Oat milk is a healthy plant-based alternative

How to Make Oat Milk? The Healthy Way

By: Caitlin Fontana

Looking for a creamy, plant-based, dairy-free milk? This healthy oat milk recipe might be for you! There are many non-dairy milk options available in stores, including soy milk, cashew milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, even hemp milk. But store-bought milk alternatives may include sweeteners, thickening agents and other additives.

Get the health benefits of plant-based milk, without the fillers, with a homemade oat milk. Made with oats and water, this milk alternative it is one of the creamiest dairy-free milks and perfect for anyone with nut sensitivities.

What is oat milk? 

Basically, this plant-based milk is just oats and water blended together and strained. The result is a really creamy milk alternative that can be used in place of cow's milk, soy milk, almond milk or other alt-milks.

What are the benefits of oat milk?

Oat milk is great not only for those on a vegan diet, but also those who seek a dairy-free, lactose-free, soy-free and nut-free alternative. Although oats are gluten-free naturally, they are often processed in facilities with gluten-containing ingredients. So if you want the health benefits of gluten-free milk, make sure you start this oat milk recipe with certified gluten-free oats.

Oat milk benefits are similar to the health benefits of oats, which means they:

  • Help support gut health and comfort
  • Promote bone health
  • Help provide vitamins B and D and other nutrients

What oats should you use to make oat milk?

Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats are best for this oat milk recipe. Steel-cut oats will make this milk less creamy, and quick oats are too finely processed. But rolled oats are just right.

What does oat milk taste like?

After making this oat milk recipe, I have to say, I'm hooked! It's super easy to make, it's smooth and creamy, and it has a yummy oat-y flavor that tastes great in coffee or tea. It is also easy to add flavor and sweetener with fruit, such as bananas or strawberries, or honey. Chocolate oat milk is another popular plant-based milk choice.

What oat milk is the best?

When it comes to ingredients, commercial oat milk brands like Oatly typically have some processing. Store-bought brands tend to add oils or thickening agents such as xanthan gum, which may help it froth as well as have a longer shelf life. If you want to avoid these additives, don't hesitate to whip up your own oat milk at home.

How do you make oat milk from scratch?

Making your own dairy-free oat milk is way easier than you may think.

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
4 cups of ice-cold water

Optional

1-2 tbsp maple syrup for sweetener
1 tsp vanilla extract for a hint of flavor
Pinch of salt, which helps bring out the flavor of the oats

Preparation

  • Gather your ingredients: Measure your cold water and rolled oats, and if you prefer, the vanilla extract, salt and maple syrup.
  • Blend: Place your ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend for about 20-30 seconds. Avoid over-blending because it can get slimy.
  • Strain: Place a nut milk bag, thin dish towel, cheese cloth or fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the blended oat milk through it. Collect the oat pulp and discard any that doesn't easily strain through. Do not squeeze the pulp to try to get more milk from the batch, as this would increase the sliminess of the milk.  
  • Double strain: Repeat the straining to make sure your milk is clear, smooth, and non-slimy. Be sure to rinse your towel, milk bag or mesh strainer between strains.
  • Chill & enjoy: You can also store your homemade oat milk in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Nutritional Value

Prep time: 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Calories: 19
Carbs: 3 g
Protein: 1 g
Fat: 1 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Sodium: 1 mg
Potassium: 18 mg
Fiber: 1 g
Sugar: 1 g
Calcium: 3 mg
Iron: 1 mg

How to avoid slimy oat milk

The number one complaint about making homemade oat milk is that it can be slimy. These tips can help you avoid that slimy texture:

  • Use ice-cold water: Heat can make oats more gummy.
  • Don't over-blend: If you blend the oats too long, they will start to warm and get slimy. So do not blend for more than 30 seconds.
  • Strain well: I prefer a high-quality nut milk bag or a thin towel over a fine mesh strainer, which is not as tightly woven.
  • Don't over-squeeze: Be gentle as you strain the oat milk. You do not want squeeze firmly because that will force more of the starchy compounds from the oat pulp into your milk.
  • Pro tip: Want to use the leftover oat pulp? Add it to cookies, granola or smoothies for a nutrient boost. You can also use the oat pulp as a face mask!

Is it bad to drink a lot of oat milk?

Too much of anything is never a good thing—even nutritious, healthy oat milk! That being said, you can enjoy a serving of oat milk every day. If you're using it in place of cow's milk or another non-dairy milk, however, make sure you're getting more protein elsewhere in your diet, as oat milk has less protein than these other options.

Does oat milk go bad?

Like anything, oat milk can go bad if left unused for too long. If stored in an air-tight container, oat milk should last about 5-7 days in the refrigerator. You will know your homemade oat milk has gone bad if it smells funny.

Note: Without any stabilizers, the milk will separate in the fridge. Do not fret! This is normal! Just give it a good stir or shake before you drink it.

Best ways to use oat milk

Homemade oat milk works great in smoothies, baked goods or cold drinks. However, I would not use it for hot beverages. This oat milk recipe lacks enough fat and protein content to froth well.

Do I get enough vitamin D3 from oat milk?

Oat milk is a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. One cup (240 mL) of unsweetened, fortified oat milk by Oatly contains:

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbs: 16 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin B12: 50% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Riboflavin: 45% of the DV
  • Calcium: 25% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin D: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 20% of the DV
  • Potassium: 8% of the DV
  • Iron: 2% of the DV

Homemade oat milk is not fortified with vitamins and won't be as nutritious as store-bought plant-based milk. But even with fortified milk, it is hard for individuals to get a healthy level of D vitamins from food alone. Supplementing may help you reach optimum levels of this nutrient to support bone health and immune function.

Vitamin D3 supplements

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, which is why manufacturers add it to popular foods. Even with these steps, however, many people don't get enough.

You can be proactive about maintaining your vitamin D levels through a healthy diet, outdoor lifestyle and smart supplementation. Vitamin D comes in many forms, including a vegan-friendly D3 that helps support cognitive health, heart health and already-healthy blood pressure.

Looking for more supplements to support your health and longevity? Life Extension's supplement quiz may help you decide which nutrients best fit your lifestyle.

About the Author: Caitlin Fontana is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY with a Bachelor of Science in Communications & Marketing. She is a content and social media expert with experience in social media, digital marketing, blogging, content managing & so much more! Her passion for nutrition, cooking, wellness and fitness is what inspired her to start her health & wellness blog, The Clean Eater. https://www.thecleaneater.com

References

Scientifically Reviewed By: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N

By: Caitlin Fontana