From Scratch: Homemade Nut Milks

April 19, 2012

Almond Milk
Photo by Joseph De Leo; styled by Mariya Yufest

Moo-over cow’s milk! Plant-based diets and dairy-free lifestyles are here to stay, though nut milks are a satisfying beverage alternative whether you adhere to a lactose-free diet or not.

You can substitute nut milks in all your favorite recipes -- just give the liquid a vigorous shake before pouring. The consistency of the finished product is nearly identical to cow’s milk, but be aware that some nut milks boast more assertive flavor profiles. Almond milk is sweet and relatively neutral (and serves as our example in this post), while hazelnut milk has a thicker texture and pleasantly tannic undertones.

Supplies You'll Need

  • Nut of your choice -- buying in bulk makes the effort more economical. In addition to almonds, cashews and hazelnuts are meaty nuts that make excellent homemade milks, as well.
  • Heavy-duty blender for zapping the nut milk (though the longer the nuts soak, the softer they will become).
  • Cheesecloth or reusable nut milk bag.

Basic Almond Milk (Check out this step-by-step video, too.)

Makes 3 cups

1 cup whole raw almonds
3 cups water
Flavorings to taste (e.g. vanilla extract or natural sweeteners)

  1. Cover the almonds with water in an airtight container and soak overnight at room temperature.
  2. Drain and rinse the almonds.
  3. Blend the softened almonds with three cups of water on high speed until thoroughly combined and frothy.
  4. Layer a large bowl with cheesecloth and gently pour the blended milk over the cloth. 
  5. Close the cheesecloth around the pulp into a pouch and squeeze until all the milk has been extracted.
  6. Pour the almond milk back into the blender if you're adding flavorings or sweeteners.

The homemade almond milk will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days. Note: The almond pulp left behind in the cheesecloth can be used as a non-dairy cheese substitute -- it has a grainy, soft texture similar to ricotta.

Add-Ins

  • Add soaked and softened rice to cashew milk for a spin on the classic Mexican horchata.
  • Concoct a Nutella-inspired sippable with hazelnuts and cocoa nibs.
  • Slip a date or two into any strained nut milk before reblending for a slightly thicker liquid with gentle sweetness.

Recipes

Creamy Curried Carrot Soup
Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli
Creamy Cauliflower-Leek Soup with Tarragon Oil
Apple Pie in a Glass
Creamy Almond Rye Flake Oatmeal

Have you ever made your own nut milk? How do you use alternative milks? Share your tips and techniques in the comments section below.

Like this post? See last week's From Scratch topic: Peppercorn Primer.

3 Comments Add a Comment
  • Kauai_oct_2009_304

    sonomamama says: I place the left over almond pulp in the freezer, then use it in baking, oatmeal, smoothies, soups, pancakes, nut burgers, nut loaves. Just add some into almost any recipe for that added protein boost.

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • Missing_avatar

    erin0112 says: i make homemade nut milks all the time! so tasty. i also freeze the pulp until i have a bunch of it, then i dehydate and blend the dried pulp in my blender to make a nut flour. if you don't have a dehydrator, you could probably use your oven.

    about 1 year ago Reply to this »
  • Maddy-macau-robuchon

    Maddy is the senior editor of Whole Foods Market Cooking.

    Maddy, Editor says: Brilliant -- and who doesn't like a good 2-for-1 deal? Looking forward to trying this out with the oven method. Thanks for the tips, erin!

    about 1 year ago

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