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Milk is considered a key component in many diets, but is milk keto friendly? Let’s talk about whether milk fits into a keto diet, the amount of carbs in milk, keto diet milk alternatives, and how to include the flavor and texture of milk into keto recipes.
Is Milk Keto Friendly?
Can you drink milk on keto? No… at least, not typical cow’s milk.
Milk is not keto friendly because it contains high amounts of sugar in the form of lactose. Milk may fit in to a lower-carb diet, but it contains too many carbs for a traditional keto lifestyle.
How Many Carbs In Milk?
One cup of 2% milk contains 12 total carbs and 0 fiber, which means it also contains 12g net carbs per cup [*].
Since many keto dieters consume less than 20 net carbs per day, milk is not an ideal food choice because a single serving would use up over half one’s daily allotment of carbs.
Is Whole Milk Keto?
No, whole milk is not keto friendly.
Since the keto diet encourages consuming more dietary fat, you may think that whole milk is more keto friendly. However, one cup of whole milk contains 12g net carbs — the same as 2% milk [*].
For anyone counting carbs closely, cow’s milk is not a very good option.
The Best Milk For Keto
So, which milk is best for keto if cow’s milk is off the table? There are a few options…
Is Almond Milk Keto?
Yes, almond milk is keto friendly milk! It contains 1.4g net carbs per 1-cup serving.
If you enjoy almond milk on keto, choose plain and unsweetened varieties to keep net carbs low.
Is Coconut Milk Keto?
Coconut milk is a keto milk too, just like almond milk. Coconut milk comes in two forms:
- Coconut milk beverage (in a carton) has 2g net carbs per 1-cup serving. This is most similar to regular milk with a consistency that you would drink.
- Full-fat coconut milk (in a can) has 2g net carbs per 1/4-cup serving. Canned coconut milk is very thick and rich, which is why the serving size is smaller, and is usually used in recipes rather than for drinking.
Canned coconut milks and coconut milks in a carton are both low in net carbs, as long as you choose plain and unsweetened versions.
Is Heavy Cream Keto?
Heavy cream is the best milk for keto if you tolerate dairy, and it clocks in at approximately 0.426 net carbs per 1-tablespoon serving [*], but varies slightly by brand.
Pay special attention to serving size for this keto milk. Many labels will round the carb count up to 1g or down to 0g for a tablespoon, and that adds up to a big discrepancy when using a lot.
Is Oat Milk Keto?
Can you have milk on a keto diet made from oats? Considering the high carb count in raw oats, oat milk is not keto friendly.
A cup of oat milk has 8g net carbs in a 1-cup serving, so while it’s slightly lower than dairy milk, it is not a very good choice for low carb eating.
Reader Fave Keto Recipes
The recipe card is below! Readers also made these similar recipes after making this one.
Keto Milk Substitutes For Recipes
If dairy milk itself is not keto… what milk is keto? You can still enjoy flavor and creaminess similar to milk with the right substitutes.
Give these keto milk alternatives a try:
- Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – It’s smooth and sweet like regular milk, without the high sugar content. You can easily make it yourself! You can also buy it, but make sure it’s unsweetened.
- Heavy Cream – If you tolerate dairy, this is the most realistic keto milk substitute. Heavy cream is typically too rich and caloric to drink straight, but is delicious for coffee or using in recipes. Sometimes you can water down heavy cream with water to make a milk replacement.
- Coconut Milk – Full-fat varieties are the most keto-friendly, though lower fat coconut milk beverage is fine for drinking, too. Watch out for added sugar.
- Cashew milk, macadamia milk, and hemp milk – These cow milk alternatives contain between 0-1 net carbs per cup.
- Butter – While you can’t drink it alone (!), blending butter into hot coffee transforms it into a creamy latte. Try it in this butter coffee recipe!
So, while traditional milk doesn’t easily fit into a ketogenic lifestyle, you can choose from plenty of low carb milk alternatives. Any of these options are great candidates to be the best milk for keto, so you can choose the one you like best.