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10 Types of Non-Dairy Milk

Updated on March 15, 2016

Non-Dairy Milk

There are several reasons for drinking non-dairy milk. Many people are lactose intolerant and unable to drink dairy milk. Vegans do not drink dairy milk because they do not consume or use any animal products.

There are people who do not drink dairy milk for environmental reasons as well. They site that cows produce a significant amount of waste and greenhouse gases. Some people believe that drinking cow's milk is unnatural. They argue that no other animals drink milk beyond their youth and other animals certainly do not drink the milk of another species.

Whatever the reason for avoiding dairy milk, the good news is that there are several options available that provide alternatives to cow’s milk and goat’s milk. Before selecting a non-dairy milk, it is helpful to know what the options are and how they stack up against one another. This article provides an analysis of ten of the most popular options, including nutritional information and recipes for homemade milk.

Oats, rice, and almonds can each be used to make non-dairy milk
Oats, rice, and almonds can each be used to make non-dairy milk | Source

Almond Milk

Almond milk is made from ground almonds and water. Almond milk is thinner in texture than 2% cow’s milk, with a slightly nutty flavor.

Almond milk is low in calories, with approximately 40 calories per 8 ounce serving of unsweetened and unflavored almond milk. There are approximately three grams of fat per eight ounce serving, with zero grams of saturated fat.

An eight ounce serving of almond milk does not contain any cholesterol. Almond milk is not a significant source of protein or fiber, with approximately one gram of each in a serving. A serving of almond milk will provide you approximately 20% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium, 10% of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin D, and 50% of vitamin E.

Though there are several brands of almond milk available on the market, homemade almond milk is easy to make. Soak a cup of almonds in filtered water for 24 hours. Strain the almonds and add to a high-speed blender with four cups of filtered water. Blend the almonds and water on high for two to five minutes. The mixture should be frothy. Using cheesecloth or a nut milk bag, strain the milk into a container and refrigerate tightly covered for three to seven days. Shake before using.

Coconut Milk

Made from the meat of coconut and water, coconut milk has a sweet flavor and is a favorite among many. Coconut milk is commonly confused with coconut water, which is the healthy liquid found in coconuts.

The nutritional makeup of coconut milk can vary substantially, so check the labels. For instance, coconut milk can be average to very high in calories with between approximately 90 and 550 calories per 8 ounce serving.

You will find up to approximately 57 grams of fat in a higher calorie coconut milk, 51 grams of which are saturated fat. The RDA of saturated fat is only 20 grams, which means one serving of coconut milk contains about 255% of the RDA of saturated fat. There is controversy over whether the saturated fat contained in coconut milk is of a healthy nature. On the other hand, in the lower calorie version, you are more likely to find about five grams of saturated fat per serving, which is still approximately 25% of the RDA.

On the bright side, coconut milk does not contain cholesterol. In addition, coconut milk has about one to five grams of relatively high-quality protein per serving.

The higher calorie version of coconut milk will provide you approximately 21% of the RDA of fiber, 11% of calcium, 10% of folate, 22% of iron, and 22% of magnesium. On the other hand, the lower calorie version will provide you approximately 45% of calcium, 4% of iron, 50% of vitamin B12, and 25% of vitamin D. Finally, coconut milk can help heart health by raising the good cholesterol (HDL).

If you care to make your own coconut milk, you can do so by combining coconut flesh with hot water in a blender, and then straining through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Refrigerate tightly covered for three to four days. Before using coconut milk, shake well to ensure the fat is mixed well and you do not end up with watery milk.

Flax Milk

Cold-pressed flaxseed oil is mixed with water to make flax milk. The texture of flax milk is somewhere between that of skim cow’s milk and 1% cow’s milk. In comparison to all non-dairy milks, flax milk ranks among the highest as having a flavor similar to cow’s milk.

The calories in an 8 ounce serving of unsweetened flax milk can range from approximately 25-50, depending on the brand. Flax milk is high in omega-3 fatty acids and contains a generous 30% RDA of calcium. Unfortunately, flax milk does not contain any protein or fiber. Flax milk contains 10% RDA of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin B-12, and 25% of vitamin D.

Making homemade flax milk is as simple as combining ¼ cup of raw whole flax seeds with six cups of filtered water in a blender and blending on high for one minute. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container. Refrigerate tightly covered for three to five days.

Hazelnut Milk

Hazelnut milk is made by blending raw hazelnuts with water. Hazelnut milk is smooth and creamy with a hazelnut flavor. Hazelnut milk is considered by many to be one of the tastiest non-dairy milks.

Hazelnut milk has 110 calories per 8 ounce serving. There are 18 grams of carbs in a serving of hazelnut milk, with 14 grams of sugars. Hazelnut milk has one gram of fiber and two grams of protein per serving. There is 30% RDA of calcium in a serving of hazelnut milk, along with 10% of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin D, 10% of vitamin E, and 30% of riboflavin.

Homemade hazelnut milk can be made rather easily. Soak one cup of raw hazelnuts in filtered water overnight. Drain hazelnuts and blend with three cups of filtered water on high speed until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container and refrigerate tightly covered for up to three days.

Hemp Milk

Made by blending hemp seeds and water, hemp milk has a slightly nutty flavor and a creamy texture. Though it is worth a try, hemp milk may be an acquired taste for many. Hemp milk makes an excellent alternative for people with soy and nut allergies.

An eight ounce glass of hemp milk contains approximately 60 calories. One serving contains five grams of fat, four of which are polyunsaturated. Hemp milk does not contain cholesterol. Unfortunately, one serving only provides two grams of protein and does not contain any fiber. Hemp milk is packed with amino acids. In fact, it contains all ten amino acids. In addition, hemp milk has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. One serving of hemp milk will provide you 25% RDA of calcium.

Hemp milk may be made at home by blending 1 cup of shelled hemp seeds, 3 cups of filtered water, and 1 tablespoon of sunflower lecithin on high speed for 30 seconds. If desired, omit the sunflower lecithin. The texture will not be as smooth if it is omitted, so you may wish to strain the milk through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. After blending, pour into a container and refrigerate tightly covered for up to three days. Shake before use.

Oat Milk

Popular in Europe, oat milk is made by blending oat groats with filtered water. Groats are hulled whole grains. Oat milk has a mild flavor with a hint of sweetness and a creamy texture.

Oat milk contains approximately 130 calories per 8 ounce serving. Oat milk is high in fat and carbs, with approximately 25 grams of each per serving, with 19 grams of sugar per serving. There are 4 grams of protein and 35% RDA of calcium in each 8 ounce serving. You can find 10% RDA of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin D, 10% of iron, and 30% of riboflavin in each serving of oat milk.

If you wish to make oat milk at home, you may do so by using steel cut oats. Of course, if you have access to oat groats, use those. Add one cup of cooked oats to a blender, add three cups of hot water, and blend on high speed until smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container. Refrigerate tightly covered for three to four days. Shake well before using.

Homemade Milk Tip

Keep ingredients on hand so you can whip up a batch of milk at any time. If you ever run out, you will be prepared.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from water and rice (generally brown rice is used). Rice milk has a mild flavor and a thin texture that is similar to skim milk. Along with soy milk and almond milk, rice milk is a popular choice among consumers.

An 8 ounce serving of rice milk has approximately 120 calories and 2 grams of fat. There are approximately 25 carbs in a serving of rice milk, with 0 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. A serving of rice milk only contains 2% RDA of calcium.

Making homemade rice milk is as simple as blending a cup of cooked brown rice with four cups of filtered water on high speed for two to four minutes. Strain the milk through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container and refrigerate tightly covered for two to three days.

Soymilk

Made from grinding dry soybeans with water, soymilk may be an acquired taste. The flavor and texture vary by brand and variety, but in general soymilk has a slight soybean flavor and a creamy texture.

An 8 ounce serving of soymilk has 100 calories and 4 grams of fat. There are eight grams of carbs with six grams of sugar in a serving of soymilk. Soymilk has a generous 7 grams of protein and 30% RDA of calcium per serving. A serving of soymilk contains 10% RDA of vitamin A, 50% of vitamin B-12, 30% of vitamin D, 6% of folate, 6% of iron, 10% of magnesium, 30% of riboflavin, and 4% of zinc.

Controversy exists about the safety of soy. Critics say soy can increase the risk of cancer, whereas advocates claim soy can help reduce the risk of cancer.

Homemade soymilk may be made in a few steps. First, soak ½ pound of dried soybeans in filtered water for 16 hours. Change the water every few hours. Drain and rinse the soybeans. Microwave the soybeans for two minutes. Transfer to a blender and add enough filtered water to cover, then blend on high for two to three minutes, or until the mixture is foamy. Transfer the mixture to a large pot and add eight cups of filtered water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a thin towel into a container and refrigerate tightly covered for up to three days.

Sunflower Milk

Sunflower kernels are blended with water to make sunflower milk. Sunflower milk has a rich texture and a sunflower seed taste.

An 8 ounce serving of sunflower milk contains approximately 70 calories and 4 grams of fat. Sunflower milk has nine carbs per serving with seven grams of sugar. Sunflower milk does not provide a significant amount of protein or fiber, with one gram of each in an eight ounce serving. However, there is a generous 30% RDA of calcium in each serving. A serving of sunflower milk provides approximately 10% RDA of vitamin A and 2% of iron.

To make sunflower milk, soak a cup of raw sunflower seeds in filtered water overnight. Drain the seeds, add to a blender with three cups of water, and blend on high until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container and refrigerate tightly covered for three to five days. Shake well before using. The same recipe may also be used with sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds.

Whole Grain Milk

Whole grain milk is made by combining various whole grains and blending with water. Whole grains may include brown rice, barley, black rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa, among others. The flavor and nutritional value of whole grain milk varies based on the variety of whole grains used in the recipe.

Tips

All recipes above may be sweetened or flavored. Try adding dates, honey, or maple syrup before blending to sweeten. Vanilla, cinnamon, or chocolate may be added for flavor after straining.

Increase or decrease the amount of water, based on your personal texture preference.

Homemade non-dairy milk may not contain the vitamins and nutrients mentioned above. Many milk manufacturers add vitamins to their milk. The nutritional information above may vary based on brand and variety.

Rather than discarding, use the strained nuts, oats, etc. in recipes, dry to make flour, or use as an exfoliant.

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    • Ann810 profile image

      Ann810 15 months ago from Sunny Cali

      It's nice to know other option for consuming milk, other than dairy milk which I will never intentionally drink anymore. Thanks for the useful information.

    • Audrey Baker profile image
      Author

      Audrey Baker 4 years ago from Arizona

      The benefit of soaking them is found in the nutrition. When they are soaked, beneficial enzymes are produced, which in turns increases the vitamins. Soaking also makes it easier to digest.

    • profile image

      Ann 4 years ago

      What is the purpose of soaking the seeds and nuts overnight? I've tried making various milks with and without soaking and I cannot taste or see any difference. ?

    • Audrey Baker profile image
      Author

      Audrey Baker 4 years ago from Arizona

      You're right, there are several great options. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Audrey Baker profile image
      Author

      Audrey Baker 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you, nancynurse!

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 4 years ago from Southeast USA

      Well written Great content.

    • Audrey Baker profile image
      Author

      Audrey Baker 4 years ago from Arizona

      I'm glad it's helpful. Thank you for your comment and vote!

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 4 years ago from India

      Hello Audrey Baker,

      Very informative hub. You have written the same well. Thanks for sharing this useful hub. I voted it UP.