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Non-dairy milks ... do you have a preference?

ipsedixit Jul 19, 2006 09:14 PM

Is it ALMOND MILK, PEANUT MILK, RICE MILK, SOY MILK or maybe OAT MILK or something else?

I've tried all of the above and have not taken a liking to any of them. Curious what the chowhounds out there like ...


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  1. Karl S RE: ipsedixit Jul 19, 2006 09:22 PM

    Soy milks vary a lot, and therefore reactions to them all the more. How many different kinds have you tried? My soy-drinking friends have very strong preferences: Silk tends to lead the preference pack (with a difference of opinion about flavored or plain) and then Soy Dream (plain). I don't care for soy milk, so I offer my personal preference; I just know what I buy on very specific direction for guests!

    1. chica RE: ipsedixit Jul 19, 2006 09:36 PM

      Among non-dairy milks, I like plain and vanilla soymilk - with cereal. It's difficult (I don't know why) to drink soymilk like I did with milk as a kid. It might be because soy has a thicker texture (there's always some 'good' fat), and the nonfat kind is too watery.

      1. Chowpatty RE: ipsedixit Jul 19, 2006 10:27 PM

        I like Silk vanilla or plain soymilk on my cereal, but it's expensive and hard to find the non-sweetened variety, so I usually just get Westbrae unsweetened vanilla at Trader Joe's.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chowpatty
          SueF RE: Chowpatty Jul 20, 2006 03:27 PM

          I don't know where you are located; but I am able to find the plain soymilk and unsweetened soymilk at Whole Foods and Safeway (Berkeley - Oakland). Silk is offered in both the refrigerated section and the non refrigerated area (wax boxes). I pay $1.99 for a quart at Whole Foods.

          1. re: Chowpatty
            chowser RE: Chowpatty Jan 30, 2007 03:24 AM

            I like Silk soymilk, too. You used to be able to get it at Costco in a 3 pack. But, I think the new Kirkland brand is Silk.

          2. j
            jldrussell RE: ipsedixit Jul 19, 2006 10:47 PM

            I have been drinking Blue Diamond Almond unsweetened plain or chocolate almond milk. I like it in cereal and coffee. It's not super creamy, and doesn't really taste anything like milk, but it has a nice not too overpowering flavor, and is very low in calories and it makes my coffee creamy enough to feel like I'm having it with milk. But then again when I was drinking dairy I was drinking nonfat milk which is pretty watery itself. If you're looking for something that has more of the creamy consistency of milk, I'd try Silk Soy milk. It's pretty good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jldrussell
              pâté chinois RE: jldrussell Jul 20, 2006 02:51 PM

              I just tried the Blue Diamond Almond vanilla milk this weekend (after a gastro that kept me away from dairy), and I really liked it. Much better than soy, in my opinion. This is so great, as I now have an additional source of calcium (I was not crazy about any milk before - dairy or otherwise)

            2. MollyGee RE: ipsedixit Jul 19, 2006 11:14 PM

              I like Vitasoy soymilk (particularly vanilla) for drinking plain. I feel really indulgent drinking really cold soy milk through a straw. I have never tried Silk soy milk. I found a soy milk I like and stopped there.

              I'm not at all a fan of soy milk on cereal. It's too thick, perhaps. Or too gritty, maybe, so I prefer Rice Dream's vanilla rice milk-though it is very, very sweet- on cereal.

              Oat milk. How is that?

              1 Reply
              1. re: MollyGee
                ipsedixit RE: MollyGee Jul 19, 2006 11:42 PM

                Oat milk is very similar to soy, but lighter in texture with a milder taste.

                From what I understand, people (besides consuming it) use oat milk as a moisturizer and bathing product ...

              2. p
                piccola RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 02:41 AM

                It took me a while to find a brand of soy milk I liked - I stick to Vitasoy and So Nice now. Otherwise, I love almond milk, esp. for cereal.
                Can't stand rice milk. It's so watery!

