In general, 1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soymilk (soy beverage), 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the Dairy Group. Under the USDA’s guidelines, eggs are part of the protein group and butter is not considered a dairy product.

The chart lists specific amounts that count as 1 cup in the Dairy Group towards your daily recommended intake:

Amount that counts as a cup in the
Dairy Group
Common portions and
cup equivalents
[choose fat-free or low-fat milk]
1 cup milk or calcium-fortified soymilk
1 half-pint container milk or soymilk
½ cup evaporated milk
[choose fat-free or low-fat yogurt]
1 regular container
(8 fluid ounces)
1 small container
(6 ounces) = ¾ cup
1 cup yogurt
1 snack size container
(4 ounces) = ½ cup
[choose reduced-fat
or low-fat cheeses]
1 ½ ounces hard cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, Parmesan) 

1/3 cup shredded cheese

1 slice of hard cheese is equivalent to ½ cup milk
2 ounces processed cheese (American) 

½ cup ricotta cheese

1 slice of processed cheese is equivalent to 1/3 cup milk
2 cups cottage cheese
½ cup cottage cheese is equivalent to ¼ cup milk
Milk-based desserts
[choose fat-free or low-fat types]
1 cup pudding made with milk
1 cup frozen yogurt
1 ½ cups ice cream
1 scoop ice cream is equivalent to 1/3 cup milk
1 cup calcium-fortified soymilk
1 half-pint container  calcium-fortified soymilk

Key Consumer Message: Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.