Updated for 2018! A decade ago, a reader named Mary emailed to ask me about dairy-free coffee creamer options. When I first posted this Q&A, there were just a few options on the market. Now there are about two dozen to choose from! This list includes ALL of the dairy-free creamers we’ve found, and we update it regularly.
Q: Mary – As vegetarians, our greatest challenge to becoming vegan is that we deeply enjoy our morning ritual of traditional European coffees and Australian “flat whites” (made with organic milk). Our attempts at milk substitutes have not been successful. We have tried hemp, oat, soy, and almond milks — all to no avail. We cannot seem capture the mellow flavor enhancement nor the creamy texture that milk dilution provides our coffee. And pure coconut milk as a “milk for coffee” substitute also has not worked for us – it just makes the coffee oily. Are there any other potentially viable options for dairy free coffee creamer out there that we simply have not tried yet?
A: Alisa – Yes! Over the years, I’ve researched brands, taste-tested numerous options, and pooled opinions from many coffee drinking friends to give you the best vegan and dairy free coffee creamer alternatives available to date. But because coffee creamer seems to be a very personal thing, this dairy-free creamer list offers different tastes and consistencies for all – try them out to see which one is the holy grail for your morning cup of joe.
Dairy-Free vs Non-Dairy
First, it’s important to make a quick distinction. Many coffee creamers that are labeled as “Non-Dairy” are not actually dairy-free by ingredients. With foods such as whipped topping and creamers the term non-dairy may be used if the product contains 0.5% or less milk by weight – usually in the form of casein / caseinates (reference: Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook). These products may be okay for many lactose intolerant individuals, but could still be a problem for people who are allergic / sensitive to milk (casein is the top allergenic protein within milk) and for those seeking truly dairy-free or vegan products.
The following dairy-free creamer suggestions do not contain any dairy in the ingredients (casein, whey, lactose, etc.), but as with all products, do your homework if milk cross-contamination is a concern for you. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, many dairy alternatives are made (or packaged) in shared facilities or on shared lines with their dairy-based counterparts.
Milk Alternatives: Maybe for Some
I have heard reports from many people who simply enjoy almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk beverage, or just a touch of regular, full-fat coconut milk in their coffee. Though these may be rich enough, milk alternatives frequently separate in hot liquids and they don’t have the same mouth feel as commercially made creamers. For some coffee lovers this is not a problem, but for others like Mary, dairy-free creamers have been created.
Dairy Free Coffee Creamer: Liquid – Sold Refrigerated
This flagship dairy free coffee creamer is so popular that it comes in standard pints and larger quart sizes, too! Available in the flavors you see below, this beloved product line recently received a carrageenan-free formula overhaul. You’ll have to taste-test it to see if the new blend meets with your standards, but we thought it added a nice splash of flavor. Like most of the others on this list, it is vegan and soy-free, but this one is also tree nut-free. Updated review coming soon!
I’m a big almond fan, so I liked the flavor of this mellow dairy free coffee creamer. It wasn’t as thick as expected, but this somewhat rich dairy alternative does add body and a smooth finish the second it submerges into a hot beverage. This vegan creamer has always been soy-free and carrageenan-free, too. But it’s only sold in quart sizes. For more details, enjoy our Full Review of So Delicious Almond Milk Creamer.
These little bottles of light cream come in Original and a sweeter Vanilla. Unlike most brands, these are top allergen-free, and they work wonderfully in recipes. They don’t “break” when the heat is on. You can read more about this product in my full review.
A recent formula change to make this dairy free coffee creamer even creamier and carrageenan-free has many former fans up in arms. We’ll see what happens with the shakeout. In the meantime, this is an option that is made without nuts, is non-GMO verified and made with whole soy (not isolates) and is pretty easy to locate chilled in stores. It’s sold in pint and quart packages in Original, Vanilla, and Hazelnut.
Silk Almond Creamer (refrigerated) – Available in enticing Vanilla, Hazelnut, Sweet & Creamy (not pictured), and Caramel flavors, this newer option from Silk is soy-free, carrageenan-free, and starting off with rave reviews. All four are extremely low in fat (0 to 1 g per tablespoon) and sweetened with cane sugar.
