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."
- Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and women’s health expert
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. The best part? You'll know exactly what's going into it: No added B.S. Below, you'll learn exactly how to whip up your very own homemade alt-milk. Plus, get all your questions answered from "How healthy is this stuff?" to "Um, is this gluten-free?"
How do you make DIY oat milk?
6-step recipe for making homemade oat milk recipe
Yields about 7 cups or 14 servings
1. Add the oats and three cups of water to a large bowl.
2. 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!"
3. 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.
4. Pour and strain the mixture into a large bowl. The mixture will take several minutes to strain completely.
5. Repeat blending and straining process two to three times until the consistency is thick and smooth.
6. Store in the fridge and use in your coffees, matcha, teas, and cereals.
Can I make oat milk without a blender?
Pro tip: If you don't have a blender, a food processor can definitely help do the trick. Although, depending on how big it is, you may have to work in smaller batches to ensure the milk is properly blended (without pouring over the top).
Is oat milk healthy?
So we've established that this alt-milk is pretty delish, but what about its nutritional profile and is oat milk good for you? 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 help reduce LDL—aka, "bad" cholesterol. What's more, it's 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," Beckerman says. "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." Thank you, protein in oat milk.
It's also worth noting that this oat milk recipe contains naturally-occurring sugar from good ol' maple syrup. No refined sugars in sight. "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," Beckerman says. You won't have to worry about hidden oils when making oat milk at home. And since there's room for sugars in a balanced diet, Beckerman says not to worry about a serving or two of maple syrup used to help sweeten up the recipe (although it's definitely optional). As a rule of thumb, Beckerman recommends sticking 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.” By that we mean: We definitely love oat milk 'round here. (And, it's especially true if you make it from scratch.) But if you're still on the fence, this is how oat milk vs. almond milk stack up against one another. Although, it's worth noting that some folks may experience oat milk-induced gastro-related woes, in which case almond milk may be your tried and true BFF.
Is oat milk gluten-free?
Good news: Yes, it is! 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. Think a cross between cow's milk and almond milk. That said, when you're prepping the recipe, make sure you don't over-blend it, or you can run the risk of your concoction becoming slimy. No, thank you.
How long will it 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. Ultimately, it's best to err on the side of caution, and thoroughly inspect the milk before consuming it to ensure it's still fresh. Of course, when in doubt, it's best to get rid of it and start fresh with a new batch that takes mere minutes to make.
What should I use my non-dairy 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," Dove says. Plus, with some recipe modifications, you can also use this alt-milk in any recipe that calls for cow's milk. And, nowadays, you can find oat milk versions of just about any of your classic dairy favorites. Think: ice cream, creamer, yogurt, golden milk, you name it.
Your FAQs about oat milk, answered by a dietitian:
- Onning, G et al. “Effects of consumption of oat milk, soya milk, or cow’s milk on plasma lipids and antioxidative capacity in healthy subjects.” Annals of nutrition & metabolism vol. 42,4 (1998): 211-20. doi:10.1159/000012736
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