Best Dairy Free Milk Brands 2018

vegan dairy free milk brands

My eczema warriors opened my eyes to the world of dairy free alternatives, as they have it in the bottle, we have it in our tea or coffee, homemade ice cream, pasta sauce, etc. This review of dairy free milk brands is the result of years of sniffing out the healthiest and tastiest dairy substitutes available in the market.

Our stringent criteria

Since this list of dairy free milk alternatives are bought off the shelves, they are commercial products, whereby manufacturers have everything to gain by making it more tasty, last longer, and of the right texture, so that they get happy customers who will go back to them.

Of course you can make your own dairy free milk at home, it’s actually not that difficult. But if you just want the convenience, like me, and at the same time want to stay away from substances added to boost sales but not in the best interest of our health, then keep your eyes peeled on the labels and ingredients lists.

The criteria I use in choosing dairy free milk for my family:

  • Minimum or zero additives – common additives found in dairy free milk includes:
    • flavourings (including natural flavours) and artificial sweeteners (whatever syrup would sound suspicious to me);
    • emulsifiers and thickeners (like carrageenan, which can cause some intestinal issues).
  • The fewer ingredients, the better – to me, a company that uses few ingredients does not attempt to make the perfect product, but simply presents the food in its natural, minimally processed form. With practice, it is not too hard to identify companies that hold true to their principle of giving their customers the best, not letting it override their profits objective.

Why dairy free

The above criteria are of the utmost importance to me, as I remind myself every single trip to the supermarket, about our aim of eating clean, natural and wholesome. Why we went dairy free in the first place, is for the sake of our two eczema warriors. We want to eliminate anything that can possibly cause inflammation or make their gut unhappy, and dairy is one of the big triggers in people with eczema.

So obviously we also do not want to include all kinds of additives in their dairy free milk, as these will just add to their toxic load that the sensitive little bodies have a hard time processing.

An example of a dairy free milk that I definitely would not purchase:

Good Karma Flaxmilk (Unsweetened) – take a look at their ingredients

  • Flaxmilk (filtered water, cold pressed flax oil)
  • Pea protein isolate
  • tapioca starch
  • Natural flavors
  • Tricalcium phosphate
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • Sea salt
  • Gelan gum
  • Xanthan gum
  • Vitamin A palmitate
  • Vitamin D2
  • Vitamin B12

Suspicious characters: natural flavors, pea protein isolate, and gelan gum. Tapioca starch and xanthan gum should be quite harmless, but still, I do question why they need to be included in the first place. I really wouldn’t trust this product to be in the best interest of my health. This is a maker trying to create a perfect milk, so smooth and fragrant, so that you will keep going back for more.

Knowing what is good and what is not, you can be assured that the list below is made up of the cleanest products we have found.

Here is the list of dairy free milk brands for 2018, going by type of milk

The best dairy free milk brands for rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk:

Rice milk – Kirkland Organic

Rice milk is the least problematic when it comes to allergies and sensitivities. We use it in my daughter’s daily bottles, for nap time and bedtime.

Kirkland Signature Organic Rice Milk has the following ingredients:

  • Filtered Water
  • Partially Milled Organic Rice
  • Organic Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil and/or Organic Expeller Pressed Safflower Oil
  • Tricalcium Phosphate
  • Sea Salt
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Vitamin D2
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid

It has no additives, ingredients are all good and real, and tastes awesome. Thin in texture, it is great as a nutritional boost without being excessive in fats, calories or cholesterol.

Soy milk – Organic Edensoy (Unsweetened)

Soy has its own issues and controversies, putting it in not-so-good light due to its estrogen-like compounds, as well as the fact that many soy products are GMOs (genetically modified organisms). But if you love soy milk and it has not been giving you problems, and you are able to find certified non-GMOs soy milk, then why not?Organic Edensoy (Unsweetened) has the following ingredients:

  • Reverse Osmosis purified water
  • Organic soybeans

That’s about as complicated as it gets. I love the clean flavour of pure soybeans, and they are verified to non-GMO Project Standards.