                1. m
                  Merry113 RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 03:13 AM

                  I love Silk Chocolate Soy Milk. I will also drink So Nice if Silk is not available. I drink a big glass every single morning. :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Merry113
                    ceegee RE: Merry113 Jul 20, 2006 03:00 PM

                    I love Silk chocolate too! Especially blended with a frozen banana! I tried chocolate Almond Breeze and didn't care for it.

                    Rice Dream rice milk is good if you want something that matches the consistency of skim dairy milk. Vanilla Silk is okay, but ithas a little of a soy-ish taste. My favorite non-dairy milk is Whole Kids vanilla soy milk...it's sweet, creamy, and fortified...only downside is that they only sell it in a 3-pack drink box size.

                    With the exception of chocolate Silk, I never drink any non-dairy milk straight, just as I never drank cow's milk straight, so my use is limited to cereal, smoothies, baking, and hot cocoa.

                    1. re: Merry113
                      cooknKate RE: Merry113 Jul 21, 2006 03:29 AM

                      Silk chocolate soy is wonderful, my only chocolate milk and it's delicious with iced coffee.

                    2. Chocolatechipkt RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 02:40 PM

                      Homemade almond milk ... So many of the other non-milks have lots of sugar and other stuff in them. I usually drink regular (cow) milk, though, so it's not that I'm drinking lots of almond milk.

                      1. m
                        morebubbles RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 02:47 PM

                        Natura soy beverage (organic), Unsweetened (made in Quebec, Canada)
                        Great taste. have tried lots. to find store near you:

                        1. kare_raisu RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 02:50 PM

                          I used to drink only regular milk, but I hardly touch the stuff now since switching to soy. The transition to soy was not quick, but i soon become addicted to it.

                          I drink silk vanilla primarily (its my coffee creamer of choice)--although the 'enhanced' is my favorite. Kikkoman's pearl line is good too (especially the matcha flavor). Occasionally i will go with the whitewave stuff on sale.

                          THe oddest thing however is when i have coffee out or run out of soy and have to drink it with milk. It leaves this crazy oil slick taste on my tongue....it is almost as if you taste buds have heigtened to the taste of animal fat. (weird i know --but try drinking soy straight for a month then drink reg milk)/

                          1. l
                            Louise RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 03:56 PM

                            A few years back Sunset Magazine did a feature on nondairy milks. They tested and rated them for a number of uses, including coffee, cereal, baking, and general cooking. Soy, nut, and some other milks.

                            1. h
                              h2o RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 03:59 PM

                              Hazelnut milk. Whole Foods usually has it. Not as sweet as almond or soy milk.

                              1. rabaja RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 03:59 PM

                                Wildwood Soy milk has an exceptional taste, I've found. I was never a huge fan until a friend suggested this brand, found at Whole Foods. They have regular, chocolate and vanilla. I buy vanilla for my coffee, tea and cereal, it's not too sweet. It's become the only brand I'll buy, and I'm always tempted to get the chocolate!

                                1. shirlotta RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 05:31 PM

                                  i like rice milk with my cereal. rice milk doesn't have as strong of a flavor as soy, so it works pretty well for that. rice dream is a good brand.

                                  i don't know about using it in coffee or tea - you can get nondairy creamers for that, which i use once in a while and enjoy because they don't cool down my coffee.

                                  1. m
                                    Missmoo RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 05:32 PM

                                    I used to drink a lot of soy, but now that I have a low thyroid no more of that. Now if I feel like non dairy it's almond milk. But I only use half & half in coffee.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Missmoo
                                      NYChristopher RE: Missmoo Mar 11, 2008 06:55 AM


                                      As hypothyroid is something that runs in my family, this is something I'm always paying attention to. As this is the first I've heard of anything of this nature, i was wondering if you (or anyone else) could fill me in on why this might be a nutrition strategy to avoid.


                                    2. PseudoNerd RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 09:45 PM

                                      Maybe I'm just really spoiled but I have yet to find a commercial American brand of non-dairy milk that I like. I've tried soy milks from VitaSoy and Silk, almond from Blue Diamond, and rice from Rice Dream since they're the most widely available at WF and TJs, but I've found all of them to be similarly bland, under-flavored, and often too sweet.