These aren’t yet available for consumers to purchase, but you might spot them at some coffee shops and restaurants. It wouldn’t hurt to ask a favorite spot to order some in either, since they are available wholesale. Interestingly enough, these are not nut- or soy-based, like their other creamers. They’re made with an oil emulsion and seem to be top allergen free. Here is the ingredient list: filtered water, cane sugar, sunflower oil, acacia gum, contains 2% or less DF: natural flavor, xanthan gum, sea salt.
You might see several types of Califia creamers in the refrigerated section, but the bottles must be refrigerated at all times. See the next section for their shelf-stable options. These refrigerated bottles come in several flavors, including some seasonal options. But year round you can enjoy Unsweetened, Vanilla, Hazelnut, Pecan Caramel, Mexican Cocoa, Irish Creme, and Dulce de Leche.
This lesser known option has actually been around for quite a while and is reportedly the only “made with organic soymilk” creamer. It’s available only in Original, and though not as well-distributed as the other dairy-free creamers, you may stumble across it in stores.
Though it’s far from virtuous in terms of ingredients (corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, soy protein isolate and more), this option is likely to be more like other non-dairy creamers you are used to, but it is kosher pareve and thus dairy-free. Available in Original and Fat Free.
Coffee-mate has finally emerged with dairy-free options. All fall under their Natural Bliss line, and they come in a few appealing flavors. These appear to be carrageenan-free and vegan, and are enriched with pea protein. See Sarah’s full review for more details.
This beloved brand added a refrigerated line on top of their shelf-stable line. You can read more on Nutpods in the shelf-stable section that follows. The refrigerated versions come in the same great, everyday flavors, and are also unsweetened.
This old-school creamer is made by the kosher company, Kayco. It is dairy-free and certified kosher parve. It is sold frozen, but you defrost it in the refrigerator and shake before using. This brand is primarily sold in major grocers in the U.S.
Carla B. shared this brand with us via Facebook, “You forgot the old standby, Mocha Mix. Totally full of junk and chemicals (probably very similar ingredients to the Rich brand creamer), but I have to admit, it tastes more like half and half than any of the other dairy-free creamers I’ve tried.” According to the ingredients, and the kosher pareve labeling, it is dairy-free (and therefore casein-free).
Store Brands of Refrigerated Dairy-Free Coffee Creamer
Some are getting in on the action with OEM versions of dairy free coffee creamer – another company such as So Delicious or Silk produces the dairy-free creamer, but the store brand’s label is affixed. Such is the case with Trader Joe’s current coconut creamer and we have seen some other stores get in on the action – maybe you have seen one?
Dairy Free Coffee Creamer: Liquid – Sold Shelf-Stable
Although the following options are sold un-refrigerated, they do need to be refrigerated once open.
Of those that we’ve sampled to date, Nutpods is our personal top choice for dairy free coffee creamer. It submerses beautifully for that full, lightly creamy mouthfeel and all flavors are unsweetened, so you can sweeten for your mood that day using whatever sugar or sugar alternative that you choose. The ingredients are quite pure and the product is soy-free, certified gluten-free, non-GMO verified and made with a base of almonds and coconut. For more details, enjoy our Full Review of Nutpods.
We loved this product on launch, but a package and formula redesign has reportedly changed this dairy-free creamer notably. Their ingredients include both almond and coconut cream, but this product is carrageenan-free, soy-free, certified kosher parve, and it comes in 4 vegan flavors: Unsweetened, Vanilla, Hazelnut and Pecan Caramel. They also have a Barista Blend. Though it is of the prior formula (we will update!), you can still get details and reader comments on the new formula via our Full Review of Califia Farms Creamer. These creamers are reportedly shelf stable until opened, but they are usually sold in the refrigerated section.
In smaller pints, the newer Better Half products appears similar to the company’s almondmilk creamers in ingredients, but they are a little richer with just a smidge higher fat content. Some may prefer this added touch of indulgence for their dairy free coffee creamer. They’re available in Original, Unsweetened, Vanilla, and Hazelnut. Like the Califia Creamers just above, these are reportedly shelf stable until opened, but are often sold refrigerated.
