The alt-milks are taking over.
No, it’s not some hot new boy band — it’s the troupe of dairy alternatives popping up on grocery store shelves everywhere.
These dairy-free drinks are a welcome solution for the
reported 20-plus percent of people who are lactose intolerant, but it can be difficult to pick one with such a wide variety available. And when it comes to cooking and baking with milk alternatives, store-bought nut milks behave a little differently than milk and cream since they are mostly water ( almond milk, for example, is only about 2 percent almond). That means they’re fine for smoothies, but not so great for creating foam on your cappuccino.
Below, everything you need to know about using seven popular dairy alternatives in the kitchen, including what the heck to do with pea milk.
1. Coconut Milk: A Tropical Twist
Made From: Coconut cream.
Good For: This substitute is higher in fat than other alternatives and has a stronger flavour. Unlike dairy milk, unsweetened coconut milk doesn’t have any naturally occurring sugars, and 1 cup provides 50 percent of your recommended Vitamin B12 intake — great for vegans or those watching their sugar consumption. Note: Refrigerated coconut milk found in the dairy aisle differs from the canned variety in the international section. The coconut milk in cartons is much less concentrated, and won’t provide the same results as it’s thicker counterpart. It does, however, work for sweet dishes, lending creaminess and a tropical flavour to frozen drinks and richer desserts. For the best curries, stick to the canned stuff.
Try It: Tropical Twist Smoothie Bowl. 2. Soy Milk: The OG Alt-Milk
Made From: Soy beans.
Good For: Vegan diets. High in protein, this milk has a nutritional profile most similar to dairy milk, making it a good option for providing structure in baked goods, adding body to sauces and re-fueling post-workout. Fortified soy beverages have just as much calcium, Vitamin A, D, and zinc as milk, and can provide as much as 14 percent of your recommended iron intake. Soy is also a good substitute for recipes that require buttermilk or thick sauces, as it contains enough protein for proper curdling and thickening.
Try it: Easy Pancakes. 3. Almond Milk: A Good All-Rounder
Made From: Almonds.
Good For: This milk’s mild flavour works well in smoothies and liquid batters like pancakes and waffles, as well as in cereal, oatmeal and chia puddings. Unsweetened versions are low in calories, but only provide 1 gram of protein per serving, so they lack the keep-you-full element of milks like soy. Try combining them with a source of protein or fibre to stay satisfied throughout the day.
Try it: Overnight Chia Oatmeal. 4. Hemp Milk: For The Nut-Adverse
Made From: Hemp seeds.
Good For: If a nut allergy eliminates most alt-milks as an option, hemp milk fills the void nicely. Hemp seeds are high in healthy omega-3 fats and lend a pleasant nutty taste. Hemp milk is easier to blend up at home than milks made with nuts, due to the seed’s softer texture (and they’re less expensive too). 5. Pea Milk: The New Kid On The Block
Made From: Pea protein.
Good For: The latest beverage to hit shelves packs a protein punch. A welcome new addition for those with soy sensitivities, it provides 8 grams of protein per cup, while being entirely vegetable-based. It does have a slight bean flavour, so try it in savoury dishes or opt for vanilla-flavoured versions to counteract the taste. 6. Macadamia milk: The best thing since cold brew coffee
Made from: Macadamia nuts.
Good For: This nut milk variety can be difficult to find, but it’s worth the purchase when available. Its ultra-creamy texture and buttery flavour will quickly convert dairy-drinkers. Plus, macadamia nut milk is chock-full of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, without the cholesterol found in richer dairy products, like cream or half-and-half. Awesome in hot drinks like lattes, hot chocolate, and chai tea steamers, macadamia nut milk is the ultimate alt-milk indulgence.
Try It: Hot Buttered Chai Latte, Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. 7. Oat Milk: The Goodness Of Grains
Made From: Oats.
Good For: This new alt-milk first gained popularity in Scandinavian countries, and is the hygge hug in a mug you need for cold winter days. Oat milk contains 2 grams of fibre per serving, making for a heartier breakfast or snack. One cup also has 25 percent of your recommended Vitamin D intake. This toasty flavoured milk is especially good steamed or simmered with a hint of spice, like cinnamon, or mixed into the batter of a hearty loaf or muffin.
Try it: Streusel-Crunch Spiced Carrot Cake Muffins.
Watch: How to Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs