48 Recipes You Won’t Believe Are Dairy-Free

Find the best gluten free dairy free recipes that are kid-friendly, great for meal prep, and perfect for back-to-school season when life gets a busier. We’re even sharing a complete list of ingredient staples, storage tips, and more to make meal times a breeze!

For those without food allergies or intolerances, it can be hard to understand how difficult restricted diets can be, especially in the South. When you think of the beloved dishes of our region, delicious comfort foods like fried chicken, casseroles, towering layer cakes, and cobblers come to mind. Unfortunately for anyone with allergies or sensitivities, many Southern foods aren’t exactly inclusive of many diets. Whether you’re lactose-intolerant, vegan, or choose to stay dairy-free for other reasons, we’ve got plenty of dairy-free recipes that ensure you can still indulge in the Southern food you love.

These dairy-free desserts are just as delicious as their butter-laden counterparts, and nobody will notice the difference. Even if no one in your immediate family has a dairy sensitivity or allergy, keeping these food tolerances in mind when hosting is essential. If you’re in charge of Thanksgiving or the neighborhood’s monthly dinner party, a gracious host always asks about allergies or dietary restrictions before the big event. You want guests to feel energized and comfortable because they can’t enjoy the beautiful spread you’ve prepared. With these easy dairy-free dessert recipes, no one will have to go without something sweet at the end of a meal.

Coconut Water with Coconut Meat

Vegan Oats and Coconut Milk Pudding

Oats, Coconut Milk, Peanut Butter Healthy Smoothie

Almond Berry and Coconut Cake, For Fitness and Weight Loss

Homemade Oat Milk, Lactose Free Oats Milk

Multigrain Healthy Cracker, Lactose Free

Lactose Free Chocolate Cookie

Vegan Amaranth Almond Milk and Apple Porridge

No Bake Oats, Muesli and Peanut Butter Cookies ( Lactose and Dairy Free)

Looking for tasty, dairy-free breakfast food to fuel your kids for the day?

These are mostly egg-free, as well.

See our favorite, fun, allergy-friendly breakfast ideas below!

For breakfast, I like to make sure my kiddos get some kind of protein.

Dairy-free protein options for us have been bacon, sausage, and oats mainly.

And they love fruit in the morning, too.

Easy fruits for us are berries washed the night before and bananas on the go.

In addition to those, here are several recipes that help fill the kids up.

And they are kid-approved over 17 years at our house.


You can’t go wrong with the pancake house staples.

Our French toast was one of the first egg-less versions online fifteen years ago and works like a charm.


These certainly fill up my teenage boys, and my hubby even likes them for dinner.


For peeps who want a quick breakfast out the door, our family has found these recipes helpful.

chocolate banana smoothie

granola & yogurt


I don’t know why, but these two most remind me of my childhood.

I’m pretty sure my mom made them on the regular for her four hungry kids.

cream of wheat


Muffins and scones are so easy to bake the night before, and they are grab-and-go easy in the morning.

My kids love all these.

And they are great with my morning coffee.

brown sugar oatmeal muffins

chocolate chip scones


If you want to bring things up a notch, bake your own donuts!

These are a nice treat especially for kids who can’t have frozen or donut shop donuts because of food allergies.

We love homemade donuts on the weekends, especially.

powdered sugar donuts

cinnamon sugar donuts


We have two mega breakfasts at our house.

Cinnamon rolls because they take a bit more work, although you can make them the night before.

And breakfast sandwiches because there are 50 options, and they fill up kid bellies!


Lastly, it’s always nice to have some convenient, store-bought breakfasts for hectic mornings.

As always, double-check the labels because ingredients can change. And call the company for the latest processing information, if need be.

Here are some of our favorite, quick dairy-free breakfast ideas to buy.

granola bars & bites

pea protein drink

And that pretty much wraps up our favorite breakfasts for kids (and parents) here at Milk Allergy Mom.

Breakfast is definitely our favorite meal of they day, probably because we have quite a nice variety in this list.

Hope you found some new recipes and food finds to try!

Inside: Milk ladder recipe for stage 3 – muffins.

The fact you are here means you have a child with a cow’s milk protein allergy (or perhaps lactose intolerance which is different but with many overlaps). Your little one may still be on a milk diet at this stage, either with you on a dairy free diet yourself if giving breast milk or using hydrolysed infant formula prescribed by the doctor.

Either way, if you are thinking about weaning your child you may be panicking about when they’ll be able to have dairy again.

Having a child with a food allergy is very stressful, always having to check food labels, asking for the allergy menu at restaurants and constantly panicking that they might have a reaction if there has been cross contamination of products.

So it is understandable that you’d want to get them over the cow’s milk allergy and up the ladder as soon as possible!

If you have been frantically searching for recipes for the milk ladder challenge, you are in the right place. I have been through the process twice and so know what you are going through and the worries you have. My youngest daughter and my son both had an allergy to dairy products as well as soya based products – it was hard going!

But I assure you, you can get through it and it will all be ok. Both of mine happily eat ice cream there days and those difficult days of food allergies are long behind us.

First of all, there is no rush. There is so much choice for dairy allergy suffers these days thanks to companies catering for vegans. But if you’d like to start the process of weaning dairy into your child’s diet then I can guide you through.