The Barista-style is very similar to their main line of coconut milk creamers in ingredients. However, it has pea protein added, which presumably adds a little more body, and it’s shelf-stable so you can stock up! We’ve seen it in Original and French Vanilla. For some notes on ideas for using it, see my Post of So Delicious Barista-Style.
I couldn’t find them on their website, but Pacific Foods makes a “Barista” line for coffee shops and food service that you can buy online via Amazon. They offer soy-, coconut-, and almond-based options that are reportedly perfect for making spot-on lattes. These do contain carrageenan, but the almond and coconut versions appear to be made without soy.
Uniquely bottled like salad dressings, these creamers are promoted as sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free and more, and come in five enticing flavors: Original Cream, Sweet Cream, Mocha, Hazelnut, and French Vanilla. Sound to good to be true? It might be, or it might not. Overall, they get pretty strong reviews, with a few who weren’t pleased, naturally. But if you are looking for a healthier dairy free coffee creamer, this may not be it. The ingredients include your typical barrage of non-dairy creamer chemicals and they do contain carrageenan and are sweetened with sucralose.
This is a 100% natural dairy-free creamer made purely from coconuts: coconut water, coconut milk, and coconut sugar. No added tap water, cane sugar or preservatives (such as dipotassium phosphate) are used. Rather than chemicals, pure cream is used for richness.
Dairy Free Coffee Creamer: Powder – Sold Shelf-Stable
Powdered non-dairy creamer that is truly dairy-free can seem impossible to find, but this one is certified kosher parve (OU) and vegan. It’s made with just a few ingredients, which unfortunately include titanium dioxide and carrageenan. I would check the reviews before deciding.
At last, a truly dairy-free powdered creamer that’s also free of funny business. Yes, it’s carrageenan-free and made without titanium dioxide or caseinates (milk proteins). It provides a lightly creamy, full-bodied consistency but a very mild taste that is neither overly sweet nor strongly coconut. You can read my full review here.
This is a unique, ready-to-go coffee with creamer concept. It is an instant Columbian coffee with instant powdered dairy-free coconut creamer all in one! The ingredients aren’t too shabby and it comes in either multi-serve canisters or single-serve to-go cups (just add hot water, put the lid on and go). They have sweetened and unsweetened available, and also offer mocha and tea varieties.
This is a great option for purists on the go. It comes in 6 varieties, sweetened and unsweetened, and all are vegan and paleo. The sweetened varieties use coconut sugar, and the ingredient list is simple and legible. You can read Leah’s full review here.
I’m not completely sure what the “Superfood” aspect is, but this is a simple “clean” dairy-free coffee creamer in terms of ingredients. It comes in Original, Unsweetened, Tumeric, and Cacao. They used dried coconut nectar for sweetening.
This option isn’t vegan, but it is dairy-free. The coconut milk powder base is spiked with collagen peptides, bamboo shoot extract, and acacia fiber. It comes in Coconut, Gingerbread, and Vanilla flavors. And each flavor can be purchased in a canister or single-serve packets.
Available in the Kroger grocery store chains, this powdered brand is available in canisters and single serve packets in Original and Vanilla flavors. It’s coconut cream-based, and free of dairy, including caseinate!
Flavorings: Dairy-Free Buyer Beware
You may be surprised to learn that some flavoring syrups actually contain dairy. They might look like pure sugar, but dairy derivatives are used in a handful of varieties. So be sure to check the ingredients carefully. The most popular brand, Torani, offers a handy allergen chart.
Likewise, some flavored versions of those beloved Keurig K-Cups may contain milk protein. Most are dairy-free, but not all, so check! It appears that Crazy Cups, which come in many fun flavors, are vegan, kosher pareve and compatible with Keurig. But of course, always check the ingredients to verify.
What’s Your Favorite Dairy Free Coffee Creamer? Leave a Comment!
For more dairy-free Q&A topics, see our Ask Alisa Page. Alisa Fleming is the founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. and Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks & Sweets. In addition to her own dairy-free lifestyle, Alisa has experience in catering to the needs of various special diets, including gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, vegan, and multiple food allergies. Need Go Dairy Free now? Order the E-Book for immediate delivery or download it to your Kindle.