                                      I haven't tried Kikkoman's stuff yet, and maybe I should...

                                      Personally, I *love* Korean soymilks. From what I can tell, all brands are consistently good, and they come in flavors such as banana, chocolate, and strawberry. I get the plain ones, but I haven't found an unsweetened version yet, which is why I tried other brands.

                                      I've pretty much given up looking for a good commercial unweetened soymilk.

                                      But then again, I have my mother, who sometimes treats me to homemade soymilk (ah, a mother's love...)? The preparation is really easy, if perhaps a bit time-consuming. The beans are soaked and (sometimes) boiled, drained, and blended with a little bit of water. Add salt (and sweetener, if that's your thing) to taste.


                                      1. boogiebaby RE: ipsedixit Jul 20, 2006 09:53 PM

                                        I don't like the American soy milks. I buy my soymilk form the Asian Market. I get the Yeo's brand, which is from Singapore. It's not as sweet as American soymilk, and has a richer taste. I grew up drinking Asian style soymilk so I guess I'm just used to this type. My 2 year old loves it too.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: boogiebaby
                                          chica RE: boogiebaby Jul 20, 2006 10:02 PM

                                          One thing to note about soymilk made by Asian brands - they're less likely to be as fortified with different minerals as 'American' soymilks.

                                          1. re: chica
                                            chocokitty RE: chica Jul 21, 2006 12:40 AM

                                            I make my own soy milk at home and I really don't like the aftertaste of certain soy milk I purchase from supermarkets. Yes, it is not as fortified with different vitamins and minerals but at least I know there's no additional additives in it either.

                                        2. Divamac RE: ipsedixit Jul 21, 2006 04:33 AM

                                          I don't drink/use milk or cream, so i have done a lot of experimenting with non-dairy milks for drinking, eating and cooking. When I first kicked dairy, the transition was painful - I drank a lot of milk, and nothing was satisfying, but I got used to it and now enjoy the flavor of most any soy/rice/nut milks.

                                          I have found Silk Unsweetened to be the most reliable for all uses, even a bechemel sauce for lasagna, although it's not a great color. I have a bunch of Kikkoman Pearl unsweetened soy right now that is quite good for drinking and cereal. It's also very white, which I like. I haven't cooked with it yet, so i can't comment on that.

                                          For straight-up drinking, I love 8th Continent vanilla. It's very sweet and is a nice little treat, although I rarely buy it. It's great with a PB&J.

                                          1. PseudoNerd RE: ipsedixit Jul 21, 2006 05:55 AM

                                            Has anyone tried blending tofu with water to make soymilk? I've seen recipes that call for tofu, rather than soymilk, to make smoothies and the like. If so, which brand (or local maker) did you like?

                                            1. k
                                              Karen_Schaffer RE: ipsedixit Jul 21, 2006 06:25 AM

                                              I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Whole Foods house brand, 365. We buy the vanilla version, using it primarily on cereal in the morning, occasionally for baking. We like Silk vanilla too, but 365 is cheaper unless Silk is on sale.

                                              Definitely try different brands. Westbrae had a bitter aftertaste, to my palate. Trader Joe's house brand seemed incredibly sweet.

                                              1. h
                                                hereandthere123 RE: ipsedixit Jul 21, 2006 08:42 PM

                                                I prefer Rice Dream, vanilla enriched. It's not as thick as soy milk, and doesn't have the aftertaste (or gastro effects). It also makes a nice non-dairy ice cream. Like soy milk, however, you can't make instant pudding with it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: hereandthere123
                                                  ceegee RE: hereandthere123 Jul 21, 2006 09:28 PM

                                                  It's not instant, but the chocolate pudding from the recipe on the Silk chocolate carton is amazing!

                                                2. superchick RE: ipsedixit Aug 2, 2006 06:37 PM

                                                  The soymilk i normally get is Vitasoy's Sanshui (sweetened and calcium fortfied). Tastes more like chinese soy milk.