If you haven’t completed the first step of the ladder yet then head over to the first post in the series for the malted milk biscuit recipe.

Although this post is titled stage 3, I have included stage 2 below as it didn’t need an entire post of its own due to the lack of recipe but is relevant all the same.

Stage 2 – Digestive Biscuit

The next stage in the Milk Ladder is a digestive biscuit. Assuming you have no other allergies to contend with then you are able to buy these from a store and work through the process. If you have a soya allergy to consider then there are certain supermarket-own packs that are soya free – just be sure to check the product label first.

The process is the same as stage 1 – give a quarter of a biscuit on day 1. If there are no side effects then continue with the same amount for day 2 and day 3. Then you start over, this time with half a biscuit each day. Carry on with this method until you have completed 3 days giving a whole biscuit.

What if they fail a step?

It is absolutely normal to reach a stage and stay there for a while. It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, just that they are not ready to progress further at that very moment.

The advice from healthcare professionals is to wait 3 months if you encounter an allergic reaction of any kind (ours were always delayed onset reactions such as an upset tummy as well as immediate such as hives). Not to stop completely, but just not to take on the next stage. So if you completed stage 1, stay on that for now and try again in a few months.

Stage 3 – Muffins

Once you have completed the digestive biscuit stage, you can move them onto muffins. You don’t need to wait to do this, just proceed through the stages unless you get a reaction. Of course, if you’d like to be more cautious and stay at a stage for a while before proceeding then that is entirely up to you.

Here is the recipe for 8 muffins:

40g cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

100g soft brown sugar

40ml oil (vegetable oil is fine)

70ml apple puree

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC for fan ovens).

Mix all of the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix all of the wet ingredients in another and then combine.

Place in muffin cases and bake for 20 mins at 180ºC. The mixture is quite runny but they do rise nicely.

Allow to cool and then they are ready to eat.

As mentioned above the process is the same at each step, giving a little at a time over the course of a few days. Starting with a quarter of the muffin, moving onto a half and then finally a whole muffin – gradually increasing the amount of milk products they are consuming each time.

The next step is scotch pancakes and as with the digestive biscuits you can buy the packaged ones if you’d like.

If you have a soya allergy to deal with then the next post in my series has the recipe you’ll need. This is also the final stage of the baked milk challenges – with the recipes after that being milk cooked within a meal rather than part of baked products.

If you’d like further information or are in any doubt about anything, please do get in touch with a health professional for medical advice.

Some babies and toddlers are not able to tolerate dairy, whether from a lactose intolerance or a cow’s milk protein allergy. Knowing what foods and beverages to feed your little one while avoiding dairy can help make sure they are getting the nutrients needed for growth and development.

When do babies need to avoid dairy?

If your breastfed baby has been diagnosed with a cow’s milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance, you can likely continue to breastfeed as long as you eliminate sources of dairy from your own diet. Continue to work with your or your child’s health care provider as you eliminate sources of dairy.

Be sure to always read all foods labels to see if there are any dairy ingredients in the product you purchase.

Meal Plan & Tips to Eat Dairy Free while Breastfeeding

Is Your Baby Reacting to Something in your Milk?

Formula Fed Baby

If your formula fed baby has been diagnosed with a cow’s milk protein allergy or sensitivity to lactose, you will likely need to choose either a low lactose or lactose-free formula, or a formula that does not contain intact cow’s milk protein.

Always speak with your child’s health care provider before switching formulas.

Does Your Baby Need a Sensitive Formula?

Once your baby begins to eat solids, look at labels carefully to avoid dairy ingredients. Read on for information, tips, and meal ideas.

Does my Baby or Toddler have a Milk Allergy or a Lactose Intolerance?

Making sure your child gets the right nutrition while eliminating dairy

Dairy foods provide several important nutrients, including protein, calcium, and vitamin D (which is often fortified, or added to, dairy products). When eliminating dairy, it is necessary to incorporate other food sources (in the texture your baby is ready for) that are rich in these particular nutrients.

Food sources of calcium: Fortified plant-based milk alternatives, fortified orange juice, canned sardines and salmon with bones, fortified dairy alternatives such as a non-dairy yogurt, tofu, soybeans, spinach, kale.

Food sources of vitamin D: Salmon, fortified plant-based milk alternatives, fortified cereals, eggs, canned light tuna, portabella mushrooms, and sunlight.

Food sources of protein: Fish, poultry, meat, beans, legumes, peas, nuts, seeds, tofu, eggs, whole grains.

Offer a wide variety of dairy-free foods to your child

It’s important to know that there are plenty of other foods that do not contain dairy. Offer these foods often as long as your child is not allergic to them. All whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, and eggs are dairy free. Be sure to feed your child a wide variety of these foods to help meet their nutrient needs.

Search out non-dairy alternatives

Non-dairy alternatives can be used for a child with a lactose intolerance or allergy, such as plant-based milk alternatives and plant-based yogurt alternatives. But it’s important to note that not all of these products have the same nutrients as their dairy equivalent.

If you do choose a plant-based milk alternative, such as almondmilk or oatmilk, be sure the product is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Note that plant-based yogurt alternatives often have more added sugar and less protein than regular yogurt. Read nutrition fact labels and ingredient lists to ensure you’re providing your little one with foods that best meet their nutritional needs.

