They’re sitting pretty in grocery stores and coffee shops, and all are dairy-free and low in saturated fats. Here’s how to choose (and use) these creamy plant-based beverages. When choosing store-bought options, look for a short ingredient list; this typically means the milk contains fewer sweeteners and stabilizers. You can also make these milks yourself with our master recipe if you’re inclined to soak, blend, and strain away.
This nut-free drink is mild and versatile. It has a silky texture that foams and froths nicely, so it’s delicious in a latte. It’s also apropos in cereal and works well in broccoli soup, says Amy Chaplin, an award-winning vegetarian chef and author. Sweeten it with a touch of maple syrup.
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The natural softness of the nut lends this liquid a satiny finish that comes very close to cream’s. It holds its own in a strong cup of coffee, and its mellowness swings savory, too: Chaplin recommends swapping a homemade batch into a cream-based pasta sauce.
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Medium-bodied and subtly sweet, this milk is the most allpurpose of the bunch. “It’s high in protein and not as rich as others,” says Chaplin, and it’s neutral enough to enhance a roster of recipes, from smoothies to mashed potatoes.
“A grassy taste distinguishes it,” says Chaplin, who suggests pouring it cold over granola or cereal for a nice boost of omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike nuts, hemp seeds don’t have to be soaked before they’re blended, so you can make this milk quickly.
This variety has the sweet richness of the nut it’s derived from, so it pairs naturally (and scrumptiously) with vanilla and chocolate. Use it in a dairy-free pastry cream, or blend it with cocoa for a Nutella-esque drink. It can enliven breakfast, too: Stir it into iced coffee or oatmeal.
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