Dairy Free Options to Replace Cream Soups

If you’re looking to replace canned cream soups on a recipe, there are several options I’ve recommended. (Read this post to learn more.) 

However, all of the ideas I’ve thought of include dairy. What about those of you who need to avoid dairy? 

Shucks…I have no ideas. We’re very creamy and buttery at our house.

Our One Dish Meat and Potato Meal, which uses Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Never fear though – I have a whole lot of readers and they are all smart and full of ideas. I’ll just bet many of you have some experience with this and can chime in with some great suggestions.

So let’s hear it! What can you use in a recipe to replace Cream Soups that will be a healthy alternative but does not include dairy?


  1. says

    I don’t have any suggestions, but I’ll be keeping an eye on this. I’ve got some dairy-free friends and it would be nice to be able to make something they can eat when we do potlucks!


  2. says

    i make my own cream of mushroom soup using rice milk (unsweetened). my recipe still calls for butter (which i use) and olive oil, but i’m sure you could just use all olive oil.


  3. Teresa Yb. says

    I am so excited to see the responses here! I am dairy-free while nursing my baby, but I can have raw goat milk. That makes a nice white sauce for casseroles. However, the goat is dry until another kid is born. Now what?


    Jill Reply:

    I feel your pain, I too had to forego dairy while nursing my first born. It was so hard but absolutely worth it. It wasn’t until she was around 16 months that she could tolerate it and I was able to eat dairy again.


  4. Marianne P says

    I found a recipe for dairy-free cream of mushroom soup at this website: http://mustfollowrecipes.blogspot.com/2007/11/dairy-free-cream-of-mushroom-soup.html
    The recipe replaces the cow’s milk with either almond, soy or rice milk. I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s on my list of things to try ;-) – i would probably try it with almond milk.


    Sarah Reply:

    I have used this recipe. It was really tasty in green bean casserole. I usually make it with almond milk. It does use dairy free margarine and I haven’t found a good butter alternative other than dairy free margarine. We use Earth Balance brand margarine.


  5. LRC says

    usually making a roux (hot butter and flour and then adding broth and spices and bringing to a simmer) is all that is needed to create a thickening base. For those that can’t have butter, oil will work.

    I never buy cream of chicken soup – it’s just a thick, cooled roux full of preservatives!


  6. Kelly says

    It would depend on what you were making, but I imagine you could use coconut milk or cream. I use that when ever I am making Thai or Indian curries or soups and things.


  7. Erin says

    I would think that any dairy free milk would work to replace the milk. But to avoid some of the yucky ingredients in most store-bought versions (e.g. carrageenan) you’d have to make your own. As for replacing butter, seems that any other dairy-free fat would work, even coconut oil.


  8. Stephanie Klug says

    We are dairy free. I use coconut milk (from a can) if the sauce can be a bit sweet as that lends the most “cream” feel. You can also mix a bit of rice flour (we are also GF)with almond milk to thicken it as it cooks. Also we use ghee, which is clarified butter. The clarifying process takes out all the whey and casin and you are left with butter tasting oil. That works when nothing but the flavor of butter will do. In smoothies we use coconut water in place of milk or yogurt. In dips mayo works in place of sour cream. Whatever you do DON’T waste your money on the nondairy sour cream and cream cheese. They are terrible and expensive.


  9. says

    For casseroles I make this recipe for Brown Gravy from Happy Herbivore. It isn’t like regular gravy and taste delicious. I make it gluten-free by using brown rice flour. http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/vegan-brown-gravy/
    I often use it when I need a savory sauce, mushrooms can be added if desired.
    I use canned coconut milk in sweet.
    My whole household is dairy free and my son is gluten-free. I don’t miss dairy at all. I use rice milk or almond milk for all of my milk needs.


  10. Katherine says

    Honestly? We just skip any recipes that call for creamed soups. I used to have a book called “Country Beans” by Rita Bingham which had recipes for 3-minute non-dairy creamed soups made with bean flour but I gave the book away without trying the recipes. Maybe I should have tried one before giving it away……


    Laura Reply:

    Ha! Yes, I have exacty one recipe that I use that calls for Cream soup (the one pictured in this post). All others I have adapted and just use cream or sour cream. :)


    Katherine Reply:

    We can’t do the cream or sour cream either so I haven’t tried adapting any of them. But guess what showed up in today’s Allergy Free Wednesdays – a non-dairy cream of chicken soup that makes 2 cans worth. I might give this one a try. http://thericeoflife.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/homemade-cream-of-chicken-soup-dairy-free-gluten-free-soy-free/

    Unrelated – I made up your homemade taco seasoning in bulk and gave away mason jars of it for Christmas. Yum!


  11. Robyn Odegaard says

    I have used canned coconut milk, pureed (cooked) potato, and pureed white beans as substitutes. They have different flavors, so it’s nice to have some options to fit the recipe you’re making. You can always add a bit of broth or water to the potato or beans if they are too thick.


