If you’re making nut milks for better health, there are a few rules you’ll want to adhere to. First and foremost, kudos for making your own. Homemade is always better when done right. But to do it right, skip the soy milk. It’s no good. When buying almonds, make sure they are not pasteurized. Buy raw nuts. Cashews aren’t really raw, so they’re not the healthiest choice, but I do use them sometimes.
PRE-MILKING: Soak and Sprout Times for Nuts
Before you milk your nuts, it is best to soak them. There’s a lot of conflicting information about soak times for nuts but I personally soak nuts for 24 hours and then dehydrate them at 112°F in our dehydrator or at room temperature if the air is dry enough.
I soak raw nuts to remove enzyme inhibitors and activate enzymes. I don’t soak seeds, but some do. I don’t soak cashews because I think that nut is already dead, but as you can see from the infographics on the left, there is some disagreement.
How to Make Nut Milk with a Blender
This recipe yields 5 cups or just over a liter and takes less than ten minutes. I’ve used almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, pecans, and walnuts for this standard nut milk recipe.
- 3-4 cups water (some nuts and some circumstances require a little more or less)
- 1 cup of raw, soaked nuts
- 1-3 pitted dates or use stevia, raw honey, or maple syrup to taste (all sweeteners are optional; you may prefer unsweetened nut milk to drink or for use in recipes)
- Place ingredients in a blender and secure lid.
- Turn blender on high, but not too fast or for too long if you want raw milk. (Too fast or too long will cook the enzymes!)
- Blend for about 45 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.
- If you like thinner milk (most do, but I usually keep the fiber), strain it with cheesecloth, pantyhose (unworn would be a good idea here), or muslin cloth and a fine mesh strainer, but many prefer to use a reinforced nut milk bag.
- Store milk in refrigerator.
- Shake well before using.
- The less strained a nut milk is, the higher its fiber content.
- I don’t recommend straining cashew milk.
- If you use raw honey, do not use the milk for baking, cooking, coffee, hot tea, etc. if you want to retain the benefits of raw honey.
- I blend with 3 cups first, and then decide if I want some of the fourth cup.
The following are a few other nut milk and non-dairy recipes with videos. These videos are not our videos, so the recipes don’t always exactly match, but as you’ll see reading on, making nut, seed, rice, and other non-dairy milks is really just about blending together water with something fatty (like almonds) to flavor the water. The trick is how to have a finished product with the right consistency and taste balance. Play around and find your own nut milk style and groove.
Making Almond Milk with a Blender
Making Almond Milk with a Slow Juicer
Masticating verticle juicers such as the Omega VRT 350 or 400 and horizontal twin gear juicers can be used to make nut milks. In my experience, the single gear juicers like mine don’t do so well (see the video below).
The video indicates the 8004 (single gear) left behind a delicious nut cream. I tried it, and it worked well. I put the weak nut milk in a blender and added more almonds, lightly strained and had great milk.
Other Non-dairy Milk Recipes
Nut milks are rich and creamy, but there are many more to choose from, and mixing milks to find your own favorite formula is fun. I really like 40% flax, 50% almond, and 10% cashew with some cinnamon, cardamom, and a touch of nutmeg. I don’t like things very sweet, so if you do, you may prefer more dates than I do, or another sweetener entirely or no sweetener at all.
Speaking of flavor, sweeteners are not necessary (it’s up to you), and should always be done by taste. For more on sweeteners, be sure to check out Healthy Alternative Sugars. I recommend the following, in order based on both health consciousness and what I like to taste in these recipes.
Sweeteners and Spices For Non-Dairy Milks
- Raw honey (only if it will not be heated)
- Blackstrap molasses
- Sugar cane juice
- Granny smith apple juice
- Maple syrup
I also like using stevia to sweeten and then just a little maple syrup or another sweetener to mask the stevia. Stevia is great for essentially amplifying the sweetness of another sweetener.
Spices for Non-Dairy Nut Milks
Just a pinch! Depending on what you are using the milk for, use very little of these spices. The taste gets stronger after the milk sets a while. This is especially true with nutmeg. You can ruin any dish with just a little too much nutmeg.
Also, the fineness of your strainer will have a tremendous impact on the taste and consistency of your milk. The less you strain, the more potential for a chalky or slimy texture (depending on the nut, the humidity, and some other factors). On the other hand, with some nuts and seeds, or with some recipes, less of a fine strain may be in order. Plus, there are health benefits in the pulp, so the more of it you get, the better, (unless there are digestive issues to consider).