*While a plant-based milk alternative can be used in small amounts in baked or cooked foods, or plant-based yogurt alternative can be provided as a snack or part of a meal, babies under the age of 12 months should not be given cow’s milk nor a plant-based milk alternative to drink by the cup-full.

These drinks do not contain all the nutrition your baby needs, and adding them in by the cup may take up valuable space in your baby’s tummy – edging out more nutritious foods, formula, and/or breastmilk.

Reach out to your child’s healthcare provider

If you suspect that your child has lactose intolerance or a cow’s milk protein allergy, call their healthcare provider immediately for further support.

Wondering what might be the best choice for your baby or tot? Reach out to our team of registered dietitian nutritionists and lactation consultants for free! They’re here to help on our free to live chat from Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm (ET). Chat Now!

Pro Tip

Some babies and toddlers will react to dairy ingredients that are “hidden” and not so obvious.

Hidden dairy may be found in foods like breads, cereals, crackers, pancakes, waffles, soups, sauces, toppings, dressings, and deli meats. It’s important to read labels and avoid any foods that list “contains milk or milk ingredient.”

If you’re looking for the best birthday cake recipes for kids with dairy and egg allergies, you are in the right place! Read on to find out all our favourite cake recipes containing no egg or dairy, along with top tips for a successful vegan bake. I’ve also included some hacks to help if you are a reluctant baker or short on time!

This post contains affiliate links, where I may earn from qualifying purchases, but you will not be charged a penny more. I only ever recommend products I would buy myself! Affiliate links are marked with *. Thanks for supporting the website x

Tips for vegan baking success

Before you start, there are a few hacks which you will need to know to make your dairy and egg free bake a success. Vegan bakes can taste just as good as the traditional versions, but they are a little more temperamental.

For example, with a vegan bake it’s really important to work fast once you have added your wet and dry ingredients together. This will activate the raising agents, and you want as much of that raising power as possible happening in the oven and not before! For the full rundown, check out my top tips for dairy and egg free baking to make sure all your hard work pays off.

Tried and tested birthday cake recipes for children with dairy and egg allergies

Just a note on ingredients – some of these recipes use soy milk as a dairy alternative. As my kids are allergic to soy as well, I swap it for oat milk. Almond milk is also a good option as the flavour is fairly neutral.

Dairy and egg free chocolate cakes

If you need a gluten free option, then check out this Chocolate avocado cake. I was initially sceptical but, trust me, the avocado works! I made this a lot before my son outgrew his wheat allergy. It was the first cake I made for him, so it has a special place in my heart.

Dairy and egg free Victoria sponge recipes

You can top & fill these with dairy free buttercream and fresh fruit. Or, you could use a vegan whippable cream such as Elmlea plant cream. For a twist, whipped coconut cream works well.

Vegan Vanilla cake

This vegan vanilla cake by Loving It Vegan is another favourite in our house. This cakes works really well with a variety of toppings, but for me it calls out for sprinkles! I’ve made this into a jammy dodger cake before – simply add a splash of pink food colouring to a dairy free vanilla buttercream and top with some mini jammy dodgers. Easy – and a definite child pleaser!

The Betty Crocker cake mix vegan hack

To make a Betty Crocker cake mix without dairy or eggs, all you need to do is to add 300ml fizzy drink to the cake mix. The healthiest option is to use fizzy water, but lemonade and coke are what people recommend most frequently. It really is as simple as that! It replaces both egg and dairy, you don’t need to add anything else to the mix. You can then spend the time you’ve saved going wild with the icing and toppings!

I would recommend keeping one of these cake mixes in the cupboard just in case. I can’t be the only allergy parent occasionally caught unawares by a birthday at nursery or school bake sale, and this is a great speedy option so your child can join in. It’s also a fun activity if you want to get your kids involved in a simple bake. Minimal mess!

If you or your child is also gluten free, there is a GF devil’s food chocolate cake mix* which can be made in exactly the same way.

Please do note that the Betty Crocker mix does not have dairy listed as an ingredient but, like many products, it does have a ‘may contain’ warning. If you’re not sure if you or your child can eat products labelled as ‘may contain’ then talk to your medical professional.

Dairy and egg free icing options

My favourite icing option is this dairy free buttercream recipe. The recipe below shows variations for vanilla & chocolate flavours. To make it you will need:

  • 75g vegetable fat (I use Trex)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 450g icing sugar (for chocolate icing change to 350g icing sugar and 100g pure cacao powder)
  • 40 – 60ml plant based milk

Using an electric whisk, whip together the margarine, vegetable fat and vanilla until creamy. Add half of the icing sugar and 20ml plant based milk and continue mixing until combined. Add the rest of the icing sugar (plus cacao for the chocolate version) and a little more milk (about 10 ml). Mix for about a minute until you have a smooth consistency. Mix in a bit more milk little by little until you get the consistency you want. If it accidentally gets a bit too runny, mix in some more icing sugar! You can also change the colour by adding a small drop of food colouring.

Topping ideas

For me, cake decoration is the weakest part of my skill set. I tend to make my best effort at icing, and then cover with some kind of sprinkles or topping to hide how dodgy it is 😂. Options include rainbow sprinkles, desiccated coconut, grated dairy free chocolate, pick & mix sweets, mini jammy dodgers or chopped fresh fruit. If you want to go all out with the toppings, consider a chocolate overload cake!

