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Non-Dairy Cream Substitute

Howdy all,

One of the friends that I'm having over for dinner soon can't eat any dairy. I really wanted to make my delicious chicken linguine in mushroom cream sauce, but obviously real cream is out of the question.

On the shoddy advice of a few websites, I bought a container of powdered coffee whitener and tried mixing that with water to make cream. Now, either I was doing it wrong or it was simply a bad idea, but either way I was not going to waste my chicken in that sauce.

I tried the powdered version because I couldn't find any liquid non-dairy creamer (whatever that really is), even in the frozen section.

Any suggestions?


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  1. Unfortunately there's no great substitute for real cream. Even the powdered "non-dairy" substitutes often contain milk proteins. I'm dairy-free myself, and I do enjoy the Silk (soy) coffee creamer in my coffee, but it is sweet and would probably lend an off flavor to your dish.

    Tofutti makes soy cream cheese (and maybe sour cream too?).. I wonder if mixing in a tablespoon of the cream cheese with unsweetened plain soy milk would get you a step closer. I've never tried this but if it melts, it could help add some of the creaminess that's so hard to recreate.

    Or, just make a tomato-based sauce instead. :) Let us know what you end up with!

    1. I am afraid it is simply a bad idea. Non-dairy cream substitute will not work like cream. You can work around small amounts in other applications but nothing takes the place of cream when it is the star. Choose another dish to serve.

      1. Try Mocha Mix, I use it all the time as a substitute for milk or cream.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paprkutr

          I've never heard of Mocha Mix prior to now. I'm curious where you purchase it -- I'm in the upper Midwest, specifically Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and have had no luck in pinpointing a carrying retailer via Google.

        2. You know how silken tofu can be used to puree into "pudding" or put in milkshakes. Do you think it could be pureed and used as the base of your cream sauce?

          1. In the New York area Rich's brand "Coffee Rich" liquid non-dairy creamer is available in some supermarkets, in the freezer section. I can't vouch for how it would work in your sauce, though I think it might.

            1. I agree with others who said choose a dish with no dairy. Your dish will never be as good as the real thing when using a substitute, so why not make something else delicious?

              1. Both coffee whitener and non-dairy creamer contain dairy! So don't feed those to your guest for sure. They are also dreadful products. Your easiest cream sub is pureed silken tofu. You can also blend pine nuts or cashews with water to form a wonderful cream. Coconut milk work surprisingly well in savory dishes. See some more creamy subs here - http://www.godairyfree.org/Table/Dair...

                1. I know I'm a ridiculously late on this one, but I *just* found a potential solution to your query. This non-dairy cream issue has plagued me too--I'm lactose intolerant, and I don't trust explosive, powder concoctions. I got really excited when I read about MimicCreme, which is cashew- & almond-derived. Did some googling and found out it won "Best New Consumable Product Showcase Award" last year...which I assume is impressive? I haven't tried it yet, but might be worth a shot for you if that guest comes over again! Their website lists places to buy. Good luck!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: janiobi

                    I've used it, and found it works quite well for cream sauces and such. It's not quite as rich as heavy cream would be, but the results are very tasty, and far, far better than any nondairy creamer. (Dairy-free creamers do exist, for what it's worth - Rich's Whip, mentioned above, is completely non-dairy.) I've never baked with MimiCreme.

                  2. I'm sure there was a recipe out there a while ago on the net that called for silken tofu to be totally blended and cooked into a white sauce.. I think I tried it, wasn't bad.

                    1. i just found this.. haven't tried it yet
                      Cream of Anything Soup Mix

                      2 cups dry soy milk (Better than Soy is pretty good)
                      1/4 cup chicken bouillon (about 12 cubes, crushed)-Rapunzel makes an awesome vegan vegetable bouillon and I think you would use 2 of those since they are larger.
                      1/2 tsp pepper
                      1 tsp basil (opt)
                      1.25 cups cornstarch OR 2.5 cups flour
                      1 tsp thyme (opt)

                      Mix & store in airtight container. If made with cornstarch add 1/3 cup mix to 1.25 cups water. If made with flour, add 1/2 cup mix to 1.25 cups water. Heat gently in saucepan, stirring frequently, until thickened. Equivelent to one can of soup. Makes approx 10 "cans" of soup.

                      1. I know this is a very old post, but I'm shuddering at the idea of trying to use non-dairy creamer or powdered coffee whitener to make any sort of 'creamy' dish. It's a chemical soup it's not designed to be used in cooking. I'm sure it wouldn't look or act like cream, and it wouldn't taste good. You'd be better off going with a dish you could use coconut or nut milk in if you must have something 'creamy' minus the cream.

                          1. You could try using soy yogurt. I've used it before when making curry and I had decent success. Just keep in mind it will alter the taste a little.