Almond milk – Elmhurst

Almond milk is naturally rich in Vitamin E, and also low calories as well as carbohydrate. It contains healthy fats which may reduce the risk of heart diseases. Elmhurst Milked Almonds (Unsweetened) has the following ingredients:

  • Filtered water
  • Almonds

This is a super rare find, as most almond milk brands contain emulsifiers or thickeners. So this is really the cleanest and purest you can get. It is made with 18 almonds in every glass, great for drinking straight, or adding into your cereal or smoothie for an invigorating boost.

Oat milk – Oatly

Oat milk is on the rise in the dairy free market. Full of nutrients friendly to the heart, and low in fat, calories, and contains zero cholesterol, it is becoming the favourite of many on the vegan diet.Oatly Organic Oat Drink (Original) has the following ingredients:

  • Oat base (water, oats 10%)
  • Sea salt

This is definitely for purists and those who like to keep it simple. But if you are looking for something fortified with vitamins and extra calcium, then this version below is for you: Oatly Oat Drink (Original) has the following ingredients:

  • Oat base (water, oats 10%)
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Calcium phosphates
  • Iodised salt
  • Vitamins (D2, riboflavin and B12)

Both Oatly oat drinks are great with cereal, and can be used in cooking in the same way as your regular dairy milk.

Coconut milk – Native Forest Simple Organic

Coconut milk is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, so it is a nutritious addition to your foods. However, it is high in calories, so go easy on the amount you add. Native Forest Simple Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk has the following ingredients:

  • Organic coconut milk (organic coconut, purified water)

It is packed in BPA-free cans. As it has no emulsifiers added (like guar gum or xanthan gum), it can clump up, just shake it vigorously before you open the can, that will break up the clumps and you get a creamy, rich taste of heaven. This coconut milk is great for cooking soups, curries, sauces, desserts and in beverages like milk shakes and protein shakes.

It is not so suitable for drinking straight. Unfortunately, all the carton coconut milk products that I have scoured have additives or other unhealthy substances, so I won’t be recommending any here. Do let me know if you come across any brand of carton coconut milk that is as pure as the Native Forest Simple Organic.

Final Thoughts

As you can see by now, the dairy free milk brands recommended here are in their most natural, minimally processed states, with little to zero additives, not even the emulsifiers deemed necessary by most manufacturers to create a smooth and homogeneous emulsion. The perfect foods by nature do not have to look perfect, I will forego the cosmetics of beautifying a food, if it means feeding my one and only body with crap. I will take clumped up vegan milk anytime, thank you.

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14 thoughts on “Best Dairy Free Milk Brands 2018

  1. I have quite a few family members who have issues with Dairy and so I was familiar with a few of the types you talked about, although some others were new to me. I have to say that I’m not a big fan of almond or coconut milk, but oat and rice milk sound interesting. What type would you say is the best ‘transition’ milk for someone making the leap from Dairy to non-Dairy? Thanks!

    • Hi Danny,

      Thank you for reading the post. I wouldn’t say there is a ‘best’ milk for transiting from dairy to non dairy, cos I think it’s really a matter of personal preference. My favourite is coconut milk, it tastes so heavenly in any kind of cold desserts! My kids, some take rice milk and some oat milk. Hope you find some brand of oat milk or rice milk that you like!

  2. It really is great to see someone doing an article like this because a lot of new parents (myself and my partner were included in this), will suddenly have the shock of needing to know about dairy free products. 

    My youngest son, who is now four, broke out in a terrible rash just after his first birthday. The doctors in the area were not the best help, and it was down to a lovely nurse to point out that many kids these days have a temporary allergy to dairy…she was right!

    He’s over it now – but for about two years we were madly running about through supermarkets looking for new options of dairy free products to give him…it wasn’t much fun,

    One thing we noticed was the price hike – do you feel that companies take advantage of specialised allergy products and overprce slightly?

