The Low-Down on Non-Dairy Milks

As the ‘free from’ sections in each supermarket start to grow and bulge, you may find yourself somewhat overwhelmed and confused by the plethora of non-dairy milks that are on offer. You may wonder whether they can be used in the same way as dairy milk, and how they are produced. Join me as I tour through some of the moment’s most popular non-dairy milks and consider their use.

Almond milk

This comes in two main varieties – sweetened and unsweetened. If you are looking for a healthy milk, then opt for the unsweetened as it is natural and does not have any added sugar. 

Almond milk is made by mixing and mashing almonds with water and then straining off any residual solids. This can be done with the almond skin removed and with or without roasting the almonds first, each additional stage in the process changes the flavour slightly. 

Look out for the most natural almond milks – some have a range of thickeners and additives in the ingredient list. 

Almond milk has a smooth taste and is good for coffee, tea and cereal. 

Oat milk

Oat milk has quite a creamy texture, and it is well suited to cereals, and even drinking. It often comes with some vanilla flavouring added. 

Oat milk is made by extracting material from the grain through soaking the whole oats in water. Oat milk is suited to tea and coffee as well as baking. 

Children like the taste of oat milk, and it works well warmed up before bed. 

Hemp milk

Somewhat similar to oat milk in terms of processing, hemp milk is a natural and healthy option for those who want to avoid nuts. 

Although not as creamy in texture as oat milk, hemp milk still works well in hot drinks. It is the milk that most resembles dairy milk in terms of thickness and colour. It is quite tasteless and so may not suit every taste when it comes to cereal. 

Hemp milk can be a little on the expensive side as it is still not as widely produced as some of the other milks on this list.

Hazelnut milk

This milk is the nut milk that tastes most like the nut it is made from. If you like hazelnuts, you are likely to really enjoy this milk. My kids love it in hot chocolate as it creates a really creamy and yummy (their words) drink. It’s not the milk for cereal – unless you really love hazelnuts – as its taste is quite strong. It’s lovely in coffee!

Soy milk

This is the first non-dairy milk that really came onto the mass market. Since then, soy has had some bad press, but it still remains one of the most popular grains for making milk. There is a whole range of options when it comes to selecting your soy milk as there is sweetened, flavoured, organic and more to choose from. Soy milk works well in hot drinks, great in bakes and tastes fine on cereal as long as you use the sweetened version, oradd some sugar to your breakfast.