Alabama: Dairy-Free in the Heart of Dixie

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Last Update in September 2021! We’ve created this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, ice cream shops, and stores in Alabama that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!) that’s divided into restaurants & shops by city (first) and major chains found throughout the state (second). And we’ve started a section for specialty dairy-free foods produced in this state.

We Update Continuously! You can ignore the original date on this post going forward. We update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new recommendation, change, or closure.

Guide to Recommended Restaurants for Dairy-Free Diners in Alabama (cafes, bistros, ice cream shops, bakeries, etc). Includes gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and other dietary notes.Photo: Big Spoon Creamery, Birmingham, Alabama

Dairy-Free Alabama: Recommended Restaurants & Shops

Classic Alabama cuisine includes a lot of golden-fried and butter-enhanced dishes, but they do have a few local favorites that are often dairy-free. Look for boiled peanuts, Southern iced tea, crawfish, and all types of barbecued meats.

We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city and then by the restaurant or shop name. For large chains with locations throughout the state, see the Major Restaurant & Grocery Chains section below. We have dedicated posts with dairy-free details for many of the big guys.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Auburn

  • Freeze Yogurt Bar – This little shop offers a creamy vegan coconut milk frozen yogurt flavor plus sorbets. They also have an allergy-friendly array of toppings that includes Surf Sweets, Let’s Do Organic, and vegan Grateful Grahams.
  • I Love Juice Bar ⭐️ – They blend dairy-free smoothies, acai bowls, and smoothie bowls, offer a range of juices and healthy shots, have overnight oats, and also serve vegan-friendly soups.

Birmingham

  • Bay Leaf Indian Cuisine – We’re waiting to hear back from this restaurant on their dairy-free accommodations. (Recommended by Kelsey!)
  • Big Spoon Creamery ⭐️ – This Avondale shop churns creamy dairy-free ice cream (made with coconut milk) and sorbets. They also whip up vegan milkshakes. (Recommended by Kelsey!)
  • Cookie Dough Magic – Ask for sample! They serve a Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough  that’s kept off of the serving bar to help prevent cross contamination. (Recommended by Kelsey!)
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – See our Jeni’s Dairy-Free Guide for full details.
  • Seasons 52 ⭐️ – This is actually a nice restaurant chain, but they only have one location in Alabama. They cater extensively to special diet needs.
  • Steel City Pops – Their all-natural fruit pops are vegan, made with simple ingredients, and sweetened with organic sugar. We’ve been told they take cross-contamination seriously with their dairy-free flavors.
  • Sunrise Baking Company ⭐️ – This is a gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free bakery with a healthy array of cookies, muffins, cupcakes, granola, and more. They don’t have a storefront, but do have local pickup available.
  • The Thirsty Donkey – They have vegan items labeled on the menu, including some specialty dishes made with vegan alternatives. All of their breads are vegan, so additional items can easily be ordered dairy-free. (Recommended by Kelsey!)

Bluff Park

  • The Joyful Food Co ⭐️ – Everything at this local shop is gluten-free and paleo-friendly, and it’s mostly dairy-free. They use ghee in some items. They offer an array of baked goods, fresh meals, and local items, and offer online ordering and local delivery.

Fairhope

  • The Sunflower Cafe – Located next door to Fairhope Health Foods, this casual healthy restaurant caters to people with various diet restrictions. They label vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free (not dairy-free) right on the menu, and most menu items can be made dairy-free on request. Their menu covers an eclectic mix of cravings and they do serve Sunday brunch.
  • The Yard Milkshake Bar – This growing chain serves ridiculously indulgent milkshakes, and they have vegan options on their menu. We spotted this crazy chocolate concoction made with oat milk ice cream, chocolate soymilk, dairy-free whip, and vegan cookies. You can also build your own shake. They usually have a couple creamy dairy-free ice cream flavors available.

Daphne

  • Whit’s Frozen Custard – This ice cream chain now has several vegan-friendly stores, including the one in this city. They’re now churning vegan custard that’s made with gluten-free oat milk or cultured coconut milk. The flavors can vary, and are sold in pints or by the scoop, and dairy-free cones and toppings are available.

Gulf Shores

  • Lucy Buffet’s Lulu’s ⭐️ – Yes, this is Warren Buffet’s sister! Which explains why you will only find locations in a few touristy coastal towns. They have full allergen and special diet menus for Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Seafood Free, and Vegan guests. The dairy-free menu is filled with seafood, big ole’ salads, tropical sides, hamburgers, sandwiches, and more.
  • The Yard Milkshake Bar – This growing chain serves ridiculously indulgent milkshakes, and they have vegan options on their menu. We spotted this crazy chocolate concoction made with oat milk ice cream, chocolate soymilk, dairy-free whip, and vegan cookies. You can also build your own shake. They usually have a couple creamy dairy-free ice cream flavors available.

Homewood

  • Farm Bowl + Juice Co. ⭐️ – This vibrant Alabama spot has an entirely dairy-free and gluten-free menu. They serve acai bowls, oatmeal bowls,  smoothies, cold-pressed juices, wellness shots and coffee. They even use vegan protein, offer almond milk and coconut milk, and have a pint-sized kids menu.

Hoover

  • Brixx Wood Fired Pizza – This is a popular regional chain that offers dairy-free cheese alternative at no extra charge! In fact, their classic pizza crust and sauce are vegan, and they can make any veggie pizza vegan. Their gluten-free pizza dough is also dairy-free, but it contains egg. They also have a fantastic allergen list. It tells you the specific items with dairy AND the items that contain dairy even when you hold the cheese.
  • Clean Juice – They make their own cold-pressed cashew milks and offer dairy-free acai bowls, smoothie bowls, smoothies, toasts, and some other eats. Please note that their flatbread wraps (the bread itself) contain dairy, but all other menu items can be ordered dairy-free by omitting the cheese or substituting vegan protein for the whey protein (in the proteins smoothies).

