Swapping out lactose milk for dairy-free milks like cashew milk, almond milk, and soy milk are an easy and by far the most direct way to keep dairy out of your kid’s diet, but several of your favorite dinners and desserts require dairy ingredients that go far beyond milk. Getting the creamy, rich consistency and flavor that comes with the addition of milk or cheese in a variety of recipes can be replicated by getting creative, instead of just reaching for a packaged dairy-free alternative. And while it is more than acceptable to reach for these when needed, being able to use vegetables in place of dairy in many recipes not only keeps dairy out of the picture entirely, it adds necessary nutrition that your kids need.
Working around a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance can be challenging, especially when so many kid-friendly meals use dairy. From pizza and mac & cheese to casseroles and even sweet treats like cookies, milk, cheese, and butter are more prominent in everyday cooking than you may realize. Thankfully, omitting dairy entirely or swapping in another ingredient to replace dairy is simple, and makes your weeknight dinners even more kid-friendly than usual. Want to get that creamy, cheesy sauce on mac & cheese without butter and cheese? Using butternut squash and cauliflower instead deliver that same luscious, rich consistency in your “cheese” sauce without any dairy at all, while also sneaking in a healthy portion of vegetables. Even quesadillas filled with hummus instead of melted cheese can still achieve a velvety finish while also adding protein to the traditional handheld snack. Keep the dairy off your next shopping list and go dairy-free; we’ve got you covered with 12 of our favorite dairy-free recipes for kids.
Kid-Friendly Skillet Sloppy Joe Casserole
While most casserole recipes are heavy and packed with cheese, this sloppy joe casserole has enough seasoning and a deeply flavorful sauce that you won’t even miss the dairy.
30 minutes 510 calories Easy
Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Swapping out butter for oil in these chocolate chips makes them safe for kids who are dairy-free, but also means you won’t need a mixer for the batter – just a wooden spoon or whisk.
15 minutes 200 calories Easy
This casserole is gluten and dairy-free, and is the perfect healthy weeknight dish to make ahead and serve throughout the week for lunch or dinner.
25 minutes 200 calories Easy
Dairy-Free Mac & Cheese
Believe it or not, mac and cheese without the cheese isn’t only delightfully creamy, but it’s packed with vegetables for a nutritious and hearty meal.
35 minutes 375 calories Easy
Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Balls
These vegan peanut butter chocolate balls need only six ingredients, are easy to make, and your kids will love rolling out each ball themselves.
2h 05m 115 calories Easy
Gluten and Dairy-Free Enchiladas
A delicious twist on traditional enchiladas, this simple recipe takes only a few minutes to prep and comes together with a tasty homemade sauce.
55 minutes 200 calories Easy
Vegan Cinnamon Apple Baby Muffins
Apple sauce keeps these healthy, dairy-free muffins moist and delicious, and a fun sweet treat for kids of any age.
45 minutes 100 calories Easy
Chocolate Oat Thumbprint Cookies
Oats, bananas, orange juice, and dairy-free chocolate buttons are all you need to throw together these fun and tasty sweet treats.
10 minutes 70 calories Easy
Tortilla Rollups with Dairy-Free Veggie Cream Cheese
Tortilla rollups with dairy-free veggie cream cheese and fresh, raw vegetables make for a simple and nutritious snack or light lunch for kids.
15 minutes 165 calories Easy
Swapping out cheese for hummus in these quesadillas makes them dairy-free and healthy, too.
15 minutes 250 calories Easy
Spanish Noodles with Ground Beef
Crispy bacon adds a delightful crunch to these flavorful, hearty noodles.
25 minutes 400 calories Easy
Cashew Chicken with Noodles
Put away the takeout menu and make this tasty and easy to make dish at home instead.
20 minutes 640 calories Easy