If you regularly eat dairy and want to start a ketogenic lifestyle, you probably have a lot of questions about which dairy products are best for a keto diet! This article breaks it down.
Some people can tolerate all dairy products. Other folks can only have some dairy. And there are people who cannot tolerate any dairy products at all. This may be due to food sensitivities, food allergies, or a lactose intolerance. Dairy isn’t for everyone, but for the people who like dairy, they usually really like it!
If you’re wondering whether you can you have dairy on a keto diet, this article is for you! The good news is that many dairy products are keto friendly.
Here we’re going to go over which dairy products are a acceptable on a ketogenic diet.
Tips for Dairy on Keto
When following a ketogenic diet, the quality of the dairy that we eat is important. Since hormones and antibiotics are fat-soluble and a keto diet is high in fat, it is important to consume higher-quality dairy products.
Keep the following keto dairy tips in mind:
- Look for grass-fed. This goes for all dairy products; cream, cheese, butter, yogurt, etc.
- Use full-fat. For products that have full-fat and low-fat options available, we opt for full-fat because they’re typically lower in carbs (and higher in flavor!).
- Measure your portions. Dairy can be fairly calorie-dense, so be mindful of your portion size.
- If you’re going to be traveling, cheese can be a great tool to help you stay keto! If you’re heading to Paris, check out our article on French Cheese for tons of inspiration and insider tips.
Keto Dairy Products List
- Heavy Cream
- Whipping Cream
- Clarified Butter
- Cream Cheese
- Sour Cream
Most cheese is low-carb and high-fat, which makes it a good keto option.
When following a keto diet, people usually eat cheese unless:
- They are sensitive to it, allergic to it, or have an intolerance to it.
- They’re trying to lose weight (cheese is typically very high in calories).
- Or they just just don’t like it!
A few of our favorite keto-friendly cheeses include:
- Mozzarella – We use it to make fathead dough, and things like keto pierogis and pizza!
For more inspiration, check out our post on How to Make a Keto Cheese Board!
Heavy Cream FAQs
What is the Difference Between Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream?
Heavy cream vs whipping cream! There isn’t much difference between them.
Just 6% milk fat differentiates the two. Heavy cream has more fat and weighs in at 36% fat, while whipping cream only contains 30% fat.
You might also find heavy cream labeled “heavy whipping cream”. And in the keto world, it’s commonly abbreviated as HWC!
Sometimes whipping cream is labeled “light whipping cream”.
What Can I Substitute for Heavy Whipping Cream?
If you’ve ever wondered what you can use instead of heavy cream, we have a few different ideas for you!
Use any of the following instead of 1 cup of heavy whipping cream:
- Coconut Cream: Substitute 1:1 for heavy cream. And you can also whip coconut cream!
- Butter + Milk: Mix 3/4 cup milk with 1/4 cup melted butter.
- Butter + Half and Half: Combine 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons half and half with 2 tablespoons melted butter.
- The Vegan Version – Oil + Nut Milk: Mix 2/3 cup almond or cashew milk with 1/3 cup olive oil or avocado oil.
How Many Carbs Are in Heavy Whipping Cream?
Each 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream has approximately 0.375g of carbohydrates.
How Do You Whip Heavy Cream?
- Pour heavy whipping cream into a cold bowl.
- Add flavorings and sweeteners if desired.
- Use a handheld electric mixer to beat on high for 60 to 90 seconds until stiff peaks form.
Alternatively, you can whip heavy cream by hand, but it will take much longer!
What is the Nutrition Information for Heavy Cream?
Per 100g, heavy cream (aka heavy whipping cream) has the following nutrition information:
- 2.7g carbs
- 36.1g fat
- 2.8g protein
How Do You Make Butter?
From All Recipes: “Take 3/4 heavy whipping cream, pour cream into a mason jar and screw on the lid. Shake jar until butter forms a soft lump, 15 to 20 minutes. Continue to shake until buttermilk separates out of the lump and the jar contains a solid lump of butter and liquid buttermilk. Pour contents of the jar into a fine mesh strainer and strain out the buttermilk, leaving the solid butter. Remove the lump of butter and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until needed.”
What Can I Substitute for Butter?
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Greek yogurt
What is the Nutrition Information for Butter?
Per 1/2 cup (10g), butter has the following nutrition information:
- 0.1g carbs
- 81.1g fat
- 0.9g protein
Here’s a fun fact: clarified butter and ghee are not the same. Mind blown!
Clarified butter is also know as drawn butter. Clarified butter is what is left over after the milk solids and water are removed.
What is the difference between ghee and clarified butter? Cooking time. Ghee is cooked longer than clarified butter. So all ghee is a type of clarified butter, but not all clarified butter is ghee!
When making ghee, an extended cooking time removes all of the moisture from the butterfat and browns the milk solids. This gives ghee it’s distinctively nutty taste. Milk solids are then strained out, and you’re left with liquid gold aka ghee.