For lots more allergy friendly cake decoration ideas, check out this inspiration gallery full of cakes submitted by other allergy parents! You won’t find any professional level decoration here, just fun and tasty ideas from parents that their little ones enjoyed. Plus all the info you need to copy them! All the cakes are free from dairy and egg as well as lots of soy, nut, wheat and gluten free bakes – and many that are free from all of the above.

A healthier alternative to birthday cake for babies with dairy & egg allergies – the 1st birthday fruit stack!

If you’re looking to delay the full-on sugar high until your baby is a little older, you could consider a first birthday fruit stack. There is lots of inspiration out there about how to make an impressive fruit stack that looks as good as any cake! For babies with food allergies, this has the added benefit of a very straightforward ingredients list.

Here are a couple of ideas – courtesy of Pinterest – to get you started:

Dairy, egg & soy free birthday cakes you can buy in the shops

Whether or not you’re a keen baker, we all have times when we just want someone else to do it for us! When my eldest was a toddler, grabbing a birthday cake suitable for a child with dairy and egg allergies from the shops was simply not an option. There was so little available. The vegan cakes which were around mostly contained soy (which many children with cow’s milk protein allergy are also allergic to).

Thankfully the selection in the UK is now getting a bit better! Here are some of our favourites:

Note: these cakes do not have dairy, egg or soya listed as an ingredient. However, like many products, some have ‘may contain’ warnings. If you are not sure if you or your child can eat products labelled as ‘may contain’ then talk to your medical professional.

Over to you!

A month of family dinner ideas, all free from dairy, soy, egg & gluten x

Whether you’re lactose-intolerant or just want to cut back on your dairy intake, you’ll love these delicious dairy-free recipes. We’ve got options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and—yes!—even dessert.

Go to Recipe

Wash this satisfying dish down with a dairy-free dessert or a tall glass of lactose-free milk.

Baked Pot Stickers with Dipping Sauce

Twisting these wonton wrappers like little candies makes them fuss-free, and the dipping sauce is packed with sweet heat. —Taylor Marsh, Algona, Iowa

Air-Fryer Peanut Butter Cookies

An iconic American cookie, this version is so easy to mix up and bakes even faster in the air fryer. With these air-fryer peanut butter cookies, cravings can now be satisfied in mere minutes. —Maggie Schimmel, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Cranberry Meatballs

Lots of people have asked me for this recipe, but I knew I had a real winner when my grandmother asked me for it! —Tammy Neubauer, Ida Grove, Iowa

Grilled Southwestern Steak Salad

Pasta salad loaded with steak, peppers and onions makes both my boyfriend and me happy. Plus, it’s versatile! We serve it hot, room temperature or cold. —Yvonne Starlin, Westmoreland, Tennessee

Pork and Apple Tamales

Serve this family favorite for all occasions: a quick dinner, brown-bag lunch, hearty snack or even a fun appetizer. —Marie Macy, Fort Collins, Colorado

Pumpkin Pecan Whoopie Pies

These whoopie pies are chock-full of pumpkin flavor—a perfect treat for fall! For a finishing touch, I like to roll the outside edges in mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts and dust with cinnamon sugar. —Rashanda Cobbins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Party Spinach Spread

This appetizer is delicious, easy and pretty, too! Everyone who tries it asks for the recipe. The spread keeps for several days, so it’s great for making in advance for a party. But once you put it out, it won’t last long! —Maire Macy, Fort Collins, Colorado

Mom’s Soft Raisin Cookies

With four sons in service during World War II, my mother sent these favorite cookies as a taste from home to “her boys” in different parts of the world. These days, my 11 grandchildren are enjoying them as we did, along with my stories of long ago.— Pearl Cochenour, Williamsport, Ohio

Spaghetti with Bacon

As children, we always requested this dish for our birthday dinners. Our mother got the recipe from her grandmother. Now I pass on our tasty tradition. —Ruth Keogh, North St. Paul, Minnesota

Dairy-Free Lemon Scones

Butter is traditional in scones, but I use coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature and can be cut in like butter. My family enjoys these for brunch on Sundays. Stir in a tablespoon of poppy seeds for a fun twist. —Linda Persall, Cullman, Alabama

Garlic Garbanzo Bean Spread

My friends and family always ask me to make it. I guarantee you’ll be asked for the recipe. —Lisa Moore, North Syracuse, New York

Chocolate Chip-Banana Belgian Waffles

Gluten-free pancake mix and rice milk are the secret ingredients in this treat from my cookbook, Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals. Chocolate and bananas never tasted better! —Silvana Nardone, Brooklyn, New York

Banana Macadamia Muffins

These muffins taste even better the next day, so to save time, I often make them the night before. They stay moist for days, plus the ingredients you need for this dairy free food are easily accessible at any grocery store. —Stasha Wampler, Clinchport, Virginia

Super Spud Brownies

These moist and cakelike brownies came from my mom’s old cookbook. Mashed potatoes may seem like an unusual ingredient, but they work beautifully—this recipe took first place at a local festival. —Marlene Gerer, Denton, Montana

