Oat milk is easy to make and only has a few, wholesome ingredients! Much less expensive to make homemade than to buy at the store too! This version is vegan friendly and free of dairy and refined sugars. Just use certified gluten-free oats to make it gluten-free.
Before becoming lactose intolerant, I was a big milk drinker. It was the perfect way to offset the richness of a fudgy brownie or slice of cake, and I couldn’t even think of eating a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie without a glassful. I started getting migraine headaches almost daily and after several months of suffering through them, without a clue as to their cause, I began eliminated certain “trigger” foods to see if I could pinpoint the culprit. Sure enough, it was dairy wreaking havoc on my body.
I cut dairy from my diet cold turkey and replaced dairy milk with soy milk, one of the only dairy-free alternatives out in most stores ten or so years ago. It took a while to get used its distinct and pungent flavor, but after several months, I finally got used to the taste. Finally, almond milk started hitting store shelves and it replaced soy as my milk of choice.
While we were in Europe this summer, I found it odd that a lot of coffee shops didn’t have almond milk, but carried oat milk as a dairy-free substitute, along with soy and coconut milks. It seemed the most palatable to me of the choices, so I ordered an iced oat milk latte and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it that it became my go-to drink each day. I was happy to find it so readily available in the grocery stores so that we could keep a carton in our airbnb to add to our cereal and morning cup of coffee too.
While oat milk isn’t as readily available in grocery stores like almond milk is, I did find a carton of shelf-stable oat milk at Target the other day. The only problem is I don’t like the taste of sweet milk and the only milk they had was sweetened. Plus it’s almost $3 for four cups of milk. That’s kind of a lot for as much as I use it. I knew there had to be a better way, with oats themselves being fairly inexpensive.
I tried making oat milk the same way I made almond milk—soaking oats in water, draining and rinsing them clean, then blending them with purified water. At first I blended the heck out of the oats, just as I would with almonds. The more blended the oats are, the more flavor they add, right? Actually, the more blended the oats, the more quickly they absorb liquid and become thick and gelatinous, like they do when making porridge or oatmeal.
The liquid I strained through the kitchen towel was thick and had a slimy feel as it ran through my fingers. The milk was thicker and creamier, similar to eggnog, however, the taste wasn’t bad. It tasted like oatmeal, but without any sweetener added it was a little bland. I don’t usually like sweetened milk, but I think a tiny drizzle of maple syrup improved the flavor.
I tried it again, this time with steel cut oats. I soaked steel cut oats in water for 30 minutes, rinsed it clean, and then strained it before blending it with purified water. Because steel cut oats are much harder that rolled oats, I blended it in my high-powered blender for about 30–40 seconds, then filtered it through a clean kitchen towel. The milk wasn’t as thick as the first batch, but still had a slight “slimy” feel as I strained it into the pitcher. Nothing too off-putting though and my husband, Rafael, actually preferred the taste of the steel cut oats the best.
The last batch I made without soaking the oats first. I used dry oats and purified water, only blending for 15–20 seconds before straining through the towel. Because the oats didn’t soak and have time to soften/gelatinize, this milk didn’t have as much of a slimy texture as the others did and had the most subtle flavor. It was my favorite of the three batches, however some might find this milk too watery for their liking. If you prefer thicker/creamier milk, blending the oats for longer or cutting back on the water by 1/2 cup or so should remedy this.
This milk can be enjoyed in smoothies/protein shakes, baked goods, cereal, coffee, etc. It’s a delicious and nutritious milk alternative and very inexpensive to make at home! Give it a try and let me know how you like it!
- *1¼ cups rolled oats (make sure they're certified gluten-free, if needed)
- 4 cups purified water (can use less water for creamier/thicker milk)
- pinch of salt
- 1–2 tablespoons maple syrup, coconut sugar, or other sweetener of choice (use more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Add oats, water, salt, and any optional add-ins to your high-speed blender. Blend on medium–high speed for 15–20 seconds. (Double blend time for steel cut oats)
- Blend time may vary depending on your blender. I have a Blendtec and it blends things pretty quickly.
- This short time is not meant to thoroughly blend the oats as over-blending makes the oat milk more thick and slimy.
- Taste and adjust flavors/sweetness as desired.
- Don't allow blended mixture to sit for too long before straining or oats will absorb water and become mushy, making the milk more slimy. After blending, pour the oat milk into a clean kitchen towel/flour sack or nut milk bag fitted into a sieve placed over a large pitcher or bowl. Bring up each side of the towel, twist, and squeeze the milk into the bowl/pitcher catching the large oat pieces in the towel. If milk gets too hard to strain, switching to a new towel halfway through may be helpful.
- You can discard the oat pulp or blend it into your smoothie or muffin/bread batter for added fiber.
- Pour filtered oat milk into a glass jar and refrigerate. Milk may separate as it sits, so just give it a quick shake/stir before serving. If milk is too 'slimy' or thick for your liking, stir in a little extra filtered water until it reaches the consistency you prefer.
- Homemade oat milk is delicious by the glass, over cereal/granola, in smoothies, baked goods or as a creamer in coffee. Oat milk can thicken and become gelatinous if heated by itself, but I've heated my coffee with a splash of oat milk added for 30 seconds in the microwave with no problem.
–Can also use steel cut oats soaked for at least 30 minutes, then rinsed and drained well. This milk is thicker/richer tasting but can also have slightly slimy mouth-feel.
You may also enjoy these similar recipes: