Oat Milk - A Quick and Complete Guide

Oat Milk - A Quick and Complete Guide

Soy milk.

Almond milk.

Rice milk.

Coconut milk.

What do these four things have in common? They all fall into the category of “alternative milks.”

“Alternatives to what?” you might ask. Cow milk... moo juice... the stuff that does a body good.

Related - A Look at Various Types of Milk

Whether it be due to a lactose allergy, concerns about hormones, or animal rights, the interest in sourcing animal-based milks are stronger than ever.

And, the alternatives milk category just got a little bit bigger with oat milk.

No, we didn’t misspell goat milk. There really is such a thing as oat milk, and it turns out it’s become quite the phenom among plant-based dieters and even baristas.

Ahead, we’ll explain exactly what oat milk is, how to make it (a variety of ways), and its nutritional profile as well as how it stacks up to standard moo juice.

Let’s start at the top!

What is Oat Milk?

At its core, oat milk (not is a mixture of oats and water.

That’s it, or at least it should be if you’re making it at home.

However, as with most things, when food companies produce oat milk in vast quantities that have to survive packaging, transportation, and living on the grocery store shelf for months on end (something known as “shelf-life”), a host of extra ingredients are added to this basic mixture of oats and milk to improve both taste and texture. Among the additives added to bare bones oat mix are:

  • Oils (including rapeseed and canola oil)
  • Salt
  • Sweeteners (maple syrup, sugar, 
  • Gums (increased texture)
  • Acidity regulators (such as dipotassium phosphate)
  • Added vitamins and minerals

What Does Oat Milk Taste Like?

In its most basic form, oat milk has a slightly nutty, sweet, and mild in flavor. Obviously, the flavor profile can change drastically depending on what other kinds of sweeteners, additives, and spices you add to the basic recipe. (More on that in a bit, though)

Oat milk can be used in cooking the same way as cow’s milk. You can even use it your morning smoothie or bowl of cereal.

How Many Calories Does Oat Milk Contain?

Depending on how you make your oat milk, or which brand you buy at the store (and what ingredients they use to make it), you will get a wide dispersion in the amounts of calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

But, on average (and assuming the manufacturer is putting pounds and pounds of sugar in the stuff), one cup (240ml) of oat milk will contain: [1,2,3,4]

  • Calories: 90-170
  • Protein: 2.5-5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 15-30 grams
  • Fat: 1.5-5 grams

Based on these numbers, oat milk contains roughly the same number of calories as cow’s milk. However, it contains significantly more carbohydrates than standard moo juice and about half the protein and fat.

In other words, if you’re looking to use oat milk as one of your protein sources during the day, you might want to think again. That is, unless you add a scoop of protein powder to it.

Is Oat Milk Healthy?

Oatmeal is the bell of the ball with the majority of doctors due to its high fiber and beta-glucan content. Beta-glucan, in case you weren’t aware, is a type of soluble fiber that forms a thick, viscous gel it passes through the gut.

As it navigates your GI system, beta-glucan binds to cholesterol, limiting how much is absorbed by your body. This helps lower cholesterol levels, especially LDL (“bad” cholesterol) -- which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. [5,6]

Interestingly, a study in men with hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) noted that drinking 25 ounces of oat milk daily for five weeks reduced total cholesterol by 3% and LDL cholesterol by 5%. [7]

How Does Oat Milk Compare to Other Alternative Milks (Soy, Almond, etc.)?

iven the sudden rise in popularity of oat milk, you might be wondering how it compares nutritionally to other popular dairy-free options.

Again, the exact numbers for your oat milk will differ greatly depending on brand or what additives you mix into it.

With that said, let’s compare two of the most popular alternative milk options in Oatly oat milk and Silk Almond Milk:

Table 1

As you can see, a serving of oat milk isn’t all that different from almond milk in its protein content, but differs pretty significantly in the carbohydrate load.

Additionally, nearly all oat milks on the market have added sugars (honey, maple syrup, etc.), which significantly increases the carbohydrate load.

Some varieties we encountered had upwards of 26 grams of carbohydrates per glass and a heaping 17g of sugar!

How to Make Oat Milk at Home

Oat milk is also cheap and easy to make at home.
If you’re curious to experiment with making your own oat milk, but nervous that it’ll require lots of complicated steps or fancy, high-falutin equipment, let’s us assuage your fears.

Making oat milk is simple... Really, really simple.

In fact, if you have clean water, oats, and a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix or Ninja), you’ve got just about everything you need to make your very own oat milk.

Basic Oat Milk Recipe

Oat milk is super cheap and easy to make at home.

Here’s the quick, “down and dirty” version of oat milk:

  • Throw 1 cup (dry measure) of oats (rolled, old-fashioned, steel-cut, or groats) in a blender
  • Add 3 cups fresh water to your blender
  • Blend on high for a couple minutes (2-3 minutes at most)
  • Strain mixture through a sieve lined with paper towels or cheesecloth into a container
  • Refrigerate for 6-8 hours (oat milk tastes best when cold)
  • Drink.