                                                  I've also been fond of black bean milk - can't remember the brand right now but it's made local here in Toronto.

                                                  1. p
                                                    Peter Cherches RE: ipsedixit Aug 2, 2006 06:57 PM

                                                    A while back I wrote about Almond Breeze, intending to publish it on my blog, but I wasn't really satisfied with the piece, and it's languishing in my draft box. So here it is:

                                                    An Argument for the Pouring Of Almond Breeze on Cereal

                                                    I got to know Almond Breeze because dairy products tend to disagree with me, sometimes vehemently. I auditioned a number of milk substitutes for my morning cereal before settling on Almond Breeze. Soy milk came first, but the unsweetened ones had an unappealing, chalky taste, and the sweetened ones were too sweet. For a while I went with Rice Dream, which was an improvement, but still too sweet. Finally, I discovered Almond Breeze.

                                                    I can honestly say that I actually prefer Almond Breeze to milk on cereal. The almond flavor is pleasantly subtle, and the product has a mild creaminess akin, I’d guess, to 1% milk. There’s a freshness to the flavor I like, and it won’t give you any sour, milky dog breath. I use it on cold cereals as well as oatmeal.

                                                    They’ve recently started marketing an unsweetened version, but I’m talking about the original, which is made with water, cane sugar juice and almonds, and has a similar sweetness to milk itself, without any of that cloying cyanide-amaretto flavor of almond extract. I did try unsweetened Almond Breeze once, and it wasn't as bad as I'd feared, but I wouldn't recommend it. Without a certain amount of sweetness the flavor lacks dimensionality. Imagine a mildly creamy glass of water.

                                                    A full 8-ounce serving of original Almond Breeze has 60 calories, 25 of them from fat, and it’s a better class of fat than you’ll get from milk.

                                                    They have flavored versions too. I’ve tried both the chocolate and vanilla, and they’re quite good if you’re looking for milk drink substitutes. The chocolate sort of reminds me of an improved version of Yoo-hoo, which I was a sucker for as a kid.

                                                    Once, when the health food shop around the corner was out of Almond Breeze, I tried another brand of almond milk, Westbrae Natural. It was awful, with that aforementioned cyanide-amaretto bouquet and a gritty texture that I nearly choked on. Accept no substitutes.


                                                    1. sivyaleah RE: ipsedixit Aug 2, 2006 07:09 PM

                                                      I'm quite the milk drinker, although not so much as an adult as I used to be when younger but I do enjoy Silk Vanilla, even in coffee it isn't so bad.

                                                      My husband was a big fan of having a big mug of chocolate milk in the morning and night and I was trying to wean him into something more heart friendly (he dislikes the lower fat versions of milk) so I was happily surprised when he decided that the Silk Chocolate was a good substitute.

                                                      1. p
                                                        Peter Cherches RE: ipsedixit Aug 3, 2006 05:13 PM

                                                        I'm wondering--is the Blue Diamond almond milk that several people have mentioned the same product as Almond Breeze (from Blue Diamond), but marketed regionally under a different name? On the Blue Diamond website I only see it listed as Almond Breeze.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                          jldrussell RE: Peter Cherches Aug 16, 2006 10:48 PM

                                                          Yes, Blue Diamond Almond Milk is called Almond Breeze. They are one in the same. And in response to Peter's thorough write-up about almond milk, I have to say, I prefer the unsweetened version, so don't be afraid to give it a try. Though if you're drinking almond milk to avoid soy, be advised that it still does have soy based emulsifiers in it (as does almost everything, but that's a whole different discussion!)

                                                        2. m
                                                          magerber RE: ipsedixit Aug 4, 2006 12:45 AM

                                                          When I was going through a divorce a few years back, I developed all these stress related food allergies (I was allergic to like 35 foods...it was scary). I was allergic to casein (a milk protein), to vanilla, to chocolate, to corn. It made my life a living hell for a while, but I did discover something. Alot of people that like soy or various other grain milks only like the kind that are flavored with something. Make sure if you find one that you like, you pay close attention to what is added to it. Most soy milks have corn syrup or other flavorings added.

