Lactose intolerance doesn’t mean you can never have any cheese, but some cheeses are better than others. In fact higher lactose cheese is actually a common way for people to find out that they have a mild intolerance.
And if you’re reading this, odds are you like cheese, and don’t want to give it up completely. But, you’d like to be able to eat lactose low cheese and avoid the fear of bloating, gas, and stomach pain
There are of course other things you can do to help out, probiotics can lower symptoms. So, a mix of low lactose cheeses and probiotics combined are a promising way to go for a lot of people.
Top Tip: As a rule of thumb, harder, yellower and older cheeses contain less lactose. There are a couple of softer white options that make the list, but be careful.
This is because the bacteria in the cheese breaks down the lactose over time. This is actually how we get cheese to begin with. Pretty straight forward really.
Aged Cheeses and Lactose Content
Aged cheeses like Parmesan have an even lower lactose content. The Italian Ministry of Health even allows Parmigiano Reggiano to be labeled as virtually lactose-free, with less than 1 mg of lactose per 100 grams. The aging process of hard cheeses results in the fermentation of lactose into lactic acid, further reducing lactose content. So, if you're a fan of Parmesan or other aged cheeses, you can enjoy them without worrying about lactose-related symptoms.
Cheddar: The Versatile Favorite
Cheddar cheese, with its wide range of flavors from mild to extra sharp, is a versatile option that can be enjoyed by lactose-intolerant individuals. This popular cheese has been found to be virtually lactose-free, making it a safe choice for those with lactose intolerance. Whether melted in a grilled cheese sandwich or sprinkled over a bowl of mac and cheese, cheddar remains a beloved option that won't cause digestive distress.
Mozzarella: Perfect for Pizza Lovers (Not The Classic White Mozz Though
If you're a fan of pizza, you'll be pleased to know that mozzarella cheese is generally well-tolerated by those with lactose intolerance. Sort of.
While fresh mozzarella may contain slightly higher levels of lactose, the firmer and cheaper style used for pizza toppings in the US is considered low in lactose and can be enjoyed without discomfort. So go ahead and indulge in your favorite cheesy slice. The classic Italian mozzarella is however a no go.
Swiss: The Hole-y Grail
Swiss cheese, known for its distinctive pale-yellow color and characteristic holes, is another great option for lactose-intolerant individuals. With its firm texture and nutty flavor, Swiss cheese is often a favorite for sandwiches and melts. The aging process of Swiss cheese significantly reduces lactose content, making it a safe and delicious choice.
Gouda: A Sweet and Smoky Delight
Gouda cheese is up next, and with it’s smokey flavor and long aging process, it’s another winner for people with lactose intolerance. Whether enjoyed smoked or plain, Gouda offers a slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture. It pairs well with a variety of foods, from grilled cheese sandwiches to cheese platters. With its low lactose content, Gouda is a safe and enjoyable choice for lactose-intolerant individuals.
Brie: Soft and Creamy Indulgence
Brie, is one of the few soft and creamy cheeses that’s a safe bet. And fortunately it is one of the worlds favorite cheeses so you won’t have to miss out. Made from cow's milk, Brie is known for its mild and buttery flavor. The white mold rind of Brie is edible and adds to its unique taste. Whether spread on a warm baguette or baked as a delightful appetizer, Brie is a treat that lactose-intolerant individuals can enjoy without worry.
Blue: A Tangy and Salty Option
If you like strong cheese, you’re going to be ok. Blue cheese is a fantastic choice. With its crumbled texture and distinctive taste, blue cheese adds a tangy kick to salads, grain bowls, or even creamy dipping sauces. And because of the fact it’s so mature, blue cheese contains relatively low levels of lactose.
Provolone: The Buttery Melter
Provolone cheese, known for its buttery flavor, is a versatile option that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether melted in sandwiches, added to casseroles, or sprinkled on homemade pizza, provolone offers a rich taste without causing digestive distress. With its low lactose content, provolone is a safe and delicious choice for lactose-intolerant cheese lovers.
Camembert: The French Delicacy
Camembert cheese, hailing from France, is a true delicacy loved for its creamy texture and mild flavor. This soft cow's milk cheese is often enjoyed with bread, fruits, and vegetables. Whether served at room temperature or melted into a delectable dish, Camembert is a delightful option that lactose-intolerant individuals can savor without repercussions.
Havarti: Creamy and Sliceable
Havarti cheese, with its creamy texture and buttery flavor, is a versatile option for lactose-intolerant individuals. Whether enjoyed in sandwiches, incorporated into recipes, or added to cheeseboards, Havarti adds a delightful touch to any dish. Made from cow's milk, Havarti contains minimal lactose and can be enjoyed without causing digestive issues.
Pecorino Romano: A Sharp and Salty Alternative
Pecorino Romano, a hard Italian cheese made from sheep's milk, is an excellent alternative to traditional Parmesan cheese. With its sharp and salty flavor, Pecorino Romano is a perfect choice for grating over pasta dishes and casseroles. This ancient cheese dates back to Roman times and remains a popular option for lactose-intolerant individuals seeking a rich and flavorful alternative.
Muenster: A Mild and Moist Option
Muenster cheese, with its soft and moist texture, is a mild option that can be enjoyed by lactose-intolerant individuals. This American imitation of the French Munster cheese offers a delicate flavor and excellent melting properties. Whether used in grilled cheese sandwiches, baked pasta casseroles, or as a snack, Muenster cheese is a favorite among many, including children who often appreciate its mild taste.
Lowest Lactose Cheeses: Conclusion
While the cheeses listed above are among the top choices for lactose-intolerant individuals. That doesn't mean that everyone is the same when it comes to this. Remember that lactose tolerance varies from person to person. Some individuals may be more tolerant and able to enjoy a wider range of cheeses, while others may need to exercise caution and limit their intake of lactose-containing products. It's always best to listen to your body and adjust your diet accordingly. And you can always take some probiotics or something similar to help. And of course, make sure to not over do it.