Is Milk Keto?
What to Eat

Is Milk Keto?

Is Milk Keto?

Posted a month ago

SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

One of the biggest adjustments for people who are new to Keto is getting rid of milk, especially if they’re the type to enjoy a glass with dinner or before bed every night.

If we’re describing you, no worries! Whether you’re just trying to eat fewer carbs or you’re on a strict Keto regimen, you can still enjoy milk while meeting your health goals.

Read on to learn more about the best types of milk for Keto and how to include milk as part of your low-carb lifestyle.

Is Milk Keto?

Unfortunately, cow’s milk isn’t the best Keto-friendly option.

It contains about 12 grams of net carbs per cup, which is roughly half of a typical daily carb allotment on Keto. That’s a lot of carbs for just one cup of milk.

If you are really craving that glass of milk, then it is doable — but fitting it in would require being extra careful about restricting your carbs for the remainder of the day.

Can You Have Any Milk On Keto?

Yes! Although traditional dairy milk may be off the table, plenty of alternative choices are available. The best options are plant based, like almond milk or coconut milk, as these milks are produced from naturally Keto-friendly foods.

However, if you are able to eat more carbs each day (for example, if you’re highly active or if you’re on an alternative kind of low carb diet to Keto), you may want to include small quantities of cow’s milk .

Keto Milk: What to Choose and What to Avoid

Best Keto Milk Options

Here are our favorite Keto-friendly milks, plus a few low-carb (but not necessarily Keto) options. Be sure to stick to unsweetened varieties to avoid unnecessary added sugars, and remember that there may be slight variations in the net carb count depending on the brand you choose.

Almond Milk

Net carbs: 1 gram per cup

Almond milk is made from almonds and has a pleasantly neutral taste that makes it great for drinking. If you dislike the taste of plain unsweetened almond milk, try unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

We like: Califia Farms Unsweetened Barista Blend Almond Milk

Coconut Milk

Net carbs: 1 gram per cup

Coconut milk is another excellent Keto-friendly milk, especially if you enjoy the taste of coconut. The coconut flavor also provides a little bit of natural sweetness without adding extra carbs.

We like: Pacific Foods Original Unsweetened Coconut Non-Dairy Beverage

Flax Milk

Net carbs: 1 gram per cup

Flax milk is made from flax seeds, a great plant-based source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. It’s another good Keto-friendly milk alternative and, like almond milk, has a neutral taste.  

We like: Malibu Mylk Unsweetened Vanilla Flax Mylk

Macadamia Nut Milk

Net carbs: 0 grams per cup

If you’ve ever snacked on (and then logged) macadamia nuts, you know they’re so high in fat that they’re almost oily. For this reason, they make a creamy, rich-tasting plant-based milk that’s profoundly low in carbs.

We like: Milkadamia Unsweetened Macadamia Milk

Walnut Milk

Net carbs: 2 grams per cup

Like other tree nut-based milks, Walnut milk is a great choice thanks to its neutral but distinctly nutty flavor.

We like: Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Walnuts

Hemp Milk

Net carbs: 0 grams per cup

Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds, so it has a really mild taste. If other Keto milks taste too strong for you, hemp milk may be worth a try.

We like: Pacific Foods Hemp Beverage, Unsweetened Vanilla

Hazelnut Milk

Net carbs: 0 grams per cup

Looking for a Keto-friendly milk that’s perfect for enjoying with your low-carb dessert? Hazelnut milk is definitely it. Hazelnut and chocolate are a perfect flavor pairing, and hazelnut milk holds on to a distinctive hazelnut taste.

We like: Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Hazelnuts

Cashew Milk

Net carbs: 1 gram per cup

Cashew milk is made from cashews, which are slightly higher in carbs than other nuts like walnuts or macadamias. For this reason, the carb count for cashew milk can vary significantly between brands — so make sure you check the label before you start sipping.

We like: Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Cashews

Pistachio Milk

Net carbs: 2 grams per cup

Pistachio milk can be hard to find in stores, but you can order it online. Iit has a very mild and smooth taste, and is great for making Keto-friendly lattes.

We like: Tache Unsweetened Pistachio Milk

Whole Cow’s Milk

Net carbs: 12 grams per cup

While all of the other options on this list are Keto-friendly, cow’s milk may be a good option for people on a more flexible low-carb diet (if dairy is tolerated). It makes for an ideal post-workout recovery drink as it contains a nice balance of protein, fat, and carbs. Opt for organic milk from pastured cows.

