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Nov 16, 2011 11:01 AM

Best non dairy milks, how to use them and other tips?

Soy, almond, rice, coconut, oatmeal, other?

I'm new to being an occasional vegan. Primarily I need milk to take the edge off my coffee, but some day I might work myself up to using non dairy milk in cooking. Maybe some milks are best for cooking others for adding to beverages.

I had oat milk long ago and found it had that oat aftertaste. Not good for coffee, but maybe something else.

My only tip for non dairy milk is to shake it on every use otherwise the top is watery and there is sludge on the bottom toward the end.

I was all eager to load up on various types, and then I read the ingredient lists. There's a lot of junk in most non dairy milk.

I started off with Kikkoman Pearl unsweetened organic soymilk. I'm almost tempted not to experiment more because as far as coffee, this was very good. I might not know the difference from cow's milk if I didn't know.

I know there are lots of non dairy milk topics. I just wanted to collect the info in one topic and see if there are new suggestions.

Some old topics

Best soy milk?

Who uses Almond milk?

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  1. Being lactose intolerant and on WW, almond milk has been a lifesaver for me. Mostly I use it for hot or cold cereal, haven't cooked much with it. I have done chocolate pudding and rice pudding, those were good.
    This is sacrilege, I know, but when I get a craving for an egg cream, mixing the dark chocolate almond milk with seltzer does it for me.

    Soy milk in any flavor has a funny aftertaste. Silk almond tastes too almond-y. Blue Diamond almond is perfect - not much almond taste, so it doesn't make my cereal weird, and it's almost rich enough to fake it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jmcarthur8

      I agree that soy tastes bad. Also, I have heard grumblings lately that all of these soy foods are not very healthy.

      1. re: sandylc

        Archaeologists find evidence of 3000yr old domesticated soybeans

    2. Of what I've tried, I prefer unsweetened almond milk, though a potential caveat is its lack of protein (also the case in just about all of them save soy), a non-issue if your main use is to lighten coffee. A lot of almond milks are very thin, but Almond Dream (in aseptic boxes) and Whole Foods' house brand (refrigerated in half gallons) are among the thicker I've had. My mother uses almond milk daily in cereal and the WF is her favorite (she's tried a bunch). Unless you make it yourself, you're likely to find natural gums in nut and grain milks.

      Almond milk does all right in some baking where lower-fat products work, but I'm not sure how it would fare in savory stovetop cooking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        Thanks almond is definately next. I need to check out TJ's to see if there is less junk in their non dairy beverages. I was kind of surprised that Whole Foods didn't have more that were not loaded with stuff.

        Today I started the Westsoy plain rice milk that I bought a while ago at Grocery Outlet. It has a pretty decent ingredient list.

        It is thin and it took more of it to balance my coffee. The color doesn't change much. Still, there is no aftertaste I can detect ... though ... it doesn't have much flavor that I can detect period.

      2. Oh, perfect topic! I am trying to plan Thanksgiving dinner with a guest who has a milk allergy. I would love any inputs regarding cooking with non-dairy milk as well...

        2 Replies
        1. re: lilinjun

          There are nut-based milk and cream substitutes that cook like the real thing. Mimiccreme works well in savory or sweet dishes (make sure you use unsweetened for savory).

          1. re: lilinjun

            I started a topic on the Home Cooking board for recipes

            Cooking with non dairy beverages?

          2. I was reading an article that said milk "CAN" contribute to cancer so you should look for alternatives. I know, I know next it will walking on asphalt - anyway I am now addicted to Silk's unsweetened Almond Milk. I have it every morning in my cereal (that is until I get off the cereal and fruit jag I'm on). Quite good!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Linda VH

              Almond milk is definately the next think i will try. Thanks to all for those strong recs.

              Yeah, I don't want this to get into a digression about the health benefits or risks. Someone mentioned soy milk, and a lot of soy products, have their problems which I am aware of. I guess there are risks in every food, especially if you eat to much of it. Cow's milk, eh? I'm still waiting for the future of Woody Allen's "Sleeper" where he finds out science determined chocolate cake is good for you. We are partly there with the health benefits of chocolate. But still, whether or not this stuff is good for you is another topic. Just looking for what tastes good.

            2. i can't do soy or oat, so i'll just chime in on the ones i can & do use.

              almond milk:
              - for straight drinking or pouring over cereal: homemade.
              - for cooking & baking: Pacific Foods Organic Unsweetened because it has the least crap added to it.

              coconut milk:
              - for cooking & baking: organic canned lite or full-fat depending on the recipe.
              - for coffee & tea: So Delicious Original Coconut Milk *Creamer*

              - for cooking & baking: MimicCreme Unsweetened Creme Substitute. they have an entire line of dairy & cream substitutes but that's the only one i've tried/used.

              ETA: i've tried rice milk, and can't imagine why anyone would use it unless allergies prevent them from using anything else. it's watery & insipid.

              5 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                The Pacific Foods Organic is great for almond milk.

                I was all set to buy the So Delicious "Creamer" one day but read the ingredients and was turned off by the included soy.

                As for rice milk, when it is good it is very good. Refreshing and easy to drink because it isn't thick. Some of the types with natural vanilla are lovely. When rice milk is bad it's truly wretched.

                My personal favorites are Hazelnut and Hemp. These show up at GO sometimes. If you see the chocolate, pounce and let me know. :)

                1. re: bbq babe

                  I was all set to buy the So Delicious "Creamer" one day but read the ingredients and was turned off by the included soy.
                  no soy in the original creamer - you must be thinking of a different product. the ingredients: organic coconut milk, organic dried cane syrup, titanium dioxide, dipotassium phosphate, carrageenan.

                  ETA: i'm still waiting for someone to make an unsweetened hazelnut milk - too much sugar for me. and i like hemp milk too, but the unsweetened Tempt and Hemp Bliss are hard to find!

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    There are lots of recipes on how to make pecan milk which sounds good in theory. However, it doesn't seem to be sold commercially.

                    1. re: rworange

                      i've never made my own pecan milk, but i have made cashew milk & walnut milk - neither of which is sold commercially - and they're fantastic.

                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      It must not have been the original then. I was shocked that any "coconut" product would have soy so skipped

                      Here in the Bay Area, Berkeley Bowl has the Hemp Bliss but it's quite pricey.