When it comes to transitioning to Veganism, one may find themselves stumped on choosing the best plant milk alternatives - and that’s okay! Fortunately, with the growing number of people becoming interested in a plant-based lifestyle, the market has become loaded with options for us to choose from.
There are ethical, environmental, and personal health benefits to choosing a plant-based milk alternative over milk from a cow. But regardless of the ‘why’ behind the choice to take up a Vegan diet, one thing is for sure: We all need products of a milk-like consistency to put in our tea, coffee, and Vegan recipes.
This week, we will explore 12 plant milk alternatives that can supercharge your day from the get-go and discuss what plant-based substitute is best for different occasions.
Let’s get into it!
Coconut Milk As A Plant Milk Alternative
What is coconut milk, and how is it made?
Coconut milk is a white and creamy plant milk alternative made by grating the coconut meat (the white parts on the inside of a coconut), mixing it with hot water, and squeezing the mixture through a cheesecloth. It is one of the most well-known and popular plant milk alternatives and is generally excellent all-around.
Coconut milk is relatively healthy for you, but if you’re looking at cutting calories, you might want to try something else like (x)
Coconut milk in coffee
Coconut milk goes well in tea and coffee!
Coconut milk for cooking
Coconut milk has been used for cooking for longer than most know. Traditional Indian and Thai dishes have used coconut milk for as far back as we know, so it’s not just for us Vegans! However, it is a godsend. The thick creamy texture of coconut milk is perfect for cooking and baked goods, so don’t be shy to try it out!
What is almond milk, and how is it made?
Almond milk is made with finely ground almonds and water. The water and ground almonds are simply blended together and then strained, leaving the final product that you can use in your plant-based meal preparations.
Almond milk in coffee
Almond milk is not the best option for use in coffee because it curdles quickly, resulting in an unpleasant flavour. The texture is watery, and the taste is strong and nutty, meaning it's more noticeable in coffee. Almond milk can complement certain coffees when balanced correctly.
Almond milk for cooking
Almond milk can be used in cooking and baking by simply replacing one cup of cow’s milk with one almond milk. This will work effectively with most recipes. It would be worth considering how the nutty flavours of almond milk will complement your meal. Almond milk can also be used for baked goods. All in all, almond milk is a readily available plant milk alternative that is easy to use in cooking!
What is oat milk, and how is it made?
Oat milk is made by combining oats with water and milling the mixture into a smooth consistency. Once this process is complete, the solids from the oats are strained and removed, leaving only the ‘milk’.
Oat milk in coffee
Oat milk is one of our absolute favourites to use in coffee! The subtle flavours don’t overpower the taste of your blend, so it can even be used as a plant milk alternative for single-origin styles that have lighter, fruitier flavours. Additionally, oat milk is a lot more froth-friendly, so you can achieve the nice creamy textures commonly associated with cow milk.
Oat milk for cooking
In addition to making coffee, oat milk is a crowd favourite for cooking, especially in baked goods! The hint of oak pairs perfectly with banana bread, cookies, and cakes but can be used in basically everything!
What is rice milk, and how is it made?
People make rice milk by running rice through a grinding mill before being filtered and blended in water. Due to the equipment needed, making rice milk at home can be a bit tougher than other plant milk alternatives, so it’s best to buy from the stores - it’s cheap & easy to find anyways!
Rice milk in coffee
Using rice milk in coffee is similar to almond milk regarding the achievable textures. It’s possible to make rice milk creamy, but it takes more practice. Unfortunately, it won’t foam due to the low protein content, but it can still be a refreshing addition to cold coffee creations.
Rice milk for cooking
The taste of rice milk is said to be one of the closest to cow milk, but it’s not such a good choice for making sauces due to its thin consistency. Cooking and baking with rice milk should generally be avoided to avoid disappointment. Coconut milk and oat milk are among the best options out there!
What is cashew milk, and how is it made?
Making cashew milk can be done at home, but the equipment needed for consistent, high-quality outcomes is primarily found in commercial production facilities. First, the shells are taken off, and the nut is toasted. After the toasting, you soak the cashew nuts in water. Afterwards, you grind it into a paste and blend it with water. You now have an incredible plant milk alternative that you can use for various applications!
Cashew milk in coffee
The taste of cashew milk is one of, if not the most, neutral out of all nut milk. Additionally, it has a creamy texture, making it an ideal choice for coffee. One thing to keep in mind is that it is a bit sweeter than other plant milk alternatives, so if you don’t have a sweet tooth, it might not be for you. On the other hand, cashew milk is sweet enough to encourage you to reduce the amount of sugar you put in your coffee! It all depends on your personal taste, so the only way to find out is by giving it a try.
