Is Bread Lactose-Free?

Bread lactose free

Many people find baked goods such as bread a delicious comfort food. These carbohydrate-laden goodies, from ciabatta bread to burger buns, may seem like they should be lactose-free, especially since they don’t seem like they contain any dairy. So, is bread lactose-free?

About Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a condition where people have difficulty digesting a specific sugar known as lactose. Also referred to as milk sugar. The most common source of lactose is in dairy products, such as milk and cream.

A specific enzyme, lactase, allows a person to break down and digest lactose: without this enzyme, the lactose cannot be broken down by the gut normally. Instead, it moves through the gut to the large intestine, where it gets fermented by bacteria and can cause discomfort such as cramping or even more severe symptoms.

So, Are Bread Products Free From Lactose?

If you’re wondering if foods such as breads are lactose-free, you’re not in for an easy answer. Unfortunately, many bread products contain lactose, even if they don’t seem like they contain any dairy. While a cream cheese danish is an obvious choice that contains lactose, did you know that plain croissants also contain lactose?

Croissant lactose freeIf you are not making your baked goods yourself and can verify that they are dairy free, you’ll want to read the label of your bread products carefully. Many bread products and baked goods include lactose-containing sources, which may be in the form of whey, casein, or other dairy-based food sources, more than just using a product such milk, butter, or evaporated milk. If you are lactose intolerant, you’ll want to make sure the bread says “dairy free” or “lactose free” before you bite into it.

Even though many baked goods contain lactose, you can find lactose-free branded bread products. It just might take a little more reading to see what’s in the package.

Bread and Baked Good Items To Watch Out For

Sandwich Breads

Many processed sandwich breads contain lactose products, including casein, whey, or even milk powder. The best place to look for lactose-free bread products is in the cold section of your grocery store, although you might have more luck finding them in your nearby health food grocery store. There are also plenty of recipes online for fresh and lactose-free bread, such as Irish soda bread. If you or a family member has lactose intolerance, you can still make a tasty sandwich!


Breadcrumbs are even more likely than regular old sandwich bread to have lactose in them. You can avoid the risk by using dairy-free bread that you purchased and allowing it to dry for a day before crumbling it up with your hands. Another option is to look into panko breadcrumbs. These are often dairy-free.

Yeast Breads

Certain yeast-based types of bread and baked goods contain dairy, such as biscuits and croissants. To get these items without dairy, you usually need to make them yourself.

The good news is that many different types of yeast breads can be found without lactose in them. You will still need to be careful that they were not baked with butter in the pan, as that is a source of lactose that many people do not think about. An example of this type of bread is sourdough bread.

Quick Breads

If you don’t make it yourself, quick breads are typically rife with lactose. These breads, such as banana bread and cornbread are often made with butter and/or milk. Even if they don’t directly contain those products, you’ll often find that commercial or processed varieties contain whey or nonfat milk powder. Consider following a vegan zucchini bread recipe to ensure there are no dairy products or derivatives in it.


Many bagels contain lactose in them. Like sandwich bread, look in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store to find bagels that are less likely to contain dairy products. Some of the options might include rice bagels. Certain companies also make yeast-free bagels that are free from lactose.

Pizza Crusts and Pie Shells

Many crusts or shells contain lactose, particularly from butter. You can find varieties that lack lactose if you check carefully. Some companies make gluten-free or rice pizza crusts. You can even find fillo dough that is lactose-free for your baking needs.


Like other forms of bread, many flatbread companies use lactose-containing products, such as whey or casein, when they make their flatbreads. Some brands are known for not using lactose, so you could consider looking into those options. Most commonly, pita bread doesn’t have any lactose, but you’ll still find some companies that do have it in their products.

Bread and Baked Goods If You Are Lactose Intolerant

Bread lactoseIf you have lactose intolerance, you don’t have to despair of never eating bread products again because you can definitely find some options. Even if your store doesn’t carry dairy-free bread products, you can often make them yourself with a little bit of elbow grease and fill your home with the satisfaction of baking your own bread and eating it too (plus the smell is divine)!