The best lactose free milk tastes just like regular ol’ cow’s milk. A lot of lactose free milk doesn’t quite pull this off. Many brands have an odd sweetness that’s a little off-putting, especially if you’re drinking the milk on its own. For some reason, I vividly remember a scene from the ‘90s sitcom Mad About You (OG, not the reboot) in which Jamie’s sister Lisa unwittingly takes a swig of lactose free milk from the fridge, spits it out, and shouts, “Where’s the lactose??” Unfortunately, a lot of lactose free milk probably would make you do a spit take.
In terms of flavor, Fairlife lactose free milk brand is better than all the rest. Like, by a mile. Sadly, the company has been dogged in recent years by allegations that a certain partner farm mistreated its cows and calves. Since that incident came to light in 2019, Fairlife cut ties with that producer, put into place a third-party animal welfare auditing program, and hired a vet and animal welfare expert to serve as a conduit between Fairlife and partner farms. If you still feel uncomfortable buying Fairlife milk, we get it—try Horizon’s lactose free products instead. They were second best. But, if you’re willing to take Fairlife at its word, read on for the best lactose free milk we found in our taste test.
- Fairlife 2% Reduced Fat Ultra Filtered Milk
Fairlife’s 2% milk is supremely creamy, just like their whole milk, but it’s a little less thick, which I think is a plus for a lot of people. You get that deep creamy flavor without the heaviness or additional fat. This is the milk we buy when we do cereal taste tests and, I’m telling you, it makes cereal taste better than it does when I eat it at home with almond milk, which is what we always use in my household. If you love 2% cow’s milk but regular milk gives you stomach cramps, this is the best lactose free milk you can buy.
Credit: Merc / Target
- Fairlife Whole Ultra Filtered Milk
Honestly, given that a lot of human adults are sensitive to lactose, drinking lactose free milk really seems like it makes the most sense for most people. But I think the off-putting sweetness of lactose free milk can really throw people for a loop. It’s not nice. It makes lactose free milk taste like some other product entirely. But Fairlife has cracked the code. Their lactose free milk is totally indistinguishable from regular milk. It’s so creamy and flavorful. There’s no weird sweetness—just creamy, fatty flavor. I obviously think the whole milk is slightly better than the 2% by virtue of being fattier, but both are excellent. We did not try Fairlife skim, but if you drink fat-free milk, I’m sure it’s good.
Credit: Merc / Target
Other lactose free milk we tasted: Great Value Lactose Free Whole, Great Value Lactose Free 2%, Lactaid Whole, Lactaid 2%, Horizon Organic Lactose Free Whole, Horizon Organic Lactose Free 2%