Homemade Oat Milk – Easy, Fast, Cheap

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When I mentioned that I was working on a homemade milk post many of you asked for a low-cost and nut-free homemade milk recipe. I decided to put myself to the challenge. Homemade Oat Milk, it is!

First, I’ll show you how I made it with step-by-step photos and at the end of my post I’ll share my thoughts on flavour, price, texture, and overall pros and cons.

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Ingredients I used:

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1.5-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener or pitted dates), to taste
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt (enhances flavour)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional, but nice)

 

Click here to email, text, or print this recipe.

You will also need a blender (any blender should work as we don’t need to blend the oats super smooth), a fine sieve, a large bowl, a small bowl, and measuring spoons/cup. I haven’t tried this oat milk with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag yet, but if anyone does please leave a comment and let us know how it goes.

Don’t let all the step-by-step photos fool you into thinking this is lengthy to make – it takes just 5 minutes once your oats are soaked.

Step 1: Rinse and drain 1 cup of steel-cut oats. I’ve heard you can also use oat groats. Place oats into a bowl and cover with water. Soak for around 20 minutes. You can soak longer (even overnight) if desired. Not only does soaking help soften the oats, but it also makes them easier to digest.

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Step 2: After soaking, rinse and drain the oats very well. This step is very important because you want to rinse off any of the oat slime that has occurred from soaking. Yes, oat slime is a thing…it happens.

Step 3: Scoop oats into your blender and add 3 cups water. I prefer using 3 cups of water as opposed to 4 cups because it yields a creamier/thicker milk. Feel free to add more water if you wish, just know the more water you add the thinner your milk will be.

Step 4: Cover with lid and turn the blender on a low speed, increasing the speed gradually, and blend at the highest speed for about 8-10 seconds only. You don’t need to completely pulverize the oats.

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Step 5: Place a fine sieve over a large bowl and pour the oat milk very slowly into the sieve. You might have to do this in a couple batches depending on the size of your sieve.

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Step 6: With a spoon, gently push down on the oat pulp so the milk flows through. This helps push the milk into the bowl, leaving the oat pulp behind in the sieve.

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Step 7: Scoop the oat pulp into a small bowl and set aside. Clean out your blender and sieve with a good rinse of water until no pulp residue remains.

Step 8: Place sieve over top of your blender and pour the milk in once again and strain.

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As you can see in the bottom left photo, straining twice gets even more pulp out yielding a smoother milk. I usually strain it 3 times or so, but it’s not necessary if you are time-crunched.

Step 9: Rinse out the bowl and sieve once again. Strain the milk through the sieve into the bowl (optional). If you don’t want to strain again, simply add in your mix-ins and blend on low.

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Step 10: I whisked in 1.5 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt (enhances sweetness), and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. These mix-ins turn your oat milk from bland to hmm-this-could-be-decent-when-cold.

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Step 11: I strained my milk one last time into a clean blender. Then I poured the milk from the blender into a clean mason jar for storage in the fridge. Note: Homemade milk does separate (remember there are no added emulsifiers!), so be sure to give your milk a very good shake (or stir) before using. No biggie. A little non-dairy milkshake never hurt anyone. I just don’t want you to be alarmed when you see the heavier ingredients sitting at the bottom of the jar.

This should last in the fridge in a sealed container/jar for 4-5 days. Use it in smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, baking, or drink it straight. If you want to use it in a savoury recipe, you can omit the sweetener, vanilla, and cinnamon.

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Taste Report:

The flavour of this oat milk is much like I expected; it tastes like oats. Shocking, I know. The biggest challenge I had when testing this recipe was getting it creamy enough. I tried 1/2 cups steel-cut oats with 4 cups water and then 3/4 cups steel-cut oats with 3 cups water. I found both end results to be too watery. Using 1 cup of steel-cut oats to 3 cups of water was my favourite ratio (so far). If you play around with the recipe, I’d love to hear your versions too.

Keeping in mind that this homemade milk is free of emulsifiers and thickeners, I was fairly impressed with the texture. Is it just like store-bought milk? Of course not, but I do think it’s a decent option with a clean ingredient list. It’s much easier on the wallet too!

