Easy Ingredient Swaps for Dairy-Free Meals January 25, 2017

by Tips & Tricks
About 65 percent of the world’s population lose their ability to produce lactase enzymes after infancy, which means there’s a whole lot of people out there seeking dairy-free meals. Continue reading to learn how to achieve that same creamy flavor, just without the dairy! 


Lactase is the very thing that helps us digest lactose – the form of sugar found in dairy products. Without it, we develop an intolerance to lactose and may suffer from some not-so-pleasant digestive issues. A milk allergy, on the other hand, is due to an inflammatory response to the proteins found in milk. But in both cases, the solution is to limit or avoid dairy products entirely.
Although it sounds difficult (milk, butter, and cheese are EVERYWHERE), it’s not impossible to go dairy-free, and it certainly doesn’t sacrifice flavor.

1. Butter

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When cooking, replace this dairy-based animal fat with plant-based olive oil. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also try cooking with coconut oil — but be aware that it does lend a particular flavor to the food (which you may very well fall in love with). When baking, swap out butter for sweet bananas, creamy ripe avocado, or silken tofu.

  • 1 cup butter = 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 tablespoon butter = ½ tablespoon avocado
  • 1 tablespoon butter =  1 tablespoon pureed silken tofu

2. Cheese


Those with dairy sensitivities will often find that the firmer the cheese (we’re looking at you Parmesan and pecorino), the easier it is to digest. However, if you’re looking to completely kick dairy to the curb, nutritional yeast flakes are the way to go. These dairy-free and gluten-free flakes are an inactive yeast grown on sugar cane and beet molasses, then dried into a flake or powder form. They have a savory cheese flavor and are also an excellent source of vitamin B12 (a bonus to all the vegetarians/vegans out there).

3. Yogurt/Sour Cream


With the rise of dairy-free soy and nut milks, we have also seen an increase in the availability of dairy-free yogurts. Soy, almond, and coconut milk yogurt are now a staple in most grocery stores and still contain those gut-loving probiotics we love. When it comes to sour cream, a simple swap is to substitute luscious and silky avocado. And if you’re feeling especially adventurous, try using cashew cream. The flavor will knock your socks off!

4. Bread


SURPRISE! Bread is often a hidden source of dairy. Sneaky, right? To ensure you aren’t eating bread that contains dairy, carefully review the ingredient list and keep an eye out for butter, buttermilk, casein, caseinate, cheese, cream, curds, custard, diacetyl, ghee, lactose, sour cream, whey, or yogurt.

Now that you’ve got these tips down, put your knowledge to good use by making this delicious vegan chocolate pudding!
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Sheree says:

There are some things we can’t eat. like pork shell fish and fungus. I can not seem to find how to set that up. Is there a place in the web site that I can do that?

Jordan Schultz says:

Hi Sheree! Jordan here, from our community team at HelloFresh. We do have pork free and fish-free (including shellfish) preference options in your account. You can select this when you check out. Unfortunately, there is no fungi-free option, although this would always be included in the ingredient list when picking the meals each week, and honestly we don’t use them all that often.

Monica Kulander says:

I have been with U for a very long time. Just lately I noticed that I could cook for 2 or 4 people but there are only ingredients for 2. Does that mean I have to purchase my own outside of my box if I add 2 people??

Jordan Schultz says:

Hi Monica! Jordan here, from our community team. We have both 2 and 4 person subscriptions, and you can change your subscription type as often as you like, up to 5 days prior to delivery. You can do this in your account page, or by emailing us at hello@hellofresh.com.

dale goodloe says:

I am dairy intolerant. I notice that many of your meals have cheese. Can I ask for a substitute like soy or rice cheese?

Jordan Schultz says:

Hi Dale– Jordan here from our community team. Unfortunately, we’re not able to make substitutions for specific ingredients as of now. However, ingredient transparency is very important to us, so you’ll always see a full ingredient list before checkout. You’ll always be able to see which items contain dairy, if any.

Beverly says:

I am interested in vegan/gluten-free. Is there a lot of variety in that category?

Jordan Schultz says:

Hi Beverly. Jordan here, from the community team. Ingredient transparency is incredibly important to us, and we set out to make sure you know exactly what’s in your food. While we don’t offer a Gluten Free or vegan plan, we do try to include 2-3 Gluten Free meals per week. Many of our veggie recipes are dairy-free as well. All of GF and DF recipes are clearly marked as such, and you’ll have access to this information as well as the full recipe itself even before checkout. Otherwise, substituting and omitting is super easy, as everything is packaged and labeled separately. You’ll also see a full ingredients list and nutritional breakdown for each recipe on our website before you choose your meals.

If you have further questions about how HelloFresh can work for your dietary needs, please feel free to reach out to our Dietitian/Nutritionist at nutrition@hellofresh.com!

A Lockamy says:

I have been reviewing your website and a few questions have come up. I hope it’s OK to write them here. If not, please let me know the best place to ask to get a quick response. Thank you for your time.

1).   Do you have anymore up to date or even later/ealier dated comments?
2).  Also, I know you say that your company is not quite ready to handle specific allergies,
but I am allergic to sour cream & cream cheese, I get bad migraines from eating
them. Only those 2 ingredients. I noticed a few of your meals possibly had one or the       other in it., Could you suggest a substitute for those in a recipe?
3).   If I am going to be out of town for a a week or more, is it possible to have my meals
sent to my temporary address & then back to my home address?
4).   What do we do with the containers you ship the food to us?
5).   Are the containers recyclable?
6).   If we return them to you, is there a rebate/refund for the packaging? Can the refund
       be put toward our next purchase?
7).   If they are returned, who pays shipping?
8).   I noticed all your meals are dinners. Do you think you will be adding lunches or
breakfast anytime soon? I could use some serious help for breakfast!

Thank you for your time.


~A Lockamy
Austin, TX

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab® S

Jordan Schultz says:

Hi there– Jordan here from our community team at HelloFresh. Our head dietitian has reached out to you by email to address your questions. Get cooking!

Rebecca Lindner says:

I really love it that you are sharing some dairy free alternatives. I have even made my own almond milk/flour cheeses.

Jordan Schultz says:

Great to hear you’re enjoying our content, Rebecca!

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