Homemade Oat Milk is quick and affordable. But the quality, texture, and nutritional content may be lacking compared to store-bought.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that I'm generally of the opinion that homemade food is better. It just is.
Homemade food is generally made with simpler ingredients, can be customized according to your family's preferences, and is fresher.
However, to every rule there are exceptions, and making Homemade Oat Milk might just be the exception to the homemade-food-is-better rule.
That being said, there are some definite benefits to making Oat Milk at home, so if oat milk is your milk alternative of choice, or you just want to give it a try, read on to find out if making Homemade Oat Milk at home is right for you.
Homemade Oat Milk Pros:
- Making oat milk at home is very easy. It takes only a handful of ingredients you very likely already have, as well as equipment you probably have. It doesn't require lengthy soaking, or any long, drawn-out steps.
- It's very affordable. Where I live in Canada, store-bought oat milk costs about $2-5 for a liter (not including deposit for the packaging). Assuming you already have the equipment needed to make it, the ingredients to make a liter of oat milk at home cost less than 50 cents. If however, you have to buy equipment to make it (eg. a blender, or a special fine-mesh strainer) and you likely won't use that equipment for other things, I'd suggest it may not be worth it (see cons below for more reasons).
- Making oat milk at home means less packaging waste, as it's pretty unlikely that you're going to buy and use disposable, one-time-use packaging to store your homemade oat milk.
Homemade Oat Milk Cons:
- Homemade oat milk may not be as nutritious as store-bought versions. This is because some (but not all) oat milk that you buy at the store has essential vitamins and nutrients added to it (the brand I buy adds vitamins A, B2, B12, and D, calcium, and zinc.) If you're not consistently getting these nutrients from other foods, it may be well worth it to buy store-bought oat milk to increase your intake. But if you have a very balanced diet and are getting lots of these nutrients, you may be able to make un-fortified oat milk without concern.
- The texture of homemade oat milk may be unappealing to some people. Let's face it - there are just some times that homemade isn't better, and this may be one of those times. When we make oat milk at home, we make it from regular, consumer-grade products. Not the industrial-grade filtration equipment and enzymes that are used to make store-bought oat milk. And the texture difference between the two products is noticeable. While store-bought oat milk is smooth with little-to-no grittiness, homemade oat milk has fine oat residue and can have a slight "sliminess" to it. Depending on what you're using it for, this may be an acceptable trade-off for the substantially lower cost.
How to make Homemade Oat Milk:
So you've read all the pros and cons of homemade oat milk, and you want to try it yourself.
If you've got the ingredients and equipment on hand, great! You'll have a batch ready to drink within a half hour!
Here's what you'll need:
- Rolled oats: Look for oats that are labeled "old fashioned". Avoid using steel-cut, quick, or instant oats. If you need your oat milk to be gluten-free, make sure the oats you choose are labeled as such.
- Sugar: This helps to give the milk a very slight sweetness, but not sweetened like a flavored milk would be. You could leave it out if you really want to, but I find that the small amount is worth it to make it taste much better.
- Pinch of salt: again, optional. But does improve the flavor quite a bit.
- Cold water: you don't need any special filtered water. Whatever you normally drink is fine. I used cold tap water.
- Blender: It doesn't need to be an expensive, high-powered blender. Just a regular one will do.
- Fine mesh strainer: This is important. A regular sieve is not fine enough. If it's all you have, line it with 3 layers of cheesecloth or a clean flour sack towel. I used a yogurt strainer that I already had with success. I think a reusable coffee filter would also work, but a paper coffee filter will not work (the oat milk is too thick and won't filter through at all).
Place the oats in a medium bowl and cover them with cold water. Set the timer for 10 minutes - you don't want them to soak for too long.
Drain the oats and rinse them with more cold water to help prevent your oat milk from becoming slimy (note that for this step you can use a regular sieve or colander, as long as the holes aren't too big).
Transfer the rinsed oats to the blender along with the cold water, sugar, and salt. Blend it all together.
Strain the blended oat mixture through your fine-mesh (or cloth) strainer. To prevent any grittiness, strain it 2 or 3 times, rinsing the strainer or cloth with clean water each time.
Transfer your oat milk to a glass bottle or jar, and store it in the fridge. The solids will settle, so you'll need to shake it well each time you use it.
Is Oat Milk Healthier than Cow's Milk?
It depends on what you mean by healthy. If you're talking strictly nutrient content, then no - oat milk is not as nutritious as cow's milk. Cow's milk has much more protein than oat milk. 3 times as much in fact (9g protein/cup of cow's milk, vs. only 3g protein/cup of oat milk).
Homemade oat milk is also lacking important vitamins and minerals that are present in cow's milk, including vitamins A and D and calcium.
All of these nutrients are especially important for growing children and should be considered when choosing what type of milk to use.
If however by "healthier" you're referring to "healthier for our planet", then yes, oat milk is the better choice. Producing oat milk uses less water and land, and produces fewer emissions than dairy milk production.
Want recipes that can use Homemade Oat Milk?
Homemade Oat Milk Nutrition Notes:
It's difficult (nearly impossible really) to calculate the nutritional contents of homemade oat milk. I have no way of knowing how many nutrients are making their way from the 1 cup of oats that we're starting with into the oat milk that you'll add to your coffee. Because of this, I have not included any nutrition information in the recipe below.
I do know however, that oat milk contains less protein than cow's milk, and it does not have any additional nutrients (eg. vitamin A, D, and/or calcium) added to it like some commercial oat milk might.
If you are making oat milk for someone that follows a gluten-free diet, make sure the oats you use are labeled as such.
Homemade Oat Milk
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (don't use quick or instant oats)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- pinch kosher salt optional
- 4 cups cold water
- Pour oats into a medium bowl, and pour enough cold water over them to cover the oats by at least 2 inches. Let the oats soak for 10 minutes. Avoid over-soaking.
- Drain the oats through a sieve or colander, and rinse with cold water. Transfer the rinsed oats to a blender. Add the sugar, salt (if using), and 4 cups of fresh, cold water.
- Blend the oats for about 10-15 seconds. Strain the mixture through a very fine strainer (eg. a reusable coffee filter or yogurt strainer) or a fine-mesh strainer lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth or a clean flour sack towel. If you still see any sediment in the milk, rinse the strainer and/or cloths and strain again.
- Store the milk in an airtight jar or bottle in the fridge, shaking before use. Use within 2 days.
Nutrition Disclaimer: I try my best to make sure the nutrition information I provide is accurate to provide you with the best information possible. However, due to ingredient discrepancies and other factors, the above nutrition information should be considered an estimation only.