Move over, almond milk – there’s a new dairy-free milk alternative on the block. Oat milk’s popularity has skyrocketed and has quickly overtaken other non-dairy options at grocery stores and coffee shops. Oat milk is sweet, tasty and versatile. If you haven’t tried it yet, there are many ways to use it in recipes and you can even make it yourself.
Why Is Oat Milk Popular?
Oat milk is in demand for a number of reasons.
It Has a Neutral Flavour
Oat milk has a sweet, slightly nutty flavour that melds well in recipes, especially for coffee and elixirs. It definitely tastes like oats, which many find comforting and familiar.
It Has a ‘Frothable’ Texture
Its starchy, sturdy texture makes oat milk easier to whip up and froth for foam or latte art (again, it’s very much associated with coffee lovers).
It Is More Environmentally Friendly
Oat milk requires less water and land, and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than dairy milk as well as other dairy-free milk options such as almond, which has fallen out of favour due to its massive use of water.
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Homemade Oat Milk Recipe
We have an entire post dedicated to making nut/seed milk, so why create a new post with an oat milk recipe? Here’s the reason: the process for making milk with oats is a little different than traditional nut and seed milks. Homemade oat milk can turn sticky, gloopy and slimy, but we have a few key tips and tricks to prevent that from happening.
Don’t Soak Your Oats in Advance
With almost all other dairy-free milks (nuts, seeds, coconut, or rice), we recommend soaking the ingredients in water first. This helps soften them up for blending, especially with larger and hardier nuts. Do not soak your oats first.
Oats are dense in soluble fibre, particularly a fibre called beta-glucan. Beta-glucans have been shown to support the immune system, aid with blood sugar balance, reduce cholesterol levels and help build beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
If you soak your oats in water, they will absorb a lot of it (you may end up with something more akin to overnight oats). It’s better to use them dried.
Use Cold Water
If you’ve ever cooked a pot of oatmeal, you know how thick and sticky it can get (again, this is due to the beta-glucan content). Warm or hot water will make your oat milk gluey.
Don’t Overblend Your Oat Milk
When making homemade oat milk, you want to use just enough power to break them down (especially if you’re using a high-speed blender). We blitz ours for about 30 seconds using a high-speed blender. Excessive blending will create heat, which in turn activates that soluble fibre component and you’ll end up with slimy oat milk.
When straining your milk, let gravity do the work. Pressing your blended oats through a strainer, or wringing it out with a nut milk bag, will force more of that gooey soluble fibre into the final product. We like to use a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, and let the milk separate naturally from the solids (we will often leave the bowl for 10–15 minutes while it strains). If needed, you can gently press the pulp with a back of a spoon – but don’t overdo it.
Best Types of Oats to Use
We like to use gluten-free rolled oats for oat milk. Opt for oat with a thinner texture: rolled/old fashioned oats or quick oats. Beefier oat types, like steel-cut oats or whole oat groats, don’t break down easily when dry and that can mean longer blending times (and slimier oat milk).
Flavouring Oat Milk
Whisk in your favourite natural sweetener or spices for extra flavour.
Can’t I Just Buy It?
Store-bought oat milk is convenient, but it also has:
- Cheap oils that are lacking in nutrition and are detrimental to health, such as canola oil or sunflower oil
- Supplemental vitamins and minerals, but typically not in their most absorbable forms
- Added sweeteners
- Binders and thickeners that prevent the milk from naturally separating
- Preservatives to keep it fresh in the carton, unrefrigerated, for long periods of time
11 Ways to Use Oat Milk
Oat milk is an all-purpose dairy-free alternative you can incorporate into multiple recipes, and it can be swapped in 1:1 for other nut or seed milks. You are also welcome to try mixing and matching with half oat milk and half of another milk alternative.
Toss your milk into your blender to use as the base liquid in your favourite smoothie recipe (or use it in a smoothie bowl).
Recipe To Try: 20 Best Dairy-Free Smoothie Recipes
Iced tea, cold brew, iced hot chocolate, iced lattes or cold hot chocolate – all delicious with oat milk.
Recipe To Try: 20 Best Iced Elixir Recipes
Add extra oat-y goodness to your staple bowl of oatmeal (or porridge using any gluten-free grain).
Pancakes or Waffles
Have a go-to pancake or waffle recipe? Oat milk works like a dream in the batter.
Gluten-Free Baked Goods
Oat milk will be delicious in all your favourite gluten-free baked goods. It offers an ever-so-slight binding property, too.
Chia Pudding (Or Any Pudding)
We adore chia pudding for its anti-inflammatory health benefits, and it’s great to make ahead as part of your breakfast or snack meal prep.
Oat Milk Ice Cubes
Pour your milk into ice cube trays, then pop them into a large bag, jar or container. Use the cubes for smoothies, or defrost a few when you’re making an elixir or a recipe that calls for only a small amount.
Milk for Cereal and Granola
You won’t regret pouring oat milk over your bowl.
Dairy-Free Cheese Sauce
Oat milk offers a thick, creamy texture to dairy-free, cheese sauces. Hello, vegan mac and cheese!
Ice Cream and Popsicles
Create velvety ice cream and dreamy popsicles.
Hot Elixirs with Oat Milk
If you love cozy elixirs (or even coffee), oat milk is definitely for you.
Oat milk is a delicious milk alternative and a dairy-free elixir is a good starter option. Download our easy elixir guide below and start blending!