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It’s hard to walk through the alternative milk aisle these days without seeing a new dairy option. There’s oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk, macadamia nut milk—certainly more choices than the ubiquitous skim, 2%, and whole dairy milks that have long reigned supreme. 

Related Reading: A Vegan Mac and Cheese That’s Just as Comforting as the Original

But for the dairy-averse, including those who simply can’t digest milk, nut milks are undeniably life savers. They easily replace cow milk in any capacity, from a dash of cream in coffee to a cup of milk in pancake batter, and it’s just as rich and nourishing. And while it’s plenty easy to just purchase nut milk at the store these days, there’s a slew of benefits to making it at home.

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“You control the ingredients, adding only what you choose—no fillers, no gums, no questionable, unpronounceable ingredients. It ends up being more economical for your wallet, healthier for your body, and less wasteful for the environment,” Lisa Dawn Angerame, author of “Wait, That’s Vegan?!” explains. 

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The long-time vegan is a big proponent of eschewing the store-bought variety for the homemade kind. Her cookbook has an easy recipe for homemade nut milk—and it only includes two base ingredients. Armed with a blender and your nut of choice, it’s easy and far from time-consuming to make big batches of fresh nut milk. Here are Lisa’s tips and tricks for making your own nut milk, plus her recipe for doing it at home.

Choose a Nut You Like

Cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts lend themselves well to making the best nut milk. Lisa personally prefers cashews, since the resulting milk is rich and doesn’t have to be strained. 

Soak the Nuts Overnight

Even if you’re using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix that can easily blitz nuts to smithereens, soaking nuts beforehand will guarantee the nuts will blend easily and yield a much creamier and smoother milk. 

If You Don’t Have Time to Soak Nuts Overnight, Don’t Worry

You can still make nut milk. Maybe you want nut milk right now and you can’t wait hours to soak the nuts. Just cover them in boiling water and let them rest for 15 to 30 minutes. The nuts will become waterlogged, making them just as easy to blend.  

Don’t Forget to Strain the Milk

Once the nuts have been blended, pour the milk through a strainer or squeeze it through a nut milk bag. You want to make sure there aren’t any tiny pieces of nuts leftover. 

Experiment as Much as You Want

The best part about making your own nut milk is you can get creative. “You can create any flavor profile you want, from sweetening your milks with maple syrup, dates, or coconut sugar to adding flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamon. [You can] even make chocolate milk by adding cacao powder or cacao nibs,” Lisa suggests.  

Reprinted with permission from Wait, That’s Vegan?! by Lisa Dawn Angerame, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Alex Shytsman.

Nut Milk Recipe

Homemade nut milk is a great alternative to buying the already-made-stuff in the stores. It’s easy to make and you can have plant-based milk whenever you want it. The best nuts for milk are cashews, blanched almonds, and Brazil nuts. Cashews are the easiest; the milk doesn’t have to be strained. Almond milk and Brazil nut milk both need to be strained, so run the milk through a fine-mesh strainer or squeeze it through a nut milk bag. 

Nut Milk

Makes: 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (150 g) raw nuts, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups (720 ml) water
Instructions
  1. Sweeten the milk with maple syrup or dates, or flavor it with a touch of vanilla extract, ground vanilla beans and/or cinnamon, or make chocolate milk by adding cacao powder. Experiment and figure out your favorite combination. Even if you have a high-speed blender, it is a good idea to soak the nuts.
  2. Add the nuts and water to a blender. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. If using almonds or Brazil nuts, pour the milk through a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl or squeeze the milk through a nut milk bag.
  4. Pour the milk into a bottle and seal it tightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Header image courtesy of Alex Shytsman.

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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