What dairy is allowed on keto?

When following a ketogenic diet, it’s important to choose the right types of dairy products. Some dairy foods like full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese can fit into a keto eating plan. However, high-carb dairy foods like low-fat or fat-free milk and flavored yogurts should be avoided.

Guidelines for Dairy on Keto

Here are some general guidelines for choosing keto-friendly dairy products:

  • Opt for full-fat, unsweetened dairy like whole milk, full-fat plain Greek yogurt, cream, butter, and full-fat cheeses.
  • Avoid low-fat and fat-free dairy, which is higher in carbs.
  • Watch out for added sugars in flavored yogurts and sweetened dairy products.
  • Pay attention to carb counts and ingredient lists.
  • Moderate your portions, as even keto-friendly dairy is still relatively high in calories.

Full-Fat Dairy Options for Keto

Here are some of the best full-fat dairy products to enjoy while following a keto diet:

Whole Milk

Whole milk contains around 12 grams of carbs per cup, but 8 of those grams come from natural milk sugar (lactose) that has minimal impact on blood sugar and ketosis. Plus, it provides 8 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein per cup.


Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream contain less than 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon, with mostly fat calories. This makes them useful for boosting the fat content of drinks, sauces, desserts and more on keto.


Butter is very low in carbs, with just trace amounts per tablespoon. Grass-fed butter may be preferable as it provides more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional butter.


Cheese is perfectly keto-friendly, as it contains less than 1 gram of carbs per ounce. Opt for fattier cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, Gouda, Parmesan and blue cheese for the biggest nutritional benefit.

Plain Greek Yogurt

Plain full-fat Greek yogurt contains around 5–8 grams of carbs per 6-ounce serving. The probiotics can also support gut health.

Sour Cream

Full-fat sour cream has about 2.5 grams of carbs per two-tablespoon serving. It can be used to make dips, sauces, fat bombs and more.

Cottage Cheese

A half-cup serving of 4% fat cottage cheese has around 3–6 grams of carbs, plus 14 grams of protein. It makes a filling, keto-friendly snack.

Low-Carb Dairy Alternatives

In addition to traditional dairy products, some keto-friendly dairy alternatives can be part of a well-formulated ketogenic diet, such as:

Coconut Milk

Canned full-fat coconut milk contains about 2 grams of net carbs per cup. It works well in smoothies, curries and chia pudding.

Coconut Cream

With just 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon, coconut cream is thick, rich, and works great in recipes. Refrigerate cans of full-fat coconut milk overnight and scoop out the solid cream on top.

Coconut Yogurt

Unsweetened coconut yogurt typically has around 4–6 grams of carbs from fiber per 6-ounce serving. It offers probiotics without the lactose found in dairy yogurt.

Nut Milk

Nut milks like almond milk, cashew milk and macadamia nut milk contain 1–2 grams of carbs per cup. They work for smoothies, chia pudding, creamy soups and more.

High-Carb Dairy to Limit on Keto

Here are the dairy products that should be minimized or avoided altogether on keto:

Low-Fat or Fat-Free Milk

Skim and low-fat milk contain 12 grams of carbs per cup, without the extra fat found in whole milk. They are not recommended for keto.

Low-Fat Yogurts

Low-fat, fat-free and light yogurts are stripped of healthy fats. They are higher in carbs than full-fat plain yogurt.

Sweetened Yogurts

Flavored yogurts are typically high in sugar, with around 20–30+ grams of carbs per 6-ounce container. Fruit-on-the-bottom and Greek yogurts with honey or jams can be equally high in carbs.

Chocolate Milk

The added sugar in chocolate milk adds substantial carbs. One cup provides 27 grams of carbs, so it should be avoided on keto.

Flavored Creamers

Non-dairy creamers as well as flavored coffee creamers often contain added sugars and carbohydrate thickeners. Always check labels and aim for under 5 grams of carbs per serving.

Ice Cream

A half-cup serving of ice cream averages 15–30 grams of carbs, so conventional ice cream is generally not keto-approved. However, low-carb dairy-based ice cream alternatives do exist.

