Reader Tip: How to make your own lactose-free milk

My friend, Tammy, emailed me earlier this week:

I just posted an article about making our own lactose-free milk. It takes just minutes to do, and will save us over $200 on our grocery budget this year! It’s about $2.67 per gallon for homemade lactose-free milk, versus paying $7 (with coupons) for Lactaid milk in the store!

We’ve been very happy with the homemade lactose-free milk, and just wish we had known about this option years ago! :)

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  1. Sue says

    My daughter is severely lactose intolerant and we have tried everything including these lactese drops but I can usually get a half gallon of Silk soy milk or Lactaid when they are on sale from $.50 (Silk) to $1.50(Lactaid). That’s much cheaper and then I get 3 or 4 because they do last longer, when unopened.
    No one should be paying $7 a gallon ($3.50 for a half).

    • says

      Thanks for this great tip! In my family two of us are living “dairy free” but this would be a viable option to try. PS: I like your site so much I just added a link in my blog!

  2. Heather Finnegan says

    This is awesome. I will save this for later. Sue I would love to know where you find it that cheap. I live near Chicago and have NEVER seen it that cheap, and believe me I look! The best deal I had found was Target brand, it was a full dollar less than the national brands. My husband lost his job and it’s my 2 year old that is lactose intolerant, so he is covered by WIC. But it looks like he will always be this way so I will save this for when he is older. Thanks for the info!

    • Sue says

      We live in Chattanooga TN and let me tell you, the regular milk prices are CRAZY! $5 a gallon !
      When my daughter was a baby we started her on soy formula, which WIC paid for and then the Lactaid when she was older. She’s not even 6 yet so I’ve only been paying for her milk for less than a year but we have a Publix grocery store which runs sales on the Silk for 2/$5. This is a pretty common sale and it seems that I almost always have $1 manufacturer’s coupon and $1 store coupon. I know this last time I bought it, it was a Publix store coupon but they also accept any competitor’s coupons, which is how I get it for $.50.
      She doesn’t drink much milk (unfortunately) so 2 half gallons will last about a month.
      Also, do you know that Bordon makes a lactose free American cheese slices ? I was really excited to see these when I had the $1 off Bordon cheese coupon. Our publix had them on sale for $2 which made them $1 for 16 slices. I usually buy Kraft cheese and didn’t know that there was an option except for soy cheese or some other non cheese product.
      Good luck with your son and finding good non dairy options…. A lot of people DO outgrow the intolerance. :-)

      • Heather Finnegan says

        Thanks Sue, I had not seen those but will look for those cheese singles as the soy ones are NOT covered by WIC, and they don’t melt well (for lasagna, grilled cheese, and homemade pizzas). I am hopeful he will outgrow it for his sake, but if he doesn’t it is great to know about all of these options! I guess I should complain that milk has gone up to $2.50-3.00 a gallon around here. We drink about 4 gallons a week, not including what my lactose intolerant son drinks.

  3. Doreen Sevestrean says

    My daughter (almost 4) is COMPLETELY lactose intollerant. I tried the drops with varying success. Usually I doulbed the amount of drops it said before she could drink it without belly aching. Also, You have to make sure you let it “culture” for at least 24 hours before beginning to use it. Walmart Brand lactose free milk isn’t too bad and to me is worth it because it keeps for so long unopened. I have learned that differnent walmarts have different prices so watch carefully.

  4. Lori says

    We have to buy Lactaid for our 1 year old, and it’s $3.50 for a half gallon here (Alabama). She can’t drink soy milk, it is hard on her stomach as well. I will definitely be trying this tip! Thanks!!

    • Nancy says

      Almond milk is a delicious option for those who can’t tolerate lactose or soy, my husband is one of those. I can usually find almond milk on sale and of I course I use coupons. Sometimes I get almond milk for less then the price of cows milk. :) BTW, we LOVE the taste od almond milk!

  5. Lana says

    I take Digestive Advantage for Lactose Intolerance every morning and I can eat anything with lactose for 24 hours. It works great for me and I don’t even have to think about being lactose intolerant. You can find it at WalMart and other stores near the Lactaid products. They make a children’s chewable too.

  6. crystal says

    $7!!!!! that’s crazy! I’ve never paid over $3.50 for lactaid or an off brand. I think you need to shop at a different store.

  7. Chaille says

    Heather: I don’t know where Sue lives, but I have similar prices as her in Georgia. It goes on sale at Publix (a/b once every 6 weeks or so) and you can usually find coupons to go w/ the sale.

