While we can’t say if the chicken or egg came first, we can tell you if eggs are considered dairy products, what is considered dairy and more.

Eggs are known for their versatility in the kitchen. Whether you're making a quick scramble or adding them to a cake batter, eggs are a staple for many people. The next time you need to pick up a dozen, you're likely to find eggs in the dairy aisle of the supermarket—but, wait, does that mean eggs are considered dairy?

To help answer this question, we'll break down what a dairy product is, if eggs are dairy and more, so you can shop with confidence.

What Is Considered a Dairy Product?

Dairy comes from the mammary gland of an animal. Dairy products are classified as the milk itself or any product made from that milk. Examples of dairy products include butter, ice cream, cheese and yogurt. Milks and milk products from mammals like cows, goats and sheep are all considered dairy products.

So, Are Eggs Dairy?

No, eggs are not considered dairy products. Eggs are laid by birds, which are not mammals, and therefore do not have mammary glands. Whether it's a chicken egg, duck egg or quail egg, eggs are not dairy. 

So, why all the confusion about eggs? First, eggs are often found in the dairy aisle at the supermarket, so it makes sense that you may incorrectly group them together. Another reason you may have thought eggs were dairy is because images of dairy products often mistakenly include eggs (for example, a quick Google search surfaces at least five images on the first results page with this error). Plus, eggs and dairy products are technically both animal products, so it can be confusing if you're unaware of the technical differences.

Can I Eat Eggs on a Dairy-Free Diet?

Yes, you can eat eggs on a dairy-free diet! Eggs are not dairy products, so you can include them in your meals. Eggs are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try them in recipes like Spinach & Egg Scramble with Raspberries and Egg Salad Avocado Toast.

a photo of eggs in a carton
Credit: Getty Images

Can I Eat Eggs with a Lactose Intolerance?

Yes, you can eat eggs with a lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance don't produce enough lactase in their small intestine. As a result, they have trouble digesting the lactose (aka milk sugar) found in milk, which leads to symptoms like nausea and stomach cramps. Since eggs are not dairy products, they do not contain lactose and are safe to eat with a lactose intolerance.

The Bottom Line

Eggs are often mistakenly categorized as dairy, but eggs are not dairy products. Eggs are laid by birds, which do not have mammary glands. Dairy products are items like yogurt, cheese and milk. You can eat eggs if you follow a dairy-free diet or if you have lactose intolerance.