Are there any food products that can be used for cooking/baking that have high calcium as an alternative for milk - not necessarily liquid alternatives...

  • 2
    This isn't really a substitution question, since you don't specify what's being substituted (milk? cheese? cream? yogurt? mayonnaise?) It's actually a diet question, and as much as I think it's a good and important question, it doesn't really allow for any answers directly related to cooking or preparing meals. I am voting off-topic and will shortly be removing the "substitution" verbiage (unless you'd like to be more specific about what you need substituted and why).
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 3:46
  • Agree with Aarnout, this question has the problem that you are asking for a generic alternative and even not necessarily liquid. An in topic question would be "how can I substitute milk with a lactose-free ingredient in [name of the dish]". The generic version is actually a medical advice request.
    – Wizard79
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 12:31
  • Oh, I see. I thought the question was about substituting something for milk in a recipe. I added the substitution tag, but I'll pull it off.
    – Ocaasi
    Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 7:22

8 Answers 8


Green vegetables are a good source of calcium, in particular, artichokes, broccoli, and greens (like turnip greens). Other sources of dietary calcium include sardines, canned salmon, raisins, almonds, sesame seeds, and soy beans.

ETA: The daily recommended intake of calcium for an adult is 500-1000 mg. If you're curious about how much calcium a particular foodstuff has, you can look it up on the USDA National Nutrient Database.

  • Dairy products, apparently actually take calcium from your body. I don't remember the precise chemistry of it, but you end up with less useful (bioavailable) calcium after the milk than before it. Hence, green leafy stuff is your best bet.
    – Carmi
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 11:46
  • @Carmi It would be interesting to see some support for your claim about dairy products. Have you any links?
    – Iuls
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 12:25
  • This is just what I found now. I actually heard it in a lecture my wife dragged me to. nutritionecology.org/panel5/intro.html freedomyou.com/nutrition_book/Milk%20and20Cookies.htm I'll try to find proper academic source later.
    – Carmi
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 13:55
  • The NEIC link gives me a good place to start; thanks for that.
    – Iuls
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 14:34

Little fishies with soft, edible bones (think sardines) are a good source of calcium as well as omega 3 fats.

  • Also often high in vitamin D, handy in the winter months. Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 20:16

One problem is bioavailability, that they may be bound by compounds in the plants. I don't have a really good answer for you about that, but fermentation probably helps (you get more from the cabbage in real sauerkraut or kimchi that you would eating it raw).


Lots of them.

First, is Lactaid milk, which has the lactose-digesting enzyme lactase added to it. I believe you can purchase lactase separately and that it can be taken with lactose foods to aid in digestion.

Second is yogurt or kefir, a fermented dairy drink that has much lower lactose content due to the active bacteria. But you should check, since they're not lactose free.

The harder the cheese, the less lactase it has, so you might be okay with hard aged cheddars, parmesans, goudas, etc. over younger, creamier types.

Almond milk has calcium. As do almonds. Soymilk is well fortified.

Then there's broccoli, spinach, and other dark greens. A good spring mix salad is surprisingly high.

There are obviously plenty of calcium supplements you can purchase if you're concerned. Anecdotally (meaning I read it somewhere), look out for too much phosphoric acid, a common acidic ingredient in soda, because it's been accused of interfering with calcium absorption.

Just for curiosity, my friend growing up cured his lactose intolerance by drinking small amounts of milk every day until he "graduated" to a full glass. He didn't have a problem after that.


Sesame has not been mentioned yet, it's a rich source of calcium (the USDA Nutritient database linked to from luls' post states 975 mg Ca for 100g sesame, and 113 mg for the same amount of milk) and a great ingredient in its own right, especially for many vegetable and Asian dishes.

The hull apparently contains a large share of the minerals, so peeled sesame might not be as rich. I don't know about sesame oil, but I like to use mushed sesame (Tahini, they call it) in cooking.

Japanese 'Gomasio' is used instead of salt in macrobiotic cooking, it's just sesame seeds with salt (6-10 parts of sesame for one part of salt).

There's also a great Turkish / Greek / North African dessert made with honey and sesame (it's called Halva in countries with Arabic influence, I don't know what the Greek call it).


Calcium containing products:

| Food                                                                    | Milligrams (mg) per serving | Percent DV* |
| Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces                                        |                         415 |          32 |
| Orange juice, calcium fortified, 1 cup                                  |                         349 |          27 |
| Mozzarella, part skim, 1.5 ounces                                       |                         333 |          26 |
| Sardines, canned in oil, with bones, 3 ounces                           |                         325 |          25 |
| Cheddar cheese, 1.5 ounces                                              |                         307 |          24 |
| Milk, nonfat, 1 cup**                                                   |                         299 |          23 |
| Soymilk, calcium fortified, 1 cup                                       |                         299 |          23 |
| Milk, reduced fat (2% milk fat), 1 cup                                  |                         293 |          23 |
| Milk, buttermilk, lowfat, 1 cup                                         |                         284 |          22 |
| Milk, whole (3.25% milk fat), 1 cup                                     |                         276 |          21 |
| Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 6 ounces                                        |                         258 |          20 |
| Tofu, firm, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup***                         |                         253 |          19 |
| Salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone, 3 ounces                        |                         181 |          14 |
| Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 1 cup                                      |                         138 |          11 |
| Tofu, soft, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup***                         |                         138 |          11 |
| Breakfast cereals, fortified with 10% of the DV for   calcium, 1 seving |                         130 |          10 |
| Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve, ½ cup                               |                         103 |           8 |
| Turnip greens, fresh, boiled, ½ cup                                     |                          99 |           8 |
| Kale, fresh, cooked, 1 cup                                              |                          94 |           7 |
| Ice cream, vanilla, ½ cup                                               |                          84 |           6 |
| Chia seeds, 1 tablespoon                                                |                          76 |           6 |
| Chinese cabbage (bok choi), raw, shredded, 1 cup                        |                          74 |           6 |
| Bread, white, 1 slice                                                   |                          73 |           6 |
| Tortilla, corn, one, 6” diameter                                        |                          46 |           4 |
| Tortilla, flour, one, 6” diameter                                       |                          32 |           2 |
| Sour cream, reduced fat, 2 tablespoons                                  |                          31 |           2 |
| Bread, whole-wheat, 1 slice                                             |                          30 |           2 |
| Kale, raw, chopped, 1 cup                                               |                          24 |           2 |
| Broccoli, raw, ½ cup                                                    |                          21 |           2 |
| Cream cheese, regular, 1 tablespoon                                     |                          14 |           1 |

Apart from these, there are several Calcium Supliments in the market.



I use a nutritional aid, Food File, and it sits on my computer ready for me to use. There is amaranth, a grain from the Incas and a product, soy isolate, both very high in calcium. I do understand the issues with soy isolate but perhaps a related source such as okara may also have new information about nutrient values available in this food. I hope this helps luls. Sorry I put in the wrong name.


Bone stalk is one way to get calcium. I don't have a specific recipee handy, but the general idea is to simmer bones (of chicken, beef, or whatever) in water (possibly with vegetables or other flavorings), then use the resulting liquid as a base for soups or other dishes. It's especially helpful to break the bones before this process, so the nutrients inside are exposed and can be absorbed into the stock.

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