Many items that usually contain cows' milk protein can be adapted by using a suitable milk alternative and a dairy free margarine. All the family can then eat the same foods helping you to provide a range of healthy meals. Recipes can easily be adapted for soya free diets too - avoiding soya cheese alternatives and using non-soya alternative to milk and non-dairy spread that is soya free.

Helpful hints

  • Many meals do not need to contain milk - such as roast dinner or casseroles served with potatoes and plain vegetables
  • Use a calcium fortified milk alternative (e.g. soya, oat, coconut...) to make sauces, pancakes, batter and desserts. Do not use rice milk for children under 4.5 years old.
  • Allow hot drinks to cool a little before adding soya milk as it may curdle.
  • Grate soya/vegan hard cheeses on the fine part of the grater if they are melting very well.
  • Us a dairy free melting cheese (Cheezly super-melting mozzarella) on pizza, cheese on toast and lasagne.
  • use a hard dairy free cheese (e.g. Sheese) to make cheese sauces. Grate on the fine part of the grater so that it melts more easily. Using a microwave will save it sticking to the bottom of the saucepan (which also works for dairy free custard & porridge).
  • Use plain dairy free yogurts or coconut milk alternatives to make curries, raita, stroganoffs, creamy sauces and dips.
  • Try 'Soyatoo' whipping cream (spraycan), 'Oatly' cream as an alternative to cream.
  • Use dairy free/vegan cream cheese/sour cream or dairy free plain yogurt in dips, cheesecakes, quiches and savoury and sweet sauces.


Savoury - Basic white sauce; Fish pie; Shepherd's Pie.

Sweets and Desserts - Custard; Rice pudding; Pancakes; Ice cream; Sponge cake; Cherry muffins; Flapjacks; Ginger biscuits

Note: some recipes taken from 'Cow's milk free diet for infants and children' Produced by FAISG of the BDA (2012)

Basic White Sauce:

Ingredients: 20g (¾oz, 1tbsp) dairy free margarine 20g (¾oz, 1tbsp), plain flour or corn flour 300ml (½pint), milk alternative, salt and pepper to taste. Hob Method: Place all ingredients in a pan and heat gently, whisking continuously until the sauce thickens. Microwave Method: Place all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk to remove lumps. Microwave it for 30 seconds and then whisk. Repeat this until it makes a smooth sauce. Flavour with cooked mushrooms, vegetables or parsley.

Fish Pie (for family of 4):

Ingredients: 300 g (12oz) fillet of haddock or cod, 300g (12oz) potatoes, 1 hard-boiled egg, 2 tomatoes, 50ml (2 fl oz) milk alternative, 15 g (1/2 oz) milk free spread, 300ml parsley sauce (use white sauce recipe and add 2 tbsp parsley). Oven temperature: 350°F / 180°C / Gas Mark 4 Method: Bake fish for 20 minutes. Boil potatoes and make parsley sauce. Flake cooked fish and add to sauce, season and place in ovenproof casserole dish. Skin and slice tomatoes, slice hard-boiled egg and place on top of fish. Cream potatoes with milk free spread and alternative milk, season and place on top of fish mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Custard (hob or microwave):

Ingredients: 150ml (¼pint) milk alternative, 15g (½oz, ½tbsp) milk free custard powder. Method: Mix the custard powder with 2 tablespoons of the milk alternative. Gently warm the remaining milk alternative on the hob or in the microwave until almost boiling. Remove from the hob/ microwave and pour over the custard paste, stirring continuously. Return to the hob/ microwave and heat for 2-3 minutes stirring regularly.

Shepherd's Pie (for family of 4):

Ingredients: 450g minced lamb, 1 large onion, ½ courgette, 4 medium mushrooms, Tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato puree, Beef stock cube (milk free,) 1 garlic clove, 2 large potatoes, 1 dessert spoon of milk free spread, 1 tbsp milk alternative Method: Fry the mince in the frying or saucepan with oil if needed. When brown, drain off excess fat. Add chopped onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes then add chopped courgette and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile peel, slice and boil the potatoes for 15 minutes. Once cooked mash with milk alternative and milk free spread. Place meat sauce in an ovenproof dish and spread the mashed potato on top. Cook in the oven at 350°F / 180°C / Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes.

Ginger biscuits:

Ingredients: 75 g (3oz) golden syrup, 150 g (6oz) self-raising flour, 100g (4 oz) milk free margarine, 10ml (2 level tsp) ground ginger, 75 g (3 oz) caster sugar, Large pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Oven temperature: 375°F / 190°C / Gas Mark 5 Method: Grease two baking sheets Sieve flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl Melt syrup, margarine and sugar in a pan Stir and leave to cool for 5 minutes Form into balls, place on baking sheet and flatten slightly Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Rice pudding:

Rice Pudding Ingredients: 50g (2oz) pudding rice, 600ml (1 pint) milk alternative, 25g (1oz) caster sugar. Method: Put rice and milk into a pan. Heat gently for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and serve. Or, put rice, milk and sugar into a greased ovenproof dish and bake in an oven at 150ºC (300ºF, gas mark 2) for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Sponge cake:

Ingredients: 120g (4oz) dairy free margarine, 120g (4oz) caster sugar, 120g (4oz) plain sifted flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 eggs. Method: Blend the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs slowly. Stir in the flour and baking powder, place in a greased and floured 18cm/7inch cake tin and bake at 180ºC (360ºF, gas mark 4) for 30 –40 minutes. Adaption for chocolate cake - replace 2 dessertspoons of flour with cocoa (milk free).

Muffins (orange & cherry):

Ingredients: 1 orange, 125ml (4 fl oz) orange juice, 1 egg, 185 g (6 oz) plain flour, 170 g castor sugar, 125 g milk free spread, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 125 g cherries (washed). Preheat oven to 220°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Method: Peel rind from orange, remove all pith, cut rind into small pieces. Remove membrane and seeds from orange and cut into small segments. In a food processor, place orange rind, segments and orange juice, milk free spread and egg and process until combined and mixture has curdled. Transfer into a large bowl. Sift in flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt and mix lightly to combine. Batter should be lumpy. Fold in cherries. Divide batter between 12-16 greased muffin tins or cases, filling two thirds full. Bake for 18-20 minutes and cool on a wire rack.


Flapjacks Ingredients: 100 g (4oz) milk free margarine, 200g (8oz) rolled oats, 4 level tbsp golden syrup, Pinch of salt, 75g (3oz) granulated sugar. Oven temperature: 335°F / 170°C / Gas mark 3 Method: Grease a square shallow tin (approx. 18cm/7inch) Melt margarine and syrup in a pan over a gentle heat Remove from heat; add sugar, oats and salt Mix thoroughly, turn into prepared tin Bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then cut into pieces.


Ingredients: 300ml milk alternative, 1 egg, 125 g plain flour, 4tsp sunflower oil. Method: Sieve the flour, make a well and crack the egg into it. Mix together and gradually add the milk alternative until smooth. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add a ladle of mixture, tip the pan so its just enough to cover the base, cook for 30 seconds. Use a spatula to flip the pancake over and cook for another 30 seconds. Repeat until used up the batter. Serve with sugar.

Easy Ice-cream:

Use soya ready-made custard (e.g. Alpro™, Provamel™), put in ice-cream machine (according to volume specified by the manufacturer) and select the standard ice cream setting. Alternatively, put the custard in the freezer and stir or whisk once an hour until almost frozen.