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Are Eggs Considered a Dairy Product?

Eggs are often nestled next to dairy in grocery aisles, but they're not dairy. Dairy products come from the milk of mammals, like cows and goats, whereas eggs are laid by birds, such as chickens. Understanding this distinction helps us make informed dietary choices. What other food categorizations have you assumed to be true that may require a second look? Continue reading to find out.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The short answer to this question is no, eggs are not considered a dairy product. A dairy product is milk or a food which is made from milk, such as butter, cream, or cheese. Eggs are an animal product that comes from avians such as chicken. So eggs are not considered a dairy product. A great way to remember this is to reference the food pyramid. In the food pyramid, eggs are in a separate category from milk products. Eggs and dairy have entirely different physical and chemical compositions.

Eggs and dairy are often linked together in the eyes of the public, for a variety of reasons. Both come from animals, typically coming from farms. In communities where dairy delivery is available, eggs can typically be ordered as well. Eggs and dairy are also often shelved near each other in the supermarket which may encourage consumers to categorize them together.

Baby chick and an egg.
Baby chick and an egg.

A dairy product comes from mammals like cows, goats, sheep, horses, yaks, llamas, camels, or other animals which produce milk. The precise chemical composition of a dairy item varies, depending on the animal it comes from. This is why some people who have trouble digesting cow's milk may be able to drink less rich milks, like sheep or goat milks.

Eggs come from avians like chickens, ducks, and geese, among others. With the exception of the monotremes, such as the duck-billed platypus, an animal which lays eggs cannot produce milk. Milk and eggs have a markedly different composition. This is why being allergic to one of these foods does not automatically make one allergic to the other.

Carton of a dozen eggs.
Carton of a dozen eggs.

The link between eggs and dairy may also be related to the fact that the two are often used together in recipes, and to the fact that strict vegetarians avoid both, out of concern for animal welfare. However, dairy products exclusively refer to products made from milk and should not be classified with eggs. Eggs may also be classified differently from other animal products by vegetarians since an animal is not slaughtered for this food item.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments


I think it's strange that eggs are stored in the dairy section of the supermarket, even though they are not dairy products. It's not just because the section is refrigerated, because there are other sections of the store with refrigerators where the eggs could be stored.

I don't know what the reasoning is, unless it has to do with both coming from a farm. Maybe since eggs, butter, milk, and cheese all come from farm animals, they get to hang out together on the refrigerator shelves.

My husband works in a food distribution center in the dairy department, and he has to lift hundreds of crates of eggs a day. He also moves milk, cream, and butter.


@feasting – I use a mixture of milk and eggs when I make fried chicken. I dip the chicken tenders in an egg and some milk in a bowl that I have whisked together, and then I dip them in seasoned flour.

The egg and milk are really gooey, so they make the flour cling to the chicken. I usually dip the chicken in both twice to get a good, thick coating.


I never thought of eggs as a dairy product. I associate both eggs and milk with breakfast, but I've never lumped them into the same group.

I mix a little bit of milk with my eggs before scrambling them. I melt some butter in a skillet and stir the egg-milk mixture in it until it becomes solid. I season the eggs with salt and pepper, and they taste richer and yummier than they do without the help of the milk and butter.

So, I guess eggs benefit from the aid of dairy products, even though they are unrelated. Does anyone else here mix eggs with dairy for a recipe?


@ddljohn-- Actually most vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy. Stricter vegetarians are more inclined to avoid eggs than avoid milk. I think vegans are the ones that tend to avoid both of these.

I know about this because my family is from India and they are all vegetarian. Most Indians are Hindu and follow a strict vegetarian diet. But eggs, milk and milk products make up an important part of our diet. So there is no reason to think that vegetarians don't eat these foods and absolutely no reason to think that eggs are dairy.


@ddljohn-- Like the article said, eggs and dairy are not grouped together in the food pyramid. Eggs are grouped with other protein rich foods like meat, beans and nuts. Dairy has it's own group and includes milk, cheese and yogurt.

I wonder if one reason people think that eggs is dairy is because both eggs and dairy products have similar nutrients. Because they are both rich in protein (although eggs have much more) and they both have calcium.


I thought that eggs were a dairy product until I read this article. I think I also got this idea from the fact that vegetarians don't eat eggs or dairy.

I also thought that eggs and milk were grouped together in the food pyramid until I read this.


I have a friend who is a strict vegetarian and does not eat meat or any dairy products. The best way she described it to me is that she doesn't eat anything that had a mother.

I love meat and dairy products and can't imagine not eating them, and often wonder what she lives on. Our favorite meal on the weekend is a breakfast that includes eggs and bacon. There are many foods that I could probably not eat as much of, but I don't think I could ever totally eliminate them.

For people who are allergic to dairy products I understand why they can't have them, but I would especially miss eating ice cream.


I am lactose intolerant so have had to give up the dairy products that I used to love. I think I miss eating cheese more than anything. I have found that almond milk and coconut milk are great substitutes for regular milk. In fact, I have come to enjoy these even more than regular milk, but I have yet to find anything that tastes as good as melted cheese.


We have a large dairy in our hometown that makes the best dairy products I have ever tasted. I wouldn't think of buying another brand of yogurt, cottage cheese or milk when I have the choice to buy this brand.

They have the best chocolate milk I have ever tasted and it is made with European chocolate. You feel like you are really treating yourself, and it tastes great either cold or warmed up as hot chocolate.

Once when my son was young I bought a different brand of chocolate milk that was cheaper, and he could tell a difference right away. I don't know what this dairy does differently for their products to taste so good, but they have a lot of loyal customers.


I realize that eggs and dairy products are both animal products, but never really thought about linking them together. I like to buy farm fresh eggs from a neighbor who lives close by. When I stop to pick up my eggs, I can see her chickens and know they are able to wander around. I feel a lot better about buying eggs from someone I know than from a big supermarket.


@Calpat: I understand that most people that are allergic to chicken eggs are able to eat duck eggs. Ever heard this or tried it?


How interesting! I never thought of the link between dairy and eggs before. I definitely never thought of an egg being considered a dairy product, but I can see how the connection could be made.

Eggs and dairy do go hand in hand quite a bit. I'm glad they aren't the same, however. I am allergic to eggs, and I love milk. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't have my daily glass of milk!


My favorite dairy product is cream that I use for my coffee.

I sometimes buy regular cream and other times I will buy the non dairy creamer because I love the variety of the flavors.

A company by the name of Dean Foods which works in the dairy product processing market makes many private label dairy products for supermarkets across the country.

I sometimes buy the private label brands because they are so much cheaper than the regular brands.

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