Lahmajoon (Armenian Pizza)

With my family’s Armenian background, I grew up surrounded by great cooks. Since Armenian food is time-consuming and labor-intensive, cooking for any party started weeks in advance. I learned to cook from my mom but have revamped many of her dishes to make them healthier, simpler and quicker, like this version of Armenian Pizza. —Jean L. Ecos, Hartland, Wisconsin

Chipotle Focaccia with Garlic-Onion Topping

Chipotle peppers leave some people tongue-tied; others can’t get enough of the smoky heat. I came up with this recipe for chipotle, roasted garlic and caramelized onion focaccia. Some wanted it spicier—it’s only a medium heat pepper—and some like it just the way it is. Add more if you crave the fire. —Frances “Kay” Bouma, Trail, British Columbia

Italian Pignoli Cookies

Cookies are the crown jewels of Italian confections. I can’t let a holiday go by without baking these traditional almond cookies rolled in mild pine nuts.—Maria Regakis, Somerville, Massachusetts

Savory Turkey Potpies

This will perk you up on a cold, rainy day. You can use chicken in place of turkey, and I like to serve the potpies with a fresh green salad or cranberry sauce on the side. —Judy Wilson, Sun City West, Arizona

Puerto Rican Coconut Pudding

Tembleque, or coconut pudding, brings back so many memories of the days my family would vacation in Puerto Rico to see my relatives. It was one of my favorite things to eat—I’m sure it will become a much-loved recipe with your family, as well. —Linette Serenil, Upland, California

Portobello Bruschetta with Rosemary Aioli

By caramelizing onions, broiling peppers and whipping up a homemade aioli with fresh herbs, you will add dimensions of flavor not found in store-bought bruschetta. —Stephanie Metzger, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Mini BLT Appetizers

Pan-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

This one-dish roast chicken with vegetables tastes as if it took hours of hands-on time to put together, but the simple ingredients can be prepped in mere minutes. The rosemary gives it a rich flavor, and the meat juices cook the veggies to perfection. It’s unbelievably easy! —Sherri Melotik, Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Garbanzo-Stuffed Mini Peppers

Mini peppers are so colorful and are the perfect size for a two-bite appetizer. They have all the crunch of pita chips but without the extra calories. —Christine Hanover, Lewiston, California

Rosemary Flatbreads

My family loves this as a pizza crust. But with a touch of olive oil and fresh herbs it makes a lovely flatbread appetizer. —Sue Brown, West Bend, Wisconsin

Lime & Gin Coconut Macaroons

I took these lime and coconut macaroons to our annual cookie exchange, where we name a queen. I won the crown! —Milissa Kirkpatrick, Angel Fire, New Mexico

Ginger Butternut Squash Bisque

This soup is filling enough for my husband, and it’s vegetarian, which I love. The couple who introduced us made it for us on a freezing night and we’ve been hooked ever since. —Cara McDonald, Winter Park, Colorado

It’s hard for our family to imagine eating mashed potatoes any other way but this. It tastes great on its own or drizzled with tahini sauce. —Nikki Haddad, Germantown, Maryland

Mango Sticky Rice

As a nice contrast to traditional desserts, this Thai mango sticky rice recipe is a refreshing treat with a sweet and simple sauce that perks up your post-dinner taste buds.—Monnie Norasing, Mansfield, Texas

Best Ever Veggie Burger

It was so hard finding a veggie burger that tasted good, didn’t fall apart on the grill and was easy to make so I decided to create my own. —Sarah Tramonte, Taste of Home Associate Culinary Producer

Thai Pasta with Spicy Peanut Sauce

We love how the whole wheat pasta and crisp, raw vegetables blend with the rich and creamy peanut sauce. The addition of fresh lime juice really brightens the flavor of the dish. Some eat it hot, but my husband and I prefer to wait until it’s closer to room temperature. —Donna McCallie, Lake Park, Florida

Ham & Potato Salad Sandwiches

These little sandwiches with zingy toppings are super simple to pull together. This classic version originated in a deli in Prague, where they’re a really popular winter party food. —Cara McDonald, Winter Park, Colorado

Rustic Cranberry Tarts

I like to serve colorful desserts for gatherings with family and friends. These beautiful tarts are filled with cranberry and citrus flavor, and they’re easy to make and serve. —Holly Bauer, West Bend, Wisconsin

Summer Garden Fish Tacos

I like to serve fish tacos with quinoa and black beans for a complete and satisfying meal. If you’ve got them, add colorful summer toppings like bright peppers, green onions or purple carrots. —Camille Parker, Chicago, Illinois

Pork Picadillo Lettuce Wraps

Warm pork and cool, crisp lettuce are a combination born in culinary heaven. My spin on a lettuce wrap is chock-full of scrumptious flavor and spice. —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina


We moved into a house with a yard of fresh rhubarb. To use some of those ruby stalks, we made rhubarb bread with cinnamon and pecans. —Erika Elliott, Panola, Illinois

BBQ Chicken Bites

Chicken bites wrapped in bacon get a kick from Montreal seasoning and sweetness from barbecue sauce. We love the mix of textures. —Kathryn Dampier, Quail Valley, California

