Oat milk is the latest Scandinavian trend that has made its way over to our shores. In the '90s, Swedish scientist Richard Oste was researching sustainable food suitable for those who have lactose intolerance and ended up inventing oat milk.

This nutritious dairy alternative is packed full of minerals and vitamins, as well as calcium and iron. It's a dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, vegan, and often gluten-free way to still enjoy something in your coffee or cereal.

What kind of non-dairy milk should I drink?

There can be any number of reasons to choose to drink non-dairy milk. However, just because a kind of milk is vegan, does not necessarily mean that it's good for you or the environment.

Almond milk and cashew milk is obviously off-limits for those with nut allergies. However, they also need huge amounts of water and produce tons of waste. The carbon footprint of coconut milk means that it's not necessarily sustainable. As 94% of the US soy crop is GMO, this means that soy milk can also cause active harm to the environment.

Many kinds of store-bought milk also include additives, such as sugar, guar gum, or carrageenan.

vegan milks Sean Gallup / Getty Images


The Benefits of Oat Milk

Alongside being great for people who cannot or choose not to have dairy, oat milk contains many beneficial properties.

Oats themselves have a particularly high amount of protein, dietary fiber, and unsaturated fatty acids. They contain 10 minerals, 15 different vitamins, and are also a reliable source of calcium and iron. One serving can give you 2 grams of fiber, and one cup of oat milk has around 25 percent of your recommended Vitamin D.

health benefits of oats ALEAIMAGE / Getty Images


Why Should You Soak Oats Before Making Milk?

One thing to note when making oat milk: In order to enjoy the nutritional benefits of oat milk, you should soak your oats the day before you use them. This removes phytic acid, which can sometimes limit how well your body takes in iron, zinc, and calcium.

All you need to do is fully submerge your oats in cold water, and then carefully strain them before using.

soaking oats RightOne / Getty Images


What Can I Use Oat Milk For?

The short answer: almost everything you'd use regular milk for.

Oat milk can be used as a substitute for dairy milk in almost all cases. It has a texture similar to low-fat cow's Oat milk works well as a substitute in many different recipes.

You might think of it like a low-fat cow’s milk, so if you want really creamy milk, this isn’t for you. It wouldn’t make the best pudding or whipped cream, but you could use it in sweet and savory dishes.

uses of oat milk monzenmachi / Getty Images


What You Need To Make Oat Milk

While making oat milk is incredibly easy, it's helpful to make sure you have the right tools on hand to save you time. All told, this recipe should take you about five minutes to make.

You'll need a blender of some kind - any kind is fine, as you're not trying to blend the oats incredibly smoothly. You'll also need a fine sieve (or a cheesecloth, or a nut milk bag), a large bowl, a smaller bowl, and a measuring spoon or cup.

tools for making oat milk RapidEye / Getty Images


Ingredients List

When it comes to making the oat milk, there are only really two vital ingredients: oats, and water.

To make between three and four cups of oat milk, you will need:

  • 1 cup rolled or quick oats (100 g)
  • 3–4 cups water (750 ml – 1 l)

The amount of water you use is going to depend on how thick you like your milk to be, and you may want to experiment with this a little bit.

If you are trying to make sweetened milk, then you might also want to add some pure maple syrup or liquid sweetener, or some spices. However, these can always be added in afterward.

ingredients for oat milk Creativeye99 / Getty Images


The Method

  1. In the large bowl, soak your oats by submerging them fully in water. Ideally, you will do this overnight, but if you can't do that then soak them for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the oats, and wash them, before putting them into the smaller bowl. Discard the water that they have been soaking in.
  3. Add the oats and water to your blender, and blend until smooth
  4. Strain the milk through your fine sieve, strainer, or nut milk bag.

If you find that your milk isn't quite as clear as you'd like, you may want to repeat steps three and four several times. This isn't essential but can improve the taste of your oat milk. Then simply store in the fridge in a container. Typically this milk will keep for up to 5 days.

how to make oat milk Amarita / Getty Images


Some Tips

  • Start out by putting in less water, and gradually adding in more. This will let you calculate the ideal taste and consistency that you want from your oat milk.
  • In general, it's easier to make unsweetened oat milk so that you can use it in sweet or savory recipes. However, if you know you'll mostly be using it for sweet, or prefer the taste of sweetened oat milk, you can add any sweetener you like.
  • Rather than throwing away the leftover oat pulp, you can save it and then mix it into oatmeal, smoothies, or smoothie bowls in order to add a little texture. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you could dehydrate the remaining pulp then put it into a blender and turn it into oat flour.

how to make oat flour mirzamlk / Getty Images


Is Oat Milk Ok For Children?

Homemade oat milk may not contain quite as many nutrients as store-bought alternatives, as these are often enriched with vitamins and nutrients. However, particularly if you've made unsweetened oat milk, it's completely safe for babies and children.

However, it's important to note that oat milk is not a suitable substitute for breast milk or dairy milk for children, as it does not contain the same level of nutrients. Be sure to speak to your pediatrician before replacing dairy milk with milk alternatives.

oat milk for babies pinstock / Getty Images


The Bottom Line

Homemade oat milk is a quick and inexpensive way to enjoy a plant-based milk alternative.

Oat milk is dairy free, lactose-free, GMO-free, and nut free. If made from gluten-free oats, it is also suitable for those with gluten intolerance.

Oats contain a huge variety of vitamins and nutrients, while also being a sustainable source of milk producing.

the benefits of oat milk LisaValder / Getty Images


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