What Does Pareve Mean? Your Guide to Neutral Foods

When it comes to dietary restrictions, things can get very confusing very fast. From gluten-free to vegan to kosher, it can feel overwhelming to keep track of what you can and can’t eat. One term that often comes up in kosher diets is “pareve.” But what exactly does pareve mean? In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about pareve and neutral foods.

What Does Pareve Mean?

In Hebrew, the word pareve (also spelled parev) means “neutral” or “without.” When it comes to food, pareve refers to foods that contain neither meat nor dairy ingredients. This term is most commonly used in Jewish dietary law, which separates food into three categories: meat, dairy, and pareve. Kosher laws dictate that meat and dairy products must not be consumed or prepared together, so identifying pareve items is important for those looking to maintain a kosher diet.

What Foods Are Considered Pareve?

Some common examples of pareve foods include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains (like rice, oats, and wheat)
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Some types of fish (like salmon, tuna, and whitefish)
  • Eggs (in their natural state, but not if they have been mixed with meat or dairy products)
  • Some types of alcohol (like wine and beer)

What Foods Are Not Considered Pareve?

Some common non-pareve foods include:

  • Meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc.)
  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
  • Meat or dairy derivatives (like gelatin or whey)
  • Processed foods that contain meat or dairy ingredients (like pizza, lasagna, or chicken nuggets)

Why Do People Follow a Pareve Diet?

There are a few different reasons why someone might follow a pareve diet:

  • Religious reasons: In Judaism, pareve foods are an important part of keeping a kosher diet. By only consuming pareve foods or separating meat and dairy products, individuals can adhere to religious dietary laws.
  • Dairy or meat allergies or intolerances: If someone has a dairy or meat allergy or intolerance, they may choose to follow a pareve diet as it eliminates those ingredients from their diet. This can also be useful for those with lactose intolerance or other digestive issues that may be triggered by meat or dairy products.
  • Weight loss or general health: Pareve foods are generally considered healthy as they are often high in fiber and nutrients. Some individuals may choose to follow a pareve diet for weight loss or general health reasons.

How to Identify Pareve Foods

Identifying pareve foods can be a bit tricky as they can vary depending on the specific food item and brand. Here are a few tips to help identify pareve foods:

  • Look for the kosher symbol: Kosher symbols (like the OU or Kof-K) indicate that a food has been certified as pareve. Manufacturers can voluntarily submit products for certification, so not all pareve products will have a kosher symbol.
  • Read the ingredients: If a food contains meat or dairy ingredients or derivatives, it is not pareve.
  • Check the packaging for warnings: Some pareve items may be produced on the same equipment as meat or dairy products, which would make them unsuitable for those following strict kosher laws.

Recipes Using Pareve Ingredients

Here are a few simple recipes that use pareve ingredients:

Pareve Pancakes

Ingredients Instructions
1 cup flour In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add soy milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla, and mix until just combined.
1 tsp baking powder Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add batter by 1/4 cupfuls and cook until bubbles form on top and the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve with maple syrup or fruit.
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup soy milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pareve Vegetable Stir-Fry

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add vegetables and stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes until tender-crisp. Combine soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, and vegetable broth in a small bowl. Add to the vegetables and stir-fry for another minute until the sauce thickens. Serve with rice or noodles.


Pareve foods are an important part of kosher diets and are also useful for individuals with allergies or intolerances. By identifying and incorporating pareve ingredients into meals, individuals can create delicious and healthy dishes without the use of meat or dairy products.


  • What is the difference between pareve and vegan?

    While pareve foods do not contain meat or dairy products, they can still contain animal products like eggs or fish. Vegan foods contain no animal products whatsoever, including meat, dairy, eggs, or honey.

  • Can pareve foods be unhealthy?

    Yes, pareve foods can still be unhealthy depending on how they are prepared. For example, fried pareve foods or those high in added sugars or fats may not be a healthy choice.

  • Are all kosher foods pareve?

    No, not all kosher foods are pareve. Foods can be classified as meat or dairy and may not be suitable for those following a strict kosher diet.


  • https://www.chabad.org/search/keyword_cdo/kid/496/scope/591213/jewish/Pareve.htm
  • https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/pareve/
  • https://www.thespruceeats.com/pareve-food-products-juice-shopping-guide-2122501

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