                                                          What I found is that I hated all of them until I decided to quit thinking of them as a substitute for regular milk. When I tasted my Irish Breakfast tea with soy instead of my regular milk it was awful...when I tasted this "new" drink--Irish Breakfast tea with Soy, I really liked it. I know it is semantics, but I can't tell you how many things I have managed to change in my diet by doing this. Nowadays, I have gotten over most of the allergies...but you know...I still enjoy Irish Breakfast Tea with Soy better than I like Irish Breakfast Tea with Milk. Funny, huh?

                                                          1. awurrlu RE: ipsedixit Aug 6, 2006 05:00 PM

                                                            About two years ago I found out that I'm allergic to milk proteins, so I've played around quite a bit in the non-dairy milk department.

                                                            About 13 years ago, I was vegan and used to drink Rice Dream. Back then, soy technology was so crappy, and the resulting milks were pretty darned bad. I also made my own almond milk, which wasn't bad.

                                                            After the allergy, I started drinking Silk. Very nice, very tasty, but oh-so-high in sugar. I weaned myself from the sweetened to the unsweetened.

                                                            Then I became concerned about the huge amount of soy I was consuming -- a soy yogurt in the morning, then a soy drink later in the day -- so I explored other options.

                                                            Some of the commercial nut milks are decent. I haven't tried Almond Breeze, but Pacific has an almond milk and hazelnut milk that are nice. Their flavors complement chocolate and many baked goods, but I don't like them in coffee too much.

                                                            I hadn't had rice milk in a long time, so I figured I'd try those. Whole Foods' 365 Unsweetened Plain Rice Milk is the one I like the best. No funny vanilla flavor to interfere with my morning coffee, and works great on cereal. It's *almost* like skim milk.

                                                            1. c
                                                              Cathy RE: ipsedixit Aug 6, 2006 11:22 PM

                                                              The local Asian Markets in San Diego (99Ranch and the Vien Dongs) have a local supplier of fresh, delivered-hot soymilk daily. You can kind of taste the bean part of it. Its the the only one I will buy. I figure fresh is best...

                                                              They have displays in front of the dairy case...and they also bring hot tofu, fried tofu and puddings on each trip. I have been meaning to find the actual company address on University Avenue to see if there is a storefront.

                                                              Also 99Ranch sells a soymilk maker...if I can find a steady cheap supply of fresh soybeans, I would buy it.

                                                              {and before anyone goes off on me, the website is 99Ranch.com and NOT Ranch 99 Market}

                                                              1. Ike RE: ipsedixit Aug 17, 2006 05:23 PM

                                                                Almond milk is the best-tasting, but it's SOOOOOO expensive!

                                                                I usually use rice milk (just for cereal). I stock up when the store brand at Stop & Shop (NJ) goes on sale for $1 per 32 oz. carton.

                                                                Sometimes I buy soy milk, but I don't like the flavor as much as rice milk, except for the Silk brand, which is wonderful and totally different-tasting than the others. Much smoother. I recently discovered unsweetened Silk and I like that too. I've been mixing it with regular rice milk in my cereal -- for me, the ideal would be a just-lightly-sweetened rice or almond milk, but I'm a cheapskate so I haven't tried any of the Asian brands yet (haven't seen 'em for less than $1.50 per carton at the very least).

                                                                The only thing I miss about regular milk is the thickness of it (used to drink 2% before lactose started bugging me). To me, both soy and rice seem a little too watery.

                                                                Some soy milks have a not-so-appealing tan color and others don't. For the latter, do they use a dye to whiten it, or what?

                                                                1. l
                                                                  leslie francis RE: ipsedixit Jan 29, 2007 12:43 PM

                                                                  Have you checked out Living Harvest Hemp Milk? Better tasting and better for you than soy milk.

