What milk is gluten and dairy free?

When following a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, finding suitable milk substitutes can be challenging. With so many plant-based and nut milks available, it can be difficult to know which ones are truly gluten and dairy-free. This article will explore the various milk alternatives that are free of gluten and dairy, making it easier for you to find safe, delicious options to enjoy.

Why Choose Gluten and Dairy-Free Milk

There are a few key reasons why you may want or need to avoid conventional dairy milk and instead opt for plant-based, gluten and dairy-free alternatives:

  • You have an allergy or intolerance to dairy milk.
  • You have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
  • You follow a vegan or plant-based diet.
  • You want to avoid the hormones or antibiotics sometimes found in conventional dairy milk.
  • You are looking to reduce inflammation or digestive issues caused by dairy.
  • You want a low-calorie milk alternative.
  • You prefer the taste of plant-based milks.

Thankfully, there are many delicious non-dairy milks available that are naturally free of gluten and lactose. Let’s explore some of the top options.

Gluten and Dairy-Free Milk Options

Soy Milk

Soy milk is one of the most popular and widely available dairy-free milks. It is made from soybeans that are soaked, ground, strained and boiled to produce a creamy, mild beverage. Plain, unsweetened soy milk contains:

  • 7 grams protein per cup
  • 4 grams fat per cup
  • 1 gram carbohydrates per cup
  • 25% DV calcium per cup
  • 30% DV vitamin D per cup
  • 20% DV vitamin B12 per cup

When choosing soy milk, opt for unsweetened varieties and always choose plain soy milk, as flavored versions may contain gluten from added ingredients. Soy milk works well in smoothies, on cereal, or enjoyed plain.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is made from finely ground almonds and water. It is naturally lactose, dairy and gluten-free. Plain, unsweetened almond milk provides:

  • 1 gram protein per cup
  • 2.5 grams fat per cup
  • 0 grams carbohydrates per cup
  • 30% DV calcium per cup
  • 25% DV vitamin E per cup
  • 2 grams fiber per cup

Almond milk has a pleasantly nutty taste and creamy consistency. Always opt for unsweetened varieties and avoid flavored almond milks, which may contain gluten. It can be enjoyed in smoothies, over cereal or on its own.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is made from grated coconut meat soaked in hot water to extract a creamy, dairy-free milk. Plain coconut milk contains:

  • 5 grams fat per cup
  • 2 grams protein per cup
  • 1 gram carbohydrates per cup
  • 45% DV manganese per cup
  • 18% DV copper per cup
  • 15% DV iron per cup

Full-fat coconut milk is ideal for cooking and baking, while “light” coconut milk works well over cereal or in smoothies. Always choose unsweetened, gluten-free varieties.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is made from blended raw cashews and water. It is creamy and neutral tasting. Unsweetened cashew milk contains:

  • 1 gram protein per cup
  • 2.5 grams fat per cup
  • 0 grams carbohydrates per cup
  • 20% DV calcium per cup
  • 10% DV vitamin D per cup
  • 25% DV vitamin B12 per cup

Cashew milk works wonderfully in lattes, smoothies, cereals and more. Stick to unsweetened varieties and avoid any flavored cashew milks, as they may contain gluten.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is made by blending soaked oats with water, then straining out the oat pulp. Plain, gluten-free oat milk contains:

  • 2 grams protein per cup
  • 2.5 grams fat per cup
  • 16 grams carbohydrates per cup
  • 20% DV calcium per cup
  • 20% DV vitamin A per cup
  • 10% DV vitamin D per cup

Oat milk has a pleasant, creamy taste and texture. Just be sure to only choose certified gluten-free oat milk, as regular varieties may contain traces of gluten.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from milled white or brown rice blended with water. It has a mild, slightly sweet taste. Unsweetened rice milk provides:

  • 0.5 grams protein per cup
  • 2.5 grams fat per cup
  • 10 grams carbohydrates per cup
  • 30% DV calcium per cup
  • 25% DV vitamin B12 per cup
  • 10% DV vitamin A per cup

Rice milk is naturally gluten and dairy-free. It works well over cereal, in drinks and smoothies or enjoyed on its own.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is made from shelled hemp seeds blended with water. It has a strong, nutty taste. Unsweetened hemp milk contains:

  • 2 grams protein per cup
  • 9 grams fat per cup
  • 0 grams carbohydrates per cup
  • 20% DV calcium per cup
  • 25% DV iron per cup
  • 20% DV vitamin A per cup

The healthy fats and protein in hemp milk help keep you full. Choose unsweetened, gluten-free varieties to enjoy over cereal, in smoothies or on their own.

