Ever since oat milk hit store shelves (and coffee bars) en masse, it’s been wildly beloved by the dairy-free crowd. If you’re lucky, your local coffee (or matcha) shop may have the popular alt-milk on-hand. But the best way to sidestep unexpected shortages—hey, it happens—of store-bought oat milk is to learn how to prep oat milk from scratch.
Over the past few years, oat milk has gone from being a niche find to a fan-favorite. “There’s a new alternative milk in town and it’s winning our hearts,” says Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, on a recent episode of Well+Good’s You Versus Food. “In just one year, oat milk has gone from being served in 150 coffee shops in the United States to over 2,000.”
Since oat milk is so widely available now, you may think it’s a tad bit extra to blend your own coffee creamer when you very well could waltz through the alt-milk aisle, grab a carton, and call it a day. But I’m here to tell you that this will take you about 20 minutes from start to finish with minimal effort. Below, you’ll learn exactly how to whip up your very own alt-milk. Plus, get all your questions answered from “How healthy is this stuff?” to “Um, is this gluten-free?”
Keep reading for the step-by-step process on how to make oat milk:
Here’s your 6-step recipe for making the alt-milk
Yields about 7 cups of oat milk, or 14 servings
- Add the oats and three cups of water to a large bowl.
- Soak the oats for at least 20 minutes (but not too long, or the milk will be a slimy texture!), then rinse and drain. “Keep an A-plus strainer on hand,” says video producer Ella Dove in the video. “It takes a few strains to get creamy, delicious oat milk, but after that it’s pretty much perfect!”
- Add soaked oats, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, and remaining three cups of water into a powerful blender. Blend for about 20 seconds, but again, don’t overdo it: you want your milk’s texture to be perfect.
- Pour and strain the mixture into a large bowl. The mixture will take several minutes to strain completely.
- Repeat blending and straining process two to three times until the consistency is thick and smooth.
- Store in the fridge and use in your coffees, matcha, teas, and cereals.
Your FAQs about oat milk, answered by a dietitian
Is oat milk healthy?
So we’ve established that oat milk’s pretty delish, but what about its nutritional profile?
Beckerman says that oat stands out from its frothy company (dairy, almond, cashew, and so on) due to its fiber content, which has shown that it can reduce LDL—aka, “bad” cholesterol. To boot, the stuff is also loaded with vitamin B (which helps with red blood cell production), and protein. “It does have more carbohydrates than other alt-milks, which is beneficial in providing you sustainable fuel and energy for the day,” says Beckerman. “These are the healthy, slow-digesting carbs that help deliver energizing B vitamins, which means we can make it to our 7 p.m. yoga class, no sweat.”
It’s also worth noting that this oat milk recipe does contain naturally-occurring sugar from good old maple syrup. Don’t worry too, too much about that, though. “Some varieties [of packaged oat milk] sneak in unnecessary added sugar or oils like canola oil during the manufacturing process to maintain structure and viscosity,” says Beckerman. You won’t have to worry about hidden oils with the homemade stuff. And since there’s room for sugars in a balanced diet, Beckerman says not to worry. Just be sure to stick with the 1/2 cup serving size recommended on the back of nearly every oat carton that’s widely available.
“Oat milk has some pretty nice stuff going for it,” Beckerman says, “so I think we’re ready to make it official.” That’s especially true if you make it from scratch.
Is oat milk gluten-free?
As long as you purchase gluten-free oats at the grocery store, your DIY milk will contain zero gluten, so its friendly to people with celiac and intolerances alike.
What’s the texture of homemade oat milk?
A little thinner and more watery than traditional milk, oat milk has a distinct texture that it makes up for in flavor. When you’re prepping the recipe, make sure you don’t over-blend it, or the concoction will become slimy.
How long will my oat milk keep in the fridge?
According to Dana Shultz of The Minimalist Baker, you have about five days to drink your milk as long as you store it in the fridge. However, depending on the recipe, it may last longer or shorter.
What should i use my oat milk for?
Oat milk’s creamy texture makes it the perfect add-in for your morning cup of joe, according to Ella Dove, Well+Good’s director of creative development and the skilled hands behind this step-by-step recipe video. “My favorite is oat milk in coffee, but it goes awesome in matcha too,” she says.
With some recipe modifications, you can also use oat milk in any recipe that calls for cow’s milk.
This post was originally published on April 5, 2018; updated on March 11, 2020 with additional reporting by Kells McPhillips.
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