Carbs in Dairy Products

Milk, Cream, Yogurt, Soy Milk, Coconut Milk

Close-up that pours milk into glass
Michael H/Photodisc/Getty Images

Sometimes the carb counts of dairy products surprise people. Milk has a lot of lactose (milk sugar), while cream looks like it's lower than it is due to the serving size on the container. A tablespoon of cream has a little less than half a gram of carbohydrate, and is labeled as having zero carbs - BUT there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so the whole cup has about 6½ grams of carbohydrate.

Here are the carb counts of a cup (8 fluid ounces) of the following, according to the USDA database.

Note: some milks are "protein-fortified", and sometimes powdered milk is added for more "body" - this will alter the carb counts, so be sure to check the label. Also, "cream" varies depending upon the amount of butterfat and lactose.

Whole milk - 11.4 grams of carbohydrate
2 % milk - 11.7
1 % milk - 11.6
Fat-free (skim) milk - 11.9
Buttermilk - 11.7
Goat's milk - 10.9
Half and Half - 10.4
Light Cream - 7.1
Heavy Cream - 6.6

Evaporated milk (canned) - 25.3
Nonfat evaporated - 29.0
Sweetened condensed milk - 166 (not a typo)

Milk Substitutes

Unsweetened soy milk - between 2 and 5, depending upon the brand. (Note: Most soy milk is sweetened.)
Unsweetened almond milk - 2-3 grams, depending upon brand - again, most is sweetened
Canned Coconut milk - 6.3

Note: There are now a lot of milk substitutes on the market: Coconut milk in a carton (very different from the canned type), hemp milk, rice milk, etc. These all vary by brand, so consult the nutrition label on the package.

Sour Cream and Yogurt

Sour Cream - 9.8

Yogurt - Plain yogurt starts out with the same carb count as the milk it's made from, but watch the label, as additives can change this number. Also, the bacteria in yogurt eats the lactose, so depending upon how long it's fermented, the actual carb count can be up to 8 grams less per cup.

More about Counting Carbs in Yogurt


Cheeses vary, but most are between half a gram and a gram of carb per ounce, including cream cheese.

Creamed cottage cheese is about 3 grams of carb per half-cup, but low-fat varieties can have more. 

American cheese (1/2 oz. slice) - 0.3

Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 tbsp.) - 0.2
Cheddar cheese, slice (Kraft) cream cheese, regular (Philadephia; 2 tbsp.) - 1
Cream cheese, reduced-fat (Philadelphia Light; 2 tbsp.) - 2

Feta, crumbled (2 tbsp.) - 0.8
Monterrey Jack, shredded (2 tbsp.) - 0.1
Mozzarella, shredded (2 tbsp.) - 0.8

Parmesan, grated (1 tbsp.) - 0
Parmesan, shredded (2 tbsp.) - 0.3

Ricotta, whole milk (1/4 c.) - 1.9

Swiss, slice (Kraft) - 0
Swiss, shredded (2 tbsp.) - 0.5

Continue Reading