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs with Dill

My family is of Danish heritage, and my husband makes our smoked salmon. To use it, I came up with these dilly deviled eggs. They’re a real treat and nice addition to any meal. —Charlotte Giltner, Mesa, Arizona

Veggie Thai Curry Soup

My go-to Thai restaurant inspired this curry soup. Shiitake mushrooms are my favorite, but any fresh mushroom will work. Fresh basil and lime add a burst of bright flavors. —Tre Balchowsky, Sausalito, California

Chili-Lime Roasted Chickpeas

Looking for a lighter snack that’s still a crowd pleaser? You’ve found it! These zesty, crunchy chickpeas will have everyone happily munching. —Julie Ruble, Charlotte, North Carolina

Honey Cinnamon Bars

My Aunt Ellie gave us the recipe for these sweet bar cookies with cinnamon and walnuts. Drizzle with icing, and serve with coffee or tea. —Diane Myers, Star, Idaho

Thai Coconut Beef

Marinated stuffed olives go over so well with company that I try to keep a batch of them in the fridge at all times. —Larissa Delk, Columbia, Tennessee

Aunt Lou’s Fresh Apple Cake

My Great-Aunt Lou made a luscious fresh apple cake recipe that became a family tradition. My mom makes it for our annual beach trip to the Outer Banks. —Cristy King, Scott Depot, West Virginia

Staple Ingredients for Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes

A common misconception when it comes to eating dairy free is that you’ll have to give up rich textures and cheesy flavors, but that isn’t the case! You just have to get a little creative in the kitchen. Take a look at all of our favorite gluten free dairy free swaps and substitutions here. In the meantime, some of our go-to staple ingredients include:

Freezer Peach Pie

Iain Bagwell; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This summer, save the best of the season, and you’ll have a freezer full of pie fillings waiting to enjoy just as you’re missing fresh summer peaches. The peach pie uses sugar, cornstarch, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon for a flavorful filling.

Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

This dairy-free and gluten-free dessert will be the most beautiful star of your holiday dinner. This flourless dessert layers crisp meringues and coconut cream in an alternating formation. Coconut cream adds a subtle sweetness and rich texture.

Chocolate Water Cake

Micah A. Leal

Celebrate your dairy-averse, chocolate-loving crew with a cake free of the usual suspects. For the frosting, choose your own adventure: Ice with a dairy-free option for an entirely vegan dessert, or serve our frosting (made with cream cheese and butter) on the side for those who can enjoy it.

Spiced Coconut-Pumpkin Pie

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

No one at the holiday table will realize this silky-smooth pie differs from last year’s, and your dairy-intolerant guests will thank you. Earthy pumpkin and sweet coconut combine to create this innovative dairy-free dessert. It’s richly spiced and not too sugary.

Christmas Snow Salad

This recipe from our November 1982 issue has all the old-school charm you could ask for from a congealed salad. Combine unflavored gelatin, crushed pineapple, whipped topping mix, mayonnaise, and powdered sugar with chopped red and green maraschino cherries, chopped pecans, and walnuts. This red-and-green dessert will look spectacular on the table.

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

It doesn’t get simpler than this classic four-ingredient cookie recipe. It’s a perfect after-school project for the kids or a last-minute dessert for when you forget to plan ahead. Add some variety to these cookies by adding chocolate morsels, toffee bits, or chopped peanuts.

Angel Food Cake

Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

This light-as-air cake is the perfect fluffy finale for your meal. Top with our festive Sparkling Cranberries or any red or green fruit for Christmas. Try one of these varieties to make this treat extra special: Pineapple Angel Food Cake, Lemon Angel Food Cake, or Chocolate Angel Food Cake.

Gâteau de Sirop (Syrup Cake)

Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Cane syrup is this Louisiana specialty’s star, an easy stir-and-bake sweet that requires just 10 minutes of hands-on time. To make it entirely dairy-free, grease the pan with baking spray rather than butter and skip the optional whipped topping.

Meal Plan and Recipe Ideas for your Diary-Free Baby and Tot

The below meal plan, snack, and recipe ideas will help you choose the right foods for your baby when progressing from mostly single purees to more advanced textures and finger foods, while also excluding dairy.

Be sure to check all labels for both obvious and hidden sources of dairy.

  • Option 1: Scrambled eggs, clementine
  • Option 2: Dairy free yogurt such as soy, coconut, or almond, with sliced berries
  • Option 3: Strawberry Quinoa Cereal for Baby
  • Option 4: Whole grain French toast fingers with nut butter* and 100% fruit spread
  • Option 5: Banana pancakes (combine 1 ripe banana, 1 egg and 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour. Cook 3 minutes on each side over medium heat)
  • Option 1: Whole grain tortilla strips with mashed avocado dip
  • Option 2: Tuna sandwich cut into quarters, side of sliced peaches
  • Option 3: Chickpeas with soft cooked carrots
  • Option 4: Cubed and roasted butternut squash, with turkey slivers
  • Option 5: Mini Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs with Cauliflower Rice and Steamed Broccoli
  • Option 1: Black beans with soft cooked peppers
  • Option 2: Whole grain pasta with ground turkey, marinara, and roasted veggies
  • Option 3: Baked fish fingers with cubed and roasted sweet potato
  • Option 4: Mild Curry Chicken & Veggies with Brown Rice
  • Option 5: Lean hamburger cut into pieces with baked zucchini fries


  • Option 1: Soft cooked veggies with hummus
  • Option 2: Warm Peach Chunks with Nutmeg
  • Option 3: Hard-boiled egg, diced
  • Option 4: Fruited dairy free yogurt such as coconut, soy, or almond
  • Option 5: Applesauce mixed with small amount of nut* or seed butter

*Speak with your baby’s pediatrician before introducing allergenic foods

Let’s Chat!

