Eating Vegan: Tasty Milk Alternatives

pouring almond milk

Conventional dairy production is a lot different from the idyllic farms you see in those Happy Cow commercials on TV. Real dairy production forces cows to live in close quarters, involves nasty growth hormones, and is just a pretty cruel business overall.

Milk’s quite easy to cut out of your diet, whether you’re using it to cook or drinking it straight out of the glass. If you’re thinking about avoiding dairy for animal rights or for health reasons, there are a slough of delicious options out there for you!

Soy milk is the most common dairy replacement. Most coffee shops now offer soy milk for your latte, and you can find it in pretty much any grocery store. There are a few problems with soy that you might want to think about before making that switch, though. First of all, soy milk has a sort of beany after taste. It’s something most folks get used to with time, but it’s pretty noticeable at first. There’s also a question about how healthy it is to ingest so much soy. When eating vegan, it’s easy to have soy products at every single meal. With so many other non-dairy milks out there, you might look into some alternatives for your coffee and cereal.

If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, you’ll probably really dig rice milk. It’s got a nice, mellow taste and is on the sweet side. I love rice milk on plain cereal like bran flakes; it takes what would be a boring breakfast and makes it just a little more interesting. Like with all of these milk alternatives, you can use rice milk in recipes just like any other, but it’s a little different in coffee. If you like your coffee on the light side, leave lots of room when you’re mixing in rice milk! I’ve also seen oat milk at the co-op near my house but haven’t had a chance to try it – anyone want to chime in on that one?

It might sound a little hippie dippy, but hemp milk is a super-tasty option. Hemp milk is rich and creamy, and it’s perfect in coffee or in smoothies! It has an interesting aftertaste, which seems to vary by brand. Some folks find the aftertaste unpleasant, so tread carefully if you’re serving this to someone who’s never had it.

cashew milkThere are also a ton of nut milks out there. Supermarkets have started stocking Almond Breeze in big jugs by the soy milk, and it’s one of my favorites. There’s no aftertaste at all, and it holds up well in recipes, coffee, cereal, and smoothies. You can find other nut milks like hazelnut or cashew if there’s a health food store near you. It’s also super easy to make your own nut milk!

Remember Turtle Mountain, who made that coconut based ice cream I reviewed over the summer? Well, they also make coconut milk, which is out of this world. It has a distinct coconut taste, so you might need to choose carefully where you use it. If coconut is your thing, though, I highly recommend giving this a go!

Do you guys have any favorite milk alternatives that I missed?

Image Credits:
Pouring the Raw Cinnamon Sunflower Seed Milk. Creative Commons photo by Flickr user sweetbeetandgreenbean
Cashew Milk. Creative Commons photo by elanaspantry

29 thoughts on “Eating Vegan: Tasty Milk Alternatives”

  1. We use coconut milk and homemade almond milk. We don’t usually consume unfermented forms of soy, like soy milk (see here: It is MUCH cheaper to make your own diluted coconut milk (whether from the can or the shredded stuff) and almond milk (from soaked almonds) rather than buying the packaged stuff. The cost was killing us for a while because we have smoothies and oatmeal almost every day. We save a lot of money making our own.

    1. Donknottz,a Coconut creamer is a new one! I will have to remember to post that one on my coffee website website under brewing tips. Thanks a million!

  2. Chandelle, I love the idea of making coconut milk! That So Delicious brand is some of the best nondairy milk I’ve ever had. Do you just water down the canned sort of coconut milk, or are there other things involved?

  3. I like the SD product, but I don’t like the additives, waste, or cost. So I’ve been playing around with ways to make it myself. For one can of milk you add two cans of water. Throw in a pinch of salt. That will make a consistency like SD’s product and it ends up being about 5 cups, which means that it costs half as much. Now I make it from dried, shredded coconut, which saves even more money and waste. To do it this way, you combine 1 part of coconut with 2 parts of hot water and let it stand for an hour or so (to draw out the oil). Blend it, then strain it through cheesecloth or muslin. Return the milk to the blender and add a pinch of salt. That’s it! I store it in mason jars. It needs to be used within a few days because there are no preservatives, but it works well for smoothies, oatmeal, curry, anything.

