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What Is The Best Dairy Free Milk {Ask the Readers}

What is the Best Dairy Free Milk

Thank you all so much for your kind emails and comments about my daughter and I going dairy free for the month of January. Your words of encouragement and tips have already been so helpful. Thank you!

And because I know many of you have traveled down this road of giving dairy free a try, I have an Ask the Readers question for you today.

I knew going dairy free, even for a month, would be hard on my daughter. She is my milk loving, drink it by the glassful, child. So, I decided to start by making sure we had plenty of options to choose from when she was really wanting milk.

I did some research and talked to my sisters who have both experimented with dairy free and decided to give quite a few options a try. From what I have heard and read, some taste better for drinking, putting on cereal, etc. and some work better for things like baking, cooking, and pancakes.

So far my daughter has only tried a few of the ones I bought. She did not like the flax milk at all. She told me it tasted like liquid oatmeal without the chunks. I am thinking that it might be a good one to try in my baked oatmeal recipes or at least a way to use up the rest of the container.

She thought the chocolate coconut milk and the chocolate soy milk I bought were not too bad. She said she thought she could get used to those two options.

I am not totally anti soy, but I am not a big fan of eating large amounts of it either, so I am not sure how much soy milk I want her to have. I also know soy can be hard to digest and since she already deals with digestion issues, I will probably limit the amount of chocolate soy milk I give her. A glass here and there would probably not be too bad though.

I made pancake muffins using plain rice milk and lemon juice this weekend and I was surprised at how well it worked. They were light and fluffy and you really could not tell a difference at all. So that was a nice surprise.

Since I am still experimenting with all this and figuring out what the best dairy free milk is, I would love to hear your thoughts on the best dairy free milk.

Do you have a favorite dairy free milk? Do you use something different for drinking, putting on cereal, and for cooking and baking? Are some brands better than others? I can’t wait to here your thoughts!

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Does she have a nut allergy? I ask because personally, I prefer either vanilla or chocolate almond milk to any other non-dairy milk.

    • She doesn’t have a nut allergy but my older daughter has a severe one. So we keep nuts out of the house totally. Having the nut issue makes dairy free a little harder. I have had several people tell me that almond milk is the best.

  2. I try to stick to the almond or coconut milks. My favorite for drinking is the Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla. We are planning on switching my son to dairy- free soon, and I am going to try to start him on the unsweetened almond milk from the beginning to try to avoid the extra sugar ( with chocolate as an occasional treat)- we’ll see if it works!

  3. Chocolate almond milk!

  4. So Delicious is my favorite nondairy milk.

  5. I don’t do a lot of cow milk & love vanilla almond. But get the refrigerated ones…not the shelf stable. They taste different. My fav is blue diamond but I like silk too.

  6. I second Almond Milk. Our favorite is Silk brand.

    On another note, we use coconut oil in place of butter in many recipes.
    Also, Enjoy Life makes dairy free chocolate chips and chocolate chunks which are good.

  7. My son is slightly lactose intolerant but not allergic to the milk protein. I give him lactose-free milk to drink and make smoothies with organic almond milk. He liked the taste of rice milk the best of the subs we tried but it has zero nutritional value that’s not added so I opted for the lactose free cow’s milk. Almond milk has some protein but not as soy (which I do not want him to have) or cow’s milk.

    If you haven’t already, after the month is over experiment with different cow’s milk, e.g. different brands of organic, farm fresh, etc. A friend of mine who’s a long-time lactose-intolerant swears certain brands of organic milk makes a huge difference. Good luck !

    • We did the lactose free milk and lactaids when she had dairy for the last 2 yrs or so. For a long time it worked, but now even with those she gets a bad stomach ache. I am thinking that she has a level that is too much for her, because she doesn’t have the issue with every dairy product. So, I am thinking it might be like what you said and different brands or types bother her worse than others. Hopefully it will be easier to figure that out as we add it back in. Thanks for the tips.

  8. We used Almond Milk- Vanilla or Original in cereal, cocoa etc…. We do not drink it a whole lot straight though

  9. Almond Silk – original unsweetened is great – they make vanilla flavor and several sweeter kinds.

  10. Another vote for So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk. It really has no coconut taste at all. I like it so much that I will drive to 2-3 different grocery stores to get some, and stockpile the shelf-stable packages for when I run out of the refrigerated stuff.

    Also, for butter, the Earth Balance original natural buttery spread is the best stuff, I love it on toast.

    For yogurt, I prefer almond yogurt but it’s expensive so I hardly ever buy it. If you need plain yogurt for something, all the commercial nondairy plain yogurt is way too sweet for me so I make my own concoction using tofu and lemon juice.

  11. Jan Christian says

    i use rice milk and sometimes coconut milk. I find these affect my lactose interelance the least. I did make pudding once with rice milk(packaged) and it did not set, do you use less milk for that. Otherwise rice milk is my milk of choice. I can eat cereal and all products made with milk.

    • I made homemade pudding with coconut milk the other day and it turned out great. I will be sharing the recipe soon. I am thinking she can have some dairy, but not all types or huge amounts. Hopefully as we add it back in we will be able to figure it out. Thanks for your thoughts!