Now, a few things to keep in mind.

Homemade oat milk will not have the same levels of vitamins and minerals as the store bought stuff, since those store oat milks have added micronutrients.

Is this a big deal?

Honestly, not really. Oat milk shouldn’t be your main source of calories or nutrition. And, as long as you’re eating a well-balanced diet high if lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, you’ll be fine.

Homemade oat milk most likely won’t have the same thick texture as store-bought milks due to the fact that it doesn’t contain the added gums that the ones at the store do.

Again, this isn’t a big deal, but if you’re hoping it with froth and whip like the oat milks at your favorite coffee shop do, keep hoping.

Now, let’s get to some more “interesting” oat milk recipes.

Top 3 Best Quick & Easy Oat Milk Recipes

Chocolate Oat Milk Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 4-5 Medjool dates, pitted (can substitute 8 small dates if Medjool dates aren’t available)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (if you want it extra dark tasting, use the “Special Dark” cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Dump all of the ingredients into your high-powered blender
  • Blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth
  • Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or “nut milk” bag (yes, they really make such things) into a resealable container
  • Make sure to press and squeeze the mixture in the cheesecloth to extract as much oat milky goodness as possible
  • Consume immediately or cover with lid and store in the fridge for up to 5 days

Vanilla Maple Oat Milk Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned (rolled) or steel-cut oats
  • Water to cover
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (use the real stuff, not Aunt Jemima)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (again get the real stuff, it’s more expensive but totally worth it!)

Directions:

  • Place oats in a large bowl and cover with enough water to allow the oats to absorb some water, expand, and still remain covered.
  • Place oat/water mixture in the fridge to thicken at least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight
  • Drain and rinse oats
  • Place the soaked oats along with 3 cups of fresh, clean water in a high-powered blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes.
  • Strain oat milk through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth (to retain the oat pulp) into a container.
  • Whisk in maple syrup and salt to taste.
  • Consume immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Almond Oat Milk

This recipe combines two of the hottest alternative milks into one dairy-free indulgence sure to tantalize the taste buds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned or steel cut oats
  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) - vanilla extract 
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 - 4½ cups filtered water

Directions:

  • Combine oats and almonds in a large bowl, cover with water, and soak for at least 8 hours (or overnight)
  • Strain the oats and almonds, removing as much water as possible and then rinse thoroughly.
  • Transfer the oats and almonds into a high-powered blender and add 4 cups of filtered water.
  • Blend on high for 2 minutes
  • Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth (or use your favorite nut milk bag) into a container
  • Squeeze the cheesecloth or nut milk bag to release as much “noat” (nut+oat) milkas possible
  • Transfer your strained milk back into the blend.
  • Add vanilla extract, maple syrup, and salt and then blend for 30 seconds.
  • Pour the almond oat milk into a resealable container and refrigerate for several hours before drinking.
  • Milk will last in the fridge for 4-6 days.

The Bottom Line on Oat Milk

Cow milk has been, and continues to be, a dietary staple for many, providing high-quality protein along with some much-needed calcium.

However, an increasing number of people are searching for alternatives to the generational favorite for a wide assortment of reasons.

If you are looking to move away from dairy, you’re in luck as there’s no shortage of options for alternative milks. Oat milk is the newest entry into the expanding alternative milk market, bringing with it soluble fiber and beta-glucan to support cardiovascular health.

Is oat milk for you?

Have you tried it?

What do you think of regular cow milk?

Leave your comments below.

References

1) "Oat Milk Unsweetened." Vitasoy, soy.com.au/product/oat-milk-unsweetened/.

2) "Pureharvest. Oat Milk." Pureharvest. Purely the Best, pureharvest.com.au/products/organic-oat-milk/.

3) "Organic Oat Original." Pacific Foods | Organic Non-Dairy Beverages, Soups, Broths, and More, shop.pacificfoods.com/organic-oat-original.

4) "Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk." Silk Soymilk, Almondmilk and Coconutmilk: Wholesome and Delicious | Silk, 13 Sept. 2017, silk.com/products/unsweetened-vanilla-almondmilk.

5) Whitehead A , et al. "Cholesterol-lowering Effects of Oat β-glucan: a Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. - PubMed - NCBI." National Center for Biotechnology Information, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25411276.

6) Othman RA , et al. "Cholesterol-lowering Effects of Oat β-glucan. - PubMed - NCBI." National Center for Biotechnology Information, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21631511.

7) OnningG , et al. "Consumption of Oat Milk for 5 Weeks Lowers Serum Cholesterol and LDL Cholesterol in Free-living Men with Moderate Hypercholesterolemia. - PubMed - NCBI." National Center for Biotechnology Information, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10749030.

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