Ditching dairy for something more healthy? We’ve rounded up the best milk substitutes here in this little list! There’s more to the list other than soymilk. In fact, there are loads more out there, but these are ones you’ll likely come across on a near-daily basis. So, it’s best to get to know none of them a little bit!
Arguably one of the most popular plant-based milk is oat milk. That’s all thanks to the Swedish brand known as Oatly. In fact, a lot of coffee shops use oat milk so often that it’s become a menu mainstay - just like cow’s milk!
Why is it so popular? Well, oat milk tastes quite similar to cow’s milk and can sometimes come naturally sweeter. Some would actually say that oat milk is the closest to cow’s milk. The nutty and creamy profile means it pairs well with beverages, too. If you’re new to non-dairy milk options, oat milk is a great place to start.
A good thing to note is that oat milk is a healthy alternative if you’re allergic to soy, dairy, and nuts! Although unsweetened oat milk won’t provide you with as much nutrition as dairy milk, you can still get in some fiber, protein, and calcium - all without the fat the latter normally would.
The first nut milk on our list is almond milk! Almond milk, of course, tastes nutty. Whether unsweetened or not, it will have that distinct flavor, but it won’t be overpowering. Natural almond milk trumps cow’s milk in vitamin D content. But it won’t naturally contain calcium, which the latter is known for. If you want more nutrition, fortified or enriched cartons are widely available.
Almond milk is great for making hot chocolates or pancakes. If you’ve found them to be ‘heavy’ in the past, that may be because of the fat content of cow’s milk. You can also drink a glass of almond milk on its own. It’s really refreshing!
Unsweetened, natural cashew milk is one of the low-calorie and non-dairy milk options on the list. The caloric content may change depending on if your milk is sweetened or flavored, though.
Nutritionally, cashew milk is great. You can get some vitamin A, protein, iron, and potassium. Some brands even offer ones that come with calcium, too!
Cashew milk and almond milk do have very similar flavor profiles and textures, so it’s easy to switch between the two if one happens to be unattainable at the moment. Speaking of textures, there are some that would argue that cashew milk has a somewhat rounder mouthfeel than almond milk. So if that sounds good to you, cashew milk is the one to get!
We can’t make a list of non-dairy milk options without mentioning the OG. Soy milk has been around for a very long time, like 164 BC! Since it has been around for so long, you can already guess why it was able to stick around… soy milk is nutritious and delicious.
A 100g serving of soy milk offers protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and vitamin D. That would, of course, vary depending on who made it, but it’s a pretty good baseline to have! Oat milk doesn’t have to be the only alternative for those with nut allergies. Soy milk can easily replace dairy milk and nut milk.
Soy milk is one of the most distinct when it comes to taste. A lot of people prefer drinking it on its own rather than mixing it with food or drink as it may tend to overpower anything its been added to. Some brands have taken note of this, however, and made soy-based non-dairy milk options that have a more gentle nuttiness.
One unlikely non-dairy milk option on this list is certainly pea milk. This is made differently from nut milk in that the ingredients are ground up into a flour and then added to water. It doesn’t make use of the soak-an-blend method.
Pea protein milk has also often been part of the best non-dairy milk for toddlers. There are even non-dairy milk brands, like Ripple, that dedicate their line to pea-based alternatives for dairy milk!
You can tell by the name that pea protein milk is a great source of protein. You can also get a little bit of vitamin A, calcium, and fiber with every serving.
On to the next uncommon non-dairy milk! Well, actually, hemp milk isn't THAT uncommon anymore. A lot of non-dairy milk brands actually make hemp milk now and that’s great!
Unsweetened hemp milk has fewer calories than cow’s milk. It doesn’t quite have the same protein and potassium as cow’s milk, though. So it’s a fair trade, we think. You can find fortified hemp milk that can match the calcium content of dairy milk if you’re looking to build strong bones.
What does hemp milk taste like? After all, it won’t be a good dairy-free alternative if it doesn’t taste good. Hemp milk is slightly nutty - think of it as a blend of sunflower seeds and pine nuts. It has a more subtle taste compared to soy milk, too.
With all the hazelnutty drinks, you might think that people may be tired of similar drinks - but no! Hazelnut milk is a welcome addition to that lineup. Refreshing, nutty, and creamy, hazelnut milk is delicious and probably one of the best milk substitutes when it comes to taste!
Hazelnut milk is made by roasting hazelnuts. Those are then soaked, blended, strained, and mixed with water. Some non-dairy milk brands that sell hazelnut milk even skip the roasting and simply use raw hazelnuts to lock in more nutrition. Raw hazelnuts may contain folates and vitamin C, while their roasted counterpart could have a bit more thiamine and potassium.
Roasting also affects taste. Roasted hazelnut milk tends to taste sweeter than those made with raw ones! The final nutritional content and taste would always fall into the hands of how each brand makes it. So, make sure to take a look at the labels.
Sweetened or unsweetened, flavored or unflavored… Rice milk comes in a variety. This also tastes naturally sweet and has a more “watery” consistency. It’s not creamy like the other ones you’ll find on this list. That makes rice milk very enjoyable to have on its own and can even be a refreshing beverage, especially when served over ice.
As you can expect, rice milk has more carbs than regular, dairy milk. Its calcium and protein content can’t compare to that of the latter, but keep in mind that it is naturally free from cholesterol or lactose.
Last on our list is macadamia milk. It’s really creamy, smooth, and has a somewhat fruity taste that makes it stand out on our list. It’s balanced, like almond milk, but it is often thicker in consistency.
While delicious, you can also get wonder nutrients by drinking macadamia milk. You get iron, protein, fiber, and some carbs with every serving. Depending on what brands you pick up, you could even get some with potassium and magnesium, too.
Milkadamia, one of the noteworthy non-dairy milk brands that make macadamia milk, uses only raw macadamias and offers a sweetened and unsweetened variant. Both have fewer calories than a serving of cow’s milk!
Did you enjoy our list of the best milk substitutes to try? We hope you did! If you do decide to pick some up, make sure to check out Vegan Essentials and we’ll have them delivered straight to your door in no time.