Vegan Alternatives to Cow’s Milk

written by Lucy Munene 1st February 2019

Over the years, milk substitutes have gained popularity. Soy milk has moved from being the only alternative for the lactose intolerant and for anyone going dairy-free. We have compiled a short list of our favourite milk substitutes guaranteed to go perfectly with your favourite cereal or blend well in your favourite smoothie.


Oat Milk

Compared to all the other milk substitutes on this list, oat milk has the highest protein content. Essentially made from oats and water, it has a creamy consistency that means it goes well with cereals. It also contains half of the fat that is present in cows milk, double the carbohydrates and is high in fibre.   

US Customary – Metric
  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if GF // or sub steel-cut oats*)
  • 4 cups water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk!)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 whole date, pitted (optional // for sweetness // or 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa or cacao powder for “chocolate milk” (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh berries for “berry milk” (optional)
  1. Add oats, water, salt, and any additional add-ins (optional) to a high-speed blender. Top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn’t splash. Blend for about 1 minute or until the mixture seems well combined. It doesn’t have to be 100% pulverized. In fact, over-blending can make the oat milk slimy in texture.
  2. Scoop out a small sample with a spoon to test flavour/sweetness. If it’s not sweet enough, add more dates.
  3. Pour the mixture over a large mixing bowl or pitcher covered with a very thin towel or a clean T-shirt. In my experience, it benefits from a double strain through a very fine towel to remove any oat remnants. A nut milk bag seemed to let too much residue through.
  4. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days (sometimes more). Shake well and enjoy cold. DO NOT HEAT or it will thicken and become gelatinous in texture. It’s delicious as is or added to granola, smoothies, or baked goods!

recipe source: minimalistbaker.com

Cashew Milk

This milk is great if you’re watching our weight because it is low in calories and fortified with essential vitamins such as zinc, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B-12. It is thicker than oat milk which makes it a great substitute for coffee creamer.

  • 3 cups water (750 ml)
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews (140 g)
  1. Soak the cashews in water overnight (optional).
  2. Drain the cashews and blend them with the water until well blended and almost smooth.
  3. Strain the milk using a cheesecloth or a strainer. You can use a napkin too.
  4. Store the cashew milk in a sealed container in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.

recipe source: simpleveganblog.com

Coconut Milk

Canned coconut milk has been a staple in your stews and curries because the nutty taste adds a wealth of flavour to food but it is also great in smoothies. Unfortunately, it contains no protein or fat, which is good if you are watching your weight but it will not help you meet your daily protein requirements.

  • 2 cups shredded coconut organic and unsweetened
  • 4 cups purified water (hot not boiling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste (optional)
  • 6 drops stevia  (optional)
  1. Place shredded coconut in a bowl of very hot (not boiling), pure water. Let soak for 1-2 hours. Do NOT discard the water.
  2. In the Vitamix or blender, combine coconut, soaking water, and vanilla and stevia, if using. Blend on the highest speed for about a minute.
  3. Strain liquid through a nut milk bag, paint strainer bag or very, very fine cheesecloth, pressing out all the liquid you can.
  4. Discard solids or save them for adding to smoothies or baked treats.
  5. Use immediately or store in the fridge. Good for 3-4 days.
  6. Since there are no preservatives or fillers, the fat in the coconut milk may separate on the top if stored in the fridge. Just shake or stir before using.

recipe source: smallfootprintfamily.com

Rice Milk

Rice milk is commonly used as a substitute for creamer in coffee and in desserts because it is smooth and creamy. It has the same amount of calories as cows milk, less protein and fat. Commercial versions are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals but it is best to consume rice milk in low quantities.

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice (100 g)
  • 2 cups water (500 ml)
  • 4 dates
  1. Blend the cooked rice, dates and water until well blended and almost smooth.
  2. Strain the blended rice mixture using a cheesecloth, napkin or a strainer. This step is optional.
  3. Store the rice milk in a sealed container in the fridge for three or four days.

recipe source: simpleveganblog.com

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