  12. Shelly says

    This is such a coincidence. Just last month, I experimented with with a casein-free version of your cream of mushroom soup so I could make casseroles and other recipes that call for creamed soup for my son. I used Earth Balance spread and unflavored almond milk instead of the butter and milk. After the soup cooled, I divided it between quart ziplock bags, I laid them flat in the freezer and froze for future use. The soup was a bit thinner than I hoped, but Robyn’s suggestions of the pureed potato or white beans sound like the perfect solution. By the way, I love your blog, Laura. I made your chicken noodle soup yesterday for my sick husband and your simple meat and cheese burritos for dinner tonight…delicious and healthy, too!


  13. Anita People's says

    My favorite milk replacement for cooking creams or gravy for non Asian/Indian foods is rice milk because it’s flavor mirrors that of milk, at least to my taste buds. Almond milk has a sweet aftertaste so I use it for desserts (or coconut milk.) I primarily use coconut oil but like using butter (we are not dairy sensitive) for those recipes that are old family favs like cinnamon rolls. I found that cauliflower and turnips help to thicken things like wild rice chicken soup and gravies for pot roast. While potatoes can work, they tend to be grainy in sauces and gravies in my experience.

    So much fun learning from all of these comments…this is such a great community. Thank you for giving us this forum, Laura!


  14. says

    I use either non-dairy gravy or coconut milk beverage, unsweetened. I don’t make many things with cream soups, but on occasion I will make a favorite.


  15. anne says

    This is probably one of the best entries on any blog I have ever read Laura! I love the circle story…done in true Felicia Bond style…rivals any of her If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, or A Moose A Muffin, or whatever. I LOVED IT! I think you could have written this for your Gratitueday entry. It spoke of so much loving kindness…and thankfulness for where your boys are…and celebration of that as well. You spoke into my life today. I took the time amid the hurriedness of our homeschool schedule today, to marvel at each of my children’s creativity and their awe of the small. And for once, I wasn’t so consumed with herding them. Truly your finest, and THE finest I have read anywhere. Thank you!
    P.S. My go to book for homemade sauces is: The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever by Beatrice Ojakangas. I would use her recipe for any of her sauces: basic white sauce, bechamel sauce, basic mushroom sauce, savory tomato sauce, and substitute whatever fat I had on hand. For example, for butter you could substitute rendered chicken fat or coconut oil. And, I suppose if you wanted the look of the white creaminess thing you could substitute almond milk. With all the other savory ingredients, the sweetness of the almond really wouldn’t be a problem. It’s not that sweet anyway. And it’s not really the milk in these that make them thick and creamy…its the roux…the mixing of the fat and the flour with the stock.


  16. Sheila H. says

    Great options are already listed.

    Rice milk is a great option for dairy free and if it needs to be thicker, you can also make soups thicker by using its broth or warm water mixed with arrowroot powder or cornstarch. (1 tbsp to a cup of broth).

    Expeller pressed coconut oil works great; haven’t tried ghee yet.


  17. Lyndsay says

    Yay for dairy free! I am dairy free while nursing also, which has been hard….I miss cheese, and there is no dairy and soy free cheese substitute (nor does that sound appealing!). So worth it though, for my little guy.


  18. Allie says

    Surprised no one had said what i do- sub in arrowroot or cornstarch thickened homemade chicken broth,with extra splices like thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, salt and pepper


  19. Rita says

    We’ve found that soy yogurt or almond yogurt (if you have a Whole Foods near you!) make a pretty good cream sauce. Made it for my gluten-free gyro-style meatloaf (the creamy cucumber sauce) and it was fabulous!


  20. says

    So many great comments! I recently went dairy-free while nursing and am doing just fine so far, since I make most of my own food. But cream soups and coffee creamer (I’ve tried almond milk, coconut milk, and reduced coconut milk (simmered for a while to thicken it), and nothing works!) are the two things I haven’t figured out yet. I know coconut milk is great, but sometimes I don’t want that flavor. I’ll have to try rice milk, seems to be popular. Thanks for this post!


    Lucille Kilmer Reply:

    Unsweetened coconut milk seems to be a good substitute for cooking and baking. No sweet taste like with the “sweetened” or “vanilla” flavors.


  21. says

    Following this post! I too am a nirsing mother with an infant who can’t tolerate dairy. So challenging finding substitutes but so worth it. Looking forward to trying these options.


  22. Gayle Z says

    Being 60 miles from any type of specialty grocers (in the middle of Amish country in north central Wisconsin), our go to products are Rich’s Nondairy Creamer and Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine. There are very few recipes that have not turned out with these two.

    In our favorite mashed potatoes, we add a half cup onions and a quarter cup diced rutabaga and garlic to taste to the potatoes and the cooking water. This counters the slight sweetness of the creamer and we use a hand mixer to beat the potatoes to make sure the rutabaga is well incorporated. We’ve always had good feedback with the surprise when learning our secret ingredient.


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