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

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{ 355 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggie January 22, 2013

Made this milk this morning after soaking oats overnight. Came out really nice! Anxious to test it when I get home tonight. I’ve been making homemade cashew milk for almost a decade, this is my second attempt at making a different kind of plant based milk (horrible slimy results from homemade rice milk). Thanks for a great post & tutorial!

My homemade cashew milk: http://sudsymaggie.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/cashew-milk/

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Lori January 23, 2013

I am wondering if this can be made in large quantities and then canned?

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Julie January 27, 2013

Use the left over pulp in a recipe for doggie cookies?

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Meredith January 29, 2013

Question: could you put this in coffee or would it be weird? Trying to find an unprocessed alternative to non-dairy milk from the store :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 29, 2013

I dont think it would be creamy enough for coffee?

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Gina March 12, 2013

We use Pacific brand Oat Milk in our Lattes and Coffee drinks. It is thicker (and slightly sweeter) than this recipe so I’m looking to find one that will remedy that. However, we LOVE it in coffee. It even produces a really nice froth :-)

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Sarah January 29, 2013

This is really good! I love homemade almond milk but it’s a bit of a process to soak almonds overnight, peel, then blend into milk. I soaked the oats for about an hour and did use a nut milk bag as the strainer. Delicious! The ratios for maple, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon were perfect. Thanks for a great recipe!

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Alicia January 31, 2013

Could you tell me approximately how many calories are in oat milk. I made some…delicious. I also made porridge with the left over pulp…again….how caloric would the porrige be. What is taken from the oats during the process. Tx

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Holly Waterfall January 31, 2013

What a great recipe! Just wanted you to know that I tried it out tonight and LOVE it. I’ve been drinking almond and soy milk for years now, but it’s just so expensive. This is definitely one that’s EASY on the wallet and tastes pretty good too. I’m able to get steel cut oats for 60 cents a lb in the bulk section of our grocery store, so this is definitely economical for me. THANK YOU!!

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Päivi February 2, 2013

This hasn’t been mentioned yet: use the left over pulp as bulgur (cook it and use in salads etc). It’s also fine in breads and vegan patties… And as a porridge, of course.

If the amount is too little, you can freeze it and wait until you have enough for a meal – I guess you can make milk a couple of times a week, but you don’t want to eat the left over all the time.

Tip: if you want to use your oat milk in a desert, you can soak the oats in a juice or with a lots of dried fruits/berries. Just don’t change the liquid after the soaking. (The slimy something is just starch, isn’t it? I use oats groats and don’t get this kind of a problem. You should soak groats longer than for 20 mins, though. I prefer 6 hours or over a work day or night.)

If you are in a hurry, you can use heated rolled oats. That kind of milk will have some starch on it, but it’s not a problem if you use the milk in soups, pancakes etc. But it’s not the ideal for coffee.

Someone was wondering about the pros of fortified milks. Well, it’s the same kind of calcium, B-vitamin and D-vitamin they add into the liquid in the milk factory that you can buy yourself from your local drug store. Just remember to take your tablets :) This choice is much more ecological, of course: just think how many miles they transport the milks (mostly water)…

NB. I come from Finland, so don’t know if you get hemp seeds there? If you make milk out of them, the nutty milk will thicken the foods as eggs do. Hemp contains similar kind of protein, albumin. So hemp milk is ideal for pancakes, casserols, pies… And if you boil the milk, you can make tofu kind of cheese. It’s just a lot of easier to make! Just remember to use a cloth to press the milk so that the colour stays white and there will be no grey small pieces of seeds. (Food hemp has nothing to do with cannabis; they grow for example in Canada).

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Päivi February 2, 2013

For the coffee I recommend nut-milks. I’ve triend hemp milk only, it works fine, but home-made almond milk should do as well. It can happen that the milk curdles a little because of the hot drink – if you think it doesn’t look good, try to add the milk at first and coffee after that.

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Holly February 3, 2013

I am so excIted. I am making this today for the first time, and will follow your almond recipe next. My son and I are dairy free and we alternate between many non-dairy milks. A request….could you do one for hemp milk too? Pleassse? :)
Thank you for everything you do!

