Low-glycaemic index diets reduce glycated Hb (HbA1c) in patients with type 2 diabetes, but require intensive dietary support. Using a liquid meal replacement with a low glycaemic response (GR) may be an alternative dietary approach. In the present study, we investigated whether breakfast replacement with a low-GR liquid meal would reduce postprandial glycaemia and/or improve long-term glycaemia. In the present randomised, controlled, cross-over design, twenty patients with type 2 diabetes consumed either a breakfast replacement consisting of an isoenergetic amount of Glucerna SR or a free-choice breakfast for 3 months. Postprandial AUC levels were measured using continuous glucose measurement at home. After the 3-month dietary period, meal profiles and oral glucose tolerance were assessed in the clinical setting. The low-GR liquid meal replacement reduced the AUC of postprandial glucose excursions at home compared with a free-choice control breakfast (estimated marginal mean 141 (95 % CI 114, 174) v. estimated marginal mean 259 (95 % CI 211, 318) mmol × min/l; P= 0·0002). The low-GR liquid meal replacement also reduced glucose AUC levels in the clinical setting compared with an isoenergetic control breakfast (low GR: median 97 (interquartile range (IQR) 60–188) mmol × min/l; control: median 253 (IQR 162–386) mmol × min/l; P< 0·001). However, the 3-month low-GR liquid meal replacement did not affect fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c or lipid levels, and even slightly reduced oral glucose tolerance. In conclusion, the low-GR liquid meal replacement is a potential dietary approach to reduce postprandial glycaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, clinical trials into the effects of replacing multiple meals on long-term glycaemia in poorly controlled patients are required before a low-GR liquid meal replacement can be adopted as a dietary approach to the treatment of type 2 diabetes.