Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Vegan Milk

Looking for the best vegan milk options? These non-dairy milk alternatives will hit home as the best dairy-free milk picks!

vegan milk in a jar with cookies

While I love a glass of milk, I also think nut, seed, and grain milks are delicious and can be great additions to my meals, snacks, and recipes.

But with so many different dairy-free milk alternatives out there, choosing the right one can be challenging.

Not every alternative milk features the same nutritional benefits, for starters. Don’t worry! I’m about to clear up all the non-dairy milk confusion for you.

oat milk in a plastic cup with a bowl of oats beside it

Why drink vegan milk?

If you asked a vegan eater or someone with lactose intolerance what they use to replace milk 20 years ago, there’s a big chance you’d only get one answer: soy milk.

But nowadays, coffee shops almost always have almond milk and oat milks on hand, in addition to standard soy.

And brand new non-dairy milks made from out of out-of-the-box ingredients are now showing up at the grocery store on a regular basis. These alternative milks aren’t just for vegan eaters or folks who have lactose intolerance, folks.

With so many options on the market, how can you possibly decide which one to pour in your cereal or add to your smoothie?

In this post, I’m laying out all the facts on on the best vegan milk options to help you decide which drink is best for you, including their nutritional benefits and their best uses. Let’s get started!

top down view of almond milk in a cup with a bowl of almonds next to it

The best vegan milk to try

Now, even more alternatives to cow’s milk are crowding supermarket shelves.

Here, I’m covering three uniquely creamy best vegan milk varieties. All these alternative milks didn’t come out of thin air. In fact, the rise of plant-based eating has played a huge role in creating dairy-free versions made from grains, nuts, and seeds.

So out of the crowded field, which ones come out on top? Here are a few to consider.

Try them all, and you may find that your go-to pick depends on your individual taste and texture preferences––as well as what amount of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, you’re looking for.

image of a container of Califia Farms oat milk

1. Best barista milk

A barista oat milk is my go-to for making a coffee-based drink. If you’re gluten free, it’s important to shop for an oat milk made with gluten-free oats. The milk is also a good option for people with nut allergies.

A cup of oat milk typically has around 110 to 130 calories, 2 to 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. Some varieties are fortified and may contain nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.

container of Moo is Moot Milkadamia milk

2. Best milk for adding to smoothies

A macadamia milk is sweet on its own, with no need for added sugars and only 50 to 60 calories per serving. This makes it a great smoothie ingredient!

It’s typically fortified with several vitamins and provides about half your daily intake of vitamin B12, a vitamin critical to nerve and blood-cell health.

To increase protein count, some milks contain ingredients beyond macadamia nuts and water, such as pea protein.

a container of Sicilian Pistachio milk mix sitting on a counter

3. Best low-calorie option

The nuttiest-tasting of the bunch, pistachio milk contains about 30 calories per serving and offers more fiber than many of its counterparts.

It’s hard to find in stores, though, so consider blending your own.

A container of Pacific Foods cashew milk

4. Best vegan milk for cooking

More buttery than nutty, cashew milk typically has between 25 and 40 calories per serving. But some brands are more concentrated, add sugar, and may contain up to 100 calories.

The alt milk naturally has a small amount of iron and calcium. You can stir it into pancake and French toast batters, as well as many other types of recipes.

A container of 365 Everyday Value organic unsweetened soymilk

5. Best high-protein milk

I like to add soy milk to a healthy coffee smoothie. Soy milk is one of the best vegan milks because it’s a complete protein, which means that your body can make good use of it.

A cup of unsweetened soy milk contains 80 calories, 7 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber—as well as potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and other nutrients.

A container of MALK almond malk

6. Best minimal-ingredient-list milk

In a cup of almond milk, you could get around 45 percent of the daily value for calcium, 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin B12, and 25 percent of the daily value for vitamin D. 

A cup of almond milk can be as low as 30 calories. Look for unsweetened almond milk, as there’s no reason to take in any added sugar.

If you’re looking for an almond milk with just a few ingredients, MALK makes one with water, almonds, and salt.

Containers of Mooala banana milk

7. Best flavored milk

There’s a range of banana milks out there. Some contain no added sweeteners or are sweetened with just cinnamon, and others have quite a bit of added sugar. So the range of calories can be quite varied, from 60 to 150 calories per cup.

A cup of fortified banana milk can contain as much as 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

It can also contain as much as 30 percent of the daily value for calcium and may offer other nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin B12, potassium, and vitamin D.

milk being poured to make a latte

How to make homemade vegan milk

If you want to blend your own vegan milk, go for it!

To yield about one cup of nut milk, simply rinse ¼ cup nuts (for a creamier milk, first soak them for 4 to 6 hours), blend with a cup of water, and strain through a cheesecloth.

For added flavor plus antioxidants, stir these mix-ins into one cup of nut milk.

  • If you want vanilla milk…add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • If you want chocolate milk…add 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • If you want spiced milk…add ½ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon.

The bottom line

Many best vegan milk options exist, and choosing the right one for you depends how you’d like to use it and what nutrition you’re looking to get from it.

This blog post was updated in August 2022. A version of this content originally appeared in Yoga Journal.

Looking for vegan milk options? These non-dairy milk alternatives will hit home as the best dairy-free milk options and the best lactose-free milks out there. Try these tasty non-dairy products today!

I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite nut milks? What do you consider the best lactose-free milk and the best vegan milk?

Plant-Based Eating |

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