Oat milk has made the leap from niche vegan milk to mainstream supermarket staple. But the truth is, homemade oat milk is incredibly easy to whip up and much more affordable. Here’s how to make oat milk in any flavor you want — and what to do with it.
CNET sister site Chowhound’s video producer Olivia Geyelin shows you how it’s done in the video above.
Why make oat milk?
Many commercial oat milks have unnecessary additives to help them last longer and be shelf stable after processing. Making it yourself means you know exactly what’s in it. It also means you can control the level of sweetness and overall flavor according to your personal preference.
The best brands of oat milk can be expensive, so making it at home also saves you money. Of course, the price of store-bought oat milk varies by specific label and store location, but buying a few cups of oats from the bulk bins will always be cheaper in the long run. Plus, it’s the type of incredibly easy DIY project that feels extra satisfying for being so simple (and tasting so good).
As for why oat milk over other nondairy milk, it’s a favorite for an inherent natural sweetness from the oats and a creamier texture than soy milk and some other alternative milk options. It’s generally considered to be the closest plant-based milk comes to the taste and texture of cow’s milk, so even regular dairy drinkers are liable to like it. And since it’s not a nut milk, it’s more broadly allergy-friendly. And even better, it’s considered one of the most environmentally friendly alternative milks too.
What ingredients do you need to make oat milk?
You’ll want to be sure to buy old-fashioned rolled oats, and certified organic is preferred to ensure there’s no cross-contamination. If you’re gluten-free, be sure you buy oats that are certified gluten-free too. If you use quick-cooking oats (which have been much more processed), you’re more likely to get slimy oat milk. But less processed steel-cut oats are too coarse to work well.
Since the other main ingredient is water, make sure you use good-tasting, clean water too. If you don’t like to drink the stuff from your tap, you don’t want to use it for oat milk either.
After that, it’s up to you. You can add a sweetener like maple syrup or honey (or blend pitted dates with the oats and water), sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt and/or cinnamon, or even add a couple teaspoons of cocoa powder for chocolate oat milk. A splash of vanilla extract is also a nice touch in any case, but totally optional.
What equipment do you need for homemade oat milk?
Ais a must and the higher-powered the better. If you have a less powerful blender you may end up with chalkier oat milk, but you also may not notice too much if you’re mixing it into other things. A nut milk bag is ideal for straining — but you can also use paper towels or cheesecloth over a large bowl, a fine mesh strainer or even the cut-off end of a clean nylon stocking. A large mason jar or other tightly lidded container is needed to store your milk.
A powerful blender is a huge help here.
Our favorite way to strain oat milk.
These come in a pair, so you can keep your cold brew in the other jar.
Tips for the best homemade oat milk
In addition to using the right kind of oats, make sure your water is ice cold — if it’s not straight from an arctic-level fridge, add a few ice cubes to the blender. This helps prevent slimy oat milk.
Similarly, don’t overblend, which also heats up the oats and can make them slimy. Blend for 20-30 seconds max.
When straining the mixture, while you should squeeze firmly to get all the liquid out, don’t overdo it (that’s another cause of slimy oat milk). You’ll be able to feel the liquid start to get more viscous toward the end of the squeezing process, so stop when you notice that.
If you’re really sensitive to the slippery factor and still aren’t happy with the texture, Lisa Bryan of Downshiftology recommends soaking the oats with digestive enzymes, which you can buy in capsule form. You can also try simply soaking the oats in water for about 10 minutes before blending.
If your oat milk seems too cloudy, you can strain it twice, but a tightly woven nut milk bag should keep out all of the pulp and a great deal of sediment.
If you can’t get through a whole batch of oat milk within a few days to a week, it’s easy to just make half the recipe.
Homemade oat milk recipe
Here’s the easy oat milk recipe in full:
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 4 cups water, ice cold
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or other sweetener (optional, and adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
- Other flavorings as desired, such as: 1 teaspoon cinnamon or 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1. Place the oats and cold water in a blender. If your water isn’t super cold, add a few ice cubes; this helps prevent slimy oat milk.
2. Add whatever other flavorings and sweetener you’re using, if any.
3. Blend for 20-30 seconds (no longer or your oats may overheat and get slimy).
4. Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag set over a large bowl and firmly squeeze to get the liquid out, but not too aggressively (as that can also result in slimy oat milk).
5. If you see a lot of sediment, you can strain a second time, either through the nut milk bag again, or through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
6. Pour oat milk into a mason jar or other tightly lidded container and store in the fridge for up to one week.
Separation is natural, so be sure to shake your oat milk before using!
What to do with oat milk pulp
Don’t throw out that leftover oat pulp! Like many oft-overlooked food scraps, it can have a second life. You can use it in cookies and other baked goods or even turn it into a DIY face mask. See other oat pulp recipes for more ideas.
Why did my oat milk separate?
It’s totally natural for oat milk to separate while sitting in the fridge. Simply give the container a good shake before using it.
How to use oat milk
You can drink your delicious oat milk straight (over ice if you like), put a splash in your coffee (hot or cold brew), use it in smoothies or use it in place of dairy milk in baking and other recipes. Or pour it on a bowl of cereal.
This story was originally published on Chowhound.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.