Healthy & Heavenly Flax Milk Recipe
Flaxseed doesn’t have the most diverse set of benefits, but it is heavy in beneficial omega 3 fats and contains between 75 and 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
There’s no need to soak or sprout flax seeds.
I like the taste of dates, maple syrup, cane juice, and honey in my homemade flax milk, but I tend to just use honey because I never heat flax milk, and I often heat other milks such as almond or hazelnut for oatmeal and other treats. Heating raw honey or flax does not make for a healthy meal. I’m also careful to keep the blender from cooking the flax as well.
- 1/3 cup flax seeds
- 3 cups water (plus 1-1.5 more cups)
- Straining cloth or milk nut bag
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- Vanilla to taste (a tiny bit! I do about 1/4 tsp)
- Combine flax seeds and 3 cups water in blender
- Blend until thick and creamy on high heat, but not too hot as to cook the flax
- Blend 1-1.5 more cups water plus honey to desired consistency
- Can be used right away or chilled for later
Brown or golden flax will work fine. I used brown, but I’ve read that golden flax results in a milder flavor.
Homemade Honey Hemp Milk
Hemp milk, like flax, is a quick and easy to make since hemp doesn’t need to be soaked overnight. Hemp seeds (hulled hemp nuts) are for omega-3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid found in borage oil and egg yolks that is known to naturally balance hormones. Hemp also has all 10 essential amino acids, making hemp a complete source of protein on its own. Calcium, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin A, and magnesium are also prevalent in hemp and homemade hemp milk.
- 1 cup hemp hearts (also called seeds or shelled hemp nuts)
- 3 to 4 cups filtered or spring water (3 cups for thicker milk, and up to 4 cups for thinner)
- 1 Tbsp of coconut oil (optional)
- 2 Tbsp of raw honey and a drop of stevia (pick another sweetener if you’re gonna heat this milk)
- Vanilla to taste
- A pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or other unprocessed sea salt)
- In a high-speed blender, add hemp and water
- Blend on high for about two minutes, until fully liquefied
- Strain, put back into blender (rinse the blender first)
- Add coconut oil (if using), honey and stevia, vanilla powder and salt. Blend briefly.
How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk
I find coconut milk to be an easy recipe, but if you’re picky about the texture, coconut can be a little more labor intensive. What I love about coconut milk is that I find it to be the most versatile, the most robust, and the most beneficial of all the nut milks.
Coconut milk can be cooked at moderate temperatures without affecting the health benefits, the fat is incredibly good for you.
- 1 cup dried coconut chips -or- between 2-3 whole, mature coconuts
- 2 cups water
If you’re using whole coconut, extract the meat. You can also use coconut water to substitute for water.
Blend. Blend for a while; take your time. You can blend at high speeds as well since coconut is not very susceptible to heat damage. When the coconut meat is as liquefied as possible, transfer the contents of your blender to the cheesecloth or other strainer.
Some people repeat the process, blending more and then straining again. Other recipes call for hot water to further emulsify the coconut meat into the water.
Making Brown Rice Milk at Home
It isn’t good for you at all if you use refined rice. Always use brown rice. Brown rice is a good source of fiber, manganese, and selenium. It also has some decent levels of iron, copper, niacin, and folate.
- 3/4 cup cooked rice
- 3 cups filtered water
Measure rice into a blender, add the water, and blend until smooth (approximately 1 minute). You may want to blend again for ultra smooth consistency.
Most nut milks are best fresh though I find the sweeter, seasoned varieties I make are better 6-10 hours later. I admit, this could just be my imagination. Homemade nut and seed milks generally last between 5 to 10 days when properly refrigerated. The smell and taste is pretty obvious when they turn, so check the 5-day-old milk before you risk ruining a bowl of cereal. With all of these milks (just like unpasteurized milk), shake before using.
As mentioned, the sweeteners are optional. I recommend as little refined sugar as possible in a diet, and I rarely make sweet nut milks for myself. When I do, I almost always use stevia to amplify another sweetener like raw honey or maple syrup. I don’t generally do a lot of cashews or almonds because they’re expensive to buy unpasteurized (cashews are cooked during the difficult opening process, and truly raw cashews are hard to find and very expensive).
If you suffer from digestive problems or any health issues, see this article. And remember, it is imperative that you soak nuts that need to be soaked. Enzyme inhibitors age us rapidly, so get rid of them.
If you’ve got any tricks or techniques for making alternative, non-dairy milks, be sure to leave us a comment below.
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- An Illustrated Guide: Benefits to Soaking and Sprouting Legumes, Grains and Seeds – KQED Foods
- Homemade Quinoa Milk – Simple Vegan Blog