Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Welcome to our big lactose-free cheese test 2021. Here we present all the lactose-free cheeses we have tested in detail. We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best lactose-free cheese for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy lactose-free cheese.




Summary

  • Lactose-free cheese contains no lactose and is therefore suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
  • You can choose between three different types of lactose-free cheese: lactose-free through maturation, through the addition of lactase and through substitute products.
  • Lactose-free cheese gives you the opportunity to eat cheese and try out many recipes despite your intolerance.

The Best Lactose-free Cheese: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying lactose-free cheese

What is lactose-free cheese?

Almost 75% of the entire world population is lactose intolerant. Very few countries have a population that is virtually immune to lactose intolerance. In Asia, on the other hand, almost every adult is lactose intolerant.

Käse und Brot

Cheese is a dairy product. Nevertheless, nowadays you can find a wide range of cheese products that are lactose-free. (Image source: pexels.com / NastyaSensei Sens)

Lactose is the milk sugar found in all dairy products such as yoghurt or sour cream. Lactose-free products are then correspondingly dairy products that do not contain lactose. These products are therefore suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

Did you know that milk was never intended for adults?

The milk of cows, for example, is actually meant for their calves, just as we humans feed our babies with mother's milk. It was only 7500 years ago that humans developed the enzyme lactase to be able to tolerate milk. This ensured the survival of humans, because there were practically always animals that gave milk.

There is also cheese that is lactose-free. In the decision section, we explain what options you have for enjoying lactose-free cheese.

Is lactose-free cheese vegan?

Basically, cheese is a product made from milk, so lactose-free cheese is not vegan. Many cheeses are not even vegetarian, because rennet is often used in the production of cheese. This comes from calves' stomachs.

However, there are substitutes for cheese that are lactose-free, vegetarian and vegan. These are made from almonds, soy products and other products.

What does lactose-free cheese taste like?

Later you will see that some cheeses are naturally lactose-free. These taste just like cheese. Lactose-free cheese is usually cheese that has been matured for a longer period of time. With this type of cheese, the taste is usually a little more tart and strong.

Cheese substitutes vary greatly in taste. Often the consistency and taste are not comparable to normal cheese. It all depends on your taste.

Our tip: Simply try out the substitute products.

When should I switch to lactose-free cheese?

You should use lactose-free cheese if you are lactose intolerant or notice that you have problems with dairy products. If you generally like to avoid animal products, you can use substitute products.

Cheese production is increasingly dubbed as ethically questionable, because in most cases milk production is a traumatic experience for cows due to the mass farms.

The term "lactose-free" does not include a legal rule that applies to all foods. But in the case of cheese, there is a basic rule: if the cheese contains less than 0.1 g of lactose per 100g, it is considered lactose-free. However, there must also be a corresponding label.

How much does lactose-free cheese cost?

Due to the various alternatives and options for enjoying lactose-free cheese, the prices for lactose-free cheese also vary greatly. We have put together a table for you here. This will give you a good overview of the different prices.

Lactose-free cheese price
Lactose-free through maturation 3 to 5 € per 100g
Lactose-free through addition of lactase 1 to 3 € per 100g
Lactose-free through substitutes 2 to 6 € per 100g

Where can I buy lactose-free cheese?

Basically, you can buy lactose-free cheese anywhere. If you want something very specific, the search will of course be a bit more detailed. You can often buy all kinds of lactose-free cheese in normal supermarkets.

Discounters also have a growing selection of substitute products.

On the internet, of course, there are ways to buy lactose-free cheese. Whether through general websites, such as Amazon, or through the manufacturer's own sites. There's a lot to choose from, so you can lose track of what you're looking for.

Are there alternatives to lactose-free cheese?

In addition to lactose-free cheese, there are also low-lactose cheeses. These are mostly soft cheeses that contain only a small amount of lactose. However, if you have a severe lactose intolerance, you cannot eat low-lactose cheese because it still contains too much lactose. Otherwise, we will give you enough alternatives in the decision section, so there should be something for everyone.

Did you know that babies naturally have the enzyme lactase? This enables them to break down the lactose in their mother's milk. From the age of 5, in certain cases this enzyme disappears and lactose intolerance develops.

Healthy living is in vogue and so, of course, are all products that are considered healthy. Since lactose-free products belong to this category, the market is booming.

As long as you are not lactose intolerant, you can eat products that contain lactose - a little lactose never hurt anyone.

Decision: What types of lactose-free cheese are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, we distinguish between these types of lactose-free cheese:

  • Lactose-free cheese through natural ripening
  • Lactose-free cheese through the addition of lactase
  • Lactose-free cheese from substitute products

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the best lactose-free cheese for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of naturally matured lactose-free cheese?

In fact, there are normal cheeses that are naturally lactose-free. The cheeses that have a long ripening phase are almost lactose-free. The ripening process splits the milk sugar, i.e. the lactose.

