The Ultimate Guide to Dairy Alternatives

These dairy-free products will help you ditch dairy for good

Various vegan plant based milk and ingredients on beige, top view, copy space. Dairy free milk substitute drink, healthy eating.
Image Credit: AdobeStock

If you’re daunted by the prospect of going dairy-free, don’t be!

Replacing your favourite everyday products can seem like an impossible challenge, but trust us when we say there’s a delicious substitute for pretty much everything nowadays.

You may think you can’t live without your go-to cheese, ice cream or chocolate brands, but we’ll help you find a swap that’s just as tasty (if not more so).

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to dairy alternatives in the UK and answered some common questions about plant-based substitutes below.

** These products are from non-vegan brands that offer vegan ranges, so be sure to check that the item is labelled vegan before you buy it!**

Vegan Milk Alternatives

Thanks to the range of plant-based milks on the market, finding a cow’s milk alternative is a breeze.

The most common varieties are soy, oat, almond, coconut, cashew, hazelnut, rice, pea and hemp.

Each has its own unique benefits and taste, so you may have to experiment until you find the perfect vegan milk for your cup of tea or bowl of cereal!

Milk alternative brands:

  • Alpro
  • Oatly
  • Mighty Pea
  • Wicked Kitchen (Tesco)
  • Koko
  • Almond Breeze
  • Jord
  • Innocent
  • Minor Figures
  • Rice Dream
  • Rude Health
  • Planet Organic
  • Glebe Farm
  • Califia Farms
  • Wunda
  • Grounded flavoured milk
  • Good Hemp
  • Dug potato milk
  • Supermarket own brand
A collage of popular plant milks. Which is the best vegan milk for tea?

Vegan Margarine and Butter Alternatives

Perfect for baking or spreading on toast, margarine and butter are staples many of us can’t imagine life without.

There are several vegan spreads on the market which boast the same taste and texture as their dairy counterparts, making them some of the best dairy alternatives you can always rely on.

Margarine alternative brands:

  • Pure
  • Vitalite
  • Naturli
  • Koko
  • Violife
  • Flora (all varieties except Flora Buttery)**
  • Supermarket own brand
Dairy free margarine and butter

Dairy-free Yoghurts

Yoghurts make great grab-and-go breakfasts or quick snacks, and fortunately, you don’t have to go without them when you ditch dairy.

Made from a range of different plant-based sources like soy, oat or coconut, dairy-free yoghurts come in all sorts of flavours and you may be pleasantly surprised by the variety.

You should find everything from classic flavoured yoghurts (perfect for kids’ lunchboxes) to thick, Greek-style yoghurts.

Dairy-free yoghurt brands:

  • Alpro
  • Koko
  • Coyo
  • The Coconut Collaborative
  • Provamel
  • Oatly Oatgurt
  • Biomel Probiotic Drinks
  • Supermarket own brand
Dairy free yoghurt alternatives

Dairy-Free Cheese

For some people, this is where things get challenging! We get it – those cheese cravings are tough.

However, finding vegan cheese alternatives is easier than ever and new products are launched all the time in the UK.

From plant-based Parmesan to classic Mozzarella, there’s a dairy-free cheese out there for you – we know it!

Dairy-free cheese brands:

  • Violife
  • Follow Your Heart
  • Sheese
  • Koko
  • Daiya
  • vBites
  • Tyne Chease
  • Nush
  • Mozza Risella
  • Applewood**
  • Mexicana**
  • Green Vie
  • Julienne Bruno
  • Honestly Tasty – Planet Organic, Green Bay, Vegan Kind + independents listed here
  • No Whey – Cream Cheese – Online UK wide delivery and within independent retailers. 
  • Ilchester**
  • Sophie’s Delight
  • Supermarket own brand
Vegan Cheese Alternatives

Vegan Ice Cream & Desserts

Moving on from dairy doesn’t mean leaving decadent desserts behind. Far from it!

There are countless vegan dessert options in UK supermarkets and independent health stores.

You’ll find indulgent chocolate mousse, mouth-watering cookies and every flavour of ice cream you can think of.

Vegan ice cream and dessert brands:

  • Ben & Jerry’s**
  • Alpro
  • Oatly
  • Jude’s**
  • MiiRO
  • The Coconut Collaborative
  • ROAR
  • Swedish Glace
  • Naturli
  • Halo Top**
  • Vegan Magnum**
  • Vegan Cornetto**
  • Wicked Kitchen (Tesco)
  • Freaks of Nature
  • Deliciously Ella
  • Daiya Cheesecake
  • Lazy Day Foods
  • Mama Dolce
  • Yummy Chumz  
  • Origin Kitchen
  • Supermarket own brand
Dairy free ice cream and desserts

Dairy-Free Chocolate

If you think cow’s milk is an essential ingredient for tasty chocolate, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Vegan chocolate is easy to come by and it’s not all dark chocolate either.

Made with dairy alternatives like rice milk, plant-based chocolate has a lot to offer, so make sure you give it a chance!

Dairy-free chocolate brands:

  • NOMO
  • LoveRaw
  • Vego
  • Jeavons Toffee
  • Moo Free
  • Galaxy Vegan Range**
  • iChoc
  • Booja Booja
  • CocoaLibre
  • Rhythm108
  • Ombar
  • Doisy & Dam
  • Happi
  • PlayinChoc
  • Vegan versions of Bounty, Tropic and Kitkat**
  • The Indulgence
  • Nu Company
  • Hadleigh Maid
  • Kind Hearted Chocolates
  • Push Chocolate
  • Aja Nova Organic
  • Supermarket own brand
Vegan Chocolate

Dairy-Free Cream

Dairy-free whipped cream and cream brands:

  • Food Heaven – Heavenly Whipped Cream
  • SoyaToo – Soy Whip
  • Schlagfix – Schlagcreme Vegan Spray Cream
  • Oatly – Whippable Creamy Oat
  • Elmlea – Plant Double Cream**
  • Alpro – Single Soya Plant Cream
  • Biona – Organic Coconut Whipping Cream
  • The Coconut Collaborative – Cr*me Fraiche and Whippable Vegan Double Cream
  • Provamel – Soya Alternative to Single Cream
Vegan Dairy Free Cream & Whipped Cream

Dairy Alternatives: Your Questions Answered

What are dairy alternatives made from?

When moving on from dairy, many people are concerned about the ingredients and whether the replacements are any healthier than cow’s milk.

The most common dairy replacements include soya, nuts, oats and coconut. Innovations are constantly being made in this area, which gives consumers lots of variety when shopping for dairy alternatives.

Are dairy alternatives healthier?

Cow’s milk is often believed to be a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin B12, but it’s not the only source.

We can obtain essential nutrients from alternative sources, such as plant milks fortified with calcium and B12.

The nutritional profile of each dairy alternative product varies, so make sure you check product labels and take care to ensure you get adequate nutrition in your diet.

Is ditching dairy better for the environment?

Because of the size of the animals and all the processes involved, dairy farming has a tremendous environmental impact.

From methane emissions to deforestation and ocean dead zones, farming cows for their milk wreaks havoc on our planet.

A report found that the 13 largest dairy firms on the planet have the same combined greenhouse gas emissions as the whole of the UK.

While some plant milks are more sustainable than others, they all use less land and water and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than cow’s milk.

By making some simple swaps to your everyday life, you’ll help the planet and spare the suffering involved in dairy farming.

Thinking of trying vegan?

Veganuary inspires and supports people all over the world to try vegan for January and beyond. Millions of people have already taken part. Will you join them?