My list of Dairy Free foods (UK)

Understanding why your digestive system isn’t working properly isn’t easy. If you do find out you’re lactose intolerant or can’t eat dairy for other reasons like IBS, it can be a horrible moment when you realise how many foods you can’t eat. But don’t worry, it can be quite easy to switch to a dairy free lifestyle. Here’s my list of dairy free foods that you can buy  in normal shops, and things to avoid. Just click on the highlighted link for each product to go to the product page. (Also, I apologise for the overkill on Waitrose, can you tell where I prefer to shop?) I’ve recently discovered the shop ‘Planet Organic’, which is amazing for special diets. All the products have little icons on the price tags indicating what they contain.

Milk Alternatives
There are so many milk alternatives now, I sometimes end up being three different kinds to see which one I prefer in different uses. I tend to buy the unchilled cartons, in the long life milk section, as I know I can leave them in my cupboard until I need them. I would stick to the unsweetened ones if you can, and watch out for some of the coconut and rice drinks which have a lot of sugar in them.
Alpro do milk alternatives in varieties made from soya, hazlenut and almond. 
Dream offer a range made from rice, oat and almond. 
Oatly is possibly the creamiest tasting milk, and very good in porridge. There is also a chocolate variety, which heated up makes a pretty good hot chocolate. Oatly also make a cream alternative, which I haven’t tried yet.
Coconut Milk. You can also buy drinks made from coconut milk like Vita Coco, and Alpro has started doing one as well.
Lactofree make semi skimmed and whole milk varieties. This is still made of milk though, so only any good if you are lactose intolerant.
You can use Cream of Coconut (not coconut cream) in place of condensed milk.
Buttermilk can be substituted with dairy free milk and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Alpro have pretty much got this sussed, there are so many. “Fruity and Creamy” honestly tastes just like yoghurt. 
They also make “desserts” which are just like rich yoghurts. mmmm. 
Lactofree make a cheese that is similar to cheddar. Good for melting, a bit of a rubbery texture though.
Tofutti make a cream cheese alternative that is quite good in baking, not that great for a bagel though.
Cashew nut butter can make a half decent alternative to soft cheese, and a lot of recipes for dairy free cream cheese frosting use them.
Goat’s cheese and Feta cheese are not dairy free, but may be more tolerable for people with a lactose intolerance. 
Hard aged cheese also has a very low lactose content, so may be manageable. 
Ice Cream
Swedish Glace make an amazing soya based ice cream. Available in vanilla or raspberry in Waitrose. And Neapolitan from Ocado!
Booja Booja do some interesting ice cream flavours but they can be quite expensive.
Obviously fruit sorbets and ice lollies should be dairy free.
Alpro make very good dairy free custard.
Alpro do make an alternative to single cream, but if you like your cream this tastes pretty rubbish. 
Oatly do a cream alternative.
There are also goat’s creams starting to appear, I haven’t tried these yet…
For an alternative to whipped cream, try coconut cream (put a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and the cream is the really thick stuff on top of the coconut water) whipped up with a little icing sugar.
Pure sunflower spread, there’s also soya and olive oil based.
Vitalite is another dairy free spread, but has a higher salt content so is not so good for baking. 
Lactofree also make a spread. 
Stork “best for pastry” is perfect for pastry and also dairy free! The stork “best for cakes” in a tub contains buttermilk though, make sure you get the block.
Cookeen is also used in pastry and is completely plant based. 
Trex is a vegetable “shortening” and it’s a good substitute for butter in buttercream. I add some “buttery” flavouring to frostings to give a bit of a richer flavour. You can buy it from Lakeland.
Coconut Oil can also be used in some recipes. Unrefined oil has a coconutty taste, whereas refined does not.
Nut butters such as cashew or almond can be a good substitute and can add creaminess to recipes.
A note about Goat’s milk
Some people with a lactose intolerance find they can cope with goat’s milk. This might be because of the composition of fats in goat’s milk which makes it more easily digestible. You can find goat’s milk, goat’s butter and goat’s cheese alongside the cow’s milk versions in most supermarkets. Goat’s butter has a subtle, slightly salty taste and is very good in cakes. Goat’s milk can be quite strong if you are not used to it, and goat’s cheese tastes, well, goaty. Try cheese or butter first to see if you react to it, but remember it still has lactose in it so don’t go overboard. 
Lactose in dairy products, the worst culprits:
Dairy product Serving size Lactose content Percentage
Milk, regular 250 ml 12 g 4.80%
Milk, reduced fat 250 ml 13 g 5.20%
Yogurt, plain, regular 200 g 9 g 4.50%