Huntsville

  • Alchemy at the Camp – This coffee house slash breakfast and lunch spot goes above and beyond with dairy-free, vegan, and paleo options. They even offer dairy-free cream cheese, vegan pastries, oat milk, nut milk, and an array of healthy meals.
  • Honest Coffee – Their menus include dairy-free acai bowls (with gluten-free granola on request) and several vegan-friendly mains, like a breakfast burrito and “lox” bagel. They offer dairy-free cream cheese, vegan bread, and vegan salad dressing, so most of their lunch and dinner items can be made dairy-free. And for your coffee, they have house-made dairy-free coconut almond milk and mocha syrup.
  • Mason Dixon Bakery & Cafe ⭐️ – This is a gluten-free bakery and bistro that was started by a doctor with celiac disease. They have dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan, and paleo labels on their expansive menu. You can visit in store or order online.
  • Rockabilly Bakery – Come here for the cafe, consider ordering a custom vegan cake. Their menu boasts vegan burritos with cashew cheese and smoothies that can all be made dairy-free. They have dairy-free yogurt, plant-based protein, almond milk, and coconut milk available. You might need to veer your eyes away from the baked goods (most contain dairy), but you can place an order for several different vegan desserts.
  • Steel City Pops – Their all-natural fruit pops are vegan, made with simple ingredients, and sweetened with organic sugar. We’ve been told they take cross-contamination seriously with their dairy-free flavors.
  • Tribal Kombucha – If you’re looking for a different dining experience in Huntsville, Alabama, this might be your place. In addition to kombucha on tap, they have dairy-free kombucha floats (made with So Delicious) and raw vegan cakes. Keep an eye out for pop-up days where healthy (often vegan) food trucks stop by.

Lillian

  • D’s Sweets Bakery – This is a little bakery, but they try to offer dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and paleo options daily. They also take orders for dairy-free cakes and cupcakes.

Madison

  • Liberated Specialty Foods – This bakery and natural food company caters to all types of dietary needs, including paleo, SCD, GAPS, and low FODMAP. This isn’t a completely dairy-fee shop, but they do have a fairly big selection, including cinnamon rolls, cookies, and more.
  • Sweet Charlie’s – This rolled ice cream chain offers a dairy-free and vegan base that you can customize with various flavor and add-in options or even enjoy as a “milkshake.”
  • The Yard Milkshake Bar – This growing chain serves ridiculously indulgent milkshakes, and they have vegan options on their menu. We spotted this crazy chocolate concoction made with oat milk ice cream, chocolate soymilk, dairy-free whip, and vegan cookies. You can also build your own shake. They usually have a couple creamy dairy-free ice cream flavors available.

Mobile

  • The Salad Station – If you’re a build-your-own salad fan, then this is a must-visit chain. About half of their dressings are dairy-free, and they have a plethora of toppings to choose from.

Orange Beach

  • Angry Crab Shack – Southern-style seafood is at your dairy-free fingertips at this fledgling franchise. They offer an allergen chart with quite a few dairy-free options. Their seafood boils are all on limits with water-based sauces (instead of butter), and they also have some dairy-free po’boys, salads, fish & chips, gator nuggets, and chicken nuggets, for less adventurous eaters.

Prattville

  • Sweet Charlie’s – This rolled ice cream chain offers a dairy-free and vegan base that you can customize with various flavor and add-in options or even enjoy as a “milkshake.”

Tuscaloosa

  • I Love Juice Bar ⭐️ – They blend dairy-free smoothies, acai bowls, and smoothie bowls, offer a range of juices and healthy shots, have overnight oats, and also serve vegan-friendly soups.
  • Steel City Pops – Their all-natural fruit pops are vegan, made with simple ingredients, and sweetened with organic sugar. We’ve been told they take cross-contamination seriously with their dairy-free flavors.

Guide to Recommended Restaurants for Dairy-Free Diners in Alabama (cafes, bistros, ice cream shops, bakeries, etc). Includes gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and other dietary notes.Photo: Tribal Kombucha, Huntsville, Alabama

Restaurant & Grocery Chains found throughout Alabama

Some recommended restaurant and store chains are getting too big for our city listing britches. They have many locations, or are rapidly growing, and you might stumble across them in a number of towns in this state. Click on them for more dairy-free details.

Local Dairy-Free Food & Drink Producers in Alabama

These dairy-free friendly companies don’t have their own retail location, but are in Alabama. So you have a good chance of finding their products at grocery stores, restaurants, and/or other shops in this state. Keep an eye out!

We haven’t learned of any yet, but will add them as we find them!

Guide to Recommended Restaurants for Dairy-Free Diners in Alabama (cafes, bistros, ice cream shops, bakeries, etc). Includes gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and other dietary notes.Photo: Alchemy at the Camp, Huntsville, Alabama

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

Go Dairy Free 2nd Edition - The Ultimate Guide and Cookbook for Dairy-Free Living with Over 250 Recipes!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

4 Comments

  1. Eli’s Jerusalem Restaurant in Birmingham does not use dairy in their menu items except for their desserts! Awesome food with lots of choices.

  2. Click through the link! It goes to our dairy-free guide for Zaxby’s with full details on menu items, allergen disclaimer, etc. They have quite a few menu items made without dairy and have been recommended by many readers. Note, these are chains recommended for dairy-free “options,” they are not purely dairy-free restaurants.

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