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Recipe Substitutions for Lactose Intolerance

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Butter Substitutes

Fruit purees. In baked goods (other than cookies), you can substitute fruit purees like applesauce, prune, or banana for part or all of the butter. Usually ¾ cup of fruit puree replaces 1 cup of butter. This is a popular approach by many chefs to lower fat and calories while improving the nutritional quality of muffins, brownies, and cakes.

Dairy-free margarines or oils. You can also use dairy-free or soy margarine, coconut oil, shortening, olive and canola oil for part or all of the butter.

Yogurt Substitutes

You may be able to tolerate some cow's milk yogurts because they have very little lactose. Choose ones with live, active bacterial cultures for the least amount of lactose.

If you cannot tolerate regular yogurt, look for yogurts made from soy or coconut milk, soy sour cream, or unsweetened fruit puree.

Sour Cream Substitutes

Soy based or lactose-free sour creams are available to sub in your favorite recipes. Pureed silken tofu and plain soy yogurt are also suitable replacements.

Cheese Substitutes

Aged cheeses such as cheddar, Colby, Parmesan, and Swiss cheeses have very little lactose, only about 0.1 gram per 1 ounce. American cheese, cream cheese, and cottage cheese are also low in lactose.

You can use hemp, rice, reduced or lactose-free, or soy cheese in recipes to replace cheese.

Ice Cream Substitutes

There is a wide variety of diary-free ice cream and frozen yogurt options made from soy, rice, hemp, coconut, and lactose-free milks.

Sorbet, made from fruit, sugar, and water, is another option.

Sherbet is made with milk but only contains a small amount of lactose, about 4-6 grams per cup.

Chocolate Substitutes

Most dark chocolate is lactose-free and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sweetness levels. Check the label to be sure it does not contain any dairy ingredients.

Carob chips and rice milk chocolate are two options for lactose-free recipe substitutions.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on April 07, 2014

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