Yogurt, plain, low-fat 200 g 12 g 6.00%
Cheddar cheese 30 g 0.02 g 0.07%
Cottage cheese 30 g 0.1 g 0.33%
Butter 1 tsp (5.9ml) 0.03 g 0.51%
Ice cream 50 g 3 g 6.00%
Most cereals are dairy free. Ones to avoid include Weeto’s, Krave, Special K Chocolate and Strawberry, Special K Yoghurty, Special K Creamy Berry Crunch, Special K Chocolate Clusters, and any cereal bars with a chocolate or “yoghurt” coating.
Coco Pops and other “chocolatey” cereals are likely to be dairy free, (even Weetabix minis chocolate chip) always check the label. 
No No’s – Milk and white chocolate are out of the question, but plain and dark chocolate may be lactose free.  Green and Blacks 70% and 85% dark chocolate still contain lactose.
Lindt Dark Excellence is dairy free but carries a warning that it may contain milk. 
Hotel Chocolat 70% dark batons are also dairy free.
Waitrose own brand plain chocolate is lactose free. (although the website says it contains milk the actual packaging and ingredients show it is dairy free) 
Kinnerton Dark Chocolate is completely dairy free and available in most supermarkets. 
You can also find dairy free chocolate drops from Moo Free, they have lots of other products too. 
Raw cacao is also a good option, it is also supposed to be better for you as it’s raw. Look out for Willie Cacao in some supermarkets.
Biona Organic do a great dairy free chocolate spread ‘Carobia’.
No No’s – Popular crisps such as Doritos, Sensations and Pringles all contain milk.
Walkers crisps vary – Salt & Vinegar definitely don’t contain lactose, but other recipes, including Baked Stars Salt & Vinegar, do. However, the Baked Stars Mild Sweet Chili flavour are lactose free. Always check the label!
Most Tyrells crisps are dairy free (still, always check) 
Burts are also simple crisps with no added dairy.
‘Popped’ crisps are a pretty safe bet, and are also low in fat.
Popcorn can be dairy free especially if you make it yourself! Obviously stay well clear of Butterkist etc. 
Nakd Food Bars are just pressed fruit. 
Geo bars are dairy free (not the chocolate ones though)
Jordan’s Crunchy Honey and Almond is dairy free, and very almondy.
Original Hobnobs are dairy free! 
Oreos are dairy free too!
Pretty much the entire range of essential waitrose biscuits are dairy free, even bourbons
Waitrose iced buns are dairy free. As are their Iced fruit buns. 
Marks and Spencer’s Iced and Spiced fruit buns are dairy free.
Hot cross buns can be hit and miss – watch out for “luxury” ones, you tend to be best of with the value range (sorry), but there definitely are some around.
Some of the Nature Valley granola bars are dairy free, just check the label.
Some Eat Simple bars are dairy free, not the ones with yoghurt though!
Mrs Crimble’s make gluten free products which are sometimes dairy free like the “chocolate” macaroons and dutch apple cake. 
Rice cakes, even the ones covered in dark chocolate.
Most large supermarkets have their own “free from” range with lots of goodies, just check they are free from dairy not just gluten!
Tesco own brand lemon curd uses margarine instead of butter, so it’s dairy free.
 Jelly! Not just for kids, add some gelatine to any liquid mixture to make your own jelly.
If you ever ask in a restaurant if something is dairy free and they say “well it’s got mayonnaise in it”, please stare at them like they’re an idiot. Mayonnaise is made from oil and egg, no cow produce whatsoever. If you’re in a posh restaurant, they should make it themselves. If not, you need to ask them to check the ingredients on the packaging.
Strangely, Hellman’s have started adding dairy to their light and extra light mayonnaise, but not their original, full fat version. 
Essential Waitrose half fat mayonnaise is dairy free though. (and much cheaper) 
 Salad Cream is dairy free.
Sushi can be dairy free and is a good option if you are having lunch on the go.
Most sandwiches are full of potentially dairy laden products, especially the “high end” sandwiches in sainsburys etc, so steer clear of them. Sandwiches I’ve found more reliable are chicken salad, tuna and sweetcorn. Hoisin duck wraps are almost always ok. Marks and Spencer are particularly bad for sandwiches, as they use butter in almost all of them. You’re only safe bet is the ham and egg roll. 
Stay clear of breaded chicken in sandwiches or salads, as they tend to add whey to the breadcrumbs. Always double check the label though.
Starbucks can use soya milk in your coffee.
Watch Out for the milk derivatives like casein and whey on the ingredients list as these are both dairy.
Eating Out BriocheBuns_520close
Your safest options are Asian cuisine. Chinese, Thai, Dim Sum will have the largest range of food for you. Ping Pong even have a dairy free menu with just the dairy free dishes. Avoid French or high-end British.
Watch out for burger restaurants which use brioche buns as these contain dairy. You can spot a brioche bun because it has that nice glossy top, and a cakey texture. ‘Shake Shack’ is pretty much a no-go. There are some speciality vegan restaurants around, Just get googling!

