The Ultimate Guide to Lactose-Free Cheese: Finding Delicious and Creamy Options for Cheese Lovers


Cheese is an all-time favorite for many of us. The creamy and savory flavors the cheese provides are tasty and versatile, and it’s hard not to love cheese. However, for those with lactose intolerance, indulging in cheese can cause some trouble with digestion.

Lactose intolerance affects millions of Americans who struggle with digestion and gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming lactose-containing foods like milk, cheese, and ice cream.

In this guide, we will explore the world of lactose-free cheese. We will take a closer look at lactose intolerance, the cheesemaking process, various types of lactose-free cheese, and provide some delicious recipes and tips for pairing and shopping.

A Comprehensive Guide to Lactose-Free Cheeses: Everything You Need to Know

Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk-based products, including cheese. Lactose intolerance symptoms include bloating, cramps, gas, and diarrhea.

Cheese is made from milk, and it contains varying amounts of lactose. Soft cheeses like ricotta, cottage cheese, and cream cheese contain a higher lactose concentration as they aren’t aged long enough to become lactose-free. Harder, aged cheeses like cheddar or parmesan, for example, contain a negligible amount of lactose, making them perfect for those with lactose intolerance to indulge in cheese.

There are several types of lactose-free cheeses available. Some are made from non-dairy milk alternatives like almond, coconut or soy, while others use lactase enzymes to break down the lactose in the milk.

If you’re looking for some lactose-free cheese types to add to your diet, here are some of the most popular:

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is a hard, aged, and sharp-tasting cheese that is one of the most versatile cheese varieties. It is often used in dishes like grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and cheese and crackers. The aging process of cheddar cheese breaks down the lactose, thus making it lactose-free.

Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is a tangy and creamy cheese that has a distinct flavor. It is lower in lactose than cow’s milk cheese, making it a popular choice for those with lactose intolerance.

Brie Cheese

Brie cheese is a soft and creamy cheese with a mild flavor and a rind that is edible. It is made from cow’s milk but contains a low lactose concentration, making it an excellent choice for lactose-intolerant cheese lovers.

Blue Cheese

Blue cheese is a sharp-tasting cheese that is typically added to salads, burgers, or steaks for creamy flavor. It is made from cow’s milk and contains a low lactose concentration.

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a crumbly cheese that is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. It is made from sheep’s milk and contains a lower lactose concentration than cow’s milk cheese.

When it comes to storing and handling lactose-free cheese, it is better to follow the instructions mentioned on the label. Generally, it is recommended to store cheese in the refrigerator and wrap it in an airtight container or plastic wrap to prevent moisture accumulation.

A Cheese Lover’s Guide to Lactose Intolerance: Top 5 Lactose-Free Cheeses You Can Indulge In

Now that you know which lactose-free cheese types are available let’s dive deeper into five top lactose-free cheese varieties

Almond Milk Cheese

This cheese is made from almond milk, making it an excellent option for those who don’t want to consume dairy or are lactose-intolerant. It has a creamy texture and nutty flavor that makes it perfect for snacking, adding to a cheese plate, or using in recipes.

Soy Cheese

Soy cheese is made from soy milk, and it is an excellent option for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. It comes in various flavors like mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper jack, making it a versatile ingredient in various dishes like pizza, quesadillas, or burgers.

Coconut Milk Cheese

This cheese is made from coconut milk and has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. It is perfect for those who want to avoid dairy or are lactose intolerant, and it works well as a topping on crackers or as a dip.

Cashew Milk Cheese

This cheese is made from cashew milk and has a rich and creamy texture that is similar to dairy cheese. It comes in various flavors like cheddar, pepper jack, or mozzarella, making it a versatile option for various recipes.

Lactase-Enzyme Treated Cheese

This cheese is made from cow’s milk, and lactase enzymes are added to break down the lactose in the milk. The process helps to produce cheese with a lower lactose concentration that is suitable for those with lactose intolerance. It comes in various types like cheddar, mozzarella, or cream cheese.