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Anita February 5, 2013

Great trick!!
How long does it last in the refrigerator?
Thank you

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Jillian February 7, 2013

Keeping the steel cut oats is definitely a good way to go with milk, I think. Cooking kinda messes with the texture and a lot of the nutrients. I love oat or rice milk warmed with fresh grated nutmeg, cinnamon and a bit of maple syrup! Its like 10,000 times better than when I had it with dairy milk :D I’ll have to give this recipe a try for sure though, since I’ve only made homemade almond milk.

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Samantha February 12, 2013

OAT MILK! You’re a genius!!!

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ROSSANA LOMBARDO February 18, 2013

Hi you can use the left over Pulp to make oatmeal bread…Or use it in a muffin or cake recipie…Hope this can give you a few good ideas…;-)

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Katy February 21, 2013

Can you use rolled oats? IM in the UK and cant find Steel cut!
Thanks
<3

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Olga February 25, 2013

OMG< I just made this! I didn't sift as I was making a smoothie anyway (I threw in a banana and a scoop of plant protein powder) – delicious! I love that I had all the ingredients in the pantry! Yay! And oh is it a budget-friendly recipe! I can't believe a carton of oatmeal milk goes for three bucks at my local store

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Dawn March 1, 2013

I made your oatmeal milk with a Vitamix and oatmeal that cooked in 5 minutes (it was on hand, not the best) and I had absolutely no pulp with an all night soak. Next I will try the good Irish steel cut oats. A banana would make a nice addition. I hope it holds up with coffee and tea. My soy sometimes curdles! Tx for this. I don’t want to eat a lot of nuts and soy because, although they are healthy, they are high in fat. I am loosing weight now and need to keep it going. I say I do eat nuts, but more for medicinal purposes! Like a tablespoon a day!

thanks again. I wouldn’t have thought of this way to make milk. I will work my way through Bobs Mill varieties too.

Dawn Willoughby

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professorruss March 8, 2013

Okay. I cheated. Since I didn’t have any steel cut oats I used quick oats. My initial batch was just on the palatable side of consumption, so I played with the added ingredients a bit. I used agave nectar instead of maple syrup and ended up using about three table spoons and another heaping tea spoon of raw honey. Either the extra nectar or the honey did the trick. :-)
What I learned:
*Soak the oats for longer than I think is needed.
*There is no such thing as straining the liquid too many times.
*It’s okay to experiment a little.
*I will use steel cut oats for my next batch.

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I had fun making Oat Milk, and I’ll post again after I make a batch using your recommended ingredients.

professor russ

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Sophia Maduri March 14, 2013

THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!! I did it with rolled oats and rinsed really good after soaking them. It tates delish ( though I dont know for sure what is should taste like..this is my first time) nice and creamy ( to me) added the maple syrup ( lots of it for me) and the other stuff… though I still have to continue drinking soy milk ( my mum wants me to) I know this will be a go to recipe :) thank you so much for creating all these awsome healthy recipes :)

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nicole March 18, 2013

I really want to try this at home, but I’m not sure if I can – I have a Nutri Bullet, which only has one blend speed and tends to completely pulverize/mash/blend in things. Could I still make it, do you think?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 18, 2013

I’m sure it will be fine? Might just take a bit longer to strain.

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nicole March 19, 2013

how would you calculate calories on this, since the oat pulp is removed?

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Catherine March 20, 2013

This is GREAT!!! My son is allergic to dairy and has been drinking almond milk BUT, I just found out that most almond milk, soy milks, rice milk and coconut milk have a serious poison in them that can cause major intestine issues and does for my son. This is a great, inexpensive, easy alternative to the major store brands :) THANKS!

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Elena March 22, 2013

I have young twins that are allergic to (what seems like everything) gluten, milk, nuts, and soy. My options for milk were rice, coconut, or oat. Oat milk is far more nutritious, so I went with that since they were only two and still drinking lots of milk. It is SUPER expensive (2.59 a quart) with them both drinking about a quart a day!! I can’t wait to try this recipe and save myself a boat load of money!!! Thank you!

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Jodie March 24, 2013

I just made this, but I didn’t ads sweetener, as I wish to use this with mashed potatoes. It tastes exactly like you would expect it to, oaty.

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Lyota March 28, 2013

Thanks for the recipe. Sounds great. I soaked my oat groats over night. So after I finish writing this I am going to start. I’m going to add extra virgin coconut oil as an emulsifier and added nutrition. I will let you know how it comes!

