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.
Our video producer Olivia Geyelin shows you how it’s done:
Vitamix A2300 Series Ascent Blender, $449.95 from Williams Sonoma
A powerful blender is a huge help here.
Why Make Oat Milk?
Many commercial oat milks have unnecessary additives to help them last longer and be shelf stable after processing, so 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 non-dairy 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.
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.
Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Types of Oats?
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?
A blender is a must, and the higher-powered the better. 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.
Ellie's Best XL Nut Milk Bag, $13.97 from Amazon
Our favorite way to strain oat milk.
Ball Regular Mouth 32-Ounce Mason Jars, 2 for $16.84 from Amazon
Keep your cold brew in the other jar.
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.
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
Click the link below for the full ingredients list and process:
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 turn it into a DIY face mask. See other oat pulp recipes for more ideas.
Related Reading: Easy Ways to Fight Food Waste
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.
Header image courtesy of Olivia Geyelin