Ghee vs Butter
What is Ghee?
Butter is approximately 80% fat and 20% water. Ghee is 100% fat.
How Do You Make Ghee From Butter?
Ghee is made from heating butter and allowing the liquid butter fat and milk portion of the butter to separate from the fat. The milk solids float to the top.
If you cook it long enough, the milk will caramelize and become solid. Once you remove the milk solids, the remaining oil is ghee.
Ghee is popular in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine because of its rich nutty flavor. For example, it’s delicious in one of our favorite low carb Indian recipes: butter chicken! (And if you’re like us and can’t get enough Indian food, take a look at our article with our 15 favorite low carb Indian recipes!)
Is Ghee Dairy Free?
Ghee is made from butter, which is made from milk. Ghee is not dairy free; however, it is lactose free.
What is the Nutrition Information for Ghee?
Per 1 tablespoon, ghee has the following nutrition information:
- 0g carbs
- 13g fat
- 0g protein
- Ghee is more calorie dense than butter. Ghee has about 120 calories per tablespoon while butter has about 105 calories per tablespoon.
- Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter, so it doesn’t oxidize as easily (485F vs 350F).
- Ghee is lactose-free, which is good if you have if you have dairy allergies or sensitivities.
- Ghee has a longer shelf life than butter.
- Something fun I learned while writing this post, Ghee is also know as liquid gold.
Cream Cheese FAQs
What is Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is a mild-tasting fresh cheese. It’s soft and usually has a spread-able consistency and a slightly tangy flavor.
Cream cheese is similar to Fromage Blanc, which is a homemade cultured soft cheese made from milk, rennet, and a mesophilic culture.
What Can I Substitute for Cream Cheese?
The texture will be slightly different, but a good alternative is to puree cottage cheese and then strain over night with cheese cloth. You can also do the same with full-fat plain yogurt. You can also add butter or cream to either of the mixtures above to add in more fat.
Additionally, in some recipes you can substitute pureed ricotta cheese or famers cheese for cream cheese.
Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?
You can freeze cream cheese, but it does change the texture a bit. Once it’s thawed the cream cheese is a little crumbly and not as smooth.
How Do You Soften Cream Cheese?
No worries if you forget to take out cream cheese and let it come to room temperature!
Instead of waiting an hour for it to soften, take the 8 ounce block of cream cheese out of it’s foil and place it in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Then microwave it for 15 seconds on high, making sure not to cook it too long.
How Many Calories Are in Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese has 50 calories per tablespoon.
How Do You Make Cream Cheese?
To make cream cheese, you’ll need cream (preferably raw), whole milk (raw if possible), a mesophilic starter culture, salt, and cheese cloth.
- Place cream and milk in a glass container. Stir in the mesophilic starter culture.
- Loosely cover and let set out on your counter top for about 12 hours.
- Once it looks like yogurt, pour the mixture through the cheese cloth and into a large bowl.
- Let it drain for another 12 or so hours to dry out.
- Once it has dried out, take it out of the cheese cloth and season with salt or other seasonings if desired.
What is the Nutrition Information for Cream Cheese?
Per 100g, cream cheese has the following nutrition information:
- 5.5g carbs
- 34.4g fat
- 6.2g protein
Eggs and Mayo
Neither eggs nor mayo are dairy, but there’s a common misconception that eggs (and therefore mayo, which contains eggs) are dairy products. Read on to find out more!
Are Eggs Dairy?
We all know that eggs are usually located in the dairy aisle in the grocery store. But get ready to have your mind blown again.
Eggs are not dairy.
Dairy is defined as milk and foods that are made from the milk (such as cream, cheese, butter, yogurt, etc.) of mammals, such as cows, goats, sheep, etc.
On the other hand, eggs are laid by birds, such as chickens and ducks.
So why are we talking abut eggs in an article about dairy? Because they’re frequently found in the dairy aisle at the grocery store, many people mistakenly think that eggs are dairy. They are not.
You can read more about eggs and dairy on Healthline.
Are Eggs Keto?
Although eggs aren’t dairy, eggs are definitely keto! Eggs are naturally low-carb, high-fat, and a decent source of protein. If possible, look for pasture-raised eggs.
Is Mayo Dairy?
Mayonnaise is an emulsification of eggs, oil, and vinegar (or lemon juice). Mayo doesn’t contain milk or products that are derived from milk. Yes, mayo does contain eggs, but eggs are not dairy. Therefore, mayo is not a dairy product.
However, mayo is delicious keto condiment, and it’s perfect if you need to up your fats on a keto diet. Look for a mayo that is made with a healthy fat, such as avocado oil mayonnaise.
If you want to know more about which foods are keto friendly, check out our article Keto Shopping List – Beginner Keto Grocery List Guide.