Dairy Free Guests – What You Need to Know

When having guests over for dinner these days it is always a good idea to ask if they have any dietary requirements. Once upon a time, you’d really only think of possible vegetarians but as allergies and intolerances and different dietary choices seem to becoming more prevalent, it is really necessary to ask nowadays. The best piece of advice is to not panic, ask your guest for advice, if they’re coming to your home you’re bound to know them pretty well anyway. If you are having one of your children’s friends over for the first time, I would always ask.  Here I will outline what you should know about a dairy allergy or a dairy or lactose intolerance.


If you are having someone over for dinner who has a dairy allergy or intolerance here’s what you should know.

  • It’s perfectly acceptable for you to ask your guest in advance for advice.
  • a dairy allergy is different to a lactose intolerance but for both cutting out any dairy containing products will suffice.
  • If someone has a serious dairy allergy, and could have an anaphylactic shock by coming into contact with it, I would definitely speak to them about it before deciding what to prepare etc. They will be well-used to being super careful and will be happy you’ve asked.
  • As a rule of thumb you need to avoid making anything with a white coloured sauce as these nearly always contain milk.
  • Yes, even a small knob of butter on the spuds is forbidden.
  • Forget the cheese toppings. If your guest can have gluten you can top any dish with breadcrumbs instead. Otherwise leave off the toping maybe sprinkle with a herb as a garnish or make something different.
  • Don’t do split meals, make the same for everyone.
  • Be careful of cross contamination.
  • Check ingredients of everything. Dairy can lurk in the most unexpected places.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re not sure about something. It is much better to ask and be sure than to guess and make your guest ill.
  • Eggs are not dairy.
  • If your guest has multiple allergies, it might be best to ask for advice as sometimes you might be able to find something dairy free but it might contain gluten for example or vice versa. Your friend will be used to the products and might even suggest bringing along something if it is hard to find.


Here’s some handy dairy free dinners you could make:

  • a Sunday Roast – don’t baste the meat in butter, don’t mix butter with the veg or potatoes and check the ingredients of the gravy if you are using a packet one. You can put the butter on the table if you wish and people can add later.
  • a barbeque – just ensure any sauces or marinades are free from dairy and the same for the salads, it is very easy to do a dairy free barbeque if you are mindful of this.
  • Stir fry – meat and lots of veg and olive oil. Not a sign of dairy anywhere.
  • Thai curry – coconut milk can make a creamy sauce in a jiffy without there being any dairy.
  • Chilli Con Carne
  • Spaghetti Bolognese – hold the sprinkled cheese.
  • Dairy free Carbonara


Some dairy free desserts:


If your guests are staying overnight, here’s some things you could have in for breakfast:

  • a milk alternative – soya, oat, rice, cocounut – you may wish to ask which one they’d like
  • many cereals are dairy free – here’s the low down.
  • brown soda bread is usually out but sliced pan and french bread is generally fine.
  • a dairy free margarine, Pure and Vitalite are options – if you forget this, jam, marmalade and peanut butter are your saviours!
  • a full Irish breakfast – generally contains no dairy but you can check ingredients of sausage and puddings to be sure.


The best advice I can give is if in doubt ask questions. Enjoy your dinner party or house guest!

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