The Complete Guide to Making Plant-based Dairy Products at Home

People are reducing their consumption of dairy products for a number of reasons—health, ethics, environmental sustainability—but the surge in demand for plant-based dairy can be partially attributed to the increased availability of amazing alternatives that hit the market and recipe blogs every day.

A combination of desire, technology, and creativity has allowed for food manufacturers and home cooks to create nearly every variety of dairy product imaginable without the use of any animal products. Plant-based butter? Yep. Plant-based ricotta? Yep. What about plant-based condensed milk? You better believe it. We’ve assembled a list of blogger-inspired recipes so that you can recreate any of your favorite dairy products using only plant-based ingredients.

So, what are you waiting for?  Say bye-bye to black coffee, boring bagels, and dry nachos—our complete guide to making plant-based dairy products at home is here for the rescue!

Photo courtesy Foodie with Family

All-Purpose Cheese Sauce

Add richness, depth, and creaminess to any dish with this recipe for magic all-purpose cauliflower sauce from Foodie with Family. This simple-to-make sauce goes beautifully with Alfredo-style pasta sauce, biscuits and gravy, and macaroni and cheese. You can also mix in some spinach and diced artichoke hearts for a quick and creamy, plant-based dip.

Photo courtesy Nora Cooks


Making plant-based butter is quick and easy thanks to this recipe from Nora Cooks. Using ingredients like coconut oil, soy milk, apple cider vinegar, and coconut cream creates a product that’s smooth, creamy, and spreadable (at room temp).

Photo courtesy Shane and Simple


Buttermilk is a wonderful ingredient that can find a home in everything from biscuits and brownies to mashed potatoes and coffee cake, but there are very few non-dairy versions available for purchase. Thankfully, you can make your own vegan buttermilk with this recipe from Shane and Simple.

Photo courtesy Loving It Vegan

Condensed Milk

Many cuisines take advantage of condensed milk, using it in cakes, fudges, caramels, cookies, and coffees. Vegan options are not plentiful, but you can make your own version of the sweet stuff with this clever recipe for vegan condensed milk from Loving It Vegan.

Photo courtesy It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Cream Cheese

Plant-based eaters need something to shmear on their bagels, and while non-dairy cream cheese has been around for a couple of decades, this recipe for cashew cream cheese from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken is particularly scrumptious. Throw in some fresh herbs or some berries for more variety.

Photo courtesy The Simple Veganista

Heavy Cream

Another indispensable ingredient, heavy cream provides a silky richness to sweet and savory dishes. The Simple Veganista has an awesome recipe for plant-based heavy cream that you can use in soups, coffee, ice “cream,” or anything else that you think needs a bit of decadence. And the best part is it only calls for two ingredients…

Photo courtesy Kind Earth

Ice Cream

Creating a guiltless dairy-free “ice cream” in under five minutes is easy when you’re not using dairy products. This recipe for blueberry blender nice cream from Kind Earth calls for only three ingredients: frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, and a hint of vanilla extract. Throw them all in the blender and whir until creamy and smooth. Use different combinations of fruit and mix-ins to create new flavors that would make both Ben and Jerry jealous.

banana date smoothieMilk

Thank you, Food Matters, for creating this easy-to-use guide to making your own plant-based milk. With five different options, you’ll be sure to find one that suits your taste preferences. Once you’ve selected a favorite, splash it into oatmeal, coffee, or this banana date smoothie.

Photo courtesy Minimalist Baker


The creamy texture and mild flavor of ricotta cheese makes it a perfect addition to dips, pizza, and raviolis; and you’ll be happy to know that you can make a plant-based version of ricotta cheese with only five ingredients—thanks to the creativity of the Minimalist Baker.

Photo courtesy Veggies Don’t Bite

Sour Cream

This vegan version of sour cream from Veggies Don’t Bite utilizes both cashews and blanched slivered almonds, lime juice, and vinegar to create a condiment that’s both smooth and tangy. Add a dollop to your favorite nacho recipe or use to top a protein-packed lentil soup.

Whipped Cream

This is one of Meatless Monday’s favorite cooking hacks! By chilling (refrigerate, don’t freeze) a can of coconut cream, you can easily recreate the fluffy deliciousness of whipped cream—completely dairy free.

Photo courtesy Minimalist Baker

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan elevates anything from pastas and risottos to soup and roasted vegetables. Recreate the sharp umami flavor of Parmesan with Minimalist Baker’s combination of nutritional yeast, walnuts (or cashews), salt, and garlic powder. Give the mixture a couple of pulses in the food processor and you’re good to go. Nutritional yeast is also a good source of protein, antioxidants, and vitamin B12.