  8. says

    Lactose-free milk still makes my son ill. He is allergic to the casein in all dairy products. For those that need a dairy alternative, Costco has great prices on their boxes of organic soy, rice, and almond milks.

  9. Lynda says

    I’m glad these are available again! We used them for our now 15-year-old daughter who used to be lactosse intolerant – saved us a ton of money!

  10. Tania says

    I’m confused – there are plenty of non-dairy milk options like soy, almond, rice, hemp, cashew, etc. Those are also pretty easy to make at home but pretty cheap on their own. I get the aseptic containers at Whole Foods and they’re under $2.

    • Heather says

      Some people just prefer the taste of cow’s milk. Also, it is superior in many recipes. Some people avoid soy for health concerns. I tried almond milk once, as it seemed to naturally have a lot of nutrition, but I did not care for the taste. Rice milk and some other alternatives have calcium, vitamins, etc. added in. I don’t think it’s the same as getting it from a food source that naturally contains it. Not that I am knocking the non-dairy substitutes (my mother has a true milk allergy and the substitutes help her enjoy many foods she would otherwise have to avoid).

  11. Liz says

    My husband drinks lactose free milk and I just bought the Aldi brand (Friendly Farms) for $0.99 per half gallon. That’s cheaper than the Aldi brand gallon of 2% milk. I was very excited. If you are a lactose free milk drinker, I would recommend trying Aldi!

  12. jane says

    I always look for Lactaid coupons on ebay.Till sometime back there were $2 off coupons.But now I only find $1 off coupons.But even that is good.You get around 15-20 coupons for $2 or so.
    And Lactaid Customer service is really nice. I emailed them last year appreciating them and politely asking for coupons.They sent me 4 coupons in mail within 2 days:1 free gallon coupon,1 free half gallon coupon and 2 dollar off coupons. I wrote to them exactly after one year again but this time they sent only dollar off coupons.But thats pretty good.
    You can go to and fill the form in “Contact Us” tab.

  13. Julie says

    THANK YOU for this idea. My kids are LI. We will definitely try this. I have to watch like a hawk for coupons to pair with sales for Lac-free milk and almond milk to get it below $3 a half gallon. (I won’t let my kids drink soy.) Thank you, thank you. Now — if I could just get lac-free yogurt and cottage cheese inexpensively. :)

  14. allyson says

    Just wanted to add another “thought” in the mix of everything… One of our daughters is lactose intolerant (and yes, that is very different than a milk allergy). A couple of years ago we started drinking raw milk, and since then she has not had a problem drinking milk at all. If you are truly lactose intolerant (and don’t have a milk allergy) then you will not have a problem with raw milk. Lactose intolerance is caused by the pasteurization of the milk (which completely denatures the milk). But, if you drink the milk straight from the cow… good ‘ol whole milk like God gave us :) …. then, there won’t be any issues with lactose intolerance. We are thankful to have a family milk cow now, since we moved from city to country two years ago. So, having raw milk on demand is easy for us; but, I certainly realize good sources of raw milk are unfortunately very hard to find these days… not to mention the “issues” the government presents in making it difficult for families to get raw milk. Hope this might be of help to someone. :) If you are interested in good raw milk, find a small farmer and barter for it. It’s not legal to buy it in many states, but it can be given as a gift. We barter with our neighbors: they give us local, raw honey and we give them raw milk. A win/win situation. :)

    • Sue says

      the almond and rice milks don’t have even half the protein of regular or the soy milk and if your trying to get protein in your kids, that’s one of the things I look for. the lactose free cow’s milk still has about 6 gms of protein.

    • jennifer says

      We also use raw milk! It was an adjustment at first, but you will get spoiled on it! We have several small farmers in our area, and even though our area is considered ‘low-income’, many homeschool moms have made it a priority to buy raw milk straight from the farmer. My MIL always says if you can get your meat milk and eggs in order that’s half the battle! We don’t eat organic everything but we raise our own meat, my MIL raised chickens, and do the raw milk thing. It is also easy to find farmers on craigslist who are selling in your area, or ask around.

  15. Kathy says

    I have to buy lactose free milk for my 2 year old daughter. I notice that the expiration dates on the lactose free milk are quite often over a month out or longer. Does anyone know if treating the milk with the drops extends the expiration date on regular milk? Just curious about that. Is it the lactose that causes milk to spoil sooner?

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