Plant-based milks are a hot trend right now, with more and more people skipping traditional cow’s milk in favor of varieties like almond and cashew.
Some choose alt-milks because they’re lactose intolerant or vegan–or simply because want to eat a more plant-focused diet. But if you’ve ever picked up a carton and read the long list of ingredients with dismay — added thickeners, sweeteners, and flavorings — you’ll be happy to know that homemade nut milks are actually easy to make. And you can’t beat the fresh taste.
The first step to soak the nuts overnight to soften them. They’ll plump a bit as they absorb some of the water. Be sure to buy raw nuts, not roasted or salted (they’re usually stocked in the bulk bin section).
Next, drain and rinse the nuts, discarding the soaking water.
Blend the nuts plus fresh water on high speed for two minutes. For flavored milk, add a couple of dates plus some vanilla extract or cocoa powder. (You’ll get a great natural flavor and slight sweetness with far less sugar than packaged nut milks!)
Keep in mind that homemade nut milks don’t have the calcium and vitamin D found in store-bought varieties, which are fortified. But consider these perks: Homemade cashew milk is made using the entire pulverized nut, so you’re not losing the nutrients of whole cashews like protein and fiber. While the same isn’t true of almond milk (since the solids are strained out) you’ll still get a creamy drink with a fraction of the calories found in regular milk.
You can drink homemade almond and cashew milk straight up or use them in smoothies, oatmeal, coffee, mashed potatoes, cream soups—any place you’d use regular milk.
- 1 cups raw almonds or cashews
- 3 cups water
- 2 Medjool pitted dates (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)
- Place almonds or cashews in a glass bowl and add enough water to cover them by at least an inch. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and refrigerate overnight.
- Drain and rinse nuts well, discarding soaking liquid.
- Place nuts in a high-speed blender along with the 3 cups fresh water. For a slight natural sweetness, add two large pitted Medjool dates to the blender. Add vanilla extract or cocoa powder if using as well. Slowly work up to the highest speed then blend for two minutes.
- For almond milk: Pour mixture into a strainer lined with cheesecloth and allow the liquid to drain through the solids. Gently squeeze the cheesecloth to extract more liquid.
- For cashew milk: Simply pour straight from the pitcher into a container then chill until ready to drink.
- Keep both milks refrigerated and drink within 2-3 days.
- Variations: Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to blender to make flavored nut milk.