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kimara March 30, 2013

Love your oat milk recipe! It has become a staple for us.
I’ve shared your recipe on my site.
http://thefoodyouknow.com/2013/03/31/non-dairy-on-the-cheap/

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Ashlei March 31, 2013

HI, I wanted to thank you for the great recipe. But wanted to inform you that you could use the water used to soak the oats over night for the milk. This is actually where all of the nutrients is at and by throwing it out is actually kinda defeating the nutritional purpose. I tried it throwing out the water and now Im going to try it with the soaked water. My Granmama told me her mother used to make this for her when she was a kid and used the soaked water for the oat milk. Thank you! Let me know if you have tried this

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Michele April 15, 2013

my thoughts too Ashlei…i used the water I soaked the oats in :)

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Ashlei April 3, 2013

I tried it with the soaked water and its just as delicious, no slime! Thank you

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Alexandra @ Creative Simple Life April 3, 2013

I wonder about using the leftover pulp to make porridge. Perhaps too much is lost in the making of the oat milk, but I’d be tempted to add more water to the pulp and cook it into a breakfast porridge. Has anyone tried this?

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Aubrey April 4, 2013

I just made this recipe (in my totally non-fancy blender, no prob) and I love it! I’m a convert! Thanks!

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Michele April 15, 2013

wonderful :) I live in a very isolated area where items such as lat milk or any alternative to the basics is not available so being able to make this at home for my coffee and tea is awesome!!!!! i forgot to strain the oats and used the water i soaked them in…(i actually wonder if this maximizes all the nutrients that may have seeped into the water i soaked them in)…its a great recipe! I used the cheese cloth to strain because I do not own a fine strainer and if came out awesome :) thanks again for sharing!

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Michele April 15, 2013

oops….oat milk, not lat milk….should have proof read

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Carol April 16, 2013

Liked your oat milk recipe! I was just experimenting with making oat milk. I used 1/2 cup rolled, old fashioned oats, 1/8 cup date pieces, small dash of salt, and 2 cups of water and blended it in my Vitamix. I think it turned out nice even without straining it. Extremely easy and definitely inexpensive! Good to know that it lasts 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

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nina April 18, 2013

Hi,
I’ve been making similar oatmilk since last year when I found meself out of job and buying nondairy milk went out of Q. Also, I make caffelatte with barley and chicory coffe substitutes which are produced locally (Franck, Croatia). When heated, such a “coffee” becomes creamy and smooth, almost like a pudding. I prepare it often and then praise myself for such a healthy lifestile. Plenty of carbs, but minerals also.
I don’t know what are steel cut oats, I guess only rolled ones are available here. And sadly, I don’t own a vitamix but blend them with ordinary hand blender.
Luckily, Dalmatia where I currently reside, has plenty of almonds, organic, sweet and alive. They do germinate, so I try to use them raw whenever possible.
Best regards,
Nina

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dp April 23, 2013

How about oatmeal cookies using the pulp?

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Cupcakemom777 April 26, 2013

Great tutorial. I made your almond milk recipe today substituting stevia for the sweetener. Very good. I also blended in a teaspoon of glucomannen to thicken it up. It thickens it without heat, adds no calories, and is a natural fiber supplement. Just FYI for anyone wanting a richer, creamier drink.

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Serena May 3, 2013

I just made this, my first homemade milk and it is incredible! I love how it was used with a sieve as I don’t have a nut milk bag, thank you so much! I was wondering if the left over pulp could be used for your buckwheat crunch? Or would the effect/taste be different! xxxx

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Janice May 4, 2013

I used a nut milk bag and it worked great! As a side note, my hands felt amazing after straining the milk through the nut bag!

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kelly May 9, 2013

have you ever tried making an oat milk yogurt? i am looking for dairy alternatives for my 8 month old, as well as finding a replacement for the store bought coconut milk yogurt that i used to buy. trying to avoid carrageenans!

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Tara May 15, 2013

Thank you for posting this! I’m going to try making it for my dairy allergic son.

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Paola Pass May 22, 2013

I just made it and loved it. I am from Nicaragua and I grew up drinking oatmeal and also eating almonds and cashew fruit, all this seems to be new here in the US. I love your blog. Thank you.

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