    • Hi Chris, 

      I’m so glad your Son is past his allergy stage. Yes allergy rashes are horrible. They interfere with the child’s sleep, play and learning! 

      Yes, I do agree with you that dairy free milks are on the pricey side, especially if it’s organic. But I guess we don’t really have much of a choice, since dairy make my kids’ eczema so much worse too. Unless we make our own dairy free milk at home! Which is something I’ve always wanted to look into. 

  3. Hey! This is exactly what I need. I’ve not got an eczema issue, but something else that your post can help me with. I’ve recently learned that I’m allergic to dairy products–they used to give me just stomach upset; now they bring on migraine headaches. Not fun! So your post is very useful for me. I’m getting an education from you and others who are helping me to understand that dairy alternatives, like the ones you describe, can not only help me to avoid the dangers that dairy products pose for me, but that they also can be beneficial in ways that dairy milk cannot be. Thanks for your informative article!

    • Hi Kevin, 

      I’m Glad this post has helped you with non dairy milk choices, now that your reaction to dairy is getting worse. You’re right, it is definitely no fun! Try to stay dairy free for at least a few years, but it’s not going to be easy as so many foods contain dairy.

  4. I find it hard to believe that so many various types of milks can be on the market shelves! I’ve always been sceptical about dairy free milk, as I’m sure the taste cannot be even similar to the original dairy alternative. Am I correct in saying this, or has advancement been so great that it’s now hard to tell?

    • Hi Nigel, you’re right that the taste and smell of non dairy milk cannot be similar to the original dairy milk. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference, like some people find coconut milk to be sweet and fragrant, while there are others who simply cannot accept its taste. Sometimes it’s also an acquired taste, that you learn to like after trying it out. 

  5. A great selection! Thank you for finding these ‘rare finds’! 

    Where I live, sadly we don’t have the access of ready made non-dairy milk, apart from some soy varieties and those are very questionable due to the added ingredients.

    So, for this reason, I make my own almond milk and everyone is happy. Especially my skin! 

    Almond milk is easy to make, very tasty, nutritious and more to the point, a very healthy option. 

    My children love it too. In fact they now prefer it to any other type of milk. Happy mom!

    • Hi Alenka, 

      Wow you’re amazing to be making your own dairy free milk for your family! I’ve not ventured into that, partly because I worry that my blender cannot take the stress. Secondly I’m afraid of the hassle. But I should stop making excuses and go research on how to make it. This way the kids will be guaranteed the best non dairy milk you can ever have!

  6. Hi and thanks for creating such a helpful article about diary free products and the value that can have. I have a neice who is suffering from eczema too and I will show your site to my sister in case she can take any tips or advice from here. Also some of the dairy free products look so tasty, it’s great to see the food industry offering a much higher quality that they used to provide in past years. Thanks again, Kenny 

    • Hi Kenny,

      Thank you for dropping by. I’d be so delighted if my site could help your sister to cope with your niece’s eczema. Yes, dairy is a common problem for many eczema warriors, so it’s worthwhile to look into dairy free products. 

  7. It’s difficult, even when you’re trying to purchase healthy products, to actually find real healthy products. I feel a lot of companies are tricking people and are using ‘healthy’ as a sales strategy.

    Thanks for pointing out that bad product. This helps me so I know what to look for to detect these bad products.

    Indeed, coconut milk is not the most tasty thing in the world when you drink it pure 🙂 I often use it in recovery smoothies after my workouts.

    • Hi Jurgen,

      Thank you for reading the post. Yes, you’re right that so many food manufacturers, they try to market their products as ‘healthy’, knowing the trend of consumers these days. But essentially the ingredients have not changed much, cos they still need to produce the perfect product that has a long shelf life (so need preservatives), does not separate into different layers (so need emulsifiers), is of the right consistency (so need thickeners). 

      So we learn to look beyond the labels that hype about the product being healthy, and zoom in on the ingredients. Those will tell the real story. 

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