Here’s How to Choose the Best Vegan Milk
If you’re new to dairy-free milks, choosing one may seem overwhelming, since grocery stores and cafes have more delicious plant-based varieties than ever.
Reports from around the world show that consumption of animal milk is on the decline. In fact, U.S. consumption of cow’s milk fell a whopping 40 percent from 1970 to 2014. Meanwhile, U.S. sales of dairy-free milk soared by 27 percent from 2018 to 2020. And Americans aren’t the only ones making the switch. According to Innova Market Insights, the global market for plant-based milk could keep rising—by billions of dollars.
There’s no way around it: Plant-based milk is here to stay. So without further ado, here are 10 delicious dairy-free alternatives to cow’s milk. Be sure to try a few to find your favorites!
Almond milk is one of the most popular dairy-free options and is incredibly versatile. Try it on cereal, with cookies, or by the glassful! And it’s super easy to make your own! While it packs a decent punch when it comes to calcium, almond milk isn’t a great source of protein or fiber.
Silk, Almond Breeze, Califia Farms, and Pacific Foods are among the most popular brands you’ll find on the shelves.
Perhaps the most widely available vegan milk, soy milk is packed with protein—at least seven grams per cup! Soy milk is great when you need some extra creaminess in lattes, but it can really be used in nearly any recipe that calls for cow’s milk.
Silk, WestSoy, and EdenSoy are just a few of the many soy milk brands that are readily available.
Light and refreshing, rice milk is a great alternative for those avoiding soy or nuts. It is low in calories and best enjoyed with cereal or by the glassful. Note that it isn’t great for adding creaminess to recipes, as it’s so light.
Rice Dream and Pacific Foods are two brands that sell rice milk.
Cashew milk has recently gained popularity—and for good reason: Like soy milk, it’s super creamy and rich in protein! Cashew milk is great for most recipes, including savory ones, but it tends to be a little pricier than other choices.
Silk and Pacific Foods are widely available brands of cashew milk.
This milk is super rich and creamy, loaded with healthy fats, and perfect in desserts and curries. You can even use it to make your own vegan ice cream! But coconut milk typically has a stronger flavor that is likely to stand out in recipes (so be sure you’re OK with this).
Note that canned varieties are WAY thicker and aren’t great for drinking, but they’re awesome for making vegan whipped cream!
So Delicious, Califia Farms, and Silk are some of the companies that sell coconut milk.
Creamy and packed with calcium, hemp milk is great in many dishes or in your favorite smoothie. Hemp milk is typically on the thinner side and has a flavor that goes better in savory recipes than in sweet ones.
*Remember to choose unsweetened varieties for savory dishes!
Brands like Tempt, Pacific Foods, and Elmhurst use hemp seeds to make hemp milk.
Void of saturated fat, oat milk contains five grams of protein per cup and is loaded with fiber. Oat milk is naturally sweet, making it great for baked goods like cakes and cookies.
Oatly, Planet Oat, and Califia Farms are popular oat milk brands in stores.
Naturally free of cholesterol (like all dairy-free milks), flax milk contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for cognitive function. Flax milk is also a good source of calcium but contains no protein. It tends to be thinner than other varieties, such as soy and cashew.
Good Karma and Malibu Mylk are two of the most popular flax milk brands on the market right now.
Hazelnut milk comes in original and chocolate flavors and is great in drinks or light desserts. Plus, it’s easy to make your own! Hazelnut milk is not the most versatile because of its stronger flavor, but it’s perfect in coffee beverages.
Elmhurst and Pacific Foods offer hazelnut milk.
Yeah, I know it might sound a little weird, but pea milk is actually quite good—AND it may be the most nutritious of all vegan milks. It’s an excellent source of protein, calcium, and omega-3s, and it has fewer calories than cow’s milk!
Ripple and Sproud offer plant-based milk infused with pea protein.
Macadamia milk is packed with healthy nutrients and is naturally sugar-free. Store-bought varieties, like Milkadamia, are fortified with vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin B12.
Milkadamia is the most widely available brand of macadamia milk.
Sesame milk is the newest cow’s milk alternative to hit store shelves in 2021. This protein-packed beverage has a rich, creamy texture that would be great as a creamer or in a smoothie!
Hope and Sesame offers five flavors: original, unsweetened original, vanilla, chocolate, and chocolate hazelnut.
Walnuts are nutritional gold among nuts, which are heavy in polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, that can help keep your heart healthy!
Elmhurst and Mariani Nut are two brands to look for.
Pecan milk is creamy and can be used in most recipes that call for almond milk; however, it also tastes great on its own.
Malk and This PKN are among the first companies to introduce pecan milk to the retail market.
Ready to give vegan eating a shot? Click here for meal ideas, easy recipes, and tips.