PROS:

  • Very low cost (a batch using steel-cut oats cost me about 50 cents – or less if you can get a deal on oats)
  • Nut-free so good for those with allergies
  • Quick to make
  • You don’t need a nut milk bag or cheesecloth
  • Clean up was easy, even with all the spilling I seem to do…
  • Decent, but not mind-blowing, flavour

 

CONS:

  • Not as creamy compared to homemade almond milk
  • Slightly watery (although this is improved when using 3 cups water instead of 4)

 

All in all, I feel that the pros outweigh the cons with this homemade oat milk. It’s so cheap to make and that is a huge plus for me. I personally don’t drink much milk by the glass so I think this will be just fine when added to cereal, smoothies, oatmeal, etc. But so far, I’ve been sipping the jar straight from the fridge, letting out satisfied mmm’s and dribbling milk down the front of my shirt. Eric, as always, is quite confident he married a weirdo.

Update: I tried the milk with some Nature’s Path cereal and it tasted a bit like cinnamon toast crunch, probably thanks to the cinnamon in the milk. yummy!

I also made a trial using cooked steel-cut oats and the milk turned out super slimy. I didn’t rinse the oats after cooking, but maybe I should have? I’m going to stick with the non-cooked method.

Odds are that some of you won’t like this milk at all, but it’s also likely that some of you will really enjoy it and appreciate this as a cheap, at-home alternative to the store-bought stuff. I’m quite anxious to see what you think and I welcome your feedback in the comments!

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What can you do with the leftover oat pulp? I suggest saving it and mixing it into oatmeal and smoothies. If you have a dehydrator, I assume you could also dehydrate the pulp and then pulverize it in a blender to make flour. If anyone has any other ideas, leave ‘em below.

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Have you ever made homemade oat milk or tried a store-bought version? Do you make your own milks at home? If so, what’s your favourite recipe?

Catching up in this series? See: Vegan How To: Introduction (Why this series?), Part 1: How To Make The Transition, Part 2: Replacing Dairy

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

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Arya Bee June 22, 2017

Hey There!

I’m making sooo much oat milk now in my vitamix, thanks SOOO much for the recipe. Just a quick question about sourness as my milk is often getting sour by the next day (even when kept in fridge and in glass bottles), just wondering what could be causing this?

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Manish June 16, 2017

Soya milk is much better as you can make other alternatives such as paneer, curd, lassi, shrikhand etc.

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S. Belle June 1, 2017

This is a wonderful discovery. I’m going to expand to coffee creamer and oat milk kefir. Lots of bucks saved. Thank you so much.

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Molly May 30, 2017

Happy to find this recipe today…sadly I was in a huge hurry yesterday and left my cashew milk on the counter after making my protein shake. Very hot today and another protein shake would be so delicious so I came looking for a dairy alternative that didn’t need an overnight soak. Voila…shake time! Mine will only be used as an ingredient so I don’t mind the sediment at all and wanted less calories so I used 4 cups of water after testing the taste with the original 3. Delicious, quick and economical. Thank you!

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joe f. May 20, 2017

Tried this today. Milk is OK, though I haven’t flavored it because I’m going to use it in a smoothie. However, I made peanut butter oatmeal cookies with the pulp. First scratch cookies I ever made in my life. I adjusted an online recipe to as few ingredients as possible: the pulp, peanut butter, some brown sugar, some stevia, some coconut oil, baking powder and some flaxseed meal. Took longer than I thought to cook, and I should have put something else in there (vanilla?), but they came out OK. If it turns out I like the milk enough I’ll have to refine the cookie recipe.

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Maria June 8, 2017

Yum can’t wait to try. I usually buy oat milk from supermarket but it contains salt and I am on no salt diet so look forward to making this. I use oat milk in my coffee … has less after taste than almond and rice milks. Would love the r3xi

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Gayathri May 20, 2017

Hi

Can we boil this and make coffee with it?

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The Whimsical Bear April 22, 2017

Can you heat this milk (e.g. if making porridge/oatmeal)?

