Plant-based milks are picking up in popularity. Non-dairy milk alternatives are sold at nearly all grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants and home kitchens.
While it is becoming increasingly easier to purchase a pre-made container of almond, cashew, oat, soy or hemp milk, the prices are steep, as is the water usage.
So, with hopes of preserving my bank account and testing my poor culinary skills, I decided to see if I could make comparable at-home versions of my favorite plant-based milks.
Oat milk is my go-to at any restaurant or coffee shop, so I was eager to attempt it first. The recipe I followed is from the Love and Lemons food blog.
The ingredient list called for a half cup of rolled oats, three cups of water, two teaspoons of maple syrup, a half teaspoon of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. I took some creative liberties for my version, and used only two cups of water, and honey in replacement of the maple syrup. The oats should not be soaked as it creates a slimy milk, so I started with blending the oats, water and sweeteners at high-speed for about 30 seconds. I then poured the mixture into a large bowl covered by a cheesecloth, and gathered up the cloth to strain.
Straining the liquid genuinely felt like milking, and it was a strange experience because of the slime-like residue that gathered on the cloth. The milk may need to be strained twice depending on the thickness of the cloth. My end result was the perfect creamy consistency and tasted delicious.
Non-dairy milk can often taste watery, but the notes of cinnamon and vanilla prevented that. It had a slightly grainy texture, but that was likely due to personal error in the straining process.
Taste: 10/10 | Consistency: 8/10
For cashew milk, I used a recipe from food blog Cookie and Kate. This milk had the most ingredients of the three.
It called for one cup of raw cashews, four cups of water, two tablespoons of honey, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, a dash of cinnamon and a dash of salt. I also added maple syrup to see how it influenced the flavor. The cashews were soaked in water overnight, then I blended all the ingredients on high speed for three minutes. I strained it using the same process as oat milk. The cashew milk was significantly thinner than the oat milk because of the extra water.
I usually like cashew milk, but I did not enjoy this version whatsoever. The vanilla extract was overpowering, the consistency was watery and the maple syrup had a strange aftertaste. Less may be more with plant-based milk. The milk’s flavor could be disguised in cereal, but I would not drink it alone.
Taste: 2/10 | Consistency: 4/10
Being arguably the most infamous, I had high hopes for almond milk. I used a recipe from Kitchn.
This ingredient list was concerningly simple. It called for one cup of almonds, two cups of water, and an unspecified amount of honey. I followed the same blending time as cashew milk, and strained it as I had in both the previous recipes. The texture was the foamiest yet, and smelled delicious. I saved the dried almond grinds/paste that didn’t make it through the cloth for a batch of dark-chocolate almond brownies that I made later on.
The milk tasted incredible. It was a perfect balance of sweet and nutty, and the consistency was creamy but not as thick as oat milk. There were some almond grains left in the milk, but I did not mind because of the added flavor. I have been using this milk in my coffee every morning, and plan to make it again soon.
Taste: 10/10 | Consistency: 10/10