Pairing wine with cheese is a fond tradition. For almond milk cheese, choose a Sauvignon Blanc; for soy cheese, opt for a crisp Riesling. For coconut milk cheese, try a spicy red Zinfandel. Also, cashew milk cheese goes well with Champagne or other sparkling white wine. Finally, lactase-enzyme treated cheese goes with any wine that complements the dish you prepared.

Cheesemaking for Lactose Intolerant: The Science Behind Lactose-Free Cheese

Cheesemakers who specialize in producing lactose-free cheese use a range of techniques to remove or break down lactose during the process. One of the most common methods is using lactase enzymes to break down lactose into glucose and galactose, which are easier to digest.

The cheesemaking process usually starts with pasteurization, which involves heating the milk to kill any harmful bacteria. Cheesemakers then add cheese cultures and rennet to the milk; the rennet helps to coagulate the milk and create curds. The curds are then drained, pressed and aged to create the cheese.

To make lactose-free cheese, lactose is either removed or enzymatically broken down during the cheesemaking process. Various lactase enzymes can be used to break down lactose, depending on the type of cheese being produced.

For example, cheesemakers can add lactase enzymes to milk before coagulation, which breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose. Alternatively, lactase enzymes can be added to the curds before they are pressed, or the cheese can be soaked in a lactase solution to break down any remaining lactose.

Decoding the Labels: How to Identify Lactose-Free Cheeses at the Grocery Store

When shopping for lactose-free cheese, check the cheese’s label for “lactose-free,” “lactose-reduced,” or “0g of lactose” label claims.

However, due to regulations inconsistencies in food labeling, not all lactose-free cheese products are labeled explicitly as such.

As a rule of thumb, hard and aged cheese with very minimal lactose levels are lactose-free, while softer and fresher cheeses tend to have higher lactose concentrations.

If you still aren’t sure whether a cheese is lactose-free or not, check the ingredients list. Cheeses that are lactose-free or low in lactose typically list some form of lactase enzyme in their ingredients list.

Lastly, if you have any doubts when shopping, don’t hesitate to ask the cheesemonger or a store assistant for help. They would have the necessary knowledge to assist and guide you properly.

Cheese, Please! 5 Delicious Lactose-free Cheese Recipes to Try at Home

Now that you know which lactose-free cheese types are available and how to pair them let’s try making some delicious recipes at home.

1. Grilled Cheese

This classic sandwich needs no introduction. Use our favorite cheddar cheese or lactose-free cheese and let it melt between golden-brown slices of bread.

2. Lactose-Free Mac and Cheese

Who said cheese sauce was off-limits for those with lactose intolerance? Make our lactose-free cheese sauce for mac and cheese and enjoy a comforting bowl of goodness.

3. Lactose-Free Queso Dip

This dip is popular for a reason. Combine lactose-free cheddar cheese, taco seasoning, garlic, and canned jalapeno peppers for a dip that is perfect for movie nights or game-day parties.

4. Lactose-Free Pizza

Use lactose-free cheese and your favorite pizza toppings to create a pizza that rivals any delivery option. Use lactose-free mozzarella, cheddar, gouda, or provolone.

5. Lactose-Free Cheesecake

The ultimate dessert needs no introduction. Make our lactose-free cheesecake and enjoy a rich and smooth dessert that will leave you wanting more.


Living with lactose intolerance doesn’t mean giving up cheese or sacrificing taste. With various lactose-free cheese options available, cheese lovers can still enjoy their favorites without any discomfort. From nut-based cheese to lactase treated cheese and recipes that feature lactose-free cheese, there are plenty of options to savor cheese while maintaining digestive comfort.

Cheese is often a social food and an excellent option for events and gatherings. Lactose free cheese even adds an element of inclusivity to gatherings and allows everyone to dig in without fear of stomach issues.

So, go ahead and try out some of our lactose-free cheese recipes, pair them with your favorite wine, and have a cheese-filled evening without worry.

Webben Editor

Hello! I'm Webben, your guide to intriguing insights about our diverse world. I strive to share knowledge, ignite curiosity, and promote understanding across various fields. Join me on this enlightening journey as we explore and grow together.

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