21 thoughts on “My list of Dairy Free foods (UK)

  1. Emma says:

    Thank you for doing this list, I know iv found it months later but my son is needing a total dairy free diet and we were shocked about some of the foods like Frankfurter sausage that contain milk, this has given me an idea of stuff we can get or what to avoid

    • Thanks Emma, Yes it can be really surprising, I found lactose in chorizo the other day too! Good luck with your son’s dairy free diet.

    • leahranthony says:

      Hiya Emma, I have recently been put on a dairy free diet my doctor (suspected dairy intolerance). Since then i have really been struggling finding a detailed list of foods to avoid. I was wondering if you could offer any tips tricks? Thanks very much, Leah 🙂

  2. This is great, both my children are dairy-free and it is so hard. Much appreciated.

  3. Dave says:

    Your comment on the top of the page that reads “Understanding why your digestive system isn’t working properly isn’t easy” is actually incorrect, it is in fact working properly as the human body should in fact reject animal milk it is only over the years and evolution that the body excepts it now days. So for those of you who can’t use animal milk YOU are the normal people.

  4. Tash says:

    I’ve just found out i’ll have to have a dairy free diet. I was quite confused but this had been really helpful, so thank you!

    I was completely oblivious to how many things include dairy!

  5. J frazer says:

    Thanks trying to avoid lactose in products. It’s amazing where it turns up & quite often unnecessary or unrelated to product. Tyrell crisps & ready salted Pringles seem to be the most reliable.

  6. Carol says:

    really interesting read thanks

  7. Jinnii says:

    Thanks this has been very helpful as I have now developed an intolerance to diary food at the age 61 years.

    • Moy imeson says:

      Me to how strange , I find baking with the Pure sunflower marg , everyone thinks the cupcakes taste better with the Pure than with butter

  8. Linda Cumber says:

    My Daugher has a dairy allergy a few things I would advice are Mr Kiplings jam tarts,Aldi sunflower spread, tesco and sainsburys jam donuts (checked with both there bakery’s) Pringles BBQ, Pom bears original, aldi Mayo,m&s traditional coleslaw. Hope helps 🙂

  9. Katie says:

    Thank you for this X
    My daughter is lactose intolerant and has been since a baby.
    It is getting easier to identify supermarket foods to buy, but we still always check incase recipes change – same with asking when we eat out.
    One other trigger we have found is Chinese food – unfortunately we have been told MSG is also something that can cause symptoms for dairy/lactose intolerance sufferers.

  10. Natalie says:

    One tip – keep checking as brands now and again do change their ingredients and I’ve found a few that have introduced milk only when it’s too late and I’ve reacted.

    A treat for you dairy freebies… Jus Roll! I use all their pastry AND they sell small cans of prepped bake it yourself croissants, pain au chocolat and cinnamon swirls, all using soya instead of milk. They’re so easy to do, freshly baked and delicious! A real treat when you have to resist cakes and croissants at every turn.

  11. Amahl says:

    Thank you so much for compiling this excellent list.I just found out that I am Lactose and Fructose intolerant after doing the hydrogen breath tests at Guy’s Hospital (doctor referral for unexplained bloating, TMI? sorry!!). I was so sad because I thought I’d have to give up all of my favourites. Lo and behold, there are still so many great choices available. Again, thanks for providing this information.

  12. Ben says:

    I’ve found that butterkist popcorn, even the butter one, doesn’t contain any lactose or dairy products. Also, cadburys bournville is okay as its dark and Angel layer cake is okay too.

  13. Grev says:

    It makes no sense and is completely unnatural to have a diet containing dairy products derived from any milk let alone that from another mammal as milk is mammals’ own superfood to nourish the newborn infants. It should be no surprise that a lot of humans find they are intolerant of it. I have greatly reduced my dairy intake as I have heard that doing so can reduce or even cure hay fever. (Bovine milk made from ingestion of grass which produces pollen which causes hay fever.) The results look promising, so I will aim to reduce my dairy intake further as one of my sons may need to go dairy free to help with an ongoing stomach ache issue.

  14. Dawn says:

    Thank you I’ve been told I’ve got to go dairy free as I’ve had loads of trouble I’ve not been able to have msg for long time as it plays my fibromyalgia up . Was stuck as to what to eat . Also crumpets are fine to eat

  15. Thank you. I found this really helpful. I have gone dairy free for my ibs and I did an intolarence test and and it came back that intolarent to the whey protein found in milk. So not drink almond milk. But I’ve found it really hard as so many things I never even thought had milk in ,did. Like the reload of bread I buy had milk in. Anyway I was one of those people who had to Google if mayo had dairy in haha.

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