  4. You mentioned that there was Turtle Mountain Coconut Milk but they also just started making a coconut creamer for your coffee in 3 flavors, Regular, French Vanilla (My favorite) & Hazlenut. The French Vanilla is sweeter than the regular and I have not tried Hazlenut but this is definitely the best cream alternaitve I have ever come across and strongly recommend it. It was actually the final step for me to becoming a full fledged vegan.

  5. Oat milk is pretty good, but I really love So Delicious coconut milk beverages. And their new coconut milk coffee creamer is out of this world, especially the French vanilla flavor.

  6. I have been a soymilk drinker for over 10 years and find the vanilla flavored soymilk to be a terrific choice for those who find the grassier flavor of the original soymilks a little too natural. The great thing about soymilk is that it contains about 7 gams of protein, more than any other dairy alternative and this protein is equivalent to egg protein, unlike any other vegan alternative. In short, soymilk is the best value both from a nutritional and health investment.

    1. Hi, I have been using soy milk for some years and have discoverd recently that it contains estrogen. My sex life in the past few years has not been to good. Right now I am looking for another product to get away from this estrogen as it could be my problem.

  7. There are a bunch of recipes for homemade milks, at… I use the ‘oat milk’ one all the time, for cooking — takes about 90 seconds to make, in the blender, & works great in gravies/ sauces/ baking/ etc (though not as good in coffee or plain, compared to store-bought stuff).

    Also, if anyone is reading this & going ‘hmmm, should I think about going dairy-free?’… you might want to check out — a summary of reasons/ further reading about why some folks avoid dairy, and some resources (besides the present excellent article!) for eating/ cooking *without* the cow squeezin’s.


  8. Here’s a healthy milk recipe : In a small pot, boil about 1 1/2 cups of good water, remove from burner, add one cup of natural Almonds, let it cool down to warm temperature,…peel off almond skins, (if you let the water get cold you’ll have to start over so the skins become easy to remove).
    Place skinned almonds into blemder, add 3 cups good water and blend. Very nutritious ! Good for drinking, baking, making fruit drinks. Can add berries, bananna etc for a great healthier drink, add frozen berries and/or a couple ice cubes for cool summer health drinks.

  9. There’s a new type of farming happening, can’t recall the name. It has to do with a set up in a barn / warehouse with the electronic machinery, which uses something like 95 % or more less water. The food, supposedly healthy, not GMO, can be grown very rapidly and locally, solving a problem of food shortage as well as costly transportation. Fresh food available, and a crop of lettuce or strawberries can be produced in three weeks time. Walmart is already planning on purchasing food for several of it’s stores from these people that created this model. Communities need to get together and start this off locally, to insure a healthier and less costly food source.

  10. I have yet to find a milk alternative that doesn’t taste, well, yucky. I can get past the fact that none of them will taste anything like milk, but do they have to taste like damp, musty cardboard? I’ve tried “milks” made from soy, almonds, rice and hemp. All of them have a distinct and unpleasant aftertaste for me. Sweetened forms are WAY too sweet. Vanilla flavoring helps, but not for all applications. I tried to make an almond milk latte, and instead of froth I got scum and de-emulsified oil.

    If anyone could suggest specific brands that they’ve found more palatable, I’d be really grateful.

    1. Vegan milks can vary quite a bit from brand to brand. Blue Diamond almond milk (the sort in the fridge section, not the asceptic box) is quite good, if you haven’t tried that sort already. My sister is a big fan of Silk unsweetened soy milk (also in the fridge section).

    2. That’s weird. I am VERY picky about my coffee, and that was probably the hardest thing for me about going vegan (aside from the Cheese Factor). I ADORE almond milk in my lattes, and I have an almond milk latte at least once a day that I make myself. I steam the milk to about 145 degrees, though I have forgotten and heated it to MUCH higher temperatures than that and never had it de-emulsify.

      A local vegan restaurant makes homemade nut milks and makes their lattes from that, and even those hold up to the steaming process perfectly. Maybe it was just the brand you bought?

  11. GMO and soya. We must be careful here. In UK no GMO soya (or any other GMO rubbish) is allowed to be imported for human consumption. We are luckier tan you lot in the USA who are routinely fed and watered on agro-industrial crap.

  12. thanks for the info, my nice has been eating dry cereal and missing rice pudding and all kinds of delicious foods. thank you…. i think we will start with soy and rice milk.

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