                                                                  1. 2m8ohed RE: ipsedixit Jan 29, 2007 06:38 PM

                                                                    I like hot, freshly-made soy milk from San Jose Tofu with a little bit of sugar added. But that's an acquired taste (I grew up on Chinese market soy milk). Until recently, my family's staple soy milk at home was Silk Vanilla from Costco's refrigerated dairy case but recently our local Costco stopped carrying it and started stocking Kirkland refrigerated vanilla soy milk in its place. Tastes pretty much the same... anyone know if it *is* the same?

                                                                    1. spyturtle008 RE: ipsedixit Jan 30, 2007 08:39 AM

                                                                      I'm also a big fan of Silk, especially the chocolate variety. I drink this in lieu of dessert sometimes. I haven't tried any others that have such a good mix of consistency / texture and flavor. I used plain-flavored, fortified Silk on cereal and in cooking. I've never been able to 'do' the vanilla in any brand -- too sweet.

                                                                      1. jbyoga RE: ipsedixit Jan 30, 2007 08:45 AM

                                                                        I just bought a Soyapower soymilk maker and love it!

                                                                        I can flavor the milk however I want and it makes rice,almond and other nut/grain milks...

                                                                        I went from spending $3 for a 1/2 gallon to maybe 15 cents!


                                                                        1. Richard 16 RE: ipsedixit Mar 11, 2008 11:09 AM

                                                                          Try mixing! We mix about 1:1 vanilla , enriched Rice Dream with Plain Silk or plain, enriched Soy Dream. You can often find the 2 liter Dreams for about $3, making it far cheaper per liter. Large Silk is often avaiable in the cooler - again, cheaper per liter but not aseptic packaging.

                                                                          The mixing reduces the sweetness of the rice (along with its very high glycemic index) and pairs the thinness of the rice with the thickness of the soy.

                                                                          1. im_nomad RE: ipsedixit Mar 11, 2008 06:37 PM

                                                                            I love SoGood low-fat vanilla. I buy the 900-something ml bottle, and it's great for me. The chocolate in the SoGood is also pretty good, and i think they had an eggnog variety around xmas.

                                                                            I'm not non-dairy...i love cheese, yogurt etc. But for some reason a glass of white cow's milk, or even milk on cereal, no matter the % of fat...is not something I can stomach, especially in the morning. I have forced myself to drink it in the past to get protein and calcium, but i really really don't enjoy it. Even watching someone drink a glass of white milk bothers me a little. I think i get it from my mother who developed a horrendous intolerance for it when she was pregnant.

                                                                            I'm pleased to find however, that i can down a glass of vanilla soy, first thing in the morning, no prob !! :) And it's fortified, so i'm happy.

                                                                            1. l
                                                                              lgss RE: ipsedixit Jun 28, 2008 04:54 PM

                                                                              We use Pacific brand lowfat vanilla almond mylk and it needs to be cold. We don't care for their original.

                                                                              1. meatn3 RE: ipsedixit Jun 28, 2008 11:05 PM

                                                                                I've never been a milk drinker. I use a little half & half in my coffee. (This is the one habit I will not negotiate on!) While not a breakfast eater, I have been trying to eat oatmeal regularly and have liked Pacific Almond Milk with it.

                                                                                My ex had been a huge milk drinker then switched to soy about 15 years ago. My experiences with it then left me not inclined to try it since...too grainy of a texture or something.

                                                                                1. a
                                                                                  amsnv RE: ipsedixit Jun 29, 2008 10:18 PM

                                                                                  I used to be a loyal almond breeze fan, but pacific foods came out with an unsweetened almond milk that is also organic (almond breeze isn't) and it costs less! Can't beat that. I find rice milk to be good for baking, but it doesn't dazzle me. Try not to "over-soy" so we don't do soymilk, but I like the taste of almond milk better anyway. More "milk" ideas, including hemp here - www.godairyfree.org.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: amsnv
                                                                                    lgss RE: amsnv Jun 30, 2008 03:57 AM

                                                                                    I recently saw the unsweetened and noticed that it contains no calcium.

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