Healthy Drinks

7 Ways To Make Your Own Alternative Milk

Emily Laurence

Photo: Stocksy/Marti Sans
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When it comes to increasing your plant-based food intake, it's easy to focus on, well, food. But the liquids you drink or keep in your fridge for cooking and baking are also a great way to get more plants. Case in point: alternative milk.

While there's certainly nothing wrong with cow's milk—which has its own specific health benefits—someone may choose to seek out a plant-based option instead for a variety of reasons: it's easier on their digestive system, they don't consume animal products, or they aren't a huge milk drinker and want something on hand that won't spoil as quickly.

These days, virtually every supermarket is stocked with a wide range of alternative milk options: oat, almond, soy, macadamia, hemp...But here are two reasons to consider making it yourself. One, you avoid fillers or ingredients that cause digestive distress for some people. And two: It's super easy. Like, much easier than you may think. In almost all cases, all you need are two or three ingredients—one of which being water. In terms of what type of alternative milk to make, it all depends on personal preference (hey, you gotta like how it tastes) and the nutrient profile you're going for.

Watch the video below to learn more about the nutritional differences between alternative milks, according to a registered dietitian:

Since they're all so easy to make, why not experiment? Below are simple recipes for how to make alternative milk, seven different ways. Once you have it made, it's yours on hand for smoothie-making, cereal, cooking, baking, and dunking cookies into. If you have 10 minutes, you have enough time to make your own alt-milk. Let's get started.

How to make alternative milk, 7 different ways.

1. Oat milk

Ingredients: Water, rolled oats, salt, optional spices and flavorings (like cinnamon, vanilla extract, etc.)

Oat milk is the queen bee of the alternative milk world. Thicker than almond milk, oat milk froths similarly to cow's milk, making it a great alt for lattes and creamy soups. The taste is also the closest to cow's milk, compared to nut-based options.

Get the recipe: 2-ingredient oat milk

how to make alternative milk
Photo: Loving It Vegan

2. Almond milk

While soy and rice milks have been around longer, almond milk was really the alt that launched the whole plant-based milk movement—and it's still widely popular. In this recipe, it's sweetened with two pitted dates and a touch of vanilla extract.

Get the recipe: Almond milk 

how to make cashew milk

3. Cashew milk

Cashews are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats—and they make super creamy milk, too. Add a pinch of cinnamon and tablespoon of maple syrup for the perfect amount of natural sweetness.

Get the recipe: Cashew milk

Macadamia nut milk
Photo: Abby Maker for Well+Good

4. Macademia nut milk 

Macadamia nut milk is buttery and brings just a hint of tropical vibes to your glass. It's not as thick as cashew milk, making it a great go-to for baking. This recipe only requires three ingredients: macadamia nuts, water, and salt.

Get the recipe: Macadamia nut milk

hazelnut milk
Photo: My Whole Food Life

5. Hazelnut milk

Using hazelnuts to make your milk will give it a slightly toasted taste. Just think about how good it will taste stirred into your morning coffee. This recipe calls for a little vanilla extract, the only other ingredient besides the nuts and water.

Get the recipe: Hazelnut milk

hemp milk
Photo: The Spruce Eats

6. Hemp milk

While most alternative milks are made from nuts, hemp is a seed, making hemp milk a great option for people with a nut allergy. Hemp milk has an earthier taste than oat or soy milk, but doesn't taste as nutty as almond. The agave (or dates) and vanilla extract in this recipe tone down the earthiness by adding natural sweetness.

Get the recipe: Hemp milk

soy milk
Photo: Alpha Foodie

7. Soy milk

Soy milk is the OG plant-based milk. It was on store shelves long before all the other options out there and it's definitely had staying power. This recipe shows how to make it with just soybeans and water. Sometimes, simple really is best.

Get the recipe: Soy milk

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