We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond.

Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitian nutritionist certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too, which means they’ve been there and seen that. They’re here to help on our free, live chat platform Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm (ET).Chat Now!

For more on this topic, check out the following articles

Does my Child Have a Food Allergy or a Food Intolerance?

Guidance When Raising a Child with Food Allergies

Introducing Major Food Allergens to your Infant

Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions for your child. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs, including allergies and intolerances, other than lactose intolerance and a cow’s milk protein allergy. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for your child. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for your child.

Pomelo Olive Oil Cake

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Thanks to adding olive oil, you won’t miss the butter in this dessert, which makes every slice especially rich and moist. The olive oil also complements the citrusy zip of the pomelos, which taste similar to grapefruit but are typically about the size of a small melon.

Pear Pie

This pie filling is dairy-free, but be sure to buy your own refrigerated pie crusts or use our Coconut Pie Crust for a completely dairy-free dessert. Pear pie is delicious warm or chilled at any time of the year. Adding cardamom and bourbon complements the pear-filling and buttery crust.

Downloadable Grocery List

Now that you have all the gluten free dairy free recipes you could need, we’ve made things even more simple with this downloadable grocery list. Find everything you’ll need below, and go ahead and click the link here to print it off for easy shopping!

Chicken in Coconut Peanut Sauce

My youngest son has been out of the country for several years teaching English. When he returned to the United States, I made this home-cooked meal for him that combined Asian and American cuisine. He loved it! —Sheila Suhan, Scottdale, Pennsylvania

Mama Mae’s Ambrosia Salad

Fred Hardy, Food Stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Stylist: Hannah Greenwood

Don’t let the title fool you—it’s a salad in name only. Toss this classic mix of pineapple, oranges, and coconut flakes for a lighter treat that still hits all the satisfyingly sweet notes. Add mint leaves, pomegranate seeds, and chopped pecans for extra-fresh flavor and a little crunch.

Red-and-White Meringue Kisses

Add a kiss of holiday cheer to the dessert table with these simple meringues. This versatile meringue recipe will be light and crisp if baked at the right temperature. Oven temperatures that are too hot will burn, and too-low temperatures will dry out the desserts.

Cranberry Apple Pie

Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

The filling of this seasonal pie is dairy-free, but be sure to use store-bought refrigerated pie dough or make our Coconut Pie Crust homemade for an entirely dairy-free dessert. While this pie takes about four hours to bake, it only requires 40 minutes of hands-on time. Apples and cranberries blend perfectly with the brown sugar, apple butter, cornstarch, orange juice, and spice mixture.

Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pies

Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Katie Jacobs

These adorable apple pies make a great treat for kids or on-the-go adventures. Peel Granny Smith apples and cut them into small cubes to mix with sugar, warm seasonal spices, and caramel candy. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Applesauce Snack Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Photographer: Greg DuPree, Food Stylist: Emily Neighbors Hall Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

Ditch the brown sugar frosting for a dairy-free dessert that’s sure to be a hit at all your fall gatherings. Warm up leftovers (if there are any) for breakfast. This cake gets its zesty flavoring from the hints of lime zest and ginger.

Shaker Lemon Pie

Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Ana Kelly

This old-school Junior League recipe is a fun, dairy-free way to showcase winter citrus on your holiday. This citrus dessert is simple to make, requiring only four ingredients and 15 minutes of hands-on time. Leave enough time for the lemon slices to sit in a shallow sugar-filled bowl for at least four hours—or overnight.

Apple Bread

Make one loaf for your family and give one as a sweet hostess gift. Packed with small cubes of Granny Smith apples, this sliceable loaf made with brown sugar, honey, and applesauce is just as delicious for breakfast as it is for dessert. Add a generous amount of cinnamon to create this sweet, spice-filled loaf.

Spiced Coconut-Cherry Mold

There’s nothing like an old-school gelatin salad to get everyone in the nostalgic holiday spirit, and unlike yesteryear’s lime creation, this one is beautiful and delicious. This dessert takes at least six hours to chill, so make this mold with enough time to form.

Our Best Homemade Marshmallows

Perfect atop a warm mug of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve, these fluffy marshmallows would also make precious homemade gifts in a cup with hot chocolate mix. Dust the knife with powdered sugar in between cuts for smooth slices. Substitute half of the vanilla extract with peppermint extract for even more holiday flavors.

Tips for Storing and Reheating

If you think meals are always best served fresh, think again! These tips will ensure that even leftovers taste brand new.

Freeze Individual Portions. For foods like muffins, cookies, and snacks, try wrapping each serving individually and storing them all together in a sealable bag. Then, when you’re ready to eat, all you have to do is grab and defrost one rather than a whole batch.

