Alternative milks are rapidly growing in popularity, which means there are more options now than ever before.
Whether it’s because of personal preference for flavor, lactose intolerance, or veganism, there are many reasons why people are turning to alternative dairy-free milk instead of traditional cow’s milk.
But with so many options available, how do you know which is the best non-dairy milk? Is one kind better to put in coffee or use in baked goods? Which is the creamiest and most similar in taste and texture to cow’s milk?
In this article, I’ll answer these questions and explain the benefits of each type of milk alternative. Ready to discover the essential information about dairy-free milk products?
Best Non-Dairy Milk
Read on to learn about the best milk alternatives!
Almond milk was one of the first non-dairy milks to hit the market.
It has remained popular among people avoiding lactose for decades since its initial introduction to health food stores and supermarkets.
Almond milk is lower in calories than most other alternative milks and has a silky, neutral flavor that mixes well with coffee, tea, cereal, and smoothies.
One of the negative aspects of almond milk is that it takes a significant toll on the environment to produce – almonds require many gallons of water to grow and be processed.
If you’re looking for non-dairy milk with a smaller ecological footprint, you might want to pass on this option.
Like almond milk, people have been consuming coconut milk for years. Coconut milk is a non-dairy alternative that’s high in fat and flavor.
Rather than cardboard cartons, coconut milk typically comes in cans and is available in both full-fat, reduced-fat, sweetened, and unsweetened versions.
Coconut milk is popular in cooking, and many delicious curries, soups, and stews all start with a can of coconut milk. It can also be used in baking, smoothies, and other applications.
I love using coconut milk when making creamy desserts, chia pudding, and overnight oats!
Oat milk is a more recent development in the alternative milk world.
It’s my favorite option for putting in coffee because of its rich, creamy texture and slight naturally-occurring sweetness. So next time you want a vegan Starbucks latte, give this milk a try!
While there are many delicious oat milk brands, it’s also a simple process to make it at home!
All it takes is blending some raw oats with water, adding an optional flavoring or sweetener, straining it, and then chilling it in the fridge for a few hours.
Not only is oat milk super affordable, but it also has various nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
Oat milk has more sugar and less protein and fat than some other popular non-dairy milks, which may be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your dietary needs.
Soy milk has been around for what seems like forever, and it’s one of the best milk alternatives for vegans and people who avoid dairy.
It’s a nutritional standout, having almost the same amount of protein per serving as cow’s milk.
Regular soy milk isn’t the best option for putting in coffee, as it can sometimes curdle when added directly to a hot beverage. However, there are plenty of barista blends on the market.
I love soy milk for baking, making smoothies, cooking, and in a bowl of cereal.
The neutral taste and various nutrients make this milk alternative a fantastic option for everyday use.
Hemp milk is one of the more modern milk alternatives to arise, but it’s growing rapidly in popularity.
It’s made by blending the seeds of the hemp plant with water and contains no actual cannabis (despite coming from the same plant).
It has a bit of protein and lots of vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy option.
People who have nut allergies aren’t able to consume almond, cashew, pistachio, or macadamia milk.
So Hemp milk is a fantastic allergen-friendly option that’s creamy and flavorful. It blends well in coffee and has a slightly nutty flavor.
Cashew milk is made with just cashews and water and is popular among non-dairy milk drinkers because of its nutritional benefits.
It’s comparable to nut-based almond milk in many aspects, including taste (neutral and a bit nutty) and nutritional profile (healthy fats and natural protein).
The unsweetened version has a neutral, slightly nutty flavor. It’s also available in sweetened and flavored versions that are delicious additions to coffee and other beverages.
A downside to cashew milk is that most cashews get imported from Southeast Asia, where working conditions for the people growing the nuts are often poor.
So try to find a brand that ethically sources its nuts from a reputable grower.
Rice milk is one of the most popular alternative milks for people with allergies, as it’s free from:
Most brands get nutritionally fortified with vitamins, such as calcium and B12, which are essential for people avoiding dairy and other animal products.
Compared to cow’s milk and other alternatives, rice milk has relatively low protein content and higher carbohydrate content.
It’s made with either white or brown rice and water, and its neutral flavor makes it a versatile option. I use rice milk for cooking as it’s not as creamy as other options on this list.
Macadamia nut milk is a relatively recent development in the alternative milk scene and has yet to reach the same level of popularity as almond, oat, and soy milk.
However, it scores high on its nutritional profile and is a delicious alternative to cow’s milk.
It has a thick, smooth texture with a rich flavor, making it one of the best alternative milks for your morning coffee.
It has a naturally high-fat content with even fewer calories than almond milk, making it an ideal beverage for people on a Keto diet.
Macadamia milk is my favorite alternative because it’s decadent and creamy. It’s usually a little pricier, but its rich flavor makes up for the extra expense.
Pistachio milk is high in B vitamins and iron, which are essential for vegans.
It’s also low in fat, sodium, and calories. You can buy sweetened or unsweetened versions, depending on your preferences.
One of the downsides of pistachio milk is that it’s one of the most expensive alternative milk options.
For this reason, I recommend using it in applications where the sweet pistachio flavor won’t get lost, such as frothed in a latte or as a base for a milky dessert.
Pistachio milk isn’t my go-to daily milk alternative, but it’s definitely worth splurging on once in a while as a treat.
Best Non-Dairy Milk
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Oat Milk
- Soy Milk
- Hemp Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Rice Milk
- Macadamia Milk
- Pistachio Milk
There you have it! Above is everything you need to know about the best milk alternatives on the market.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. You can find most of these milks at your local grocery store, though you may have to hunt for others, such as hemp milk and pistachio milk. I recommend trying a few (or all of them) and seeing how they stack up.
With so many options on the market today, it’ll be easy to find a new favorite. Let me know your favorite milk alternative in the comments below!
If you’re looking solely for something to add to your coffee, check out our favorite dairy free coffee creamers!
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