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Angela Liddon May 11, 2017

Hi there, I haven’t tried this myself, but if you give it a shot, please let us know how you find the results! You may also want to check back through some of the previous comments — another reader may have tried it before, too :)

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Lina April 16, 2017

Hi! I recently read about milk alternatives and that it’s far better for you than dairy. I’m not vegetarian or anything, but since I had my daughter 4 years ago, I’ve started looking into a healthier lifestyle.
Anyway, I recently came across an oat milk recipe. I like really simple recipes. I just used rolled oats [don’t know if steel cut is the same], same ratio as you, 1 cup oats to 3 cups water. I didn’t cook them, just raw. I put that in a blender, added about 2 tsp vanilla, a little honey, and a pinch of salt. It came out pretty well. Creamy too! And of course, tons cheaper than store-bought milk.

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Bethany March 31, 2017

I know this is an old post, but I wonder if you could make red lentil milk.

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Cheryl January 15, 2017

Made this today. Used the ratio of 1c dry steel
Cut oats to 3c filtered water. Blended it in my VitaMix on low after soaking and rinsing the oats. Then let it set for a few more hours and blended again. Strained thru my nut milk bag and it was so easy. Didn’t add anything to try it plain and I think
It will be fine that way for morning oatmeal. I did save the blended oats and will
Add to my oatmeal in the AM.

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Tiana January 15, 2017

All.in all GMO is not good not matter what. Lately these scientist will test any and everything to modify the natural plant that God originally created. A scientist can tell you anything to push the their products. At the end of the day, to each his own.

Those scientific names they use on package may or maybe not be even what they put in their produce. Plant and fruits has a time to grow and expire and I for one wnat it as natural as I can get it. These products may not cause harm now but later on does.affect us hence the reason behind sicknesses and cancer………..just be mindful.

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dawn January 14, 2017

I used the a nut bag after the two passes via sieve And it was much smoother and less sediment. Its a great recipe.

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leah D November 12, 2016

GMO’s are safe??? What company do you all work for, or are you doing promotion work for Monsanto.

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Chuck November 10, 2016

I noticed the slime after I have cooked and drained steel cut oats(1 to 4 ratio). I substitute this for milk and eggs in my pancake recipe. It is delicious.

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Meegan October 28, 2016

Delicious recipe thank you!!
Just a word of warning – If you want to use this in your coffee, it is delicious, but do not heat the milk up (it becomes like porridge!!). Better to ice the coffee and then add your refrigerated oat milk for a delicious iced oat coffee.

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Alice October 15, 2016

How long does this oatmilk last???

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Cleide October 5, 2016

Hi, just do one part oatmeal, and two parts water. The results are a creamy, delicious milk.

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Linda Bale October 3, 2016

I’ve just tried your oat milk and I love it. The thing I do different, with all of my plant milks, is, I process it through my slow juicer instead of cheesecloth or nutmilk bags. Save a lot of time and hassles if having to wring out a bag or wash out cheesecloth and works brilliantly ?

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Angela Liddon October 3, 2016

Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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Herbert September 23, 2016

I’ve done this same recipe with the cheese cloth and it takes out more of the mush and slime, but then you have the cost of cheesecloth to add to the milk cost as well.

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Alice Ridgley September 15, 2016

I am going to start my oat milk tonight….fingers crossed

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Angela Liddon September 16, 2016

I hope you have success with it, Alice! I’d love to hear how it turns out.

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James McAllister September 4, 2016

Try this;
1. Omit the vanilla and cinamon.
2. Mix 1/4 cup of the milk with 2 oz. good singlemalt Scotch ( I suggets Glenfiddich 15 year old or Balvenie Doublewood. Be sure you get a ‘honey’ Scotch and NOT a ‘smokey’ Scotch!)
Serve over two SMALL ice cubes.

If it’s not strong enough, add a little more maple syrup.

What you’ve mad is a variation of an old Scotish drink called Atholl Brose!

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Pauline September 2, 2016

I made a similar oat milk this morning using rolled oats ( as thats what I had handy). The pulp I just added some cinnamon, nothing else and placed spoonfuls in a iron pan and made pancakes. Delicious.

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Jinki's Food Stories August 30, 2016

i really love this recipe.

I am from Australia and there is 2 brands which I use but more so one over the other as I think it is better value for money than the other and with less ingredients.

The one i use the most is PURE HARVEST Unsweetend Oat, Rice and Soy , Also their Original activated almond milk and Original Soy milk

The only difference between their Original and Unsweeted is that the Original has rice syrup but the only ingrediants used is : Water Rice or Oat or Soy or Almond (Rice Syrup if Original) Salt and Sunflower oil and that is it. There are versions containing plant calcium or seaweed for calcium but I stick to the organic versions both original and unsweetend as they dont use other stuff and are GMO free and the likes.

