Goat milk versus cow milk: A comparison

Many people have an allergy to cow milk but can consume goat milk products. This is usually not a lactose intolerance, but a difference in some of the other components.

Milk in a glass.

Worldwide more people consume goat milk and goat milk products than cow milk and cow milk products. While both milk products have significant benefits, there are situations in which people prefer or choose goat milk. Goats are smaller and consume significantly less feed than cows, making them much easier to keep in developing countries. Milk is considered an important source of calories and nutrition in many developing countries. In many countries other than the United States, goat milk flavor is preferred over cow milk.

Additionally, many people that have an allergy to cow milk can consume goat milk products without experiencing an allergic reaction. This is usually not a lactose intolerance, but a difference in some of the other components like less lactose and different forms of proteins. Michigan State University Extension recommends individuals with dairy intolerance be tested to see if goat milk is right for them if they have a reaction to cow milk.


Goat milk (1 cup)

Cow milk (1 cup)


168 grams

149 grams


9 grams

8 grams


10 grams

8 grams


11 grams

12 grams


0 grams

0 grams


11 grams

12 grams


122 mg

105 mg


327 mg

276 mg


34.2 mg

24.4 mg


271 mg

205 mg


498 mg

322 mg




Milk sourced from goats tends to be thicker and creamier than cow milk and it has other health benefits, including more nutrients than cow milk and plant-based “milk” products. Other health benefits that have been identified include being easier to digest, less risk of milk allergies and potentially better heart health, according to Nazli Turkmen in “The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Goat Milk Components.” Goat milk may be easier to digest because the fat globules are much smaller and easier on the digestive system. It is naturally homogenized, which means it is uniform and the fat molecules are less likely to float to the top.

Goat milk is an excellent source of protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamin A. When you look at the nutritional qualities of goat milk, it is higher in fat and calories when compared to cow milk, and it also contains more protein, vitamins and minerals. When compared, goat milk also has about 1% less lactose than cow milk.

One of the things people who consume goat milk have discussed is that goat milk has a different taste than cow milk and because of this, it takes a little getting used to. The reason for this is that much of this flavor comes from the method of pasteurization that is used during processing of goat milk.

Quick facts about goat milk

Goat milk qualities chart

There are some significant differences between goat milk and cow milk. Both contain more protein and other nutrients than plant-based milk but goat milk has some definite advantages when it comes to digestibility and intolerances. Some people object to the taste of goat milk, while others will grab a glass of goat milk over cow milk.

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