There are many reasons to choose a dairy-free lifestyle. You may have ethical concerns, allergies or intolerances, or perhaps you simply want to cut saturated fats from your diet. Milk and dairy products are the number one source of saturated fats in the American diet, and maybe people just want to cut down their fat intake?
If you have decided to cut out dairy, you may be missing some of your favourite creamy desserts or baked treats, but going dairy-free doesn’t have to mean missing out. As well as the many excellent dairy-free milk substitutes available, there are plenty of substitutes for cream, butter, soft cheese, or any other dairy item you might need to make your favourite dessert.
Dairy-free and vegan desserts are every bit as creamy and delicious as their dairy counterparts. The only difference is that the fats used are healthier vegetable fats, and you can be sure that no animals were involved, at least in terms of dairy products.
If you’re vegan, it is worth noting that not all dairy-free recipes are suitable for vegans. Dairy-free specifically refers to milk-based ingredients like cheese, cream, butter or yoghurt, and while dairy-free recipes are often vegan too, they can sometimes contain other animal products like eggs or honey.
When it comes to mouthwatering desserts, we like to think we know a thing or two, so next time you feel like indulging, treat yourself to one of our favourite dairy-free dessert recipes. From cheesecake and banana cream pie to cookies and cinnamon swirls, there’s sure to be something for every taste.
Now you can take the cheese out of cheesecake with this clever New York cheesecake recipe from Bianca Zapatka. Made with vegan cream cheese and coconut cream, the filling is rich, dense and custardy, exactly like a good cheesecake should be, and it’s all topped off with an indulgent raspberry and strawberry sauce. Even better, this recipe is vegan-friendly as well as dairy-free.
This dairy-free chocolate mousse from Just a Mum is perfect for satisfying those chocolate cravings. Made with just 3 ingredients, it’s super quick and easy to put together, and the result is the richest, silkiest chocolate mousse you’ve ever eaten. You can eat it by itself, or add toppings like whipped coconut cream, dessert sauces or shaved dark chocolate.
Another vegan-friendly option, this recipe is made using cocoa powder. To find out more about the types of chocolate you can eat on a dairy-free diet, take a look at our guide to vegan and dairy-free chocolate.
Sweet, moist and crumbly, these coconut bars from here at Fine Dining Lovers are perfect either as a dessert or as an accompaniment to tea or coffee. They are both gluten-free and dairy-free, but sadly not suitable for vegans.
This dairy-free plum clafoutis from Fine Dining Lovers has all the comforting, home-cooked flavours of the French classic, and tastes great served freshly-baked, hot from the oven. The vanilla sponge is made with coconut milk and cornflour, making it both dairy-free and gluten-free. It does contain eggs, however, making it unsuitable for vegans.
Chocolate chip cookies
These deliciously moist and chewy chocolate chip cookies from Fine Dining Lovers are so quick and easy to bake, and fill your kitchen with delicious baking smells. This is yet another recipe that is also gluten-free, but again, sadly not suitable for vegans.
Christmas shortbread cookies
Get in the mood for the holiday season with these adorable star-shaped Christmas shortbread cookies from Fine Dining Lovers. Flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, they’re like Christmas on a plate, and make cute little gifts for friends and neighbours. As above, this recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free, but not suitable for vegans.
Lemon and coconut cream tart with berries
This luxurious Lemon and Coconut Tart with Berries from Fine Dining Lovers is fruit tart at its most decadent, with a rich coconut cream filling and fresh, fruity topping made with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. This recipe is both dairy-free and suitable for vegans.
These chewy, fudgy pumpkin blondies from Texan Erin are a delicious cross between brownies and your favourite pumpkin pie filling. Ready in just 20 minutes, these are perfect for when you need something delicious in a hurry. Oh, and they’re stuffed full of creamy white chocolate chips, too. A delicious dairy-free treat, but unfortunately not suitable for vegans.
Banana cream pie
This banana cream pie from Minimalist Baker is so creamy people won’t believe it’s dairy-free. Made with a tasty almond and oat crust, an almond milk and coconut cream pudding, and a sliced banana and whipped coconut cream topping, this decadent dessert is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, and shows just what you can achieve with dairy substitutes.
Perfect for a sweet breakfast treat, or to enjoy with a cup of coffee, these wonderfully sticky, gooey cinnamon rolls from Love and Lemons are made with a coconut oil and almond milk dough, a sweet cinnamon filling and an almond milk, sugar and vanilla glaze. This recipe is both dairy-free and vegan - real baking, and not an animal product in sight.
Chocolate zucchini bread
Using a watery vegetable like zucchini in place of milk makes an irresistibly light, moist sponge that’s full of flavour, but lower in fat than most other cakes. This chocolate zucchini bread from Gluten Free Baking has an intensely chocolatey flavour, but it never feels heavy or over-filling. In fact, you may find you have room for an extra slice. It’s not suitable for vegans, but it is both dairy-free and gluten-free, and it tastes great with a cup of coffee.
You can still enjoy a delicious slice of pie this Thanksgiving, thanks to this dairy-free pumpkin pie recipe from Joy Food Sunshine. The golden pastry crust is made with dairy-free butter, while the filling is made using coconut cream. Don’t worry about the pie tasting of coconut, though - you’ll find that the coconut flavour will fade politely into the background behind those old familiar pumpkin pie spices. This recipe is dairy-free but not vegan.
Olive oil cake
Olive oil is a great substitute for butter and milk in baking, creating a lighter, airier sponge. The flavour doesn’t go with everything, of course, but it does pair particularly well with fruit flavours. This olive oil orange cake from Vibrant Plate is moist, light and wonderfully fragrant, with the fruitiness of the olive oil blending beautifully with sweet, zesty orange. Another great choice to go with your cup of coffee, this recipe is dairy-free, but not vegan.
Chocolate beetroot cake
Perfect for celebrations and special occasions, this golden-glazed heartbeet chocolate cake from Bon Appetit tastes every bit as good as it looks. The beetroot adds a moist, slightly gooey texture, a red-velvet cake hue and a sweet, earthy flavour that pairs perfectly with chocolate, and it’s all topped off with a glossy coconut oil and chocolate glaze and a sprinkle of gold dust. This recipe is dairy-free, but not vegan.
A fruity take on the traditional Christmas cookie from New Mexico, these cherry biscochitos use margarine (shortening) to achieve their buttery texture, with a hint of anise, sweet maraschino cherries and fresh cranberries. If you like baking for other people, these cookies are another great choice for small Christmas gifts. This recipe is dairy-free, but not vegan.