Keep Broth and Non-Dairy Milk on Hand. The easiest way to spruce up leftover soups, pastas, and casseroles that have gone a bit dry is to add a splash of broth or dairy free milk as they warm back up. This will not only help liquefy the sauces but will also enhance the flavor.

Prepare Ahead of Time. It’s always best to let frozen leftovers thaw in the fridge overnight rather than trying to get them to thaw quickly. So, if you can, try to prepare in advance, and move foods from the freezer to the fridge the night before. Then, all you have to do is warm them back up!

Utilize Your Favorite Tools. Kitchen gadgets are your best friends when it comes to kid friendly dairy free meals. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the Instant Pot, crockpot, air fryer, and more for easy reheating!

In case you didn’t already know, everything we do at Cotter Crunch is gluten free. However, we do our best to try to accommodate all dietary needs. Therefore, the recipes below are dairy free and often have ingredient alternatives to meet all your needs!

Dairy Free Breakfasts and Snacks

Boston Cream Pie Oatmeal – A superfood breakfast treat, this oatmeal is made with a boost of protein and natural ingredients for a satisfying dairy free breakfast that tastes like dessert.

Almond Butter Breakfast Cookies – This wholesome healthy recipe is made with simple ingredients and no refined sugars so you can have cookies for breakfast guilt free!

Egg Wraps – Made with just 2 ingredients and high in protein, these wraps are quick to whip up and easily customizable with all your favorite fillings.

Gluten Free Zucchini Muffins – Made with fresh produce, dark chocolate chips, and a blend of gluten free flours, these muffins are soft, fluffy, naturally sweetened, and full of fiber to keep you full.

No Bake Cowboy Cookie Energy Bites (Vegan Option) – Made with better-for-you ingredients, this gluten free dairy free breakfast recipe is everything you love about cowboy cookies in the convenience of a no bake bite.

Dairy Free Chia Pudding with Peaches – Loaded with fresh fruit, chia seeds, and plant-based protein, this breakfast is quick to prepare and guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

Grape Smoothie – Sweet, refreshing, and ready in minutes, this dairy free smoothie can easily be customized with add-ins like gluten free oats, chia seeds, and plant-based protein for a crowd-pleasing recipe.

Dairy Free Lunches

Gluten Free Vegan Sandwiches (3 Ways) – It doesn’t get any easier (or more delicious) than a loaded sandwich. These options are made with gluten free bread and plant-based ingredients and are loaded with flavor so good everyone will be begging for seconds.

Broccoli Cheese Soup with Cauliflower Sweet Potato Tots – Bursting with classic cheesy flavor – just without the cheese, the only thing that can make this soup better is a side of tots that are secretly full of veggies.

Strawberry Salmon Salad with Gluten Free Crackers – A fun twist on classic chicken salad, this recipe is a great source of protein, omega fatty-acids, and vitamin C! Decadent and creamy, it’s perfect when scooped up with your favorite homemade gluten free crackers.

Note: If you want to save some time, feel free to use store-bought crackers like our favorite here instead!

Dairy Free Dinners

African Peanut Stew – The easiest weeknight comfort food, this recipe is warm and hearty for the perfect stew. Make it on the stove, in the crock pot, or even with an Instant Pot. Vegetarian option!

Reader Review: “This was so delicious! We used chicken thighs and paired it with brown jasmine rice for a hearty winter meal. Our 7 year old loved it and asked for seconds. Next time we will try the chickpeas for a veggie version. Love that it can be made mild or spicy to taste.” -S Mears

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Spaghetti – Your favorite family dinner just got better thanks to tender gluten free noodles and a flavorful pasta sauce stuffed full of veggies.

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie – Warm, hearty, and quick to prepare, this Shepherd’s Pie is a lower carb recipe made with veggies and protein.

Pork Chops Marmalade – Sweet and tangy, these pork chops are a one pan recipe that is naturally gluten free, dairy free, and grain free.

Greek Quinoa Burgers – A nutrient-rich powerhouse, this recipe is the “meatiest” plant based burger you’ll ever taste. Rich in flavor, they’re a great addition to any meal!  Vegan friendly.

Kid-Friendly Dairy Free Meal Prep

One of our favorite life hacks to staying on track with nutrition is having meals prepared and ready to go in advance. Then, when hunger strikes, all you have to do is heat them up! However, creating recipes that are both nutritious and kid-approved isn’t always easy. Until now, that is!

To make life a little easier and meal times a lot less stressful, we’ve gathered up our favorite kid-friendly gluten free dairy free breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners just for you. We’re even giving you a grocery list, too! The best part? They’re all super easy to prepare, filled with good-for-you ingredients, and always delicious!

Peppermint Divinity

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

We gave the classic divinity recipe you remember from Grandma’s a festive touch with peppermint. Pecans add a delightful crunch to this old-fashioned favorite. Place the candies in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper until you are ready for dessert.

More Family Friendly Meals Plans

  • Hidden Veggie Meal Plan
  • Easy Gluten Free Freezer Meals + Sauces
  • Cheap Gluten Free Meals for the Week
  • Gluten Free Meal Plan (30 Minutes or Less)

Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

While the frosting uses dairy, the lemon cupcakes are dairy-free. Shortbread cookies create the base for this lemon juice, coconut, and sugar dessert. This dish is a fresh, modern version of a traditional gelatin salad.

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