Keto-Friendly Dairy Recipes

Here are some recipe ideas for how to incorporate dairy into a ketogenic eating pattern:


  • Keto yogurt parfait with berries
  • Scrambled eggs with cheese and butter
  • Bulletproof coffee made with butter or MCT oil


  • Cheeseburger lettuce wraps
  • Chicken alfredo zucchini noodles
  • Taco salad with sour cream


  • Cheese crisps
  • Bacon deviled eggs
  • Celery sticks with cream cheese


  • Chocolate avocado mousse
  • Coconut yogurt with berries
  • Whipped cream with unsweetened cocoa powder


  • Bulletproof coffee
  • Nut milk latte
  • Keto hot chocolate

Sample Meal Plan with Keto-Friendly Dairy

Here is a one-day sample menu incorporating dairy on a ketogenic diet:

Meal Foods
Breakfast Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and sliced avocado
Lunch Tuna salad lettuce wraps with Greek yogurt ranch dressing
Dinner Chicken thighs with Parmesan cream sauce over zucchini noodles
Snack Mozzarella cheese sticks and raspberries

Tips for Adding More Fat on Keto

Here are some tips to increase your intake of healthy fats from dairy and other keto-friendly sources:

  • Cook with butter, ghee or coconut oil instead of vegetable oils
  • Add olive oil, avocado or nut butters to shakes and smoothies
  • Mix full-fat sour cream into dips, spreads and dressings
  • Top salads and vegetables with fatty dressings made with oil and cheese
  • Snack on nuts, seeds and olives
  • Make chia pudding or overnight oats with nut milk or coconut milk
  • Add MCT oil or collagen to your coffee or tea
  • Eat fatty fish like salmon at least twice per week
  • Choose fattier cuts of meat whenever possible

Potential Benefits of Including Dairy on Keto

Consuming dairy products on keto can provide many important nutrients and health benefits, including:

  • High-Quality Protein: Dairy foods supply all nine essential amino acids needed to build muscle and repair tissues.
  • Bone-Strengthening Calcium and Phosphorus: Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese are excellent sources of these important minerals.
  • Vitamin B12: Essential for red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis, vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal foods like dairy.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): CLA is a type of fat found in small amounts in dairy and meat that may help reduce body fat and prevent disease.
  • Probiotics: The probiotics in yogurt and kefir can improve digestive health, immunity, chronic inflammation and even weight management.

Including full-fat dairy can help provide satiety, fat quality, essential nutrients and variety within a ketogenic diet.

Potential Downsides of Dairy on Keto

Despite the benefits, there are some potential downsides to consider regarding dairy intake on a ketogenic diet:

  • Allergies and Intolerance: Lactose intolerance, casein allergy and whey protein allergy are common.
  • Inflammation: Dairy may aggravate inflammation in those with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Acne: Some find dairy products, particularly skim milk, contribute to breakouts.
  • Hormones: The hormones found naturally in dairy can be concerning for some, especially pregnant women.
  • Food Sensitivities: While rare, some experience symptoms like nausea, bloating and headaches from dairy.

In these cases, dairy alternatives like coconut milk, almond milk, and ghee can provide fatty acid benefits without the potential downsides of dairy.

Common Questions About Dairy on Keto

Can I drink milk on keto?

Whole milk can fit into a keto diet in moderation. The natural sugar (lactose) in milk won’t significantly disrupt ketosis. Drink up to 1 cup per day.

Is cheese allowed on the keto diet?

Yes, all natural cheeses are keto-friendly. Opt for full-fat, low-moisture cheeses. Pair cheeses with nuts, seeds, olives, avocado or non-starchy veggies.

How much dairy can you have on keto?

Aim for 2-3 servings of dairy per day on keto, depending on your macros and tolerance. One serving is 1 cup milk, 1 ounce cheese or 1⁄2 cup Greek yogurt.

What kind of yogurt is keto approved?

Plain full-fat Greek yogurt and regular yogurt contain 5-8 grams of carbs per serving. Avoid low-fat, light and flavored yogurts with more added sugars.

Can I eat cottage cheese on keto?

Yes, small amounts of 4% milkfat cottage cheese can fit into a keto plan. A 1⁄2 cup serving has around 5 grams of carbs and 14 grams of protein.

Is heavy cream keto-friendly?

Definitely. Heavy cream is very low in carbs with mostly fat calories, making it ideal for keto coffee, sauces and many recipes.


When following a keto diet, opt for full-fat, low-sugar dairy options like cheese, plain yogurt, heavy cream and butter. Avoid fat-free or low-fat dairy products with more carbs. Include dairy to satisfy hunger, obtain nutrients and enjoy the foods you love on keto. As with any food group, moderation and portion control is key.

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