Options to avoid on Keto

Generally, the only milks you want to strictly avoid on Keto or other low-carb dietary patterns are sweetened milks. This includes sweetened cow’s milk and sweetened plant-based milks. These milks are high in added sugar, which can quickly eat up your daily carb allotment. Added sugars (especially added sugars in beverages) have also been linked to obesity and weight gain, and the development of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.[*]

Keto dieters may also want to avoid oat milk and rice milk. Even the unsweetened versions of these dairy-free milk alternatives are high in carbs because they are produced from cereal grains.

If you are on a more flexible low-carb diet and you’re able to include cow’s milk on a regular basis, you may also want to avoid skim milk and opt instead for whole milk. Skim milk is lower in calories than whole milk because the fat has been removed but it is actually higher in carbs.

Additionally, several research studies have shown that full-fat dairy products may provide health benefits, like boosting heart and metabolic health. In some of these studies, reduced-fat dairy didn’t produce the same positive effect.[*][*][*]

Other dairy foods on Keto

You may also be wondering if any other milk products are Keto-friendly. Here’s a quick rundown.

Cream and coffee creamer

Cream, which is separated from cow’s milk during processing, is ultra-high in fat and low in carbs — making it Keto friendly. It’s very rich and high in calories, making anything it’s added to extra indulgent.

Half and half is a combination of cream and whole milk. It provides some of the flavor and richness of heavy cream without all the calories. It’s also Keto-friendly, as long as you’re careful with how much you drink.

Both of these are regularly used as coffee creamers in Keto circles, but several other Keto friendly coffee creamers are also available and are usually made from the Keto-friendly milks listed above. Two that we like are Califia Farms Almond Milk Unsweetened Coffee Creamer and Thrive Market Unsweetened Keto Creamer.

Sour cream

Sour cream is tangy and creamy and perfectly Keto friendly. It can be used to mellow out spicy dishes or add a hint of richness to light dishes. It also provides a nice contrast to acidic foods, which is why we like it so much on Keto tacos with a squeeze of lime juice.

Cheese

Most cheeses are Keto-friendly, and cheese is super versatile if you choose to include dairy in your diet. You can sprinkle it on top of nearly almost any food for added flavor, add it to sandwiches, snack on it straight from the fridge, or use it to make Keto-friendly sauces or crackers. However, be mindful of how much you’re eating if you’re trying to lose weight. Many people report that eating lots of cheese slows their weight loss down, even if they’re sticking to their daily carb goal.

Yogurt

Plain, unsweetened yogurt can be part of your Keto diet in small amounts, with full-fat Greek yogurt being your best bet. You can use it as a high-protein replacement for mayonnaise in chicken or tuna salad, or you can add some Keto-friendly sweetener and low-carb berries for an easy dessert parfait

How to include Keto-friendly milk in your diet

Keto-friendly milk can be used in nearly any way that you would use regular milk — for instance, you can drink a glass of it, add it to your cereal, blend it up in a smoothie, or use it for dipping Keto-friendly cookies.

You can also use unsweetened, unflavored Keto milks for cooking, but if you tolerate dairy, using heavy cream or sour cream (if you’re looking to add creaminess to cooked dishes) may yield better results.

Make your own

Feeling adventurous? It's super easy to make your own Keto-friendly milk from scratch. Try these easy recipes for starters:

Keto Flax Milk

Keto Homemade Walnut Milk

Easy Keto Chocolate Milk

2-Minute Keto Almond Milk

Takeaway

While cow’s milk isn’t strictly Keto, it doesn’t have to be totally off-limits. 

However, if you’re working with a smaller daily carb goal, it may be better to choose a Keto-friendly alternative like almond milk or coconut milk. With the number of Keto-friendly milk options available, there’s sure to be one you like.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. Carb Manager may earn a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links.

Comments 3

  • FabulousAvocado617204

    FabulousAvocado617204 a month ago

    I'm a bit confused about oat milk and why it's off the list when having gluten free oatmeal is ok.

    • OutstandingArugula993825

      OutstandingArugula993825 a month ago

      I drink whole fairlife milk which to my taste is the best milk I have ever drunk at is little price, but when I spent money on my health I do not mind spending a lot of money. I want to invest in my own health no matter what I spend on it. Who is counting by the way!!!!!!!

      • SmokedMeatManiac

        SmokedMeatManiac a month ago

        I was pleasantly surprised at how good Fairlife milk really is. I have two bottles in my fridge now