Pure Harvest is better value for money as it has more said ingredients ( Rice Soy Almond etc) and less other stuff

The Other brand I use in a pinch is Australias own but personally i prefer not to use it, it is expensive and u get less ingredient per Liter. Ie 3% Almond in Australias own or 10% in Pure Harvest.

Both are australian certified organic and non gmo but the better value for money is Pue Harvest but you know, personal taste and all haha….

I stay away from So Good Vitasoy and Almond Breeze as much as possible

In Australia ( at least where i live the organic non gmo and health food vegan or otherwise train is very small and very expensive aand not a load of choice) but Pure harvest non dairy milks and Australias own are 2 brands readly avalible at out 2 big chain stores.

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Soph August 26, 2016

How long does oatmilk last? Should it be kept in the fridge? I wanted to make some to add to a home-made all-natural hair conditioner. But I don’t want it to go off if I have to store it for a long time out of the fridge

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Claudio August 11, 2016

Hi. Nice recipe, I have enjoyed it very much.
To add extra thickness to this milk, I have added a flaxseed egg (i.e. Add 1 tsp ground flaxseed to 3 tsp of water and let rest for 15-20 minutes) after all sievings.
Let rest for another 10-15 minutes and sieve a last time to remove the flaxseed pulp.

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Mark Mitchell August 8, 2016

Regarding carrageenan in commercial milks, see:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1242073/

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Marie Mcwaters August 4, 2016

Hi just getting ready to try this milk in my wee cuppa tea!
Thanks for recipe first time milk newbie! M x

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Angela Liddon August 4, 2016

Hope you enjoy it, Marie!

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michael August 2, 2016

Hi.

Will this contain phytic acid?

When eating oats they should be soaked in acid like lemon then cooked to rid the phytic acid.

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Daniel McKenna July 18, 2016

Hello, I made my own oat milk last night, and then I thought to look online to see how the pros do it.
I used my juicer!
I slow cooked the oatmeal in the “normal” amount of water until all the oats broke open and released the cream; then I added more cold pure water and stirred it in to the cooked oats, causing the milk to become (cooled some and) liquefied so that , when poured through the juicer with just the right amount of water it shoots oat milk out the spout and, of course fiber into the bin…then, I sent the pulp through the juicer 3 more times adding a bit of water, keeping an eye on how thick the milk was that was coming out the spout, and using the store bought oak milk’s texture as a guide, I soon had a tall glass of excellent oat milk….the only drawback was a certain sliminess that kind of wouldn’t stir in; but after reading your post, I will rinse off the scum next time; pitted dates sound wonderful for tonight!

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susan June 14, 2016

I imagine you can dry the pulp and make oat flour??

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Ericka Yosepta Ken June 5, 2016

Hi Angela, I was looking for vegan nut-free milk and ended up in your blog. What an amazing recipe you have here!
I have 1 question, can I make buttermilk from this milk?
Thanks

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Maria June 2, 2016

Love the Oatmilk recipe. First time it came out perfect! Second time it came out a bit chalky. I did accidentally put the add ins during the whole blending phase instead of after it was blended. Any thoughts?

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Rachel Wren May 16, 2016

Hello and thank you for all your wonderful inspiration. I recommend your book to everyone who asks me about my lifestyle!
I know you don’t like ‘oat slime’, but I make a really simple oat milk by soaking oats in water at a ratio of 1 cup oats to 2 cups water, usually overnight. I then blend it all, including the soaking water, and then strain it, and it always comes out creamy and pleasant tasting. I have also discovered (by accident!) that this wonderful and cheap milk thickens by itself when heated, so I don’t add any sweeteners to it, and use it in self-thickening sauces that would normally use milk, such as cheese or peppercorn. It works really well and is so simple. If I want a comforting drink, I just heat a mug of oat milk with a little maple syrup and that thickens into a thick, warming comfort drink. Best wishes! Rachel

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Angela Liddon May 19, 2016

Thank you so much for sharing, Rachel! And I am so flattered you’ve enjoyed my book so much. Thanks again, for all the support. :)

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Agus May 12, 2016

Hi! I just tried this recipe (except I used rolled oats since I couldn’t get steel cut) and although the texture is exactly “milky” the taste is somewhat chalky and with some serious bitter aftertaste…bummer! is it possibly due to not rinsing the oats enough? Thank you!!

