Milk Made! DIY Non-Dairy Milk Recipes
Save money at the grocery store and find out how to make several delicious non-dairy alternatives at home.
I went dairy free about a year ago and realized almost immediately I was going to need some kind of creamer substitute for tea and coffee. But I also missed the creaminess of milk in smoothies, soups, etc.
It’s true that there are a few non-dairy milk substitutes to be bought at the grocery store. However, for the most part, there are some added ingredients that I try to avoid in the non-dairy milks I see at my local stores and it can get pricey to buy organic nut-based milk alternatives. I started to do a little research on how I could make my own non-dairy milks at home and found that there are a ton of options, and most are fairly simple.
I’m going to tell you a few of my favorite DIY options: cashew, coconut, hemp, and banana.
This is my go to substitute for creamer in my tea or coffee. It’s thicker than almond milk and super velvety smooth. This is also one of the most simple nut milks to make - no filters or strainers needed. Because cashews are softer than other nuts, soaking the nuts for a few hours and then blending creates a perfectly smooth milk - no residual grit.
Soak 1 cup raw cashews (cashew pieces are fine and usually cheaper!) in 2 cups water for at least 4 hours. Drain and rinse well. Place the rinsed cashews in a blender with 3 cups cold water and blend until smooth - in my blender (which isn't a high tech, high speed, or professional quality blender) I give it one minute. You can strain through a fine mesh sieve, but I've never found any wayward chunks, so I skip that step now and pour directly into a glass bottle. (Since I rely on non-dairy milk alternatives regularly, I splurged on a few of these glass 32 oz. milk bottles to hold my "milks.")
Another regular "milk" I usually have on hand in our refrigerator is coconut milk. But it's harder and harder to find canned coconut milk that doesn't have additives, so I started making my own once I found out how easy it is to DIY. All it takes is some unsweetened shredded coconut, hot water and a fine mesh sieve or a nut milk bag. What's a nut milk bag, you ask? It's a fine mesh bag used to strain out solids. This one works really well, but I often stick with my fine mesh sieve. My go-to instructions for how to make coconut milk can be found here.
Hemp milk started popping up in grocery stores a couple years ago, which piqued my curiosity. I did a little research on hemp hearts and found out they're kind of a nutritional superhero. Loaded with protein, they're also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. I like to switch it up every so often, but since hemp milk has a stronger, nuttier flavor than cashew or almond milk, this is the one I usually kick up with a little flavor - my go-to combo is vanilla extract and a smidge of maple syrup. This recipe is the one I use as a base and it works fantastically every time. An added bonus - hemp hearts are easier than ever to find - I usually grab a bag at my local Trader Joe's.
Finally, a milk for our nut-free friends. This one caught me off guard and I was more than a little skeptical, but the new craze is banana milk. Yup, you heard that right. Bananas, the powerhouse snack of busy moms and athletes the world over, make a mean dairy- and nut-free milk. You get a wallop of potassium, B6 and all of the other goodies, plus, there's no wasted byproduct like with most nut-based milks. Just chop up one banana and place the chunks in a blender with one cup of water and give it a whir. Don't believe me? Read more here.
And there you have it. My four favorite non-dairy milk alternatives for cereal, creamer, soups, pudding and even a base for ice cream!