Advantages
  • Cheese as you know it
  • Large selection
  • No chemical additives
Disadvantages
  • Not vegan/vegetarian
  • Cheese production ethically questionable

The following cheeses are not lactose-free:

Type of cheese Approximate lactose content
Mozzarella 0.2g - 6g / 100g
Feta 0.2g - 6.2g / 100g
Cream cheese 2.0g - 3.8g / 100g
Mascarpone 2.5g / 100g
Cottage cheese 3.3g / 100g
Cottage cheese 4g / 100g

If you're not sure about your purchase, you can also remember the rule of thumb: If a cheese has 0.0 g of carbohydrates, it is lactose-free. Lactose-free cheeses (with a lactose content of 0.1%) include Parmesan, Gouda, Edam and Bergkäse.

What distinguishes lactose-free cheese by the addition of lactase and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

There are often extra lactose-free products, including cheeses that would actually not be lactose-free by nature and contain a high level of lactose. How do they then become lactose-free products?

Advantages
  • No residual lactose content
  • Allows the enjoyment of cheeses that would not actually be lactose-free
Disadvantages
  • Taste and consistency often not comparable to normal cheese
  • Lactose-free does not occur naturally
  • Usually not vegan/vegetarian

Manufacturers add the enzyme lactase in the normal production process. This breaks down the lactose, making the product lactose-free. Lactase is found in every intestine and performs the same function there.

What distinguishes lactose-free cheese from substitute products and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

There are also lactose-free products that are made on a vegetable basis. These therefore do not contain any dairy products and are therefore 100% lactose-free.

Advantages
  • Natural cheese substitute
  • Vegan/vegetarian
Disadvantages
  • Taste and consistency often not comparable with normal cheese
  • There are only a few brands that produce something like this

Mostly these products are made from nuts, soy or similar. Especially for vegans and conscious people, the products are worth a lot, because they are not only made without animal products, but often also in organic quality.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate lactose-free cheese

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate lactose-free cheeses. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective product. In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Type of lactose-free
  • Cookability
  • Taste
  • Consistency
  • Additives

Below you can read what each criterion is about and find out why it makes sense for you to buy a product based on the criteria or not.

Type of lactose-free

This depends on your taste. Do you want the right cheese taste? Or would you rather play it safe and buy lactose-free products? Or do you want a vegan alternative? In the decision section, we explained the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. Now you need to know what you prefer or you can try it out.

Cookability

If you want to bake or cook with your cheese alternative, it is of course important that you can do so. So when buying, make sure that your needs are covered and that you can do everything you want to do.

Taste

Everyone has a different taste and every alternative of lactose-free cheese tastes different. Therefore, the purchase criterion of taste is up to you. You have to decide for yourself what you fancy.

Especially alternatives that are not naturally matured can differ greatly from the taste of a cheese.

Consistency

Do you want hard cheese? Or would you prefer a tasty Camembert? How about a spreadable cream cheese? Lactose-free cheese is also available in all consistencies. The consistency of a lactose-free cheese alternative made from substitutes or from the addition of lactase is often criticised. That's why you should find out about the consistency beforehand and read the reviews.

Additives

Whether it is rennet in normal cheese or chemical additives in substitute products - the addition of natural or unnatural additives is common practice in cheese production. If you want to eat consciously, you should definitely find out what has been added to your cheese alternative of choice.

Facts worth knowing about lactose-free cheese

Can you make lactose-free cheese yourself?

In fact, you can make lactose-free cheese yourself. All you need is lactose-free fresh milk (3.5% or more), salt and vinegar essence. This is how you produce a kind of mozzarella. Boil the milk with the salt in a pot. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vinegar essence. Stir a little and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then put a fine-mesh sieve in a bowl and a fine-mesh cloth in it. Pour the mixture into the sieve and close the cloth tightly.

This way you can press out the whey. Then leave the cheese in the cloth (twist the cloth tightly again) and in the whey for an hour. Now the cheese is actually ready. Take it out of the cloth and you have made your first lactose-free cheese. You can also leave it to mature for a while, which will make it even more aromatic. It is best to store the cheese in the whey.

Can I make cheese-leek soup with lactose-free cheese?

For a cheese and leek soup you need processed cheese. Processed cheese is not lactose-free due to natural ripening. Therefore, you will definitely need a substitute or a product that is lactose-free by adding lactase. If you are making cheese and leek soup with lactose-free processed cheese for the first time, try the cheese alternative first. It may not be as meltable as normal processed cheese.

Can lactose-free cheese be used to gratinate dishes?

You can create normal gratin dishes with lactose-free cheese alternatives. So there's not much in the way of your pizza, lasagne or potato gratin. The cheese may behave slightly differently. It may differ in the degree of melting and browning.

Can you bake a cheesecake with lactose-free cheese?

Yes, you can. Either you bake the cheesecake with lactose-free substitute products. However, the products may behave somewhat differently than real dairy products. Or you can do without the cheese component altogether. How about an avocado cheesecake, for example? It's vegan and lactose-free.

Image source: 123rf.com / 45955815

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