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Caitlin May 5, 2016

It always bugs me on food blogs when half the comments are like, “Looks good!” or “I’ll try this later!” And then we never hear about how people ACTUALLY enjoyed the recipes!

I made this oat milk! I’m a seasoned veteran at making nut milks, so this was a bit scary for me since oats do indeed get really slimy. I was so afraid that no matter what I did, it would turn out slimy and gross.

I added 3 fresh dates and some maple syrup. The result was a very sweet milk, but honestly that’s what I have to do in order to sell it to my children who can be really nit picky!

The taste was great. It tastes pretty much like a sweet bowl of oatmeal, which sounds a little strange, but I found the flavor to be pleasantly delicate and “nutty”. Commercial oat milk tastes like cardboard to me, so this was a big improvement.

I am using this batch of oat milk to make some vegan yogurt. I tasted it after I added some sweetened strawberries and it was really yummy! I hope my kids will eat it. If not, I know I will.

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Peggy April 16, 2016

Shóna, oat is my favourite non dairy milk for tea because of it’s less assertive flavour. It has some of the useful functions of milk, reducing the astringency of the tannins and providing a nicer mouthfeel, a bit of body. Some people here have noted that oat milk thickens dramatically when heated/cooked. I think the heat of tea causes the oat milk to thicken, but only slightly and for me, nicely. If you drink tea without any sweetener, be sure to sweeten the oat milk; dairy milk is actually quite sweet.

As far as cheese goes, I’m still trying to sort that one out. I don’t think yeast flakes add much of a cheesy taste, and more of it is definitely not better! I don’t know how much you enjoy cooking, but my next experimenting will be with Misozuki tofu. The fermentation caused by extended contact with the miso based paste is said to create funky flavours, reminiscent of some cheeses, like Bleu. People in CA and a very few other places can buy it readymade, or you can get it online, I think, but not here in Oz.

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Shóna April 12, 2016

Hi Angela,

I just came across this article – I am seriously considering a vegan diet but my two sticklers (only because I’m selfish and I love the taste!) are milk and cheese! I’m pretty sure I could do without everything else, but it’s these two that make it hard to decide. Anyway, your oat milk looks delicious, and I am going to try it this weekend. Just wondering if you or any of the readers have tried this milk in tea? Tea is a massive part of my day, and if I can find a replacement milk that is either similar to cows or at least doesn’t make the tea taste like almond/coconut/something-other-than-tea then I would be sold :)

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Peggy April 16, 2016

Shòna, I like oat milk in tea as it doesn’t have an overwhelming flavour. While it doesn’t taste anything like dairy milk, it performs the same functions of neutralising the tannin taste and adding a nice mouthfeel. A few people have noted that heating/cooking oat milk causes it to thicken dramatically and I think the heat of the tea also thickens the oat milk, but slightly. You will probably want to sweeten your oat milk as dairy milk is actually quite sweet.

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Angela Liddon April 18, 2016

Hi Shona, I haven’t tried it myself, but if you do, please let us know how you like it!

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Marilynn April 8, 2016

Made this today, and am SO grateful for the recipe!! Found lovely oat milk in New Zealand stores. Also met a “foodie” there who told me about you!!! Upon returning home, I found our co-op’s oat milk disgusting. Your recipe saved the day!!!
A few comments:
The organic oats were $1 per cup (still cheaper than $3.39 for yuck + additives).
I can’t find a fine sieve in my town (not surprising, I’m in the middle of no where), but I found very fine netting in the Sewng Dept and it worked great. I could actually wring the pulp out.
Didn’t see the need to wash out the blender between the first and second blendings, since I was going to strain it anyway. Did I miss something?
Thanks for all the great ideas!

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Angela Liddon April 15, 2016

So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Marilynn! Rinsing out the blender between blendings is just to get rid of any pulp residue so it doesn’t end up back in the milk; I find it helps to keep the end product as pulp-free and smooth as possible. But, if there wasn’t much, if any, residue left over–lucky you!–and you plan to strain it well afterwards, then I don’t think it’s super necessary, especially if you’re time crunched. And it sounds like it worked out well for you!

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