Cashew milk in cooking
Cashew milk is an excellent choice for cooking and baking in sweet and savoury dishes. In the same way that we use cashew nuts rather indiscriminately, the flavours of cashew milk alongside the thick creamy texture will bring your kitchen creation to life. You can be confident in a cup-for-cup substitute instead of regular milk.
What is hemp milk, and how is it made?
Hemp milk is an incredibly nutritious plant milk alternative made from Hemp seed, a non-psychoactive, cannabinoid-free component of industrial Hemp. Hemp milk is made by finely blending Hemp Seeds with water, but adding a date & pinch of salt for an optimal flavour is suggested. It’s easy to make at home, but Hemp milk can also be found in stores across Australia.
One of the most significant benefits of Hemp milk is that it offers dairy-free plant milk alternatives for those with nut allergies. Despite the nutty flavour, there are no traces of nuts in Hemp milk!
Hemp milk in coffee
Hemp milk is not the best addition to your hot coffee because if added cold, it will more than likely curdle. However, it does bring a thick, creamy consistency to the table. It can still make an excellent addition to cold coffee if you don’t mind the slightly nutty flavours.
Hemp milk in cooking
Hemp milk is an excellent option for baking and cooking because of its thicker texture, with some people choosing it over the ever-popular plant milk alternative - soy milk. Try the milk first and consider how it will compliment your meals before using it!
What is macadamia milk, and how is it made?
Macadamia milk is a type of nut milk made by soaking macadamia nuts briefly before blending them with filtered water, salt, and anything else that might help flavour the milk, such as dates. After this process, you’ll be left with an easy-to-use, creamy plant milk alternative. Macadamia milk is easy to make and commonly found on supermarket shelves, so it’s up to you whether you want to DIY or purchase from a producer.
Macadamia milk in coffee
Macadamia milk is excellent to use in coffee. The light flavours of the milk are often hidden by the taste of the blend, and the creamy texture offers final touches that may just result in the best plant-based cappuccino that you’ve had in your life.
Macadamia milk in baking
Macadamia milk has a thicker, creamier texture that works perfectly for cooking, especially baking! There’s not much more to say other than it’s one of the most renowned nut milk on the market and one of, if not the closest, cow milk substitutes for those of us on a plant-based diet. It’s also a good plant milk alternative for transitioning to veganism.
What is quinoa milk, and how is it made?
Quinoa milk is a high-protein plant milk alternative that is easy to make at home. It’s near-effortless to make quinoa milk at home. Simply cook the quinoa and blend them with water and flavourings! Like other plant-based milk substitutes, people like to use cinnamon, vanilla and dates to flavour their home creations.
Quinoa milk in coffee
Quinoa milk in coffee tastes reasonably good, despite the flavour of the milk on its own. When mixed with coffee, you can hardly taste the milk! However, it curdles quickly, which is something to be wary of when adding it to hot beverages. Don’t let that hold you back from trying it in cold drinks!
Quinoa milk in baking
Quinoa milk is a renowned option for cooking, with similar consistencies to soy milk. It’s incredibly compatible with baking, too, with chia puddings and overnight oats being some of the most popular online recipes.
Plant Milk Alternatives - Soy Milk
What is soy milk, and how is it made?
Soy milk is most commonly made by soaking soybeans in water overnight before grinding the beans up and blending them with water. Soy milk is high in essential fatty acids, which are healthy fats that your body must receive from external sources. Soy milk is easily one of the most well-known plant milk alternatives.
Soy milk in coffee
When making coffee, baristas have long-preferred soy milk for plant milk alternatives. It’s creamy and nutty, and some say that it can even make coffee flavours come out better than cow milk.
Soy milk for baking
Soy milk is an easy substitute for cow milk in your cooking and baking recipes. It’s great in smoothies, cereal, and just about anything else that would traditionally use cow milk. It comes in sweetened and unsweetened varieties in supermarkets, so you can pick & choose what’s best for you based on the recipe you’re working with.
And there you have it, the ultimate guide to plant milk alternatives so you can manoeuvre around the supposed necessity of using milk from a cow in your day-to-day life!
We’re sure many of our readers already use these products daily. To our HerbiFam, feel free to use this guide as a point of reference in any discussions and even share it with your friends & family to enlighten them on the fact that there certainly is a diverse range of plant milk alternatives to try.
Do you have a favourite plant milk alternative that you use? Is there anything we should add? We’d love to hear from you. Please don’t be shy to drop a comment.
…And don’t forget to share!