The lactose content of cheese varies greatly from cheese to cheese. Some have quite a bit of it like American whereas others naturally have very little such as an aged Gruyere. There are also cheeses that are specifically made to be lactose-free.
This article discusses cheeses that are naturally low in lactose and cheeses that are made to be lactose-free. This information should help you find a cheese to enjoy even if you are lactose intolerant.
Lactose-Free Cheese Brands
For individuals who are lactose intolerant, consuming dairy products such as cheese can be challenging. However, certain cheese brands have come to the rescue with their lactose-free offerings.
These cheeses are created by adding an enzyme called lactase to the milk during the cheese-making process. Lactase breaks down lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk, into simpler sugars that can be more easily digested by lactose intolerant individuals.
Popular lactose-free cheese brands include the following:
Lactaid – The company makes a lactose-free cottage cheese with 4% milkfat. It is made from milk, cream, and whey but has lactase added to it to eliminate its lactose. Other lactose-free dairy made by Lactaid include ice cream, milk, sour cream, and eggnog.
Green Valley Organics – Green Valley produces a variety of lactose-free cream cheeses including mild cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, and Monterey jack cheese bars. They also make shredded cheese in mild cheddar, 3-cheese Mexican, and mozzarella. Finally, its sliced cheeses are available in American, pepper jack, and mild cheddar varieties.
Galbani – The company specializes in making Italian cheese products, which most contain lactose. However, Galbani now makes lactose-free mozzarella and ricotta.
Arla Lactofree – Arla makes lactose-free brie, mature cheddar, mild cheddar, and soft cheese. They are based out of Leeds, England making them an option for our U.K. readers. Additionally, the company produces lactose-free yogurt, milk, cream, and butter.
Liddells – They offer cream cheese, Colby slices, shredded Colby & Parmesan pizza blend, block cheese, and shredded cheese that are lactose-free. Liddells also makes an assortment of other lactose-free dairy such as milk, cream, and, yogurt. This dairy brand is an Australian company.
Naturally Low Lactose Cheeses
Cheeses that are made from cow’s milk tend to have a higher lactose content than those made from other types of milk such as sheep or goat milk. Fresh cheeses such as ricotta and processed cheeses like American also tend to have higher lactose levels than aged cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, and hard Parmesan. However, the exact lactose content can vary depending on factors such as the specific cheese variety, the production method, and the length of aging.
The table below are cheeses that are believed to have very low lactose percentages based on Steve Carper’s The Really Big List of Lactose Percentages. Generally, people with lactose intolerance can tolerate cheeses with lactose percentages below 2%.
|Cheese||Lactose Percentage (Range)|
|Swiss (pasteurized processed)||0.0-2.1%|