Can You Make Ice Cream with Lactose Free Milk?

by Michele Turcotte, MS, RD

Can You Make Ice Cream with Lactose Free Milk?

Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Ice cream is delicious, smooth and creamy. Once you make it, you may find that homemade tastes too good to go back to your favorite store-bought variety. If you are lactose-intolerant, you can use lactose-free milk in ice cream recipes. The milk comes in many varieties, including skim, low-fat and reduced-fat, whole, calcium-enhanced and chocolate-flavored.

Lactose and Ice Cream

According to the University of Virginia Health System, ice cream contains approximately 6 grams of lactose per 1/2-cup serving. While that is almost half the amount found in 8 ounces of reduced-fat cow's milk, people with lactose intolerance may still suffer from symptoms after ingesting a small amount of lactose. Also, because most store-bought brands add milk solids, the lactose content often is higher. A few companies manufacture lactose-free ice cream, or a kind made with lactase-enhanced milk. This type of ice cream is rich, creamy and available in several flavors.

Lactase-Free Milk

Lactose-free milk has the same properties as cow's milk. The only difference is that it is enhanced with the lactase enzyme. So, you can make ice cream with lactose-free milk, which comes in a variety of flavors, including plain, chocolate and vanilla. Like cow's milk, 1 cup of whole lactose-free milk provides 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrates.


You can make ice cream using lactose-free whole milk, sugar and a flavoring or extract, such as vanilla. However, it may not have the same texture or creaminess as ice cream made with cream. To make ice cream with a rich and creamy consistency, use a commercial lactase-enhanced cream substitute or, according to the Go Dairy-Free website, you can use coconut cream or pureed medium-firm or firm drained silken tofu to replace heavy cream, using a 1:1 ratio.


Gelato, a rich Italian ice cream made with whole milk, egg yolks and sugar. Sometimes it is made with heavy cream, as well. Unlike regular ice cream, gelato is not whipped with air. Therefore, it is denser and just as creamy, if not more so, than regular ice cream. The Ice Cream Recipes website features a lactose-free banana gelato recipe. It calls for a 1/2 pint of milk, but you can use soy milk or lactose-free milk. The recipe also calls for 1/2 pint of water, 4 ounces of sugar, three ripe bananas and the juice of one lemon.

Other Variations

According to the I Can Eat Milk Again website, an easy-to-make lactose-free berry ice cream recipe includes lactose-free milk, eggs, sugar and sweetened frozen berries. The secret ingredient is unflavored gelatin. The gelatin enhances the creaminess of the ice cream and holds it together, giving it a desirable consistency. Another option is combining lactose-free milk with an envelope of a powdered topping mix and other flavorings, such as cocoa.

Photo Credits

  • Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Michele Turcotte is a registered, licensed dietitian, and a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has more than 12 years of experience in clinical and corporate settings, and has extensive experience in one-on-one diet counseling and meal planning. She has written freelance food and nutrition articles for Trouve Publishing Inc. since 2004.