Nutritional Comparison

Here is a nutritional comparison of the most popular gluten and dairy-free milks:

Milk Calories Fat Protein Carbs Calcium % DV Vitamin D % DV Vitamin B12 % DV
Soy milk 80 4g 7g 4g 25% 30% 20%
Almond milk 30 2.5g 1g 0g 30% 0% 0%
Coconut milk 50 5g 2g 1g 10% 0% 0%
Cashew milk 25 2.5g 1g 0g 20% 10% 25%
Oat milk 100 2.5g 2g 16g 20% 20% 0%
Rice milk 120 2.5g 0.5g 15g 30% 0% 25%
Hemp milk 60 3g 2g 0g 20% 0% 0%

As shown, almond, cashew and soy milk tend to be higher in protein, while soy, oat and rice milk provide more calcium. Hemp and coconut milk are higher in healthy fats. When choosing a milk, consider your specific nutritional needs.

Uses for Gluten and Dairy-Free Milks

Here are some of the most popular ways to use and enjoy gluten and dairy-free milks:

  • Cereal and Oatmeal – All milks work well poured over cereal, oatmeal and porridge. Soy, oat and rice milk blend the best.
  • Smoothies – Blend coconut, almond, cashew or oat milk into smoothies for creaminess and nutrition.
  • Coffee Drinks – Frothed soy, oat, almond and coconut milk make delicious dairy-free lattes.
  • Baking – Use thicker milks like coconut or cashew milk for baking. Thinner milks like almond or rice work in more delicate baked goods.
  • Cooking – Coconut milk excels in creamy curries, soups and stews. Soy milk is great in mac and cheese. Use hemp milk to make creamy sauces and dressings.
  • Pure Drinking – All milks can be enjoyed on their own. Rice, oat and almond milk tend to be more neutral tasting.

With so many options, you can find a milk that suits your tastes, nutrition needs and recipe requirements. Experiment to discover your favorites.

Buying and Storing Tips

When purchasing gluten and dairy-free milks, keep these tips in mind:

  • Check the label – Ensure the milk is labeled “gluten-free” and free of milk-derived ingredients.
  • Avoid added sugars – Opt for unsweetened varieties without added sugars.
  • Choose plain flavors – Flavored milks may contain hidden gluten.
  • Look for fortification – Many milks are fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
  • Use by date – Consume opened milk within 7-10 days and unopened within several months.
  • Proper storage – Keep refrigerated and shake or stir before using, as separation occurs.

Reading labels carefully and choosing high-quality brands ensures you get delicious, nutritious gluten and dairy-free milk.

Making Your Own Gluten-Free Milks

You can also easily make your own gluten and dairy-free milks at home. This allows you to control the ingredients. Here is a basic recipe:

Basic Gluten-Free Nut or Seed Milk


  • 1 cup raw nuts, seeds or grains
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • Pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • Medjool dates, honey or maple syrup to sweeten (optional)


  1. Soak nuts, seeds or grains overnight, then drain and rinse.
  2. Blend with water and a pinch of salt until smooth and creamy.
  3. Strain mixture through cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.
  4. Squeeze cloth to extract as much liquid as possible.
  5. Sweeten to taste if desired. Store milk refrigerated up to one week.

You can use almonds, cashews, soybeans, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, oats or rice. Get creative and make your own custom gluten-free milk blends!

Potential Drawbacks of Dairy-Free Milks

While rich in benefits, some drawbacks of gluten and dairy-free milks to consider include:

  • May be lower in protein, calcium or other nutrients than cow’s milk.
  • Usually do not contain vitamin D or vitamin B12 unless fortified.
  • Can separate when sitting and need shaken before pouring.
  • May curdle in hot coffee drinks.
  • Some varieties have added sugars and thickeners.
  • Higher price point than regular cow’s milk.
  • Allergy risk for nut-based milks like almond or cashew.
  • Milder flavor that takes adjusting to for some.

Despite these drawbacks, the pros of going dairy and gluten-free usually outweigh the cons for most people. Just be sure you are eating a balanced diet to obtain key nutrients.

Key Takeaways

Here are the key takeaways about gluten and dairy-free milks:

  • Soy, almond, coconut, cashew, oat, rice and hemp milk are all naturally free of gluten and dairy.
  • Each milk offers a unique nutrient profile, so choose based on your needs.
  • Always opt for unsweetened, plain varieties free of flavorings.
  • Gluten-free plant milks can be used in cereals, baking, smoothies and more.
  • Check labels carefully and store properly for freshness.
  • Making your own gluten-free milk at home is simple.
  • Choose fortified brands or supplement if lacking nutrients.


In conclusion, those following a gluten-free or dairy-free diet have many delicious plant-based milk options to still enjoy. Soy, almond, coconut, cashew, oat, rice and hemp milks are all naturally free of gluten and dairy. Compare brands and varieties to find your perfect match based on taste preferences, nutrition needs and how you plan to use the milk. With a bit of adjustment, you can seamlessly make the switch to gluten and dairy-free milks.

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