10 Lactose Intolerant-Friendly Recipes

Just because you're lactose-intolerant doesn't mean you have to miss out. These recipes and tips can help you tolerate dairy foods more easily.

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Tips on Tolerating Dairy

An estimated 30 million to 50 million Americans identify as being lactose intolerant. The symptoms of lactose intolerance vary based on the person and may include uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, stomach aches, loose stool and flatulence. The National Institute of Health expert panel and the National Institute of Health recommend that folks with lactose intolerance keep dairy foods in their diet. Research shows that a person with lactose intolerance can slowly build up tolerance to 12 grams of lactose (the amount in 1 cup of milk). Here are 10 lactose intolerance-friendly recipes and tips on how to tolerate dairy foods more easily.

Mixed Berries and Banana Smoothie

For people with lactose intolerance, one trick to taking in dairy is to combine it with other foods. Combining the foods slows down the absorption of the lactose, like in this smoothie.

Get the Recipe: Mixed Berries and Banana Smoothie

Healthy Lentil Chili

Choosing lower-lactose foods is another way people with lactose intolerance can better tolerate dairy. Compared to 1 cup of milk with 12 grams of lactose, natural cheeses like Cheddar, Swiss and mozzarella have less than 0.1 grams of lactose per 1 ounce. Start by topping your chili with a tablespoon or two of shredded cheese.

Get the Recipe: Healthy Lentil Chili

Vanilla Spice Oatmeal

Make Ellie Krieger's Vanilla Spice Oatmeal and swap the regular milk for lactose-free milk. (You can do this in other recipes too!) It still provides the 13 nutrients found in milk, but without the lactose. Both milk and lactose-free milk are from cows, but in lactose-free milk, the lactose sugar is broken down for you. You can also swap in a plant-based milk (like almond, oat or hemp), but you won’t get the full array of nutrients found in cow’s milk or soy milk.

Get the Recipe: Vanilla Spice Oatmeal

Greek Lamb with Yogurt-Mint Sauce

Greek yogurt is another dairy food that is lower in lactose, with 6 ounces providing 4 grams of lactose (compared to 12 grams of lactose in 1 cup of milk). Use it as a marinade and you won’t even get very much.

Get the Recipe: Greek Lamb with Yogurt Mint Sauce

Strawberry Parfaits

A systematic review recently published in Nutrition Reviews evaluated the impact of fermented dairy food, yogurt, kefir and other fermented milks on health. Researchers found there was a direct and causal relationship between eating yogurt and lactose digestion and tolerance. This study affirms the beneficial role of eating yogurt on improved lactose digestion and tolerance.

Get the Recipe: Strawberry Parfaits

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bruschetta

Mozzarella is a natural cheese that provides less than 0.1 grams of lactose per ounce. Eating a small amount of cheese, like on these small bites, is another way to take in your dairy foods in a lactose intolerant-friendly way.

Get the Recipe: Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bruschetta

Almond Butter Yogurt Dip

Traditional and Greek yogurt both contain live, active cultures that help break down the lactose for you; that means it’s easier for someone with lactose intolerance to digest.

Get the Recipe: Almond Butter Yogurt Dip

Chocolate and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Milk is used to dip each of these French toast sandwiches before cooking, so you won’t get too much lactose there. You’re also getting only 1 tablespoon of ricotta in each sandwich. Because you’re eating dairy with other foods, it helps slow down the digestion of the lactose.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Baked Potatoes

Top your baked potatoes with Greek or traditional yogurt for a lactose intolerant-friendly meal or snack.

Get the Recipe: Baked Potatoes with Creamy Herb Topping

Lentil Soup

Another way for people with lactose intolerance to eat cheese is to sprinkle it over soup, like in this lentil soup sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Get the Recipe: Lentil Soup