  12. That hemp milk you have pictured is the absolute BEST. Our family loves it :o)

  13. Jennifer M. says

    We use Rice milk for almost anything. But I do love coconut milk and almond milk. I found out Original almond milk works great on those cook and serve pudding mixes. (Though I prefer to make it from scratch) . Coconut milk makes a great smoothie. I love almost all the So Delicious products ranging from ice cream, to milk, to yogurt. It really is variety in our household. My one son prefers rice milk as we limit his intake of nuts, but I on the other hand like the Almond milk.

  14. I really like the SoDelicious line of non-dairy milks. I love their coconut milk sweetened and unsweetened, but my (then 5-year-old) daughter did not. (She finally decided that she preferred their Almond Plus which has added pea protein which I liked for improving the glycemic index and my husband liked that it whitened his coffee more… but I know you need to avoid nuts.) Anyway of all the non-dairy milks I’ve used over the years, SoDelicious has had the best mouth feel and overall drinkability for using on cereal. (And even baking hasn’t been too off-tasting when using the almond, but for baking all-purpose wise I would stick to rice milk if the recipe doesn’t call for coconut. Rice milk is really easy to make, so I would probably develop the habit of making it for baking over time.)
    I have avoided soy for a variety of reasons. Someone else mentioned buttery spread. Earth Balance soy free is the only one I have found that is truly casein free. I haven’t been able to find baking sticks, only their spread.

  15. Oh, and I am still getting used to casein-free myself. When I said I would develop the habit of making rice milk for baking, I really meant for myself since I don’t do a whole lot of baking with my family not eating a lot of baked goods due to two Type 1 diabetics in the house and my needing to watch not to develop Type 2 diabetes. I didn’t mean you should, Lynn. Whatever works out for you. During this trial month you may or may not want to experiment with making rice milk.

  16. I prefer Rice dream for everything….AND theres Rice dream frozen treats as well!!!!!! I LOVE vanilla rice dream for drinking and cereal. I even converted some of my milk loving co workers (cops are VERY hard to convince of anything sooo this was BIG!)

  17. It totally depends on what you’re using it for. (And I agree with your daughter about flax milk. Blech.)

    The problem with most dairy alternatives is that most don’t have much by way of protein. That’s a problem for texture in baking and cooking, and it’s nutritionally a concern, too. If you’re used to eating cereal & milk for breakfast, you should probably add an egg or some other protein.

    Spouse & I have to stay away from cow’s milk. After trying all the plant-based alternatives, we discovered goat milk (which we can have). Goat is wonderful.

    If you can’t do goat, then organic soy is good. It has some protein and isn’t GMO. Unsweetened soy is good in recipes. But, as you noted, should probably be only one of many milk alternatives.

    My experience with some of the others:
    Almond: A good one for sweet uses, but kind of watery. Very low protein.
    Most other nut milks: Similar to almond. Hazelnut is too sweet for most recipes. Probably OK for drinking. Sunflower is nice.
    Rice: Just say no.
    Oat: Probably the best of the grain milks. Which isn’t saying much.
    Hemp: The one I tried was too sweet. But, that was the vanilla hemp milk. Unsweetened might be OK.
    Flax: Very strong taste. Too flaxey.
    Cocounut: Not much experience with it. Spouse avoids it. I’d expect a slightly better texture than almond milk.

    For some savory baking & cooking, I’ve experimented with pea milk. You just blenderize lightly cooked peas with some water. It has protein & fiber, plus a lovely green color that’s huge fun when baking for St. Pat’s or Christmas. The flavor is kind of pea-ish, but in savories that’s not a bad thing.

  18. I like the Earths Own Vanilla Almond. For smoothies, cereal, and baking. I’m not completely dairy free but I do try and limit it and swap out where I can. Their chocolate almond is good too! I’ve tried a couple other brands and this is the only one I’ve found I liked (I’m in Canada though, you might have different brands) They also have a coconut out now too but I haven’t tried it yet.
    I don’t like rice or soy milk at all — yuck – but that may just be my taste buds – I think you just have to experiment with yourselves.

    I have had SoDelicious Coconut Ice Cream and I liked it – but my Naturopath says to be careful with coconut milk products because in larger quantities it can cause digestive upset (basically the “runs”) in some people, especially those who have IBS.

  19. For versatility, I really enjoy SoDelicious’ line. In terms of drink it out of the container, I personally prefer almond milk, but find that is not an option, I suggest so delicious vanilla, or rice dream is alright too. Soy milk can be great unless you’re also avoiding soy.

  20. Lynn… Try the Almond Breeze original or vanilla flavor milk substitute… it’s in the refrigerated milk area, usually, but also comes in shelf stable boxes as well…great to keep on hand to prevent running to the store when ‘milk’ is needed. I use it for everything, drinking it straight, in cereal, recipes, etc. I think you’ll find it really a good replacement for dairy milk, and almonds offer extra nutrition benefits as well. Enjoy~!

  21. Have you tried almond milk? We are doing the same thing due to my son’s allergies. He likes the light vanilla silk almond milk.

  22. Trader Joe’s vanilla Coconut milk is to die for and Almond Breeze almond milk is not bad either.

  23. We use coconut milk in our house since I avoid soy and am concerned about keeping rice to a minimum due to arsenic. I just bought Hemp milk but haven’t given it a fair try yet. Almond milk is good, but I don’t use it very frequently.

  24. Califia Farms almond milk is the best. You will find it in the refrigerated section and it tastes really fresh like homemade almond milk. It somes in different flavors. They even had a dairy free Holiday Nog that was a very tasty substitute for egg nog.

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