroom uses that on their vegan pizzas, and while I haven’t tried it personally I trust Mellow quite a lot to make good decisions in this department).
- As far as cream cheese goes, Kite Hill is AMAZING (and not amazing in a “this is pretty good for vegan cheese” kind of way, but in a “this is just GOOD” kind of way).
- I’ve also liked experimenting with nutritional yeast, which is a versatile ingredient and a great way to get B12 into your diet. It’s often used in the making of nut cheeses, and I’ve made both this Roasted Jalapeño Vegan Queso and the Almond Pepita Parmesan from this (also amazing) Butternut Squash Casserole recipe. Both turned out great! (Bonus tip: nutritional yeast is also great as a popcorn topping.)
- We make pizza often at home, and I just make mine with tons of toppings and without cheese. Since I’m fine without cheese, I’ll often add arugula to my pizza instead. SO good.
- Califia Farms is a go-to brand for me. I especially love their coffee creamers, like this one. Their seasonal chocolate mint creamer over the holidays was divine.
- Elmhurst 1925 is a ridiculously delicious brand of nut milks. Their stuff is really, really good, and walnut and hazelnut are especially tasty.
- Ripple Foods is a pea-protein dairy-free option. I love their Unsweetened Original milk in smoothies (it’s SO creamy) and their half & half is amazingly good in coffee.
- Kite Hill products are all amazing. I don’t really care for coconut yogurt, but ALMOND yogurt is SO good. Their cream cheese is also impressively tasty, as noted above in the Cheese section! (Kite Hill just came out with a Greek yogurt version, which I haven’t tried yet but am SO excited about.)
- Forager is also a great brand. I love their cashew yogurt (just the plain kind is my go-to).
- Earth Balance is always my go-to when I need a butter substitute for baking. (And Brittany McGee, the baker behind the delicious Humble Bee Shoppe here in Winston, agrees that it’s the best substitute, so I’m sticking with it!)
Dairy-Free Ice Creams:
- So Delicious’ cashew milk ice cream, especially this flavor! (I much prefer this to coconut milk ice cream, but the Trader Joe’s coconut milk chocolate ice cream is pretty good, too!)
- Halo Top makes dairy-free flavors now! Game changer. Oatmeal Cookie and Peanut Butter Cup are top picks for me.
Other dairy-free friends: Please share some other finds with me!