Alternatives to dairy

There many plant based alternatives to dairy products traditionally used as part of a lacto-vegetarian diet.  More and more products are becoming available each year.  Most of the products mentioned below are generally available across the UK, but may not be available in other countries.


A huge range of alternatives to dairy milk are now available across the UK.  Varieties include soya, rice, oat, almond, coconut, hazelnut and quinoa. Soya is the most popular and can easily be substituted for dairy milk in most circumstances.

For many vegans, fortified plant-based milks are an important source of nutrients such as B12, calcium and vitamin D.   However, not all plant-based milks are fortified – so check the label before you buy.

Butter and ghee

Plant-based margarines are  a versatile substitute for butter and are widely available across the UK (popular brands include Pure and Vitalite).  However, many margarines contain dairy, so check the label before you buy.

Vegetable Ghee is readily available in many (Indian) supermarkets and is usually 100% dairy free.  Popular brands include Pride, Khanum and KTC.


There are now more vegan alternatives to dairy cheese than ever before.  Popular brands available in the UK are listed below:

Cream cheeses Tofutti, Sheese (Bute Island Foods)

Hard cheese blocks Vegusto, V-bitesSheese, Veganic, MozzaRisella, Vegourmet

Vegan cheese sauces – Free & Easy

Cheese slices TofuttiVegourmet 


Firm tofu can also be used as an alternative to paneer.

Home-made tofu can be made easily by curdling boiled soya milk using lemon juice (same technique as making home-made paneer from dairy milk).


Alpro and Sojade produce plant-based alternatives to single cream, available in larger supermarkets and health food shops.  

Melted ice cream can sometimes also be used as a substitute for single cream.


Soya based alternatives to yoghurt (often called yo-fu) are widely available in UK supermarkets.  Popular brands include Alpro, Provamel and Sojade.  Coconut based yoghurts are also now available (Coyo).

Ice cream

There are number of alternatives to dairy ice cream available in the UK, and many fruit sorbets are already naturally dairy free.

Popular ice cream brands include:  Swedish Glace (soya), Booja Booja (cashew), Bessant and Drury (coconut), and Tofutti (soya). 


Eggs and mayonnaise

For baking, there are a number of egg replacement powders that can be found in supermarkets, online and at health-food shops. Tofu makes an excellent alternative to scrambled eggs. Plamil and Granovita make excellent egg-free alternatives to mayonnaise which come in a variety of flavours.


Dark chocolate should generally be suitable for vegans, but many brands unnecessarily add milk powder, whey or butterfat to their recipes (often to make it cheaper to produce). Plamil, Organica, Moo-Free, Divine and many supermarkets make chocolates suitable for vegans. Booja Booja also make excellent hand-made chocolate truffles.


1) Most plant-based margarines and ghees are made from palm oil (though not labelled as such).  

2) Some vegetable ghees are coloured using beta-carotene derived from a fungus so not suitable for Jain who avoid fungi.  

3) Vegetable margarines are typically coloured using curcumin (an extract of turmeric), which many Jains consider to be acceptable.

4) Many non-dairy cheeses contain potato starch and therefore are not suitable for Jains who avoid root vegetables.