Meat, Dairy, and Pareve in a Kosher Diet: Which Foods Can and Can't be Eaten Together

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Milk and Meat

In the kosher diet, there are two main categories of food: dairy products and meat products. Dairy foods include all products made from the milk of kosher animals, including cheeses, butters, and chocolates. Meat foods include all body parts of an animal or a bird, including beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, and buffalo.


Any food that does not fall into the dairy or meat categories is in a third neutral category called “pareve.” Pareve products include fruits, vegetables, fish, grains, and their derivatives. Some surprising pareve products include human milk (humans are not kosher, so their milk does not have a dairy status), the milk from a slaughtered animal’s udder, and fish.


People who keep kosher are careful to never mix meat products and milk products together. For example, they would never eat a cheeseburger, because the burger would be made of beef and the cheese would be made from milk. However, pareve products can be mixed with either meat or dairy products, so a person who keeps kosher could add lettuce, tomato, and a bun to a hamburger.

Most meat and dairy products have pareve counterparts that can replace them. For example, people who keep to a kosher diet may use soy products instead of meat or dairy products (e.g. soy burgers with cheese, beef burgers with soy cheese). They also may use bittersweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate and non-dairy creamer instead of milk.


How can you tell whether a commercial kosher product is a meat, dairy, or pareve product? It’s simple – just find the kosher symbol on the package. If the symbol has a small “D” next to it or the word “dairy,” it’s a dairy product. If it has the word “meat” next to it, it’s a meat product. If it has the word “pareve” or has no other symbol next to it, it’s a pareve product.

People who keep a kosher diet make sure to keep meat and milk products separate, but it’s not as simple as it might seem. The rest of the series will include additional details about the separation of milk and meat.

This post is part of the series: Guide to the Kosher Diet

This guide to the kosher diet gives an overview the many complex aspects of keeping kosher. It deals with the prohibition of mixing milk and meat, avoiding foods like pork, and other less commonly known kosher laws. It includes details about kosher symbols and the certification they represent.

  1. Understanding the Basic Rules of the Kosher Diet
  2. Kosher Diet: What Makes Something Kosher?
  3. Kosher Diet: Meat, Dairy, and Pareve
  4. Kosher Diet: What is Kosher Slaughter?
  5. The Meaning of Different Kosher Food Symbols and Why Kosher Certification is Important