In the past several years, I have tried A LOT of dairy-free alternatives to traditionally dairy foods. I also don’t eat soy, so that has made the exploration even more interesting. To save you the work of trying some pretty undesirable flavors, here are my favorites and where I can typically find them. Send me any you think work trying too!
Hands down, this is the best dairy-free yogurt I’ve tried. From what I remember of yogurt, it has a similar texture (albeit a bit thinner), and great taste (read: no aftertaste). My favorite flavor is Vanilla, though I also think the Peach and Blueberry are pretty good.
Where to buy – Whole Foods (usually cheapest, and they’ll give you a 10% case discount if you buy 12); Ralphs, Gelsons, and some Targets are also now selling, though their prices are about 20 cents more per container.
FAVORITE SOUR CREAM
Kite Hill – Plain Yogurt
I have made several recipes with this now, when it calls for sour cream, and they all turn out great. I’ve made desserts and main dishes, all equally great. It also works well as a topping for tacos, or wherever you’d normally use sour cream, even latkes!
Where to buy – same as above
Daiya Cheddar Block
Daiya cheese products can be controversial. For someone who is used to eating cow’s milk cheese, this tastes completely different. I haven’t had real dairy for a really long time, so I hardly notice a difference. That said, I think getting the wedge of Daiya cheddar, and shredding it by hand, produces the best texture and taste, to what I remember of cheese. Especially on tacos, I think it tastes like Taco Bell cheese, but it’s been almost a decade since I’ve eaten Taco Bell – so again, my taste bud profile is skewed. If you want a more creamy texture when baking recipes I suggest the pre-shredded versions, but know this won’t taste or melt like traditional cheese. Often too, I end up realizing many recipes don’t even need cheese anyway, if the other ingredients are flavorful enough.
Where to buy: Whole Foods, Ralphs, Sprouts (I’ve found it cheapest here), Vons
Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk
I’ve tried them all – well a lot of them absent of Flax Milk and Hemp Milk. I like this non-dairy milk to best because it reminds me of the nonfat milk I grew up on, and also it doesn’t separate in hot liquids, like coffee or tea. It tastes great in cereal and we always have it on hand at our house. It’s also great in baking recipes where milk is in an ingredient, like frosting. Though if making vegan frosting for a crowd, I add So Delicious boxed unsweetened coconut milk for my nut-free friends.
Where to buy: Sprouts (usually cheapest price here), Whole Foods, Ralphs, Vons
FAVORITE BOTTLED ITALIAN-STYLE SALAD DRESSING
Sprouts Roasted Garlic Dressing
Many Italian dressings are made with soybean oil and/or parmesan cheese. I recently found this Roasted Garlic dressing by Sprouts and it tastes like there’s cheese in it. I grew up loving Mrs. Bernsteins Cheese Fantastico dressing as a treat at my Grandma’s house, and I think this tastes very similar.
Where to buy: Sprouts
FAVORITE ICE CREAM
Pressed Juicery FREEZE – Chocolate/Vanilla Swirl
Non-dairy ice creams sold in cartons, in stores, are not my favorite. I’ll eat a little every now and then, but I’ve had weird reactions to many of them, so I just avoid them, which is fine, because I’ve never LOVED ice cream anyway. I did however, used to love frozen yogurt. Pressed Juicery FREEZE, chocolate/vanilla swirl is SO good! It’s soft-serve frozen almond milk – meaning completely dairy free (and soy free!). Interestingly enough, the chocolate and vanilla flavors are lowest in sugar among the other flavor options like vegetable and fruit juice – which also have no added sugar. I like to top mine with fresh strawberries.
Where to buy: Pressed Juicery, where FREEZE is available
Earth Balance Sour Cream & Onion Kettle Chips
Food Should Taste Good Kimchi Chips (tastes similar to Doritos)
If you’re switching to dairy-free and miss those sour cream & onion chips or Doritos, not to worry, there are two great replacements. Earth Balance makes a great Sour Cream & Onion alternative, and I recently read about Food Should Taste Good Kimchi chips, which taste pretty similar to what I remember of Doritos, but not as salty and not quite as cheesy. They won’t leave you with orange fingers, but they are satisfying and a bit addictive too (as are the Earth Balance ones too).
Where to buy Earth Balance Sour Cream & Onion Kettle Chips: Whole Foods
Where to buy Food Should Taste Good Kimchi Chips: Sprouts