Health Encyclopedia

Milk Allergy Diet

General guidelines for milk allergy

The key to an allergy-free diet is to avoid foods or products containing the food to which you are allergic. The items that you are allergic to are called allergens. Milk allergy is most common among infants and young children. Obvious forms of milk are cream, cheese, butter, ice cream, and yogurt. Milk and milk products may also be used as ingredients in many other foods. To avoid foods that contain milk and milk products, it is necessary to read food labels.

Important information about avoiding milk and milk products

  • The word nondairy on a product label means it does not contain butter, cream, or milk. However, the food may have other milk-containing ingredients.

  • Kosher foods are labeled with a circled K or U. These foods may also have the word pareve or parve which means the food is free of milk and milk products. A D for dairy on a product label next to the K or U means the product contains milk or milk products. These products should be avoided.

  • Processed meats, including hot dogs, sausages, and luncheon or deli meats, frequently contain milk. Carefully read all food labels.



Not allowed



Carbonated beverages



Soy substitute-milk formulas

Fruit drinks

All milk and milk products (whole, low-fat, skim, buttermilk, evaporated, condensed, powdered, hot cocoa)

Yogurt, eggnog, milkshakes, malts



Milk-free breads

French bread

Wheat, white, rye, corn, graham, gluten, and soy breads without milk or milk products

Graham cracker or rice wafers

Wheat, white, or rye breads

Biscuits, donuts, muffins, pancakes, waffles, zwieback, crackers, saltines, rusk

Most commercially prepared breads and rolls contain milk or milk products

French toast made with milk


Any cereal without milk or milk products

High-protein cereals

Prepared and precooked cereals with milk solids, casein, or other milk products


Meringue, gelatin, popsicles, fruit ice, fruit whip, angel food cake

Cakes, cookies, and pie crusts made without milk or milk products

Cake, cookies, custard, pudding, cream desserts, or sherbet containing milk products

Ice cream, cream pie

Pastries brushed with milk


All prepared without milk

Eggs scrambled with milk, creamed eggs, egg substitutes


Vegetable oil, meat fat, lard, bacon, shortening, milk-free gravy

Peanut butter (made without milk solids)

Margarine without milk solids

Kosher margarine

Butter, cream, margarine

Salad dressing or mayonnaise containing milk, milk solids, or milk products

Some butter substitutes and nondairy creamers


All fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and juices

Fruit served with milk, butter, or cream

Meats, fish, poultry, and cheese

Baked, broiled, boiled, roasted or fried: beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, organ meats, or tofu (prepared without milk or milk products)

Sausage, deli/luncheon meats, or ham if made without milk products

Note: A small number of persons with cow's milk allergy may develop a reaction to beef. Thus, those with cow's milk allergy should be careful when eating beef or foods containing beef. 

All cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese

Some sausage products, bologna, frankfurters, or hotdogs

Breaded meats, meatloaf, croquettes, casseroles, or hamburgers (made with milk)

Commercial dinners made with milk or milk solids


Macaroni, noodles, spaghetti, rice

White or sweet potatoes prepared without milk, butter, cream, or margarine with mild solids

Au gratin, buttered, creamed, scalloped potato

Macaroni and cheese

Mashed potatoes containing milk or butter

Frozen french fries with lactose


Bouillon, broth, consommé or soups without milk 

Bisques, chowders, or creamed soups

All soups made with milk or milk products


Corn syrup, honey, jam, jelly

Hard candy, candy made without milk or milk products

Granulated, brown or powdered sugar

Candy made with milk, such as chocolate, fudge, caramels, nougat


All fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables without milk or milk products

All vegetable juices

Au gratin, buttered, creamed, or escalloped vegetables

Batter and dipped vegetables

Vegetable soufflés


Catsup, olives, pickles, nuts, herbs, chili powder, salt, spices, condiments

Any foods that are milk-,  cheese-, or butter-free, or that do not contain powdered milk or whey

All items containing milk, cheese, butter, whey casein, caseinates, hydrolysates, lactose, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin or milk solids, artificial butter flavor

Nondairy substitutes containing caseinate

How to read a label for a milk-free diet

Be sure to avoid foods that contain any of the following ingredients:

  • Artificial butter flavor

  • Butter, butter fat, butter oil

  • Casein, casein hydrolysates 

  • Caseinates (ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)

  • Cheese, cottage cheese

  • Cream

  • Custard, pudding

  • Ghee

  • Half and Half

  • Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)

  • Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate

  • Lactoglobulin, lactoferrin 

  • Lactose, lactulose 

  • Milk

    • Derivative, protein, solids, malted, condensed, evaporated, or dry

    • Whole, low-fat, nonfat, skim

    • Goat's milk and milk from other animals

  • Nisin

  • Nougat

  • Recaldent

  • Rennet casein

  • Sour cream or sour cream solids

  • Whey (delactosed, demineralized, protein concentrate)

  • Yogurt

Other possible sources of milk or milk products

Other sources of milk or milk products include:

  • Brown sugar flavoring

  • Caramel flavoring

  • Chocolate

  • Flavorings (natural and artificial) 

  • High protein flour

  • Lactose

  • Luncheon meats, hot dogs, sausages 

  • Margarine

  • Simplesse

Medical Reviewers:

  • Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
  • MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician