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10 Different Types of Non-Dairy Milk (With Recipes)

Audrey has received certifications from the Rouxbe Culinary School and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Let's take a look at 10 different types of non-dairy milks.

Let's take a look at 10 different types of non-dairy milks.

Why Do People Drink Non-Dairy Milk?

There are a number of reasons why someone might drink non-dairy milk. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Lactose intolerance: Many people are lactose intolerant, which means their bodies do not produce the necessary enzyme (lactase) that allows them to digest dairy products.
  • Vegan diet: People who choose to be vegan do not drink dairy milk because they do not consume or use any animal products.
  • Environmental reasons: People may choose not to drink dairy milk because cows produce a significant amount of waste and greenhouse gases that negatively impact the planet.
  • A belief that it's unnatural: Some people point out that no other animal drinks milk beyond their youth. In addition, no other animal drinks the milk of another species.

Whatever the reason for avoiding dairy milk, the good news is that there are a number of alternatives to cow’s milk and goat’s milk.

However, 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 10 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

1. 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.

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

A single serving of unsweetened and unflavored almond milk contains 40 calories and approximately 3 grams of fat (with 0 grams of saturated fat).

This type of milk does not contain any cholesterol, and it is not a significant source of protein or fiber (it contains approximately 1 gram of each per serving). It provides 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.

Homemade Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds
  • Filtered water

Instructions

  1. Soak the almonds in filtered water for 24 hours.
  2. Strain the almonds and add to a high-speed blender with 4 cups of filtered water. Blend the almonds and water on high for 2 to 5 minutes. The mixture should be frothy.
  3. Using cheesecloth or a nut milk bag, strain the milk into a container.
  4. Tightly cover and refrigerate for 3 to 7 days. Shake before serving.

2. 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 liquid found in coconuts.

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

The nutritional makeup of coconut milk can vary substantially, so be sure to check the labels. For instance, the number of calories per serving can range from average (90) to very high (550).

  • Higher-calorie coconut milk: You will find up to approximately 57 grams of fat—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.) This milk will also provide approximately 21% of the RDA of fiber, 11% of calcium, 10% of folate, 22% of iron, and 22% of magnesium.
  • Lower-calorie coconut milk: You are more likely to find about 5 grams of saturated fat per serving, which is still approximately 25% of the RDA. This type will provide about 45% of the RDA of calcium, 4% of iron, 50% of vitamin B12, and 25% of vitamin D.

Coconut milk does not contain cholesterol. In addition, this type of milk has about 1 to 5 grams of relatively high-quality protein per serving. Finally, it can help heart health by raising the "good" cholesterol (HDL).

Homemade Coconut Milk

Ingredients

  • Coconut flesh (the white interior flesh of a coconut)
  • Hot water

Instructions

  1. Combine the coconut flesh with hot water in a blender.
  2. Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.
  3. Tightly cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
  4. Before serving, shake well to ensure the fat is mixed well and you do not end up with watery milk.

3. 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 (nonfat) cow’s milk and 1% cow’s milk. In comparison to other non-dairy milks, flax milk may be the most similar to cow’s milk in terms of flavor.

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

One serving of unsweetened flax milk can range from approximately 25–50 calories, 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. This milk contains 10% RDA of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin B-12, and 25% of vitamin D.

Homemade Flax Milk

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw whole flax seeds
  • 6 cups filtered water

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the raw whole flax seeds with filtered water. Blend on high for 1 minute.
  2. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container.
  3. Tightly cover and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.

4. Hazelnut Milk

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

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

Hazelnut milk has 110 calories per serving. It contains 18 grams of carbs, 14 grams of sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. It provides 30% RDA of calcium, 10% of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin D, 10% of vitamin E, and 30% of riboflavin.

Homemade Hazelnut Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • Filtered water

Instructions

  1. Soak the raw hazelnuts in filtered water overnight.
  2. Drain the hazelnuts, add to a blender, and blend with 3 cups of filtered water on high speed until smooth.
  3. Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container.
  4. Tightly cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

5. 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, this type of milk may be an acquired taste for many. For people with soy and nut allergies, it makes an excellent milk alternative.

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

One serving of hemp milk contains approximately 60 calories, 5 grams of fat (of which 4 are polyunsaturated). Hemp milk does not contain cholesterol. Unfortunately, one serving only provides 2 grams of protein and does not contain any fiber. This milk is packed with amino acids; in fact, it contains all 10 amino acids. In addition, it contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as 25% RDA of calcium.

Homemade Hemp Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower lecithin (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the shelled hemp seeds, filtered water, and sunflower lecithin. (If desired, you may 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.) Blend on high speed for 30 seconds.
  2. After blending, pour the milk into a container, tightly cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Shake before use.

6. Oat Milk

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

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

Oat milk contains approximately 130 calories per serving. It is high in fat and carbs, with approximately 25 grams of each per serving. It's also high in sugar, with 19 grams per serving. It contains 4 grams of protein, 35% RDA of calcium, 10% of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin D, 10% of iron, and 30% of riboflavin.

Homemade Oat Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat groats (or steel cut oats), cooked
  • 3 cups hot water

Instructions

  1. In a blender, add the cooked groats (or oats) and hot water. Blend on high speed until smooth.
  2. Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container.
  3. Tightly cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 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.

7. Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from water and rice (generally brown rice is used). This type of 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.

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

One serving of rice milk has approximately 120 calories and 2 grams of fat. It contains approximately 25 carbs, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, and only 2% RDA of calcium.

Homemade Rice Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 4 cups filtered water

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the cooked rice and filtered water. Blend on high speed for 2 to 4 minutes.
  2. Strain the milk through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container.
  3. Tightly cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.

8. Soy Milk

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

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

A single serving of soy milk has 100 calories, 4 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein, and 6 grams of sugar. It contains 30% RDA of calcium, 10% 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 Soy Milk

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried soybeans
  • Filtered water

Instructions

  1. Soak the dried soybeans in the filtered water for 16 hours. Change the water every few hours.
  2. Drain and rinse the soybeans. Microwave the soybeans for 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the soybeans to a blender and add enough filtered water to cover, then blend on high for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is foamy.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large pot and add 8 cups of filtered water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Strain through a thin towel into a container. Tightly cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

9. Sunflower Milk

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

Nutritional Information

1 serving = 8 ounces

One serving of sunflower milk contains approximately 70 calories, 4 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of sugar. This milk does not provide a significant amount of protein or fiber, with only 1 gram of each per serving. However, there is a generous 30% RDA of calcium in each serving. It also provides approximately 10% RDA of vitamin A and 2% of iron.

Homemade Sunflower Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • Filtered water

Instructions

  1. Soak the sunflower seeds in filtered water overnight.
  2. Drain the seeds, add to a blender with 3 cups of water, and blend on high until smooth.
  3. Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a container.
  4. Tightly cover and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days. Shake well before using.

Note: The same recipe may also be used with sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds.

Sesame Milk and Pumpkin Seed Milk

Use the sunflower milk recipe to make sesame seed milk or pumpkin seed milk. Instead of sunflower seeds, substitute sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds.

10. 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 and Techniques

  • Natural sweeteners: All recipes above may be sweetened. Try adding dates, honey, or maple syrup before blending to sweeten.
  • Natural flavors: You can flavor any of the above milks with vanilla, cinnamon, or chocolate. Add these ingredients after straining.
  • Texture: Increase or decrease the amount of water, based on your personal texture preference.
  • Uses for strained ingredients: Rather than discarding, did you know that you can use the strained nuts, oats, etc.? Dry it to make flour, or use it as an exfoliant.

A Final Note About Nutrition

Please note that much of the nutritional information above is based on store-bought varieties. Homemade non-dairy milk may not contain the same nutrient profile; many milk manufacturers add vitamins to their milk. If you are buying non-dairy milk from the store, the nutritional information may vary based on the brand. Check the labels so that you know exactly what you are consuming.

Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Ann810 from Sunny Cali on July 17, 2016:

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 (author) from Arizona on October 15, 2013:

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.

Ann on August 30, 2013:

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 (author) from Arizona on July 11, 2013:

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

Audrey Baker (author) from Arizona on January 16, 2013:

Thank you, nancynurse!

Nancy McClintock from Southeast USA on January 15, 2013:

Well written Great content.

Audrey Baker (author) from Arizona on January 15, 2013:

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

Dilip Chandra from India on January 14, 2013:

Hello Audrey Baker,

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